The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has updated its COVID-19 protocols and guidance in accordance with the Tennessee State COVID-19 Omnibus Bill.
Gov. Bill Lee signed the bill into law on Friday, Nov. 12.
Face Mask Requirement Lifted. In compliance with the state law, all face mask requirements on campus have been lifted except in University Health Services and the Counseling Center which, as healthcare providers, are permitted to maintain face mask requirements under the law. While wearing face masks is no longer required in all other campus spaces, individuals may still wear face masks, and UTC welcomes and encourages its employees, students and visitors to continue to do so in accordance with CDC guidelines.
A UTC employee or student may request a reasonable accommodation relating to the absence of a mask mandate under the federal American with Disabilities Act. Requests will be reviewed pursuant to UTC’s disability accommodation process. For students, written requests should be submitted to the Disability Resource Center. For employees, written requests should be submitted to the Office of Equity and Inclusion.
Campus Quarantine/Isolation Protocols Discontinued. The new law also restricts authority to determine quarantine and isolation requirements to the State Commissioner of Health. Accordingly, UTC is no longer requiring isolation/quarantine unless directed to do so by the Health Commissioner. As always, members of the campus community are urged to stay at home if they feel ill or have come into close contact with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Federal Contractor Executive Order. On October 21, UT System President Randy Boyd sent an email to employees about President Biden’s Executive Order 14042, which outlines a federal vaccination and mask mandate and other requirements for federal contractors. The University of Tennessee System has received an exemption that allows UTC the flexibility necessary to implement the requirements of the executive order as required by federal contracts. At this time, UTC does not have new contracts from the federal government that require us to mandate the vaccine for employees or masks on our campus. However, UTC may eventually receive a contract that imposes the requirements of the executive order. We will communicate any changes at that time.
With the changing legal conditions relating to COVID-19 measures, the cooperation of the campus community is critical to the University’s efforts to comply with updated laws pertaining to appropriate COVID-19 practices.
Thank you to every member of our campus community for your hard work and dedication to our mission. Now, more than ever, it is important for us to maintain our focus on providing the best possible educational experience for our students.
Steve Angle, Chancellor