Commuter students’ questions and answers from the Tuesday, July 21 webinar hosted by members of UTC administration.
If faculty or staff become ill with COVID-19, will they be given paid time off and assistance with medical bills?
Information about leave and pay procedures as well as links to better understand employee benefits and COVID-19 are available on the UTC Human Resources site here.
Do we have a choice of online or mixed format? I would rather take my classes in class.
Students may make changes to their schedules by accessing their MyMocsNet account.
Registration instructions and step-by-step tutorials are available here.
As always, we recommend that students consult with their academic advisors before making changes to their class schedules, and that is particularly important during this unusual period.
If a student does not have an advisor, the student should email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
If a student cannot attend class due to sickness, will Zoom options be available until the student is able to attend?
UTC and the Office of the Dean of Students will make every effort to make sure students do not fall behind or are penalized for being sick and missing class.
If a student misses class due to COVID-19 or being asked to self-isolate after contact tracing identifies them for potential exposure, the student should notify professors and Student Outreach and Support.
If a faculty member is unable to participate in classes, how will students be notified?
Protocols have long been in place to address faculty member illness. If a faculty member is unable to meet his or her classes for some short period, a colleague will fill that role temporarily. If there is to be a longer-term absence, the academic department will find a suitable substitute instructor to continue teaching the class and prevent a disruption in class meetings.
Is there a possibility of the semester ending early and omitting a fall break?
The fall semester calendar for 2020 already reflects multiple modifications from the usual. The goal of the modifications is to discourage students from leaving campus and potentially traveling to COVID-19 hot spots and returning to campus during the semester.
This fall, Labor Day (Sept. 7) is an instructional day and not a holiday on campus. Fall break has been eliminated, and the days in October that fall break previously would have fallen are instructional days. Classes will end in November by the end of the week before Thanksgiving. Students then may leave campus for the rest of the calendar year, as all final exams will be given online.
How is the art-making portion of art studio classes being handled?
Those classes will meet as they ordinarily would. Fewer students may be in them, to allow for appropriate social distancing. Students will be socially distanced from one another from their instructors.
I’m a senior graduating fall 2020, but due to COVID-19, all internships I’ve applied to have been canceled, and I have been unable to complete my senior experience. Will the University provide opportunities to help those of us who need senior experience during this time?
Check with the appropriate staff or faculty member who coordinates the department’s internship program. Many times, those faculty and staff members will know of internship opportunities that students may not, or they may be able to find other opportunities to help students.
Typically, departments can provide substitutions or offer other kinds of high-impact practices that will meet some of the same learning outcomes and goals. Communicating with your academic department early is the most important thing. Several internships will continue to operate this fall. Whether it’s a clinical rotation in a health program or an internship in political science and public service, the University is allowing students to complete rotations in those internships as long as the community partner is operating it and believes the environment is safe for students.
Could a student complete the fall semester without setting foot on campus?
Yes, if every class the student takes is exclusively online. If classes have a face-to-face component as part of a blended option and a student lives a significant distance from Chattanooga and would prefer to avoid a long commute, the student should talk with his or her faculty about the possibility of online-only participation.
For students who would find it most convenient to have completely online schedules in fall, there’s a great possibility of being able to do that.
What if a student doesn’t feel comfortable going to face-to-face classes, but needs those specific classes?
In most instances, there will be online options that the student can use to fulfill graduation requirements. For some classes, there is no choice but for an in-person experience because of requirements by the accrediting bodies that govern certain academic programs.
I don’t want to risk being exposed to the virus and bring it home to my family. As a commuter, I would feel much safer if UTC accommodated my preference to stay at home.
Check daily for online course options. If none appear for the courses you’re taking, use the waitlist function. University officials use waitlist data to determine whether to open additional course sections. If a student still can’t find a useful option, he or she should contact an academic advisor or the academic department head to explain the circumstances and seek possible assistance.
What is a hybrid/blended class, and when will students find out on which days they will attend hybrid classes in person?
Hybrid or blended classes can take many different forms. Some meet largely online or virtually, with a few designated class periods in which all of the students will meet in person.
Either shortly before the start of the semester or within its first few days, instructors will communicate to students the schedule for when students are expected to attend class in-person.
FEES AND FINANCE
Will there be a discount on textbooks since COVID-19 has left some students struggling financially? If there won’t be a discount, will there be something for students struggling due to COVID to receive help financially?
Students experiencing financial hardship are encouraged to apply to the Denise and Tim Downey Student Emergency Fund.
The fund is for currently enrolled students facing a variety of hardships, including due to COVID-19.
Funds can be used to cover expenses for:
- Essential academic needs (books and supplies)
- Replacement of lost personal items due to fire, theft, flood and so on
- Housing needs, such as securing short-term housing, security deposits, assistance with utilities and similar
- One-time / non-recurring medical expenses
- Emergency expenses related to dependents, such as childcare
Will there be a parking permit discount permit or free, “testing only” permits in fall semester, considering parking may not be used as frequently?
There are no plans for discounted parking permits, but the University provides ample commuter student access. Students can stop by the campus Visitor Center at Maple and Fifth streets for a free, short-term visitor parking pass that would be valid for periods such as 45 minutes to an hour for taking an exam.
Students can park all day for $5 per day in the Fifth Street parking garage adjacent to the ARC and across the street from the University Center.
Also, visitor parking areas have been expanded. Look for their locations on the UTC Parking Services website here.
Will work study jobs be available this fall?
Yes, work study is a federally funded program for which UTC students may qualify because UTC is an institution that qualifies for the federal financial aid programs that make work study opportunities possible.
CAMPUS ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS
Will there be any on-campus events?
Yes, planned events will include some face-to-face, socially distanced activities that will also require wearing masks. Virtual and hybrid-format events involving both in-person and live webcasting for online participation also are planned.
As an example, an activity may have 30 in-person student participants in a room that would accommodate that number and social distancing, with other students participating via webcast. The University also plans to present speakers who may be physically on campus, in a setting that complies with appropriate health and safety protocols, while the presentation also will be live streamed online for viewers to watch from other locations.
Will intramural activities be available?
Yes, but with appropriate changes to align with health and safety protocols. Flag football and basketball, unfortunately, cannot be offered this fall, but students will find more individual-participant types of activities and non-team sports, such as tennis.
Intramural activities will necessarily be oriented a little differently, but plenty of options for activity and recreation will be offered.
What will club meetings look like this fall?
Those will take place in both interior and outdoor spaces. Student organizations have been asked to limit in-person gatherings to 30 or fewer people and to observe social distancing.
Some student organizations have as many as 100 members or participants, and University officials are working with those organizations to identify innovations to enable meeting in a hybrid format, such as a combination of in-person and online attendees. Other options for larger groups include multiple sessions of no more than 30 people each.
Where can we find more information about specific operating times and procedures for the rec (Aquatic Recreation Center) center?
As schedules are finalized, Campus Recreation will post updates to its website.
HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS
What are the University’s plans to enforce or encourage social distancing?
Effective social distancing requires educating the entire campus community so that every person understands how adherence to social distancing protects both his or her own individual health and that everyone on campus.
Multimedia communication—email, web, social media, video, posters and signage—will complement in-person communication from faculty about social distancing requirements in the classroom; from student orientation leaders and campus housing staff; and from student peers to ensure ongoing messaging and reminders.
A campus reintegration training video created just for students covers all required health and safety protocols and concludes with a social contract students are asked to sign in pledging their cooperation.
What if a student is concerned about the ability to socially distance properly in a classroom?
Classroom capacity is limited to no more than 30, including the instructor, and seating or furniture configuration has been addressed to enable social distancing. A team of individuals have reviewed every square foot of building space, meeting rooms and classrooms to develop approaches in place now to enable social distancing. Larger classes have either been moved totally online or the enrollment divided into smaller groupings, and face masks are required of every person in the classroom.
How will social distancing be enforced in labs, since there will be a need to do group work?
In engineering classes or labs in natural science classes, for example, student lab partners will be expected to socially distance while in class. If students are working on the same piece of equipment, they will use it in turns, with each cleaning the equipment after use and before the partner then uses the equipment.
What measures will be taken for social distancing in the UC Mocs Express and dining?
All of those areas have undergone a redesign. UC visitors will find markers on the floors to indicate how to maintain six feet of separation from others. In the seating areas next to food service outlets, seating has been reconfigured to enable social distancing. To accommodate both social distancing and the number of diners at mealtime peaks, Chattanooga rooms A, B and C will function as dining rooms in which guests will find social distancing in place. Students also will be encouraged to consider eating outside the University Center and adjacent to the Crossroads cafeteria. Multiple “grab-and-go” meal options will be offered to make outdoor or off-site dining possible.
Are people required to wear face masks and maintain social distance even if they’re having lunch outdoors on Chamberlain field?
Yes, but of course it’s necessary to remove a face mask to eat. Students are encouraged to be thoughtful and prudent—maintain social distance, take off a face mask to eat, resume wearing the face mask and continue to enjoy the company of friends and classmates.
Will UTC furnish disinfecting wipes for students as well as masks?
Facilities Planning and Management has disinfectant spray bottles filled with the recommended disinfectant per CDC guidelines. Increased cleaning of all areas by facilities is and will continue to be in place. Please contact Facilities via a work request to have your spray bottles refilled once empty.
Campus housing residents will be supplied with disinfectant to use in their living quarters.
In classrooms, students will be asked to clean their work spaces before and after use, along with any equipment they have used in class. Cleaning supplies will be provided in these situations.
How do commuter students receive their two masks from UTC?
They are being mailed to commuter students permanent mailing address and should arrive early in August.
How do students update their mailing address so that they can receive their masks?
Update it in the student information system at My Mocs Net. If a student has not updated his or her emergency contact information, that also is possible at the same online platform.
Will students be able to wear face masks other than the Power C masks?
Yes, and while the appearance of any face mask should be tasteful and appropriate, remember the effectiveness of the mask is what’s most important: the mask should be made of an appropriate material, three-ply and washable, unless it’s a disposable one.
Do you anticipate similar COVID restrictions in the spring semester?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to address that potential at this time.
Will UTC provide free COVID-19 testing, and what is the procedure if I test positive and my classes are on campus?
UTC has a limited supply of free, self-administered tests supplied by the state of Tennessee, and there will be no charge to a student for one of these tests. If the students should need additional testing or a specific type of testing, University Health will file a claim with the student’s health insurance, there will be no co-pay and it’s likely that insurance will pay fully for the test because of it being a COVID-related lab expense.
Students who live on campus and test positive will be placed in isolation in a room on campus and without in-person contact with roommates or others who previously shared the students’ living quarters.
Commuter students who may test positive are asked to self-isolate. Isolation means no direct contact people you may live with, using a bathroom dedicated to your use, alone, if possible. University Health will furnish guidelines on how to disinfect your off-campus living space and urge that you and apartment mates you may have keep separate from one another throughout your isolation.
Students in isolation cannot attend class and must contact their faculty to report their status and seek arrangements for continuing their progress in courses. Some students may be able to attend classes virtually. The University will do everything possible to help students maintain academic progress.
I’ve never been to the UTC campus and I want to visit the campus. Are we allowed to do that?
Yes, though visitors may find that not all buildings on campus are accessible to the public at this time. Most buildings that are typically publicly accessible should be again as of August.
All visitors are required to wear face masks, as is any person on campus.
Is the flu vaccine requirement waived for students who are enrolled only in online classes?
The flu vaccine is not available until late in fall, and the requirement won’t be enforced until January.
What steps is the University taking to ensure more diversity and inclusion?
In a June 15 letter to campus, Chancellor Angle listed a series of actions UTC and its leadership are taking toward bringing the campus together in focusing its “intensity, integrity, passion and compassion to eliminate racism.”
As outlined in that letter, Chancellor Angle plans to lead five open forums over the fall semester to hear stories and experiences from the campus community, including discussion of progress on current campus initiatives and suggestions for possible new initiatives.
UTC will offer additional opportunities for people to engage and plans to invite speakers to bring perspectives from outside campus—whether such events have to be online, virtual or can be in-person.
Angle describes the focus broadly as setting “a tone where each of us is looking at how we open doors for our students so that they have every opportunity possible to move forward,” and at how the campus community contributes to its members learning about their differences from each other and how better to appreciate them.
How will we get our parking decals and IDs?
Students can pick up their ID cards in the University Center at the Mocs Card office. Learn more here.
Parking Services is not issuing physical parking decals this year. Instead, all parking permits will be virtual, based on the vehicle license plate number. Read more about virtual parking permits here.