On Thursday, UTK announced there were 28 active cases of COVID-19 within the campus community.
Twenty students and 8 faculty members tested positive for COVID-19.
For context, the university said those active cases include ongoing cases - not just those since move-in began on August 9. Four of those 28 total active cases have been since the August 9 move-in date.
Similarly, with self-isolations, we will include active self-isolations broken down by date on our report, but that does not mean the self-isolation started on that date. It’s also important to note that self-isolations can happen for a number of reasons and vary in length depending on the person’s circumstances. The graph on reasons for self-isolation is important context.
The university also announced it will regularly offer updates about the COVID-19 situation within the community for UTK students, faculty, and parents.
Those updates will be available on the UTK chancellor website.
UTK said it is taking several measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, both within the classroom and on-campus itself.
Students will pick a seat at the beginning of the semester and stay in that seat, and there is no food or drink allowed in class.
Right now, UTK estimates their on-campus dorms are only about 75-85% full to make space for isolation rooms. Housing costs have been reduced by 10% because students will not remain there passed Thanksgiving.
The university said students are also responsible for checking into a daily health app and may then have to fill out self-isolation forms depending on results.
UTK is also tracking the number of people who are self-isolating, and said those numbers will be broken down by students who live on campus, off-campus, and employees.
"With self-isolations, we will include active self-isolations broken down by date on our report, but that does not mean the self-isolation started on that date," a university spokesperson told 10News in an email. "It’s also important to note that self-isolations can happen for a number of reasons and vary in length depending on the person’s circumstances."
According to the university's website a student should consider self-isolating and completing a form if they:
- Have tested positive for COVID-19;
- Develop symptoms of a COVID-19 infection;
- Are awaiting COVID-19 test results;
- Have had close contact with someone known to be diagnosed with COVID-19;
- Have been advised to self-isolate by a health authority;
- Have recently returned to the United States after traveling abroad; or
- Have recently returned from a cruise (ocean or river).
The university's website also said their emergency operations team monitors campus information in real-time, "including employee and student active cases and self-isolations.
UTK said they will be making those key campus metrics available here.
Nearby hotels and apartments are being utilized by UT for extra isolation spaces.
Masks are required in public on campus, classroom and common areas. The time between classes has also been increased to 25 minutes between each period.
Beginning Tuesday, August 18, a combined update for faculty, staff, students and families will be streamed on the chancellor's page every Tuesday and Friday at 11:30 a.m.