Coronavirus Update

In an effort to reassure students and faculty as the coronavirus outbreak began to unfold, UT soon established a COVID-19 Information and Support page online. Here is a rundown of the resources on the site.


First and foremost, the coronavirus webpage features an extensive FAQ about the virus and precautions one should take. This is split into sections for students, faculty and staff, researchers and those interested in studying abroad. If you’re confused about anything related to UT and the outbreak, check out this page.

The FAQ is also translated into Mandarin and Spanish.


A common question for many students is what to do if they or someone they know begin to feel sick.

Self-isolate and contact your healthcare provider or emergency room if you are experiencing symptoms. Students still living or working on campus, as well those still living in the Knoxville area, can contact the Student Health Center nurse triage line at 865-974-5080. If you need after-hours assistance, contact the University of Tennessee Medical Center emergency room at 865-305-9000. It is recommended that you call ahead before visiting a health care provider or the emergency room.

You should always inform said provider or emergency room of your travel history and other potential sources of exposure.

Additionally, take precautions to avoid contracting the virus, such as avoiding public transportation.

In addition to these measures, the site recommends common hygiene practices such as washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, covering a cough or sneeze with a tissue or sleeve and washing your hands every time you cough, sneeze or blow your nose.

The site also says that students who have the Student Health Insurance Plan from United Health Care can call the Student Health Center Business Office at 865-974-3135 or local SHIP broker the Hildreth Agency at 865-691-4652 with questions about health benefits.

There is also information about dropping classes and the grading scale. According to the site, the Faculty Senate voted March 25 and April 6 to extend the deadline to drop a class with a W grade to April 2 and permanently increase undergraduate students’ limits on late drops from four to six.

Additionally, students are permitted to utilize a satisfactory/credit/no-credit grading option during the spring semester, beginning April 13, for nearly all undergraduate courses and a satisfactory/no-credit option for any graduate-level course that allows it.

The senate also suspended academic dismissals for undergraduate students through the spring and summer terms.

While students can first choose to use the new grading scale on April 13, the decision must be made by 11:59 p.m. EDT on April 22. Grades of S, CR or NC will not affect a student’s UTK GPA, and thus will not affect institutional scholarships either.

However, students should consult with their academic advisor before choosing to drop a class or utilize the new grading scale.


The site also has many updates regarding the university’s response to coronavirus, which date back to January 29 and are continuously updated. The most recent entry is a message from Chancellor Donde Plowman announcing several initiatives, including plans to call every UT student and the formation of a team of expert researchershoping to inform the public about the outbreak.

Helpful links

Finally, the site also includes a list of helpful links, which link to everything from tips for using Zoom to websites from the Centers for Disease Control and Tennessee Department of Health.

Students with more questions about the university’s response to coronavirus are advised to call (865) 656-SAFE (7233) Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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