On Sept. 7, Chancellor Donde Plowman met with UT President Randy Boyd and other chancellors from across the UT system and decided to extend the current mask policy, which requires masks in all indoor public spaces on campus, except when eating or exercising.
In an email to the UT community, Plowman said that the extension was due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in Tennessee, with Sept. 7 marking the seventh day in a row that the state has set an all-time record for COVID-19 hospitalizations.
The surge is particularly acute in Knox County, which on the same day as the policy extension and the statewide hospitalization record reported an all-time record in active COVID-19 cases. There are currently 5,562 active cases in the county. The previous record from Dec. 2020 was 5,429 cases.
“Together we decided that because of the continued increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across our state—and the strain that they are putting on our health care system—we will extend our current mask policy for the next few weeks,” Plowman said.
Before encouraging all Vols to get vaccinated if they haven’t already, Plowman shared some good news. COVID-19 cases on campus are on a downward trend.
On Sept. 6, there were 175 active reported cases on campus, down from the semester high of 267 on Aug. 30. On the same day, there were 11 new cases reported, down from the semester high of 48 new reported cases on Aug. 26.
“We will continue to monitor cases and will re-evaluate the mask policy in the next few weeks,” Plowman said. “Thank you for wearing your mask and doing your part to keep yourselves and one another safe and healthy.”
COVID-19 data for the Knoxville campus is updated every weekday on the University’s data monitoring website.