The University of Tennessee at Knoxville has outlined the isolation and quarantine process for students, including plans for meal delivery and the length of time.
On Tuesday, the university reported 126 active cases of COVID-19. Of those, 120 cases are students and six are employees. There are 489 people in self-isolation. Most students are isolating in off-campus apartments or homes, Chancellor Donde Plowman said.
Plowman also offered more details about the “pretty severe” discipline students could face for hosting parties or leaving isolation if they test positive, including suspension from the university.
Dr. Spencer Gregg, director of the Student Health Center, clarified the difference between isolation and quarantine. Isolation is used for those who have tested positive for coronavirus or who are showing symptoms, and has more restrictions than quarantine. Quarantine is for people who are asymptomatic or are close contacts of someone who is positive.
Isolation lasts about 10 days, whereas quarantine lasts 14 days from the time you were last in contact with the person who tested positive, Gregg said. Those in quarantine can potentially leave quarantine if needed, while those in isolation should not be in contact with anyone else.
“Someone that’s in isolation, we wouldn’t want them to do that because we know they’re infected,” Gregg said.
There are approximately 240 isolation rooms available, Plowman said earlier this month. Most students have chosen to return home if they have to isolate, she said. UT has contracted with local hotels and apartment complexes to use as isolation spaces if needed.
UT will provide meal delivery for those isolated
If a student has to enter isolation, they should pack personal items for approximately two weeks. The university will provide a self-care kit – with sheets, a thermometer and masks – if the student is isolating on campus. Transportation to the isolation space can be arranged if needed, Plowman said.
While in isolation, students will not be able to access their dorm or sorority or fraternity house, Plowman said.
There will be options for meal delivery. Students can arrange delivery up to twice per day, one delivery that will include lunch and a second that includes dinner and breakfast for the next morning, Plowman said. Students who live in sorority or fraternity housing and have a meal plan through their chapter can arrange delivery through the chapter, Plowman said.
While in quarantine or isolation, students will hear from contact tracers. They will ask about any close contacts and where students have been in the last several days, Gregg said. Compliance is essential.
Disciplinary action taken against party hosts
On Monday, university officials announced they had initiated disciplinary proceedings against four students for “endangering the health, safety and welfare of others” related to COVID-19, Plowman said.
Three of the four students could face punishment because they threw a party that did not follow social distancing or mask usage rules. The fourth student faces punishment because he or she left self-isolation after they tested positive for COVID-19, Plowman said in a message to students Monday. The students were not identified.
“If the facts reported to the university are accurate, these students will face at least suspension from the university, and potentially greater penalties,” Plowman said in the message.
On Tuesday, Plowman said suspension means “delaying your graduation by up to a year, at minimum.”
“That’s a pretty severe consequence for hosting a party where people were not able to maintain social distancing or mask themselves,” Plowman said.