Students prepared for a semester unlike any other at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville this weekend. The campus was noticeably bare as families unpacked belongings from vehicles on the first move-in day.
Efforts were taken to limit the number of people in dorms at once, with three-hour appointments to move into dorms. Face masks were required and the number of people allowed to help students move into the dorms was limited to two.
More: From move-in day to masks, changes are coming to housing at UT Knoxville
“We’re really trying to limit the number of people in the halls to allow for as much social distancing as possible,” Chandra Myrik, executive director of university housing, told Knox News last month.
Rachel Stewart, a sophomore, is usually a heavy packer, but she only brought enough to make her new dorm room “feel like home.” She unpacked a car outside Vol Hall with two family members and told Knox News that she returned to campus because she has both in-person and online classes.
“It’s definitely not 100% safe at all,” Stewart said. “But I hope that the people who need to be protected are and that the new precautions help everyone and that people comply.”
Students received a “wellness kit,” which contains a UT mask, gaiter that can be worn around the neck or as a mask, thermometer and a health information card, when checking in.
More: ‘Masks are about compassion’: UT to distribute 50,000 masks to students and employees
Other changes are coming to dorms as well. The visitation policy has changed so that only UT students will be allowed to visit other students living in dorms. Use of common areas, like lobbies or lounges, will be limited as well. The number of people in areas like laundry rooms and fitness centers will also be limited.
The fall semester begins on Aug. 19.
Changes for the fall semester
Throughout campus, face coverings will be part of “the new normal.” Students and employees will be required to wear them in classes and when in group gatherings on campus. Students will be expected to wear a face covering any time they are outside their rooms but still in the dorms.
UT Knoxville is expecting 29,000 students to be enrolled this fall, Chancellor Donde Plowman said last week. While UT normally has approximately 8,000 students living in dorms, capacity has been limited to between 75-80%, she said.
UT will also have “isolation dorms” available if a student needs to quarantine on campus. Those spaces will be in on-campus dorms and local hotels.
Students will be able to get COVID-19 testing done through the on-campus Student Health Center, Plowman said. Students will self-test for COVID-19 symptoms when they are on campus through an app.
For students who are living on campus, they will be expected to do that each day before leaving their dorms.
The screening asks five questions about their temperature, any COVID-19 symptoms and if they have been exposed to anyone who is known to have COVID-19. Faculty and staff are also required to do this when they are on campus. Users can set up reminders each day to fill out the questions.