Previous COVID-19 Updates


UPDATE: MARCH 23, 2020 @ 4:48 PM

Today, Tusculum University learned a third student of ours tested positive for the coronavirus. This student had traveled out of state during spring break with the first two students who tested positive.

We are following the same process with this third student as the others, providing to the Northeast Tennessee Regional Health Office the names of everyone who has had contact with this person. None of these students has been on the Tusculum campus for several days.

Tusculum is praying for these students and their families.

UPDATE: MARCH 22, 2020 @ 2:00 PM

Tusculum University was informed late Saturday, March 21, that a second student of ours tested positive for the coronavirus. This student had traveled during spring break with the first student who tested positive Friday, March 20, and was no longer on the Tusculum campus when the test came back positive.

We are providing to the Northeast Tennessee Regional Health Office the names of all people who have had contact with this newest student to test positive. That is the same action we took with the first student and will enable that agency to contact those people.

Tusculum is working closely with the Northeast Tennessee Regional Health Office on this matter. We have also informed the Tusculum family and are continuing to encourage them to practice appropriate measures to minimize their risk of contracting the coronavirus.

UPDATE: MARCH 20, 2020 @ 11:08 AM

Tusculum University was notified Friday morning, March 20, that one of our students tested positive for the coronavirus. We immediately set in motion a plan instructing all nonessential personnel to begin working remotely. We are also telling all of our students who are on campus that we are closing the residence halls. We are notifying the health department of all campus members who have been in contact with the infected student so those individuals can be contacted by a health department official regarding next steps.

Tusculum University is committed to the well-being of all students, faculty and staff and will continue to be a resource for anyone who needs assistance. The university and classes will continue to function, and we will remain on track to finish the remainder of the spring semester.

Our prayers go to the student who tested positive, as well as anyone else who might have had contact with that person.

Dear Tusculum family,

As we make the necessary changes outlined in the message sent to you at 10:31 a.m., this remains a fluid situation. We encourage you to continue paying attention to your campus email for updates.

Here are a few additional items:

Effective immediately, students should not come to the cafeteria for their meals. Instead, Student Affairs staff members will deliver meals to the common areas of the residence halls. Distribution will be noon-12:45 p.m. for lunch and 5-5:45 p.m. for dinner. We will update you should anything change in this process.

In addition, the Chick-fil-A restaurant on the Tusculum campus is closing temporarily, effective at 2 p.m. today.

Also, we want to reinforce that we will remain on track toward completing the spring semester fully online. Students and faculty members should continue to communicate with each other via the Moodle platform and work toward the completion of all course assignments.

Thank you.

UPDATE: MARCH 18, 2020 @ 1:23 PM

Dear Tusculum family,

As Tusculum University continues to monitor the coronavirus situation, we are making appropriate adjustments and providing services you need. I want to keep you apprised.

  • Tusculum is postponing spring graduation until Saturday, Aug. 8, at 10:30 a.m. in Pioneer Arena. This ceremony will be for all spring and summer graduates. Those who are scheduled to graduate in May will not have to wait until August to have their degrees conferred and their diplomas awarded.
  • Should we have the opportunity to return to face-to-face instruction, any students who have chosen to leave the Tusculum campus during this interim period and are unable to return will have the opportunity to continue their coursework fully online.
  • After careful analysis and following the most up-to-date guidelines, Tusculum is postponing or canceling all other events in which more than 10 people were expected to attend. This includes the Old Oak Festival, the Lantern Festival and the Honors Convocation. We are making every effort to reschedule events. For more information, please visit this list and return regularly for updates. With some smaller events, we might be able to develop a virtual or social media alternative.
  • Individual campus tours are still available.
  • As of Monday, March 16, all drop-in tutoring at the Thomas J. Garland Library has been suspended. The tutoring team is working toward moving tutoring online with the Moodle platform, and the goal is to have sessions up and running by next week.

If students need tutoring before the online system is in place, please contact the coordinator, Lisa Chiapputo, at tutoring@tusculum.edu with their student number to arrange a one-on-one session in their subject area. All tutoring requests must come through that email address, and please remember to attach any papers you would like to have edited along with your request.

  • Library staff are reminding faculty members and students that virtual reference assistance is available via a chat feature, which allows the person to talk live with a member of the library staff. This service is available Monday-Thursday from 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m. and Friday from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. by clicking on the “library chat” icon on the library’s webpage at https://garland.tusculum.edu/.

Reference service is also available by telephone at 423-636-7320 and email library@tusculum.edu during open library hours.

During this time, library staff can scan and email chapters from textbooks in the librarian or general education collection reserves to anyone who might not have access to them. Please send your specific requests to the library email address. Additionally, interlibrary loans will be limited to article requests only, which will be forwarded to your email address when received.

In-person hours of operation for the library will be posted on its web page and on both entrances to the building. For the remainder of this week, the library will be open from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday.

Beginning the week of March 22 and until further notice, the library plans to be open Sunday from 4-8 p.m., Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. In addition to the normal university cleaning procedures, library staff members are taking extra precautions by disinfecting computers after each use.

Thank you for your assistance and continued good work during this period of change. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Lisa Johnson, dean of students, at ljohnson@tusculum.edu or 423-636-7315 or Campus Safety at 423-636-7300, option 4.

 

With Pioneer Pride,

Dr. Scott Hummel
President


UPDATE: MARCH 16, 2020 @ 2:41 PM

Good afternoon, Tusculum family,

Please click the link below to view a video message from Dr. Scott Hummel, Tusculum University’s president, about the coronavirus.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzGvsWpmqaw


UPDATE: MARCH 13, 2020 @ 8:57 PM

Dear Tusculum family,

During this week of change for Tusculum University and the rest of the country due to the coronavirus, I express my appreciation to all of you for your patience as we have deliberated the best approach for you and our institution.

I assure you we have many people working diligently to prepare for the conversion of all classes at all three locations to online teaching. We are focused on making this transition as seamless as possible for the whole Tusculum family. It is also our intention to return to face-to-face teaching as soon as it is safe to do so.

I understand the difficulties and inconveniences of this temporary change in Tusculum’s operations and appreciate all of your prayers and questions. I am certainly praying for you during this time and know that God will be our refuge and strength during this period.

After further deliberation, I have additional information to share:

  • Professors will post the specifics of each course’s remote operation on Moodle. All online classes that are already scheduled will continue as normal.
  • For students graduating in May, the arts-and-lecture credit requirement will be waived.
  • Residential students may choose to go home if they are able to accomplish that safely without impeding their ability to fulfill their academic responsibilities. Residence halls, dining operations, academic support and other limited services will be open and available for those who stay.
  • International students who are considering returning home need to consider the potential they will not be able to return to the United States in the foreseeable future.
  • Faculty and staff members will continue to work from campus as usual.
  • Any students who remain on campus and are participating in work-study should continue with that program.
  • The cafeteria has established new hours, effective Monday, March 16.
    • Breakfast: 7:30-10 a.m.
    • Lunch: 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
    • Dinner: 5-7:30 p.m.
    • The cafeteria will be closed at all other times for cleaning.
  • The cafeteria will provide reduced menu options in a to-go container for those who come to the facility. Students who want their food delivered must sign up by 1:30 p.m. the day before. The menu and directions for placing the order are available at dineoncampus.com/tusculum. If you have questions, you can email Jimmy Sams with Chartwells at Jimmy.Sams@compass-usa.com or call 423-636-7309.
  • Registration for the summer and fall semesters will occur on schedule. Students can elect whether they want to meet with their adviser face to face, via Zoom or by phone.
  • In all on-campus interactions, Tusculum encourages the practice of social distancing, in addition to other common-sense hygiene, to prevent the spread of germs. This includes
    • Avoiding large gatherings
    • Maintaining about 6 feet of distance between individuals
    • Not hugging or shaking hands
    • Avoiding unnecessary travel
  • While many student activities have been canceled, the Office of Student Affairs is looking at creative ways to offer other types of enjoyable events.
  • All students who live on campus must complete this online form so the Office of Student Affairs is able to determine how it can best serve the needs of each individual student.
  • It is essential for students, as well as faculty and staff members, to continue monitoring their official Tusculum email accounts, the university’s website and the institution’s social media accounts for further updates.

As a reminder, the following people should not return to our three campuses after Spring Break:

  • Those who believe they have been exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus
  • Those who have been on a cruise
  • Those who have traveled internationally

Instead, they should self-quarantine away from campus for 14 days and immediately contact Dr. Lisa Johnson-Neas, dean of students, at ljohnson@tusculum.edu or 423-636-7315 to confirm they are not returning to campus.

Additional information about academics, residence life, on-campus dining or other campus services will be provided, as necessary.

Thank you for your attention to this important information. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any additional questions to Dr. Johnson-Neas, dean of students, at ljohnson@tusculum.edu or 423-636-7315 or Campus Safety at 423-636-7300, option 4.

With Pioneer Pride,

Dr. Scott Hummel
President


UPDATE: MARCH 12, 2020 @ 10:15 PM

Dear Tusculum family,

With multiple new factors that have come into play since our last email to you this afternoon, Tusculum University leaders have decided to convert classes at all three locations to online teaching, effective Monday, March 16.

Tusculum has learned about a confirmed case of coronavirus in Knox County. While that person is not a Tusculum family member, the university is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to take additional precautionary measures by shifting to online education.

In addition, the South Atlantic Conference, of which Tusculum is a member, has voted to cancel all athletic practices and games for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year.

The university’s staff will work in conjunction with faculty members to make the transition to online learning happen as smoothly as possible. Your close attention to communications through Tusculum email and your Moodle course sites is critical for you to remain academically engaged through this transition. Tusculum appreciates everyone’s patience during this process.

Tusculum wants to be clear: Its three locations will not be closed, and at this time, students can continue to live in the residence halls. We are simply converting our classes to an online setting until further notice.

The following people should not return to our three campuses after Spring Break:

  • Those who believe they have been exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus
  • Those who have been on a cruise
  • Those who have traveled internationally

Instead, they should self-quarantine for 14 days and immediately contact Dr. Lisa Johnson-Neas, dean of students, at ljohnson@tusculum.edu or 423-636-7315 to confirm they are not returning to campus. Any student who displays symptoms of the coronavirus should seek medical attention and alert Dr. Johnson-Neas.

Additional guidelines for Tusculum are:

  • Students who are not symptomatic or do not need to self-quarantine may return to campus.
  • Those students who return to the Greeneville campus and are staying in their normal residence and subsequently learn they were exposed to a confirmed or suspected case must report this information immediately to Dr. Johnson-Neas. They will then be quarantined on the Greeneville campus away from other students who have not been impacted, or they may be quarantined off campus.
  • Symptomatic students will not be quarantined on campus but should instead seek medical attention off campus.
  • Students are expected to stay engaged in academics and courses of study.
  • Tusculum will have an increased presence from its facilities team and housekeeping staff to ensure it is keeping the campus as clean as possible. Also, the university will enact a change in the cafeteria: No self-service will be permitted in areas where multiple people might touch the same item, such as handles at the salad bar. Chartwells staff will be available to assist.

In addition, faculty and staff members have the same responsibilities as students to keep the university informed. Should they be exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus or diagnosed with the illness, they must alert their supervisor immediately and participate in quarantining requirements at their residence. If they have a Tusculum-issued laptop, we recommend that they take that computer home each day so they have a means to continue working from home.

It is extremely important to note that circumstances could change further, and Tusculum urges you to pay close attention to your email for further updates.


UPDATE: MARCH 12, 2020 @ 4:09 PM

Tusculum University leaders have monitored events pertaining to the coronavirus, and as part of our evaluation process, they have relied on guidance from experts, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to ensure the health and well-being of the Tusculum family. That will continue to be the case.

Given that there are no suspected or confirmed cases within the Tusculum family, the university will resume with its regular schedule of classes Monday, March 16, at the conclusion of Spring Break. Professors will continue to teach the classes in the same formats they have used since the start of the semester. In other words, nothing is changing with the schedule of classes at this time. However, all faculty members are preparing to shift to online teaching if further developments warrant.

We know some other higher education institutions are closing their campuses or altering their schedules and teaching methods. They have made those decisions based on their populations and circumstances, just as Tusculum has reviewed those items. Every institution is different. Should circumstances change at Tusculum, the university will notify students immediately.

Everyone needs to be aware of the following guidelines:

  • Students who might have been exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus must be quarantined in place and immediately notify Dr. Lisa Johnson-Neas, dean of students, at ljohnson@tusculum.edu or 423-636-7315. Those who have been exposed but have not been diagnosed and who are living on the Greeneville campus will be quarantined elsewhere on the grounds away from other students who have not been impacted.
  • All other students will return to campus and resume attending classes and activities as was the case before Spring Break.
  • Those students who return to the Greeneville campus and are staying in their normal residence and subsequently learn they were exposed to a confirmed or suspected case must report this information immediately to Dr. Johnson-Neas. They will then be quarantined on the Greeneville campus away from other students who have not been impacted.
  • The same procedures apply to students who attend classes at our Knoxville and Morristown locations, commute to Greeneville or take online courses. Because these are commuter or online students, any quarantine they must undergo will take place at their own residence, not on the Greeneville campus.
  • A quarantine means a student is confined to a specified location for 14 days, with no access to the public, to prevent further exposure. Students who are quarantined on the Greeneville campus will be assigned to a specific location and cannot leave until the 14 days expires. All food and necessities, including access to instructional materials, will be provided.
  • No symptomatic students will be quarantined but will instead receive medical attention off campus.
  • If classes are shifted to online, students are expected to stay engaged in academics and courses of study.
  • You should notice a few other changes on the Tusculum campus. Tusculum will have an increased presence from its facilities team and housekeeping staff to ensure it is keeping the campus as clean as possible. Also, Tusculum will enact a change in the cafeteria: No self-service will be permitted in areas where multiple people might touch the same item, such as handles at the salad bar. Chartwells staff will be available to assist you.
  • Faculty and staff members have the same responsibilities as students to keep the university informed. Should you be exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus or diagnosed with the illness, you must alert your supervisor immediately and participate in quarantining requirements at your residence. If you have a Tusculum-issued laptop, the university recommends that you take that computer home with you each day so you have a means to continue your work from home should you need to self-quarantine.

Tusculum is continuing to evaluate campus and athletic events. If conditions change, the university will send additional information.

Should you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Johnson-Neas or Campus Safety. You can call the Office of Student Affairs at 423-636-7315, email Dr. Johnson-Neas at ljohnson@tusculum.edu or call Campus Safety at 423-636-7300, option 4.