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Campus Update

August 14, 2020

Faculty, Staff, and Students,

UTHSC has completed our graded ramp-up to full operation under the New NormalUTHSC operating procedures.

This resumption of UTHSC activities is accompanied by stringent COVID-19 safety measures. We fully understand that COVID-19 is not eliminated, but is minimized by these safety measures. We expect to maintain these safety measures as the new normal until the disease is controlled. In the absence of a vaccine, this may take some time. In the new COVID-19 normal, it remains our expectation that all work that can be done at home, will be done at home. Individual supervisors will be making these decisions with assistance from the campus. Student work that can be done at home should also be done at home. 

We monitor and analyze COVID conversion rates for faculty, staff, and students and report these to the appropriate county health office or partner institution to perform contact tracing. People with significant exposure or those testing positive for COVID-19 are self-isolated/quarantined for a period of at least 10-14 days. University Health Services will assess each case and make recommendations for discontinuation of isolation based upon individual risk factors and CDC guidelines. We report conversion rates to the UT System and all other appropriate government agencies. We will post campus COVID-19 conversion rates on our website. 


The campus and facilities ramp up is in full swing under the new normal.
Safety measures for all faculty, staff, and students on campus have been announced. These include 6 ft. social distancing, frequent hand washing, the wearing of face masks while on campus, and reduction of population density on campus. In addition:

  • Building access into most buildings will be directed to temperature check screenings stations listed here. Faculty and staff retain their badge access to campus buildings. Students have limited badge access to three buildings: Madison Plaza, Health Sciences Library, and the Student-Alumni Center (for the COVID-19 testing site), unless special approval for additional access is granted. Special student approval is granted for scheduled simulation, laboratory, and small group session classes.
  • Limited personnel will be allowed on elevators at the same time in an attempt to maintain social distancing.
  • All faculty, staff, and students will be required to complete an online COVID-19 education training before returning to campus via Blackboard. 
  • UTHSC COVID-19 testing
    • The UTHSC policy is that we COVID-19 test for cause (symptoms or exposure to COVID-19) and when required for clinical rotations.
    • We have established a COVID-19 testing facility on the Memphis campus at the Student-Alumni Center (SAC). The SAC testing site is open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 12:00 – 4:00 pm and Saturdays 1:00 – 3:00 pm with no appointment necessary for faculty, staff, and students. This site is for asymptomatic people only. For more information, please refer to this announcement.
    • Individuals with symptoms will be referred to an existing drive-through testing facility.

Ramp up for all support services:

  • There is substantial modification of simulation, teaching lab, and some small group session areas with plexiglass partitions and floor tape to define social distancing.
  • Health Sciences Library is open with modified hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm) and population density requirements. Building access will be limited to keep population density at acceptable levels. Students may make a reservation for the next day online at the UTHSC Library website beginning at 12:00 pm on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations will close at 8:00 pm.
  • Food Services are open in the Madison Plaza Food Court. Soi No. 9, Coletta's, and Starbucks are currently open for business. A new Chick-fil-A will begin serving customers on Thursday, August 20, 7:00 am – 2:00 pm.
  • The VolShop is operating with limited hours – Monday through Thursday, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. They are currently available for computers, monitors, tablets, etc. by email.
  • General Stores will open to support research needs.
  • For student support services, the Bursar's Office and Financial Aid are preparing to go to full operation with staff on campus. Other student support services, such as SASSI, Registrar, International Affairs, and Admissions continue to be fully operational while remaining online.
  • University Health Services is in full operation – open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays 8:00 am – 5:00 pm (closed daily from 1:00 – 2:00 pm for lunch), and Wednesdays 8:00 am – 1:00 pm.

The phased ramp up of laboratory-based research is complete.

Laboratory Research: UTHSC has developed guidelines for the safe conduct of laboratory research. All PIs must fill out the required checklist that verifies an understanding of the new guidelines for their laboratory before moving to full operation.

Clinical Research: Guidelines for the conduct of clinical research will follow University Health Service's clinic visit protocol. All activities and surveys that can be conducted remotely will be conducted remotely. Individual principal investigators will determine which portions of the research require the participant to come to a study site. These guidelines are linked here.

Studies done in our partner facilities will follow the rules and guidelines of the partner institution.

UTHSC is actively participating in studies aimed at control and treatment of COVID-19. Our Regional Biocontainment Laboratory is working with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and other partners in therapeutic, diagnostic, and vaccine work. Clinical trial facilities with isolation capabilities for therapeutic trials are being developed. Active participation in vaccine trials is underway.


On campus has ramped up to full function.
Clinical off-campus rotations are at full function.

Didactic Lectures: These will remain online to start the semester. Adjustments will be made as the situation dictates.

Labs: Wet and dry labs, simulation, and small group sessions will be conducted with appropriate safeguards and social distancing. Details will be provided by the colleges following consultation with the Chief Academic Officer.

Clinical On-Campus Rotations: These will start up in a phased manner using clinic visit protocol as developed by University Health Services in conjunction with national accrediting body guidelines and social distancing.

Clinical Off-Campus Rotations: These began on June 1 in keeping with and following the guidelines of our partner teaching institutions as well as our accrediting bodies.

Some hospitals require COVID-19 testing before starting rotations (variable requirements ranging from 72 hours to 14 days before starting). As mentioned above, UTHSC has established a COVID-19 testing facility on the Memphis campus at the Student-Alumni Center (SAC). The SAC testing site is open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 12:00 – 4:00 pm and Saturdays 1:00 – 3:00 pm with no appointment necessary for faculty, staff, and students. This site is for asymptomatic people only. For more information, please refer to this announcement.

Secure Testing: This testing will begin using campus guidelines and policy on social distancing.

Thank you for all of your efforts as we continue to manage through this pandemic and maintain a safe environment on campus.

Steve J. Schwab, MD
May 26, 2022