ETSU response to COVID-19 outbreak
Fall Updates - 6/19/20
Dear ETSU Community,
The summer is always an exciting time and a busy season as we welcome new Buccaneers to orientation and assist students in preparations for the fall semester. Our plans for the fall semester include on-ground experiences for students, housing and dining options, student activities, and engagement opportunities. As our offices begin to physically reopen, we will be practicing social distancing, wearing masks, and following other COVID-19/Bucs are Back plans. Staff will continue to be available via phone, email, and Zoom.
I wanted to take this opportunity to provide an update from the Student Life and Enrollment team that provides more information on services available to students and also addresses questions about the fall. Contact information about each announcement is available.
Should you need additional help or assistance, beyond some of the specific areas noted below, feel free to contact the Dean of Students office for assistance and/or referral at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-423-4210.
Academic Advising - Ongoing
Are you registered for classes? Academic advisors are readily available to assist students with questions and advising. Meetings are available via phone or Zoom. Find you advisor at:
Contact: email@example.com or 423-439-8557
Undergraduate New Student Orientation - Ongoing
Have you completed ETSU’s online orientation, LAUNCH, and registered for your virtual orientation?
firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-439-8452
Housing and Residence Life - Open now for summer school and in August for Fall 2020
All students are eligible for on campus housing. Our residence halls and apartments are open now for summer school and will be welcoming students for Fall 2020. Residents will be able to sign up for a move-in time as campus arrivals will be staggered over multiple days. Submit a housing application and learn more about our facilities at: www.etsu.edu/students/housing/
Contact email@example.com or 423-439-4446
Dining Services - Open Fall 2020
The Culp Center Dining Hall and many retail locations will be open this fall. Meal plan holders will receive additional details prior to residence hall/apartment move-in.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-439-4446
Summer Bridge Plus Program - Application deadline extended to June 30, 2020; Program July 27 - August 16, 2020
Students will jump start their college career with this 3- week program that helps participants get acclimated to their new surroundings, studentship skills, explore careers, build connections within the community through a service-learning project, and connect with fellow students, faculty, and staff. Did you miss the deadline apply but you are interested in attending? We have extended the deadline. Apply at:
Contact: email@example.com or 423-439-4844
QUEST for Success - Register by August 14, 2020; Program August 18-19, 2020
This college transition program is designed to help underrepresented students become acclimated to campus life while building a network of friends, faculty, and staff to assist them through their college journey.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-439-4844
39th Annual Preview - Invitations will be sent to new students June 23; Program August 19- 22, 2020
All new undergraduate students are invited to register to participate in one of ETSU longest standing traditions, Preview. The Preview experience is like none other. The program is designed to make you feel at home and at ease prior to the beginning of fall classes. Get to know your classmates and have fun. The traditional multi-day Preview is for new students under the age of 23. A one-day program is available for Transfer, Adult, and International Students. www.etsu.edu/students/nsfp/preview/default.php
Contact: email@example.com or 423-439-8452
International Student Orientation and Arrival - Tentatively set for August 13-23
Incoming international students will receive assistance with arrival tasks and requirements, begin to familiarize themselves with campus and its resources, and have opportunities to build social connections. Details TBD
Contact: Brittany Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-439-4844
Basler Center for Physical Activity (CPA) - Reopening mid July 2020
Campus recreation continues preparations for the CPA to reopen in mid July (Date TBA) and is hosting ongoing virtual opportunities.
Contact: email@example.com or 423-439-7980
D.P. Culp Student Center - Reopening July 1, 2020
The renovated Culp Center building will reopen on July 1 with physical access to offices.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-439-4286
Student Activities and Organizations (SAO)
The SAO is offering ongoing support and planning for student clubs and organizations as they plan for Fall 2020.
Contact: email@example.com or 423-439-6633
Welcome Weeks - August 24 - September 5
Now two weeks instead of one! Look for online and on ground activities and events to connect and engage new and returning students with campus clubs, opportunities, services, and offices.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-439-6633
Welcome Center and Campus Tours - Tours will resume on July 6, 2020
Have a friend or family member interested in ETSU? Register for a tour at: www.etsu.edu/visit
Contact: Sharon Leone at email@example.com or 423-439-4213
Again, should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact any member of the Student Life and Enrollment team. Thank you.
Joe H. Sherlin, Jr.
Vice President for Student Life and Enrollment
Academic Calendar Changes for Fall 2020 - 6/18/20
Dear ETSU community,
In just over two months, the campus of East Tennessee State University will experience a renewed sense of excitement as we welcome students and faculty back to our campus for the start of the fall 2020 semester. As I have shared with you on many occasions, the start of the academic year is a time that I cherish as we celebrate the new journeys that are ahead, the individuals and experiences that will define those journeys, and the dreams that are made possible every day through the power of higher education.
As we prepare for the fall 2020 semester and all the rewards it promises to bring, we also recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic will require the institution to make some adjustments to our procedures and operations, such as the academic calendar. These changes are being made to safeguard the health of our students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors as we continue our mission to improve the quality of life of the people of this region through our work in teaching, research, and public service.
Please take a moment to review these important announcements as they relate to the fall 2020 semester.
Academic Calendar: Major changes for the fall 2020 semester calendar include:
- The university will be open and classes will be held on Labor Day (September 7) and Veterans Day (November 11);
- Fall Break will be rescheduled to Thanksgiving week;
- Last day of in-person classes will be November 20 (11/21 for Saturday classes);
- The university will be closed for Fall/Thanksgiving Break the week of November 23-27; and
- Commencement is scheduled for Saturday, December 12; more information on the format for that event will be provided later.
- Remote instruction for all classes will take place November 30 - December 4 and for final exams between December 5-10.
- The Gatton College of Pharmacy will alter its start date but will follow the university schedule beginning in September.
- The Quillen College of Medicine will maintain its regular schedule.
In addition to the revised academic calendar, please find below information regarding other aspects related to campus operations.
Academic Advising: Academic advisors are readily available to assist students with questions and advising. Meetings are available via phone or Zoom. Students can find their advisor at etsu.edu/advisement/ or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-439-8557.
Housing and Residence Life: Our residence halls and apartments are open now for summer school and will welcome students for the fall 2020 semester. Residents will be able to sign up for a move-in time as campus arrivals will be staggered over multiple days. Housing and dining services will remain open through final exams this fall semester. Housing applications can be submitted at etsu.edu/students/housing/ To learn more, visit that site or contact Housing and Residence Life at email@example.com or 423-439-4446.
As a reminder, when we return to campus, everyone is expected to adhere to physical distancing, frequent hand-washing and sanitization, and wearing appropriate face coverings.
Additional announcements will be made in the upcoming days regarding other updates for the fall 2020 semester. Information also will be made available on the Bucs Are Back website at etsu.edu/bucs-are-back.
I thank you for your attention to these matters and for all you do for ETSU.
Return to Campus Information and Strategic Options Workgroup Update - 6/10/20
Dear ETSU Community,
I would like to thank everyone who was able to join me yesterday for our Live Town
Hall discussion of the Future Operations Workgroup Report. I appreciate the thoughtful
and engaging questions received during the Town Hall and look forward to holding similar
events and opportunities to receive feedback from the campus in the upcoming weeks.
As a follow-up, I want to highlight three important dates as they relate to our return to campus:
- Our campus will re-open to the public on July 1.
- In order to prepare for this opening, most of you will transition from remote status to an on campus working status beginning
- Some employees may return on a rotational schedule to maintain physical distancing expectations. Flexibility will be provided to employees who may need to continue working remotely (e.g., individuals who identify themselves or immediate family members to be at high risk as defined by the CDC).
- Unit/Division leaders are responsible for making appropriate decisions regarding flexibility for their employees. Supervisors should work with employees to explore all appropriate options as we strive to meet the diverse needs of the campus community. The expectation is that there will be a physical presence in each office during normal office hours beginning July 1.
- If you are unsure of when you should return to work or if you will require an accommodation, please reach out to your supervisor as soon as possible.
- The fall semester will begin as planned on August 24.
- As outlined in the Future Operations Workgroup recommendations, we will transition to Stage 3 with face-to-face instruction offered whenever possible, students living in residence halls, and employees working on campus with options in place for staffing rotations and/or remote work options to maintain physical distancing expectations. More information about the Fall 2020 semester will be shared with the campus in the coming weeks.
Additionally, as stated in my Town Hall, I want to provide you with an update regarding the progress of the Strategic Options Workgroup, which has been charged to develop a set of principles and strategies that will guide the institution in addressing the current budget landscape. Presently, ETSU leaders have begun to identify nearly $12.8 million in required budget reductions for the 2020-21 academic year beginning on July 1. These reductions are needed as a result of an expected decrease in state appropriations, as well as a projected enrollment decline for the fall semester. Effective immediately, the following measures are in place:
- New or replacement full-time hiring is suspended. Given that state funded hiring is effectively frozen unless necessary for accreditation requirements and/or essential for program delivery. All essential hires will require review of justifications and approval from the appropriate Vice President, which includes requests to advertise as well as requests to hire.
- Adjunct and temporary faculty/staff hiring is highly restricted for 2020-21. If units need to request critical exceptions based on accreditation or essential personnel for program delivery, those justifications must be submitted and approved by the appropriate Vice President in advance of processing hiring documents.
- Travel is suspended. College deans will continue to approve travel requests within their respective colleges, but any travel approved must have justification that it supports accreditation, tenure activities, or essential program delivery. Dean or Vice President approval is required.
- New stipend requests are suspended. Any exceptions must have justification and approval from the Dean, the Provost, and the President. Generally, assuming additional duties without a change in role complexity will not be approved as an exception.
- Renovation projects/furniture purchases for new locally-funded projects are suspended. Any exemptions must be approved by the appropriate Vice President.
- New contracts and consulting agreements will be curtailed. Multi-year contracts will be reviewed and approved at the Vice President level.
The work of the Strategic Options Workgroup will continue, and I will share additional information as it is presented.
I recognize that these are uncertain times for higher education on a national, state, and local level. The measures outlined above are being taken to help ensure that East Tennessee State University can continue to achieve its mission to improve the quality of life for the people of this region through teaching, research, and service. Together, this campus has moved through challenging times throughout our history, and I know that together we will succeed through the uncertainties we are facing today.
Future Operations Workgroup Releases Recommendations for Returning to Campus - 6/3/20
Earlier this week, senior leadership had an opportunity to review and discuss the recommendations from the Future Operations Workgroup that has been meeting in recent weeks to articulate a plan for university services to return to campus. Dr. David Linville and his team have done an outstanding and masterful job developing strategies that ensure a safe return for our students, faculty and staff to our campus while continuing our work within our teaching, research and service missions.
These recommendations were presented to senior leadership and reviewed by our academic deans yesterday, and members of the University Council will have the opportunity for discussion on this topic next week. In addition, President Brian Noland will hold a Town Hall via Zoom on Tuesday, June 9 at 11 a.m. to answer questions about this plan. The feedback from all of these listening sessions will help guide our implementation strategies. If you have questions about the workgroup recommendations to be addressed at the Town Hall, please submit prior to the event at firstname.lastname@example.org. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions during the Town Hall.
The workgroup was charged with creating a framework that could be easily adapted to meeting the needs of the ever-changing COVID-19 environment. In reviewing the plan, you will note that the return to campus is described as occurring within various stages. Since March, the institution has operated within Stage 1 whereas all teaching is being offered online and the majority of staff are working in remote locations. In recent days we began entering into Stage 2. This process will take place throughout the month of June.
These are the major highlights of Stage 2 as they relate to members of the university community:
• During the remaining weeks of June, ETSU employees will start the process of transitioning back to campus. A soft opening will begin on June 15 at which time some employees will return to their offices working on rotational schedules while others continue to serve remotely. This period of transition will be in preparation to welcome the public back to ETSU by July 1. Information from department and/or division leadership regarding this process of returning to campus will be provided to employees soon.
• All summer courses will be taught online as planned; however, some experiential learning opportunities may be offered in-person on a case-by-case basis.
• We plan on transitioning into Stage 3 at the beginning of the fall semester when ETSU fully plans to offer face-to-face instruction whenever possible and to have students living within our residence halls and observing appropriate safety precautions that will be outlined in our Residence Life Operations Plan.
• The recommendations also outline decisions that will need to be made regarding calendars and other events during the fall semester. ETSU will continue to follow recommendations from the CDC, the State of Tennessee and other entities in making those decisions. Some decisions will be subject to approval from our Board of Trustees. We will keep you informed of these changes as the summer and fall continue.
The report from the Future Operations Workgroup is available to read in its entirety. Your continued patience is requested as we navigate these extraordinary days and address the questions, issues and challenges that are ahead. Thank you for all you have done throughout this time.
Dr. Brian Noland
President, East Tennessee State Univeristy
Research Activities to Resume June 1 - 5/26/20
Effective June 1, research activities will resume on the ETSU campus. This announcement applies specifically to our funded researchers and graduate students in those labs. In addition, undergraduate students who are supported by NIH R15 grants or NSF grants should also return to their respective labs at this time. Deans and department chairs are communicating with research faculty and students regarding the conditions of re-engagement of research activities in laboratories. These conditions include the use of masks, limitations on the number of persons working in a lab space, and social distancing practices. In addition, information is being shared with faculty and students regarding the re-engagement of research activities that involve human subjects. Dr. Bill Duncan, Vice Provost for Research and Sponsored Programs Administration, is overseeing the process of research activities returning to campus and is making this information available on the ORSPA website. Those with questions should consult Dr. Duncan or the respective dean or department chair.
Strategic Options Workgroup Formed - 5/18/20
As the Future Operations Workgroup chaired by Dr. David Linville continues its efforts to develop a plan to transition university operations from its current remote status back to campus, a Strategic Options Workgroup has also has been established to specifically address budget matters. Led by co-chairs Jeremy Ross and Dr. Michael Hoff, this group is charged with providing the Office of the President with projected budget scenarios for the 20-21 fiscal year and to make actionable recommendations and options in response to each identified scenario to ensure budget and strategic plan alignment. In addition, this group will be responsible for identifying long-term strategies that may be considered for implementation into future university operations.
Joining Mr. Ross and Dr. Hoff as members of the Strategic Options Workgroup are:
• Lori Erickson, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources;
• Margaret Pate, Senior Associate Vice President of Budget and Financial Planning;
• Dr. Tony Pittarese, Senior Associate Dean, College of Business and Technology;
• Candy Massey, President, Staff Senate;
• Dr. Daryl A. Carter, Professor, History;
• Dr. Fred Mackara, Associate Professor, Economics;
• Dr. Jodi Polaha, Associate Professor, Family Medicine and 2020 Presidential Fellow; and
• Dr. Larry Calhoun, Special Assistant to the Senior Vice President of Academics.
ETSU Future Operations Workgroup seeking ideas and feedback - 5/11/20
The Future Operations Workgroup is meeting to develop recommendations and a plan for returning to appropriate academic, campus, and business operations in the safest way possible. The workgroup intends to provide different options or scenarios for the university, providing flexibility in how best to adapt to the pandemic situation as it continues to evolve. This coming fall will not look like any other we have had, and the workgroup wants to ensure scenarios and recommendations take into account many different perspectives. As this work continues, the workgroup is providing a way to submit any ideas, suggestions, or feedback. Comment period has ended.
CARES Act Information for Students - 5/8/20
East Tennessee State University has begun to distribute $5.54 million provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act for emergency relief to eligible students. The U.S. Department of Education provided student eligibility criteria and guidance to institutions of higher education concerning the distribution of the federal CARES Act funds. Students are required to have established eligibility for Title IV funding to qualify and the funding formula sets aside at least 75% of the funds for students with federal Pell Grant eligibility. Grants will be distributed to students with the highest need based on the data provided on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2019-2020 aid year.
In the coming days, university staff in the Office of Financial Aid and the Bursar’s Office will process the grant amounts and apply the aid to student accounts. Students do not need to take any action to receive the grant. Students eligible to receive the grant will receive an email from the university with additional details regarding the disbursement. Approximately 90% of the initial CARES Act funding will be disbursed directly to eligible students in the form of grant awards to address financial hardships as a result of COVID-19.
The remaining 10% of the initial CARES Act funding will be made available for direct student emergency grant requests. Students must have been enrolled in the spring 2020 semester to qualify and the individual grants can be awarded for student expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. More information about student eligibility and how to apply for emergency grants available through the CARES Act will be forthcoming in the coming days.
The university has already distributed almost $50,000 and raised over $40,000 in private donations for the Buccaneer Student Crisis Fund, which is a separate fund from CARES Act funding. The Buccaneer Crisis funds enable the university to support a broader range of students and student needs, which include international students and other students who may be ineligible to receive CARES Act funds. Students who may not qualify for federal financial assistance, or who may have needs related to housing insecurity, may submit a care report to the Office of the Dean of Students to apply for emergency funding provided by the Buccaneer Student Crisis Fund.
ETSU has taken additional steps beyond the creation of the Buccaneer Student Crisis Fund to provide students with support and financial relief due to the disruptions experienced by the spread of coronavirus.
· The ETSU Board of Trustees approved the request for a 0% increase in tuition, fees, housing and food costs for the 20-21 academic year.
· A campus-wide effort “Calling all Bucs!” to call all current ETSU students to offer support, information on resources, and assistance is underway.
· President Brian Noland approved the continued pay of work study, APS student workers, graduate assistants and tuition scholars during the spring semester who were displaced through no fault of their own.
· Students who paid out-of-pocket for university housing have received refunds. The university is currently completing refunds associated with meal plans.
· More than 60 students have received housing and utility assistance and over 70 people picked up food boxes at Bucky’s Pantry during the month of April.
· The Office of Information Technology, in coordination with the Department of Housing and Residence Life, has designated and loaned laptops to students with technology needs who had no other way to access online learning. Students have also received subsidies for internet access and hotspots.
· Our skilled physicians, researchers, and faculty have partnered with Ballad and others to safeguard our region. The totality of these commitments and efforts speak to the perseverance of the ETSU Buccaneer spirit.
We thank you for your patience during these times of uncertainty. As the semester draws to a close, we hope the upcoming days can be a time of rest and renewal, and celebration for our graduates. We look forward to the day when we gather together again on the beautiful campus that we are proud to call home.
One E on the logo. One Community. One ETSU Family.
For questions contact: CARESact@etsu.edu
Joe H. Sherlin, Jr.
Vice President for Student Life and Enrollment
ETSU Virtual Commencement Information - 5/4/20
East Tennessee State University will confer some 2,200 degrees, virtually, as Commencement Exercises will be streamed online and broadcast locally for the Class of 2020.
Graduates, their families and friends are invited to watch ETSU's Virtual Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 9. The ceremony will be streamed online beginning at 10 a.m. WJHL News Channel 11 will broadcast the ETSU Virtual Commencement Ceremony at 12 p.m. (earlier viewing time than previously announced)
Last month, ETSU President Brian Noland announced that the university would postpone in-person commencement celebrations and hold a virtual ceremony for the Class of 2020. Spring graduates will have the opportunity to participate in a dedicated in-person ceremony in December.
For a more personalized virtual commencement experience, graduates will select and stream a specific ceremony for their college or academic program. More information about how to watch the ceremony is available at www.etsu.edu/classof2020. Video stream links will be available on the website at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 9. Viewers may also stream the ceremony and arrange a watch party on the ETSU Facebook page.
ETSU’s Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy and Quillen College of Medicine will hold separate virtual ceremonies on Friday, May 8.
Gatton College of Pharmacy will host a Virtual Hooding & Commencement Ceremony for its 68 graduates on May 8, at 11:30 a.m. on its Facebook page at facebook.com/ETSUPharmacy and the college’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/COPtechnology.
Quillen College of Medicine will hold a Virtual Hooding & Commencement Ceremony for its 68 graduates on May 8 at 2:30 p.m. A link to a livestream of the ceremony will be hosted on Quillen’s website at www.etsu.edu/com/graduation.php.
ETSU Travel Restrictions Update - 4/29/20
Earlier this semester, ETSU placed restrictions on university-sponsored domestic and international travel. This was one of many decisions made as a result of the COVID-19 virus outbreak to protect the health of our students, faculty and staff. With that same goal, ETSU is extending its suspension of all outgoing university-sponsored domestic travel through June 15, 2020. In addition, all university-related international travel is suspended until further notice.
As noted in a previous communication, local travel associated with everyday operations of the university, including blanket travel will continue. In addition, vehicular travel outside a 50-mile radius, with the exception of other ETSU campuses, continues to require supervisor approval and should be restricted to activities that are absolutely necessary and cannot be rescheduled or conducted remotely.
For more information on changes in university operations, please visit the ETSU coronavirus website. Thank you.
Chief Operating Officer
ETSU Future Operations Workgroup - 4/28/20
As the spring semester draws to a close and we finalize plans for our Virtual Commencement ceremony on May 9, advising and registration continues for our summer and fall terms. Here in Tennessee and across the nation, conversations are also emerging about how businesses and government will begin the process of resuming operations at levels similar to how they were prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The safety and health of the ETSU community remains our highest priority as we continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. Faculty and staff will continue to work from remote locations through at least May 31, 2020. During the upcoming month, leadership will provide direction on how university operations will proceed during the month of June. These decisions will be guided by the work of a new ETSU Future Operations Workgroup that I have formed and will be led by Dr. David Linville, executive vice provost for academics and health. The workgroup will create and provide recommendations and plans to senior leadership on transitioning our academic, campus, and business operations from our current remote status in a way that is safe for students, faculty, staff, and visitors.
Joining Dr. Linville as members of the workgroup are:
· Joe Bidwell, chair of the Department of Biology
· Tom Donohoe, registrar
· Kim Edwards, director of space management
· Stephen Hendrix, president of the Faculty Senate
· Betsy Kearney, director of budget development and business process improvement
· Sam Mayhew, assistant vice president for student life and enrollment
· Matt McGahey, senior associate athletic director
· Shivam Patel, president of the Student Government Association
· Randy Wykoff, dean of the College of Public Health
I greatly appreciate these members for their willingness to serve on this workgroup, and I will share their recommendations with you next month. As always, you can keep up-to-date on the latest information regarding changes to university operations as a result of the COVID-19 virus by visiting www.etsu.edu/coronavirus. Thank you for all you have done to support and sustain our institutional mission during these challenging times.
Refund update for student housing - 4/13/20
ETSU has begun the process of notifying students regarding any prorated refunds they may be receiving for out-of-pocket housing costs for the spring 2020 semester. Students should check their email for more information and instructions. In the coming weeks, similar information will be available regarding any refunds for dining service fees.
ETSU Outdoor WiFi
Memo to students, faculty and staff 4/6/20
Although access to ETSU buildings is limited at this time, we want to make sure our students and faculty are aware of the outdoor WiFi locations available at ETSU. Students can connect to ETSU WiFi from their personal vehicles at the following parking locations on the ETSU campus:
1. Carillon/Bell Tower parking areas between Gilbreath Hall and Burgin Dossett.
2. Parking lot at 902 Maple Street
3. Southwest corner of the Parking Garage
These locations are also marked with a blue circle on this campus map:
While connecting to the ETSU WiFi, please follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for social distancing. Also, please remain in your vehicle while using WiFi.
Spring Commencement Announcement
Memo to students, faculty and staff 4/3/20
In light of the unprecedented circumstances emerging from the COVID-19 outbreak, it is with a saddened and heavy heart that I announce our decision regarding our upcoming commencement exercises. Based upon current CDC recommendations and in recognition of the need to place the health and safety of our students as our foremost priority, and after deliberation with the deans of our respective colleges, as well as members of our Board of Trustees, we have reached the arduous decision to postpone our Spring Commencement Exercises, and other related activities, for this academic year. This decision also applies to the graduation ceremonies for the Quillen College of Medicine and Gatton College of Pharmacy that were scheduled for May 8th.
In the coming weeks, I will share more details about a virtual commencement that is being planned for May 9th and will extend an invitation to the members of the spring graduating class to participate in our December Commencement Exercises. Furthermore, colleges and programs that were planning to host individual commencement or award ceremonies are discussing options to making those events virtual as well. Concurrently, we will launch a process for assembling input to the planning process for these celebratory events, which will reflect student aspirations and expectations surrounding milestone moments in their academic journeys.
The postponement of Commencement is one of the most difficult decisions I have made during my tenure as president. Commencement is my favorite season of the academic year for it affords the opportunity to shake the hands of every graduate, congratulate them on their accomplishments, and celebrate their success. I know what this day means for students and family members as they celebrate the close of one transformative journey and prepare for new journeys on the horizon. I also know what this day means to our faculty and staff who guided and shaped the academic journeys of our students and helped them realize their dreams. Although our formal commencement exercises will not take place in their traditional format, the true essence of Commencement remains alive across ETSU, and I look forward to celebrating the accomplishments and achievements of the Class of 2020.
I thank you for your patience during these challenging times, and I look forward to remaining engaged with you as the spring semester continues. Godspeed.
Important Academic Information about Spring and Summer 2020
Memo to students, faculty and staff 4/2/20
Note: Information in this letter does not apply to students enrolled in the Gatton College of Pharmacy or the Quillen College of Medicine – please work with the Dean and Student Affairs Offices in those colleges for information concerning your Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 course expectations.
The month of April brings a sense of renewal and anticipation. Over the last several
weeks, academic advisors, faculty, and students have been preparing for summer and
fall course registration which begins on Monday, April 6. Given the changes that
have taken place in recent weeks as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, I want to bring
a few items regarding summer school to your attention in advance of the registration
process. Currently there are no modifications to the Fall 2020 schedule.
We have a robust offering of courses planned for the summer term, and I encourage you to speak with your advisor regarding any questions about the summer school courses available for your major/minor course of study. More information about the classes being offered can be found in GoldLink, and I invite you to learn more about the upcoming registration dates by visiting Registrar’s Office at https://www.etsu.edu/reg/registration/resources.php .
Summer Term Modifications and Information:
1. All courses offered during the summer 2020 term at ETSU will be taught online.
2. For the summer 2020 term only, all online fees will be waived.
3. All ETSU Study Abroad and other international programs in summer 2020 are cancelled. However, study abroad programs for fall 2020 and beyond are anticipated to continue as usual.
4. Courses requiring a lab, clinical, or other face to face experiential learning experiences may have altered schedules for summer term. Faculty and advisors within your colleges and specific programs will have information that will be useful to you in planning your summer schedule for these courses.
5. If individual student schedule changes become necessary for summer or fall as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic limiting access to certain clinical facilities and/or face to face experiences, course schedules will be adjusted and the drop-add fee will be waived
As you complete Spring Semester, the faculty are aware that many students have experienced significant hardships during this time since Spring Break. The Covid-19 pandemic has necessitated many changes in how we perform our work. Recognizing the many challenges to undergraduate students and faculty as they rapidly transition to on-line and other remote teaching modalities, the Academic Council has approved some safety net modifications to academic policies.
Accommodations for Undergraduate Students for Spring 2020 include:
1. Pass/Fail policy will be relaxed to allow undergraduate students to make the decision for a pass/fail grade on a course-by-course basis (please see the official policy modification statement which will be posted on the Provost’s website and on the ETSU Coronavirus website – student tab). Here are some key highlights:
- Undergraduate students do not have to make this decision until after they receive their grades for the semester…the deadline for applying for a P/F grade has been extended to June 15…that’s right you can see what grade you earned before you make the decision to have a course graded P/F. To convert a letter grade for Spring Semester to a P grade you need to make an appointment with your advisor who you will help you consider the advantages and/or disadvantages to your GPA, progress to graduation, or impact on admission to selective admissions programs, graduate or professional schools. You must request to have a course grade converted to a Pass – a P or Pass grade reflects an earned grade of A, B, C, or D.
- The minimum GPA requirement for requesting a P/F grade has been removed for Spring 2020.
- There is no restriction on the number of credits that may be requested for P/F grades and the number of courses requested for P/F grading in Spring 2020 will not limit any future requests for P/F grading.
2. Academic dismissals will be suspended in Spring 2020. Students, however, may be placed on academic probation as warranted.
3. A Transcript notation will be placed on all academic records, regardless of grading basis, indicating the extraordinary circumstances of the global health emergency during Spring 2020.
4. Incomplete Grading for Undergraduate Students will still be allowed. Students should check with their academic advisors before opting for an incomplete grade as this may affect financial aid awards.
5. Grade appeal process remains in effect and is unchanged.
Note: The Academic Deans’ List to recognize excellence will still be published – but the publication of the list will be delayed to allow time for processing of P/F grade requests.
Graduate Student Accommodations for Spring 2020:
1. Academic dismissals for GPA will be suspended in Spring 2020. However, students
may be placed on probation if the GPA is lower than the required 3.0 for graduation.
2. While Pass/Fail grading is not available to graduate students, given the circumstances surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic and potential difficulties with completion of research and laboratory experiences, faculty are encouraged to use broader discretion in assigning a grade of “I” (Incomplete) in Spring 2020.
3. A transcript notation will be placed on all graduate academic records indicating extraordinary circumstances due to the global health emergency during Spring 2020.
4. In order to graduate, graduate students will be required to have a 3.0 GPA overall and in their programs of study.
Every student’s success is important to us. Please know that your ETSU faculty and staff are your advocates and are willing to work with you as you make grading choices and decisions about your class schedule in the weeks ahead.
While we are all working remotely, your university is still here for you. Please reach out for academic or personal guidance. Stay in touch with your faculty and your friends. Register for your classes and make your plans for the future. I, like you, look forward to the time that our campus is filled with the sounds of students greeting each other on the way to class, the marching band preparing for half-time shows, ROTC cadets running in cadence, and the Carillon tolling the hour. Yes, I even look forward to having to “hunt” for a parking space…because everyone will be back on campus and our routines will be restored.
Thank you for being part of the ETSU community. Go Bucs!
Dr. Wilsie S. Bishop
Senior Vice President for Academics
and Interim Provost
Update on COVID-19 Outbreak
Memo to faculty, staff and students 4/2/20
East Tennessee State University has learned that two members of its community have tested positive this week for the COVID-19 virus. One of the cases involves a student, and the other is an employee, and there is no connection between these two cases. We are pleased to report that both individuals are continuing to improve.
The Northeast Tennessee Regional Health Office coordinated contact tracing for both of these cases and will notify anyone who may have been in contact with these two individuals. Moving forward, the university will not provide updates on every confirmed COVID-19 case among our students, faculty, and staff. We send our best wishes to these two individuals and to the entire ETSU community and region during this challenging and difficult time.
For any questions related to coronavirus, including symptoms, testing, or exposure, contact the Northeast Regional Information Line at 423-979-4689 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
ETSU Health to transition drive-through COVID-19 testing site to Health Department
Memo to faculty, staff and students 4/1/20
With an increase in regional COVID-19 testing capacity, ETSU Health will close its drive-through COVID-19 testing site, located at 325 North State of Franklin, effective April 1, 2020. While the drive-through site will no longer be open, ETSU Health will continue to administer COVID-19 testing in its clinics.
"The local health department has just opened their drive-through testing sites in Washington County and the surrounding counties," said Dr. Jonathan Moorman, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine. "These new sites are open to the public and, along with Ballad Health testing sites, are large enough to handle the demand for testing in our region at this time. These sites will test patients with symptoms of COVID-19 just as ETSU has done. We do not want to duplicate the same services they will be offering at these new sites."
Since its opening on March 17, ETSU Health’s drive-through site has administered approximately 500 COVID-19 tests. The site was one of the first drive-through testing sites in Tennessee and was instrumental in detecting the first few cases of community spread of COVID-19 in the Appalachian Highlands.
"While we will not offer our own drive-through testing, ETSU Health will continue to test in our clinics and to work closely with the Health Department and our health care partners throughout the region to monitor the community spread of COVID-19," Moorman said. "We are committed to continuing our efforts on the front lines to prevent, diagnose and treat the spread of the coronavirus."
Individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, cough, and shortness of breath can contact the Health Department at 423-979-4689 for screening and further information on testing sites.
Safer at Home
Memo to students, faculty and staff 3/30/20
Dear ETSU students,
Today Governor Bill Lee issued a "Safer at Home" order for residents of Tennessee in an effort to curb the ongoing spread of the coronavirus. This order will be in effect from 11:59 p.m., March 31, through 11:59 p.m. April 14, 2020. During this time, it is imperative that you stay at your residence as much as possible and that you minimize your contact with other people.
ETSU has taken several actions to help stop the spread of coronavirus and the Governor's order is consistent with the efforts that we have already undertaken. Faculty and students have transitioned to online coursework, and most staff are working and providing services remotely. This community effort has shown the true spirit of being part of the Buccaneer family.
In order to comply with this order, we wanted to provide you with guidance:
- Non-essential travel should be avoided (e.g. non-essential retail shopping or entertainment)
- You may continue to travel to work, to get groceries, or to purchase medicine or medical supplies
- Travel related to the care of pets or other people is also allowed
- Outdoor exercise such as walking is permissible, as long as you practice social distancing and take necessary precautions
- Coursework and academics will continue in the online environment
- University support services for needs such as counseling, disability accommodations, the food pantry, etc. will continue to assist students. More information is available here
- The University Health Clinic in Nicks Hall will continue to provide medical care for acute illnesses. Please call ahead to schedule an appointment. 423-439-4225
- The Department of Public Safety will continue to patrol and offer first responder services to campus. They can be contacted at 423-439-4480
- The ETSU Post Office, as a part of United States Postal Service operations, will remain in operation
- Gatherings should be avoided. Use technology to connect to your friends and family as much as possible
- Follow the CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus
- The Department of Housing and Residence Life is communicating directly with our student residents to provide them with information and guidance related to this order.
Please help us prevent the transmission of this disease by doing your part. Our healthcare professionals are working hard to keep us safe, and we want to support them in this effort. Your care and compassion for each other, and for embracing this collective effort, is appreciated. Continue to visit the ETSU webpage for updates related to coronavirus.
Emergency Grading and Accomodations for Spring 2020
Memo to faculty and staff 3/30/20
Dear ETSU Colleagues,
Earlier today during a called meeting, the ETSU Academic Council approved the Response to COVID-19 Emergency Grading Accommodation for Spring 2020 recommendation that now allows ETSU undergraduate students to choose the pass/fail (P/F) option for some or all undergraduate courses in which they are registered for the Spring 2020 semester. This modification to the policy for undergraduate students will go into effect on March 31, 2020. Details related to submitting a P/F application – including timing and process – will be announced as soon all advisors are informed and a process identified to handle these requests. Please note that the modification is written so undergraduate students can actually determine a final course grade prior to opting for a P/F grade instead. A copy of the “Response to COVID-19 Emergency Grading Accommodation for Spring 2020” document is attached. Major highlights of the approved accommodation include:
- Undergraduate students have until June 15, 2020, to exercise the option to request a P/F grade for a course. This is only applicable for ETSU undergraduate students.
- The request for a P/F grade is made to the academic advisor and is then submitted to the academic dean (or designee) for final approval.
- Advisors will discuss with students the potential impact that earning a P/F grade may have on financial aid, scholarships, future graduate school applications, licensure, or other matters.
- College deans (or designee) have the authority to deny requests for P/F grading in the event this option could have a negative impact on the student’s long-term progression.
- At this time, this emergency modification of the Pass/Fail policy only applies to courses offering during the Spring 2020 semester.
Regarding graduate students, pass/fail is not an option. However, faculty are encouraged to use broader discretion to assign a grade of Incomplete as circumstances around the move to remote learning and COVID-19 warrant.
I want to thank our student and campus leaders for their attentive and thorough efforts during the past two weeks in creating this emergency grading accommodation. A Working Group was convened that conducted an extensive review of how other institutions oversee this process and also sought feedback and guidance from stakeholders such as Financial Aid, academic advising, department chairs, the Student Government Association, and Faculty Senate, among others. I commend this Working Group for their outstanding work, and the members of the Academic Council for the thorough discussion of how this modification can benefit our students.
Again, please take the opportunity to review this new grading accommodation closely, and should you have any questions, your academic dean will be willing to respond.
Thank you, and best wishes as we continue through this journey together.
Dr. Wilsie Bishop
Senior Vice President for Academics
ETSU Student Resources and Support
Video Message and Memo 3/27/20
Dear ETSU Student,
The important actions we're all taking to slow the spread of the coronavirus have made life harder for many people. If you're facing problems that affect your ability to complete the spring term successfully, we want to do everything we can to help.
- If you don’t have a place to live, contact the undergraduate student success specialist
(email@example.com) or the graduate student success specialist (firstname.lastname@example.org). They are trained to put you in touch with community resources.
- If you don’t have enough to eat, ETSU’s Bucky's Food Pantry (423-439-8487) will pack a box for any student.
- If you can't afford to pay for basic needs, ETSU is giving small grants on a case-by-case
basis when no other means of aid are available. To make a request, fill out a CARE report.
- If internet access is a problem, Charter Communications is offering 60 days of free
internet to students. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Comcast has a similar offer available here.
- If you need health care, the University Health Clinic is providing medical care to ETSU students. Call 423-439-4225.
- For coronavirus testing, call ETSU Health testing call 423-433-6110. For Ballad Health
testing call 833-822-5523.
- If you want counseling, the ETSU Counseling Center (423-439-3333, email@example.com) is offering virtual and tele-counseling.
- For disability access and accommodations, contact ETSU Disability Services (423-439-8346, firstname.lastname@example.org).
The challenges presented by this global health crisis are unlike any faced by our community and our University. We are committed to do all we can to provide support during this difficult time. We are one Buccaneer family.
We will be reaching out again in the next few days with an on-line survey to help assess ETSU student needs during this time.
Vice President for Student Life and Enrollment
Video Message from President Noland's Notepads
COVID-19 and Academic Readiness
Memo to faculty and staff 3/20/20
The pandemic situation with Covid-19 is evolving rapidly. Over the weeks ahead, the University will be using several channels to communicate with you, as this is a very fluid situation and guidelines and parameters for action do change. Please check the university’s corona virus website (https://www.etsu.edu/coronavirus/) frequently for the latest information. In addition, you will receive specific updates that will often require attention and action on your part as faculty and staff. This is one of those messages.
In light of Dr. Noland’s communication today, I am sending this message to faculty and staff about the continuity of our education, service, and research missions. We are poised to resume instruction on Monday in an online format. I greatly appreciate all of the hard work of faculty and staff over the past several days to ensure we are ready for this transition. We must now pivot to provide online instruction for the remainder of semester. This will require continued flexibility, creativity, and understanding on the part of all faculty, staff, and students. Faculty should continue working with their chairs and deans to maintain instructional continuity, keeping students on track to graduation.
ETSU Health will continue to provide health care through its clinics operated by the Quillen College of Medicine and the College of Nursing. Faculty and staff who work in those clinics will continue to receive specific information and guidance about clinical operations from ETSU Health leadership. Other university service activities that cannot be accommodated in a remote or online fashion should be suspended.
As noted in Dr. Noland’s communication, we are moving to greatly limit the number of individuals on campus. This is an action based on the university’s commitment to flattening the pandemic curve. This requires further limitations in research activities on campus. Faculty members are being asked to suspend their on-campus research activities. Faculty members should work directly with their Chairs and Deans to wind down on-campus research activities. Contingency plans provide for the continued care of animals. Specific challenges that Faculty may encounter related to suspending research activities must be addressed with chairs, deans, and the Vice Provost for Research.
Today’s communication limiting access to campus means that Graduate Assistants cannot be working on campus to support administrative, research, or teaching activities. Their work must either cease or transition as appropriate to a remote or online location.
During this semester of online instruction, faculty members may not convene with their students physically face-to-face in a group either on-campus or off-campus. For example, faculty may not gather with their students at a local restaurant or other public venue for class.
If faculty and staff have materials or documents in their offices which they need to retrieve to continue your work in a remote location, please make plans/arrangements to do so as soon as possible. It is anticipated that there will be very limited access to buildings after Tuesday of next week.
While the above parameters impose restrictions that are foreign to our academic culture, these restrictions are being put in place for the health and well-being of our campus community and the region. It is imperative that we move aggressively as a University and region to activities that prevent illness and avoid the spread of the corona virus.
We are fortunate at ETSU to have the infrastructure and support structures available to rapidly move to remote teaching modalities. I am very appreciative of the work that Dr. Karen King and her colleagues in Information Technology Services and Dr. Amy Johnson and her colleagues in the Center for Teaching Excellence have done this week to assist with the on-line transition. I am receiving reports from each College today on the readiness for instruction on Monday. The Deans, Chairs, Faculty and Staff have done an amazing job of responding to this challenge. The resilience and the “can-do” attitudes that I have encountered all week assures me that as a University Community we are focused on our students and our mission of assuring that they receive the best education possible and are able to continue progress to achieve their educational and career goals. During these final weeks of the semester, it will important that we keep our Community focused on that mission. Let’s all look for ways we can lift each other up, keep spirits buoyed, and meet challenges with creativity and hopefulness. Out of adversity comes strength and opportunity.
“The beauty of the soul shines out when a person bears with composure one heavy mischance after another, not because she/he does not feel them, but because she/he is a person of high and heroic temper.” Aristotle
Let us all be people of high and heroic temper in the days ahead. I am so honored to work with individuals of your caliber.
Dr. Wilsie Bishop
Senior Vice President for Academics
Memo to faculty, staff and students 3/20/20
Dear Members of the ETSU community,
As we approach the conclusion of spring break and resume classes on Monday, I want to thank everyone for the patience and dedication exhibited over the past week as we collectively strive to meet our teaching, research, and service missions. Our campus has worked around the clock to bring classes into on-line formats, develop new operating procedures so that staff can work remotely, implement enhanced support structures for our residential students, and countless other initiatives that rise above and beyond traditional job responsibilities. I convey my deepest and profound respect to the entire ETSU family for the manner in which we have come together in service to our university.
In light of a rapidly changing national landscape, ETSU will implement a series of new steps to ensure that we are positioned to play a leadership role on regional and state efforts to flatten the curve of the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Early next week, we will significantly reduce the scope of public access to our campus. We do not take these actions lightly but do so in an effort to secure the health, safety, and welfare of our campus community. We strongly encourage faculty and staff in the coming days to retrieve materials from their offices that you will need to ensure our continuity of operations. By the middle of next week, it is anticipated that access to campus buildings and facilities may be subject to further limitations. As we witness the emergence of COVID-19 cases at sister institutions across our region, we must recognize the extraordinary circumstances that define our near and distant horizons. At this time there are no reported cases of COVID-19 virus among the ETSU community.
The following outline a series of updates related to the operations of the university:
· All classes will remain in an online delivery methodology through the close of the spring 2020 semester. While our initial plans entailed the intent for all academic instruction to occur online through April 9th, the rapidly changing public health landscape necessitates that all courses remain online through the remainder of the spring semester.
· A decision about Commencement, which is scheduled for Saturday, May 9, has not been made at this time. We will provide an update on plans for graduation as soon as possible. All other public events planned for the remainder of the semester are hereby canceled.
· To the maximum extent possible, employees should work remotely until further notice. I recognize that not all employees can work remotely, and supervisors are thereby required to notify their appropriate Vice-President of those staff who are required to report to campus for their work assignments.
· With the conclusion of spring break, many students have anticipated returning to campus for the remainder of the spring semester. I strongly urge all students to either remain at home or return to their homes as possible. Students who have previously received an exemption to live in the residence halls are encouraged to review the need for that exemption in light of the most recent changes to course delivery. This recommendation is made for the health and safety of the entire campus community and is based upon emerging CDC recommendations. For those students wishing to check out of housing, the Division of Housing and Residence Life will provide details regarding checkout processes and protocols. For those students who must remain on campus, ETSU is here to support you, and the Division of Housing and Residence Life will provide you with information regarding adjustments to housing and food service that will be implemented for the remainder for the spring semester.
· The university is developing a process for those students whose housing and dining service fees were covered through out-of-pocket expenses to receive prorated refunds/credits. Information on how refunds and/or credits will be issued is forthcoming and should be finalized by mid-April.
· As we move to limit the number of individuals on campus, we must also enact limitations on research activities physically underway across ETSU. I am asking that faculty members move to suspend their on-campus research activities. Faculty should work directly with their chairs and deans to wind down on-campus research activities. Challenges to suspending research activities must be addressed with chairs, deans, and the Vice Provost for Research. Additionally, Graduate Assistants should not be working on campus to support administrative, research, or teaching activities. Their work must either cease, or transition, as appropriate to a remote or online location. Finally, contingency plans are in place for the DLAR.
· The Sherrod Library will be closed to visitors, but online access to services will continue. In addition to the resources at the Sherrod Library, multiple national databases such as JSTOR have opened their services to public access. The library will provide information regarding how to access materials not available in our collection in the coming days.
· Extensive cleaning and sanitation started last week in ETSU buildings and will continue. All buildings will be locked, and faculty and staff with keys may have limited access to their offices and classrooms.
· Our COVID-19 website provides the most current information on any changes and updates to university operations.
Next week will be a time of significant transition for our all of us, and I thank you in advance for your patience as we move through these unprecedented times. I understand that the final stretch of the spring semester will proceed in a way that none of us envisioned; however, our focus on our institutional mission and commitment to our students are unwavering. While our work formats have changed, we remain open for business and focused on improving the quality of life for the people of this region. Thank you for your understanding during this time of uncertainty.
- Dr. Brian Noland
President, East Tennessee State University
Remote Work Procedures and Contact Information
Memo to faculty and staff 3/18/20
ETSU Faculty and Staff,
As our lives and daily routines continue to change in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Office of Administration would like to express appreciation and support the ETSU family. For weeks staff have been preparing and adjusting to the extraordinary circumstances in which we find ourselves. It is our desire that as many employees as possible be supported to work remotely. Please note the following information:
We strongly encourage every employee at ETSU to work remotely if at all possible. Human Resources has suspended all existing telecommuting and VPN access policies and has developed new broad and flexible protocols to accommodate remote work for most employees as noted in the PERSONNEL OPERATING PROTOCOL.
Operations is continuously adjusting staffing and procedures to address cleaning and safety in our facilities. Additionally, we have contracted with outside vendors for various needs to address disinfecting.
The Office of Capital Planning is working with the State Architect and other state entities to address transitioning bidding procedures to an electronic format. Workflow related to the multitude of capital projects is being adjusted to continue planning, design, and construction as appropriate.
Public Safety will maintain 24 hour service and availability. New services such as camera patrol, engagement protocols, and response procedures have been implemented.
Emergency Management has been coordinating and communicating with emergency response officials and state officials to train and prepare for various issues. Staff is available for online training and to answers questions or concerns.
ETSU Athletics is cooperating and communicating with officials from the NCAA, Southern Conference, and the University. At this time, competition, recruiting, and spring practices are cancelled. Athletics staff is focused on support of our student-athletes and planning efforts to assist the University with critical functions and communication during the outbreak. Staff will be available to assist other units with various functions.
Thank you for all of your hard work, flexibility, and patience during this time. None of us have every issue resolved or every question answered, but we will work together to serve our students, faculty, staff, and the community.
- Jeremy B. Ross
Chief Operating Officer
Video Message from President Noland
Memo to Faculty/Staff and Students
We are excited to announce ETSU Health will open an outpatient coronavirus testing/collection site at 2pm on 3/17/2020. The site will be located in the parking lot of the ETSU Health clinic, located at 325 North State of Franklin Rd.
Pre-registration will be required via ETSU Health’s Coronavirus Testing Hotline (423-433-6110), and registration will be unavailable at the collection site. The Hotline screening will involve a series of questions to determine if the caller needs testing; these questions will be related to fever and respiratory symptoms.
Access to the site will be via Professional Park Drive from the stoplight on State of Franklin Road. Testing must occur on the same date of registration, and patients must arrive in a private car with functioning windows to minimize exposure to the health care workers at the testing site. The patient will also be tested for influenza at the same time.
Collected samples will be sent to a commercial testing entity such as LabCorp, and both insured and uninsured patients will be accepted. Test results may be received within 72 hours, but this will depend on the volume of swabs the testing lab receives. Patients will be called with either negative or positive results; positive results will be forwarded to the health department. All patients will be asked to self-quarantine until the test results are received.
Patients needing medical evaluation should contact their primary care physician. If not already established with a physician, they are welcome to call ETSU Internal Medicine (423-439-7280) or ETSU Family Medicine (423-439-6464). ETSU Health clinics will continue to provide coronavirus testing within the clinic sites. Patients coming to clinics are advised to call the clinic so that staff will be expecting them. These patients will be given a mask and gloves upon entry to the clinic for their protection and the protection of other patients.
The total number of patients screened at the outpatient site will be limited for the first few days to fine-tune processes and keep our health care providers safe. The ETSU Health’s Coronavirus Testing Hotline can be reached at 423-433-6110. Registration hours are 8am-3pm and collection site hours are 8:30am-4pm.
Sheri L. Holmes, MD FACOG
Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs
Chief Medical Officer ETSU Health
Vice-Chair Obstetrics & Gynecology
Quillen College of Medicine
Memo to Faculty/Staff
Dear ETSU Community,
As we announced in yesterday’s Weekly Update (March 16), staff has been planning for a process that allows for continuity of operations, affording the opportunity for designated staff and faculty to work from remote locations. The Office of Human Resources has been working with campus leaders to develop a protocol for select employees to transition to a remote/distance/alternative work environment.
Tomorrow, the Office of Human Resources will provide information to campus employees regarding this matter which, given the extraordinary circumstances this university and our nation are currently facing, will temporarily replace our existing current telecommuting policy until further notice.
We are actively striving to answer questions and resolve issues as they arise, and we thank you for your patience. ETSU’s anticipate that a significant volume of staff will be working from remote/distance/alternative locations in the upcoming days. It is critical to note that the university will remain open throughout the days and weeks to come. The institution’s commitment to our students and to our teaching, research and service mission will not waiver.
Thank you for all you do for ETSU.
Office of the President
March 17, 2020- Message from President Noland
March 16, 2020- Message from President Noland
COVID-19 Update for Students
Memo to students 3/13/20
We realize spring 2020 is a most unusual semester. The past week has been challenging for our community. At ETSU we are a family, and we want you to know the ways in which we support you.
Information on Coronavirus
Continue to check ETSU’s coronavirus website. We will continue to post regular updates where many of your common questions are answered. Information on student employment and other topics of concern will be posted soon.
Review the BucsCARE website which is meant to be a resource for students and for student referral. BucsCARE includes the most referenced offices and campus resources in various categories. This page includes a link to ETSU’s “Need Help?” site which includes a comprehensive listing to other resources by topic area and provides the ability to file a report of a concern about yourself or others.
The Counseling Center will be open and available to students. The main telephone line is 423-439-3333. To reach Bucs Press 2 helpline, the 24 hour mental health hotline, dial 423-439-4841 then press 2. This service is available 24/7/365.
University Health Services
If you are experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) then stay home. Do not go to a health care facility before you contact the provider directly for instructions. You can also call the University Health Center at 423-439-4225 (M-F 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) or after hours at 1-888-915-7299.
Students with appointments on campus, such as advising or meetings with faculty, are encouraged to have those meetings using phone or Zoom.
Be sure to check your ETSU email throughout spring break. As we have shared multiple times, it is important to be very mindful of the travel alerts and other information being released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
I wish each of you a restful, safe, and enjoyable break.
- Dr. Joe Sherlin
Vice President for Student Life and Enrollment
Appreciation and Information for ETSU Staff
Memo to Staff 3/13/20
Dear ETSU Staff,
As we approach the close of what has been an unprecedented week on our campus, I want to take this opportunity to thank our dedicated team of staff members for all you have done to support our students, faculty, and each other as we have navigated significant operations changes as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. I recognize that this has been a time of great uncertainty and concern as we transition all academic instruction online. There are many unanswered questions regarding how this will affect our daily operations. Please note that we are doing our best to answer these questions as quickly as we can, and I thank you for your patience as we work through a diversity of issues.
- Before many of us leave campus for the weekend, I want to provide you with a few updates
and, again, express my appreciation to everyone for your outstanding efforts over
the past week and in the weeks to come.
- The university will remain open under normal operating hours during spring break.
However, the Basler Center for Physical Activity and a few other services will be
closed. Staff members at these locations should expect to receive alternative assignments.
- Please take care of yourself and get some rest this weekend. This has been an incredibly
busy and stressful week. I encourage you to take time to reflect on the week and give
thanks for all that we have and will accomplish together at ETSU.
- Earlier this week, we launched a website where you can follow our response to the COVID-19 outbreak. I invite you to visit
this site regularly and to monitor your email inbox for further updates.
- I understand that this is a very stressful time for us as a campus community and a
nation. Should you need assistance through our Employee Assistance Program, please
call 1-855-Here4TN (855-437-3486).
- If you become ill, please do not come to work. The CDC has offered important tips for lowering your risk for acquiring the COVID-19 virus or other diseases.
East Tennessee State University is an institution where people come first, are valued, and are treated with dignity and respect. Thank you for all you do to support ETSU. Godspeed.
- Dr. Brian Noland
President, East Tennessee State University
Appreciation and Information
Memo to faculty 3/13/20
Dear Faculty Colleagues,
As we complete a week of focusing on how we as a university community can ensure that we maintain academic and business continuity for our students, faculty, and staff, I want to reach out to you as ETSU Faculty to personally express my gratitude for your willing spirit, positive attitudes, and energy. These are critical ingredients for us as a University Team as we go through the next few weeks of change and uncertainty.
As a collective faculty, you are offering nearly 3000 classes to students this semester of those classes close to 800 of them have been offered in an entirely online modality since the beginning of the semester. That means that between now and the week after Spring Break, we are looking at moving a significant number of classes to an online format. For some of you, this will not be a new experience, for others you will be making a transition to a new teaching style that at first will likely move you from your proverbial comfort zone. For that reason, the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) and Academic Technology Services (ATS) are providing resources that will assist you with navigating our already existing learning management system (D2L) and our teleconferencing capability available through Zoom. Yesterday, with assistance, I offered a Zoom connection for the Academic Council meeting. I am planning for our next Academic Council meeting to be held entirely using Zoom technology. This is different and will require new ways of interacting, listening, and decision-making. I realize that, but I know we are a community of learners and problem solvers. I am confident that our faculty will be able to respond creatively and enthusiastically to the challenge.
Please visit CTE’s web site for tips and strategies (Basic Principles) for transitioning your course from face to face instruction to an online modality. Visit the ATS web site for information on schedules for training sessions. Also, we have had a number of faculty within colleges across campus volunteer to assist others with the transition of courses to online. Please take advantage of offers from your colleagues to assist. I know that during the first few weeks of transition we all need to have grace and leniency…for ourselves and our students as we adapt to change. This is a process that you cannot just flip a switch and have it occur. I do know that the next few weeks will be busy and often stressful, but as one faculty told his dean this week, “I will figure out a way to get it done.” I know that each of you is dedicated to providing our students with a quality education. Thank you for your efforts that will minimize disruption and allow students to progress toward their goal of graduation and success in their future.
With appreciation for all that you do every day for our students and ETSU.
- Dr. Wilsie Bishop
Senior Vice President for Academics
COVID-19 University Operating Status
East Tennessee State University officials continue to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak.
In light of this fluid situation and with the health and safety of our ETSU Community
as the top priority, the university is taking the following actions for all locations:
• All current face-to-face courses will move online effective Monday, March 23 for three weeks (through April 9) as university officials continue to evaluate COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Everyone should prepare for online courses to extend through the entire semester if necessary. Prior to April 9, the university will announce the official decision on resuming face-to-face courses. Students will not be charged any additional fees for courses impacted by this change. Experiential learning experiences such as student teaching, service learning, clinical rotations and internships will continue. Faculty will provide students with additional information about their specific courses. Current online classes will continue as scheduled.
• Students should stay home after spring break and resume classes online from their permanent residence. Please recognize the transition to online course work will require flexibility and patience on the part of faculty and students. Students living in campus housing who are unable to return to their permanent residence or are participating in experiential learning experiences may apply for an exemption to remain on campus. Residents will receive instructions and further information by email from the Department of Housing and Residence Life. University officials are exploring options that may allow potential credit or prorating for unused portions of housing and meal plans if face-to-face courses do not resume for the spring semester.
• All ETSU events scheduled through April 13 are cancelled; however, some events may be rescheduled at a later date and updates will be provided. During this time, in-person gatherings or employee/student organization meetings should be minimized. Everyone is encouraged to follow recommended COVID-19 mitigation procedures and social-distancing. Please take advantage of teleconferencing resources available through Zoom.
• Most other university operations, with the exception of face-to-face courses and activities listed above, will continue. Faculty and staff will continue to report to work at this time. Students with appointments on campus, such as advising or meetings with faculty, are encouraged to have those meetings using phone or Zoom.
Everyone is encouraged to engage in social distancing for meetings and gatherings and to follow mitigation protocols recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Please continue to check your email throughout spring break for additional announcements. The latest information, including resources and previous announcements, is available at www.etsu.edu/coronavirus.
ETSU is an institution where people come first, are valued and are treated with dignity and respect. These decisions are being made to protect the health and safety of the ETSU Community and that of the surrounding region. Your continued patience is deeply appreciated.
-Dr. Brian Noland
President, East Tennessee State University
COVID-19: Domestic Travel Suspended
Memo to faculty, staff and students 3/11/20
As part of our ongoing efforts to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak and to protect the health of the campus community, East Tennessee State University has made the decision to suspend all outgoing university-related domestic travel effective immediately. This suspension is in place for domestic travel through April 30, 2020. This follows the announcement from this past Monday (March 9) that all outgoing university-related international travel is suspended through June 15, 2020. At this time, university-related domestic athletics travel for competitive events is not restricted and we will continue to follow guidance as provided by the NCAA and the Southern Conference.
Rare exceptions for domestic travel may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Anyone requesting an exception should submit this request to his or her supervisor for first level review. Specific details about the implementation of this directive will be available in the coming days. ETSU will reimburse employees and students for expenses associated with international and domestic business trips that are canceled due to COVID-19 and for which they cannot receive reimbursement through other means. This includes airfare, hotel cancellation fees, conference registrations and other pre-paid items. Those seeking reimbursements should work with the respective department that is sponsoring the trip, and steps to cancel your domestic and international travel will be available at ETSU’s coronavirus response website.
This suspension is applicable to university-related domestic and international travel and does not apply to personal travel plans. As we move closer to Spring Break, I encourage you to be prudent in following information being released from the CDC regarding travel alerts and any other information that is being provided from the health departments and other organizations that is applicable to where you plan to travel. In regards to next week’s break, anyone who plans to be away from campus next week is encouraged to take items with them, such as books and laptops, which would allow them to resume their academic and administrative responsibilities from a remote location if necessary.
Our dedicated website will continue to provide the most up-to-date information regarding the university’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Thank you for your continued attention to this matter.
COVID-19 and Planning for Spring Break
Memo to students 3/11/20
As we approach Spring Break when most of you will be away from our campus, the university wanted to provide an update on our planned response to the COVID-19 outbreak and offer suggestions on things you should do before you leave campus.
Many colleges and universities in the United States where outbreaks have occurred have made the decision to suspend in-person, or on-ground, class meetings and to move all instruction to an online format. At this time, ETSU will move forward with normal class schedules and academic operations; however, depending on how this outbreak progresses in our state and region, it is possible that a similar decision could be made for our campus in the near future. In light of this, we encourage all students to be prepared for a change in operations.
- Before you leave campus for the break, take any books, items or learning materials
with you that you might need, such as your laptop and other devices, to complete your
coursework from a remote location. You should also take personal items with you that
you would need if you have to be away from campus for an extended period.
- If you are new to D2L (Desire2Learn) and Zoom – both distance learning technology programs frequently used by ETSU – it is important for you to start becoming more familiar. Our Academic Technology Services team has an informative website that serves as a great starting place for new users.
The use of tools like D2L and Zoom will help sustain continued academic operations in the event there is a disruption to on-ground classes. Our faculty understand that the possibility exists that in-person classes may be moved online and are planning accordingly.
As we communicated with you yesterday, it is important to be very mindful of the travel alerts and other information being released from the areas where you plan to travel for Spring Break. Thank you for your continued attention to this matter, and may each of you have a restful and enjoyable break.
-Dr. Joe Sherlin
Vice President for Student Life and Enrollment
Memo to student 3/10/20
The COVID-19 outbreak continues to be a significant topic of concern here in the United States and around the globe. ETSU has been closely following this situation since early January and has adhered to the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding travel alerts and other precautions.
I want to assure our students and parents that there is no higher priority than the health and safety of our community. We have a team and several task forces on campus that are monitoring the outbreak and are meeting daily to assess the potential impact on the many aspects of our operations. Specifically, extensive preparations are being made in the event that face-to-face class meetings are suspended for a period of time and that instruction moves to an entirely online format. I also wanted to let you know that additional cleaning precautions are being implemented, and we have built a website that provides the latest information on ETSU’s response to this outbreak.
We encourage all students to be mindful of this situation as they finalize any spring break travel plans and to closely follow the travel guidelines from the CDC and from the state health departments where they may travel. Our pledge is to keep the university community updated on any new developments or changes in operation.
-Dr. Joe Sherlin
Vice President for Student Life and Enrollment
Preparation for Instructional Continuity
Memo to faculty and staff 3/10/20
ETSU is committed to the progress of our students and share the belief that they deserve to receive a quality educational experience. Whether that experience is on campus or using online tools, we should all do everything we can to fulfill our promise to our students. We anticipate adjustments to the way we conduct our teaching may be necessary in order to ensure our students continue to make academic progress. We need your help in making these adjustments possible.
In the event the University suspends face to face classes for some period of time this semester, all faculty need to make preparations over the next week to deliver courses using our university-wide online learning tools— primarily D2L and Zoom. D2L and Zoom are available to all faculty and students. If your college uses additional on-line resources please be sure that all faculty and students are familiar with those systems. Laboratory, clinical, performance and other experiential course offerings will need to be addressed on an individual college by college basis. Your deans are sources of information and guidance in this area. Please note that in the event of suspension of face to face classes, it is likely faculty and staff will continue to report to work according to current CDC recommendations.
- Dr. Wilsie Bishop
Senior Vice President for Academics
Effective March 9, the university is suspending all outgoing university-related international
travel through June 15. This includes all travel related to teaching, study-abroad
programs, research, internships, conferences, presentations, performances, and athletics.
The university will be continuously reassessing its operations in light of the evolving
COVID-19 situation. The Office of International Programs is working one-on-one with
students who are currently studying abroad. At this time, no restrictions are imposed
for university-related domestic travel. For university-related international travel
that is canceled, the university will assist with reimbursement of travel expenses
on a case-by-case basis.
With the university spring break March 16-20, members of the ETSU community are expected to follow travel guidance from the CDC in addition to any treatment or monitoring by any health official. Please keep in mind that if you are planning personal travel, the university strongly recommends that you be mindful of the potential risk of disruptions to your plans, especially those traveling internationally. Continually changing travel restrictions may impact those seeking reentry to the United States and your ability to successfully return to class and/or work. Travelers returning from Level 2 or 3 CDC travel notice areas will not be allowed to return to any ETSU campus or facility until they complete a 14-day self-quarantine and show no symptoms associated with COVID-19. The university requires that all individuals adhere to the Tennessee Department of Health regulations and restrictions related to travel.
- Dr. Brian Noland
President, East Tennessee State University
Message from the President
East Tennessee State University is closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19. The safety and health of the ETSU community is our highest priority, and we take any threat very seriously.
Since the outbreak began, we have followed the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Tennessee Department of Health and the Washington County Health Department and have remained in close contact with our students participating in study abroad programs in affected countries. In addition, we have shared information with our campus community about important prevention steps, such as handwashing, that we can take to reduce our risk.
We have created a dedicated website to provide the latest announcements, answers to frequently asked questions, resources and measures that we put in place to address this rapidly changing situation.
At this time, there have been no cases of the virus diagnosed at ETSU. However, as
the coronavirus continues to spread, the health and safety of the ETSU community remain
top priority. This is not a time to panic; instead, our administration is actively
preparing for potential disruptions in operations, while hoping that the impact is
I have appointed several working groups to meet and prepare contingency plans and recommendations if the outbreak continues to spread:
-Student Life and Enrollment
-Academic Affairs and Registrar
-Finance and Administration
-Campus Communication Team
A designated leader from each group is providing regular updates to the President’s Office. University officials have also met with Ballad Health, government leaders and public health officials to coordinate response efforts.
We are committed to keeping you informed of any updates, further developments, or
changes in operations. Please check back to this website often for the latest information
- Dr. Brian Noland
President, East Tennessee State University