University of Tennessee campuses expand mask mandate through Labor Day


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — University of Tennessee officials said Monday the UT system would be adjusting its mask requirements “for at least the next two weeks” based on the rise of COVID-19 delta variant numbers.

Now, with the delta variant fueling rising case counts and straining hospital capacity, the mask requirement is being extended to all indoor public spaces, except in private offices, residence hall rooms, while engaging in fitness activities, and while actively eating and drinking. The university said officials will re-evaluate the need for the expanded face-covering requirement by Sept. 7, a day after the Labor Day holiday.

The announcement comes as the new semester began last week and weeks after the Aug. 2 announcement that the university placed temporary mask requirements in some indoor spaces at the start of the fall semester.

Campus athletics departments will make decisions regarding requirements at indoor athletic facilities.

“We are committed to making the necessary adjustments to help ensure the health and safety of those who work, study and visit our campuses,” Randy Boyd, UT System President, said. “While we are trying to do our part to keep our campuses healthy, we continue to stress the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Campus locations include UT Knoxville, UT Institute of Agriculture, UT Chattanooga, UT Martin, UT Southern and the UT Health Science Center.

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