University of Tennessee system extends indoor mask mandate

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The University of Tennessee system has extended its indoor mask mandate on all campuses as COVID-19 case rates continue to rise across the state.

Masks will be required in all indoor public spaces except private offices, residence hall rooms, while engaging in fitness activities, and while actively eating and drinking. UT system and campus leaders will reevaluate the mask policy in the next few weeks.

Instructors can choose to dismiss students who don’t wear masks and mark them absent for the day. Masks are expected to be worn in health care facilities and on public transportation, including the T bus system in Knoxville.

Students who cannot wear masks due to a medical condition should contact Student Disability Services. Employees and visitors should contact the Office of Equity and Diversity.

The UT system first announced Aug. 2 a mask requirement for classrooms, labs, instructional spaces, and any indoor events students are required to attend. The mandate was expanded Aug. 23 to include all indoor public spaces except private offices, residence hall rooms, while engaging in fitness activities and while actively eating and drinking.

When the Aug. 23 extension was announced, university leaders said they would reevaluate the need for the face-covering requirement on Sept. 7 following the Labor Day holiday. Campus athletics departments will make decisions regarding requirements at indoor athletic facilities.

Knox County, home to the UT system’s flagship campus, reported a new all-time high in active COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.

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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