KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL)- The University of Tennessee-Knoxville Chancellor Donde Plowman gave an update Tuesday via Zoom after it was reported that 75 people on campus tested positive for COVID-19.
Plowman confirmed on that call that UT-Knoxville now has its first “cluster” of COVID-19 cases.
“It was related to an off-campus party at Laurel Avenue last Tuesday,” she said during Tuesday’s call.
Plowman added, “We know students have missed their friends and they want to connect but they have to do it safely, and if they are on this call you have to do it safely and doing it safely means not in large gatherings and without your mask or staying socially distant.”
She also made it very clear that there will be consequences for students that do not comply with COVID-19 guidelines.
“The harshest punishment I can think about for someone who willfully does not cooperate with contact tracing or filling out the self-isolation form. This is what is going to preserve our community’s ability to manage through this. If students do not cooperate, you could be expelled, so just listen to that very carefully. If students do not cooperate with contact tracers or with filling out the self-isolation form we will pursue if we need to student conduct and ultimately expelling a student from campus,” Plowman said.
“We can only make decisions based on the information that’s provided to us and, so, the goal of contact tracing is not to be punitive. It’s to provide protection to the community as a whole and that’s why that information has to be quickly forthcoming and honest,” said Dr. Spencer Gregg, Director of the Student Health Center, “When you fail to participate, you’re failing to help others in need and that’s certainly not consistent with the volunteer spirit.”
Plowman said 24 of 240 total isolation beds are currently in use.