BY JASMINE WILLIAMS
MARTIN (July 13) — In the June 17, 2020 edition of the Dresden Enterprise, UT Martin Chancellor Keith Carver spoke with the Enterprise about the upcoming fall semester. Many details about the start of fall classes and sports were still being discussed. This week Chancellor Carver gave an update on the upcoming fall semester and fall sports.
The fall semester is still on track to start August 17, will not include a day off for Labor Day or a fall break. All classes are currently scheduled to conclude the week of Thanksgiving. After the holiday, all final exams and other assignments will be done online. Carver also reported that just under 50% of all classes will be conducted virtually this semester. The rest of the classes will either be a hybrid of online and in-person or in-person solely.
With the increase of confirmed and probable cases in Weakley County and the state, the university is currently monitoring the daily case count of Tennessee and other states in the region. Carver did say he hoped the university can complete the semester with students and faculty on campus. However, the university is working to ensure that if the campus must go completely online, it will be an easy transition for students and staff.
Parts of the university are currently having desk shields installed for offices to protect students and workers to ensure that germs might not spread through talking.
Students, faculty, and staff will be asked to wear masks while on the campus and especially when in groups. Masks will be given to those who need them for the fall semester.
The university is making sure that the college is ready for going online with internet hot-spots. These internet hotspots will be used by students who might not be able to have internet access at home. These hotspots can be utilized on campus or at a person’s home. Information about how to access internet hotspots will be sent to students.
For housing, the campus will continue to focus on cleaning. Carver reported that housing will not be at full capacity this fall. In resident halls, areas will remain empty if a person must be quarantined.
For fall events, such as movie nights and homecoming, there will be many changes. For in-person events, there will be the use of RSVP to ensure that room spacing and crowds are managed to prevent any close contact. For homecoming, the university is still looking to ensure that homecoming events many look forward to can still happen. Carver mentioned that some events for Homecoming could be held online.
For Greek organizations, recruiting will be allowed, but will be handled virtually, as will meetings for these organizations.
The university is also looking at all athletic programs to ensure all athletes, staff, and fans are safe.
Carver said he is hopeful all fall sports will finish their seasons on time and in full. The Ohio Valley Conference and NCAA are in close contact with UT Martin to ensure that fans and athletes are protected. Carver said UT Martin will follow every guideline issued by those organizations.
Athletes will have temperature checks and are being taught the signs of COVID-19. They will also be asked to have appointments with doctors if they feel unwell.
For fans, there could be changes with attendance and seating. Members of the university are currently discussing the seating of fans outside and inside. They are also looking at the possibility of having stadiums physically marked with where to sit.
Fans could also see temperature checks and mandatory masks for attending sporting events. Carver said fans may have to wear masks and have their temperatures checked, but that will depend on the local and state case counts before that is necessary.
For bathrooms, the flow of traffic will be taken into account. There may be a maximum number of people allowed at once placed on bathrooms.
Even with all of these changes, the university will continue to prioritize cleaning all areas where fans, athletes, and staff might be in contact with.
Many changes to fan attendance will depend on the number of active coronavirus cases by the time the fall semester starts.
BY JASMINE WILLIAMS