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UT announces new COVID-19 rules temporarily blocking all visitation to on-campus dorms and Greek houses

The new rules will last at least until September 27 after COVID-19 cases in students began to spike in several clusters, including at a dorm recently.

The University of Tennessee announced new rules lasting through at least September 27 to get the recent spread of COVID-19 under control among students and staff.

The new rules will block all visitation to any housing that's on campus during this time, with Chancellor Donde Plowman saying only residents of dorms or Greek houses should enter those buildings.

Eat-in campus dining will also no longer be offered during this time, and all indoor in-person events on campus have been canceled for the next two weeks. Outdoor events and socially distant academic activities/research will be allowed with precautions in place.

In-person classes will continue.

The new rules come after clusters of COVID-19 cases were found at several sororities and one of the dorms recently. As of Thursday, September 10 -- UT reported 662 active cases both on and off campus. 923 students on-campus were in self-isolation after either testing positive, showing symptoms or being around someone confirmed with COVID-19.

Here is the full list UT's newest rules:

  • No visitation in any on-campus housing. Only residents who live in the building should enter a residence hall or Greek house, and only roommates or suite mates should be together in individual rooms. All common spaces that are not already closed will be closed.
  • All on-campus dining will be converted to carryout. Dining options and procedures will remain the same, but there will be no eat-in dining during this time. All dining in Greek houses is also grab-and-go only.
  • TRECS will be closed for two weeks. Fitness classes and instructor training can be held outside or virtually. The outdoor pool will remain open and outdoor intramurals will continue.
  • All indoor in-person campus events are canceled during this two-week period. Socially distant academic programming and research, outdoor events with safety precautions in place, and virtual events will continue.
  • In-person classes and research will continue. Contact tracing indicates that classrooms and current levels of research activity have not contributed to the spread of COVID-19.
  • Social gatherings on campus should be held outdoors, follow CDC guidance for social distancing, and require that all attendees wear masks.
  • Off-campus social gatherings should similarly be held outdoors or follow the Knox County Board of Health’s recommendation for indoor activities, limiting gatherings to no more than 25 people in a 900-square-foot space. In addition, students hosting any gatherings are responsible for making sure that attendees are following CDC guidance regarding social distancing and mask wearing.