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University Response to COVID-19

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COVID-19 Information

Tennessee Wesleyan University is closely monitoring the evolving situation of COVID-19. We have been, and will continue, following recommendations made by public health agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 

As we wrap up the Fall 2020 semester, school administrators are already looking forward to Spring 2021. In a message to TWU faculty and staff, Dr. Knowles outlined the spring back to campus action plan. 

 

Back Together Community Action Plan

 

COVID Testing Requirement - As with most colleges, one of the greatest concerns of the University is the period when students first return to the campus after being away from the area.  Because of the current uptick in cases across the globe, the start of the spring semester is a heightened time for concern because we may experience a significant campus surge in active cases.  Therefore, we will be requiring all residential students, athletes, international students who have left the country during the break, and allied health students who will be in clinical rotations this spring to get tested in the first few days of returning to campus. 

 

TWU has received federal funding to offer this testing at no charge while the test kits remain available. The purpose of this testing effort is to identify people who are infected and asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic so that we can take early steps to prevent rapid community spread at the beginning of the spring semester.   The groups noted above are included in this testing program because of their living situation, international travel, or close contact with others because of sports participation or clinical requirements. We will have more specifics regarding the testing schedule and locations of the campus testing sites soon.  Exceptions to this requirement are the following:  online students, students who are on clinical rotations away from the main campus or instructional sites, commuter students, and students who are otherwise taking classes exclusively remotely. 

 

Commuters and Employees- We are urging, but not requiring, all commuting students (who are also not in the groups previously noted) to also get tested by their health care provider, health department, or through the campus testing program (depending on tests availability).  We are also suggesting that all employees get tested if possible by a health care provider of their choice.  As noted above, the purpose of this testing effort is to identify people who are positive for the virus and  asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic so that we can take early steps to prevent rapid community spread at the beginning of the spring semester.  Of course, if you are experiencing symptoms we strongly urge you to stay isolated at home and get tested as soon as possible.  Incidentally, as of today, many CVS locations are conducting free testing. 

 

Flu Shots - Please get one if you have not already.  It is not too late!

 

Cleaning and Filtration System - During the Holiday Break, the University will be doing thorough cleaning in residence halls, academic facilities, and applying another application of the bio protectant that kills the COVID virus when it comes in contact and is effective for 60 or more days in all indoor facilities.  We ask that you leave all air and heating units on during the break period so that the I-Wave Filtration System that kills the COVID virus can continue to operate throughout the campus and instructional sites during the break. 

 

Monitoring the Ongoing Pandemic - The COVID Management Team (CMT) will continue to monitor the virus activity in the region through the break and update the COVID webpage and send out notifications and reminders. 

 

Technology Upgrades - The University has continued to upgrade the computer network and related hardware throughout the fall in the unlikely chance we will need to take all classes online.  We will continue to prepare the campus and instructional sites for that possibility, but it is our sincere desire to be in-seat again for the spring semester.

 

Spring Calendar Changes - As you may recall, the University administration also made the decision to eliminate spring break next semester.  As a result, we have shortened the spring semester accordingly and have moved commencement exercises one week earlier to April 30 and May 1.  More to come on this.  Also, faculty are encouraged to build in (where appropriate) 2 mental health days into their course schedule.  These dates must be clearly indicated in course syllabi for the fall and represent days where there will be no class and no assignments.

 

Core Actions – As you have heard for the last 10 months, the core actions are the best defense against the virus until vaccines are widely available.  As we have experienced this semester, most of the cases at TWU have been from infections related to exposure with family and friends off the campus.  Consequently, I hope you will make a promise to yourself, to your family and friends, and to your University family to take the necessary precautions to stay well and prevent becoming a carrier of the virus that threatens others’ health and ability to stay together.  It appears we have a few more months to remain vigilant before we can begin to “Let our Mask Down.”  Please help us stay together as a learning community by practicing the core actions and proudly demonstrating your concern for and commitment to the Bulldog Family!

 

Reporting Positive Tests

Please be reminded to notify the Student Life Office (in the case of students by emailing Dr. Mashburn at smashburn@tnwesleyan.edu ) or Human Resources (in the case of employees by emailing Mr. Kyle Fulbright at kfulbright@tnwesleyan.edu ) should you test positive over the break or during the spring semester.  This allows us to track active cases, conduct tracing, monitor the level of spread, and the information may positively impact the duration of quarantine should you have a future exposure.

 

 

The above steps are in addition to the plan that was implemented in the fall. The back to school plan provides an in-depth look at how classes are changing, how we are cleaning campus and steps students, faculty and staff should take to help make this a successful semester. 

 

Back to School Plan

The FAQ is a quick reference to what we expect as students make their way back to campus.

 RETURN TO CAMPUS FAQ

The COVID Protocol will guide students and employees on how to report symptoms and/or positive tests. 

COVID Protocol

 

Below are resources for the campus and greater community, where you will find the most current information and updates.

TWU has had a successful fall semester in seat with no evidence of COVID spread in academic settings.  However, some students who were in-seat in the fall may require remote instruction for the spring due to changes in life circumstances.  If you are in a high-risk category or cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, please submit request form and send it by email (with documentation) to your advisor by Jan. 6, 2021.  Please note restrictions and student responsibilities on the form. 

During this time, the most effective way to contact campus offices is through email. Below are email addresses for several offices on campus.

Admissions: admissions@tnwesleyan.edu 
Registrar: registrar@tnwesleyan.edu 
Financial Aid: lweese@tnwesleyan.edu 
Business Office (Student Financial Services): financialservices@tnwesleyan.edu 
Student Life: studentlife@tnwesleyan.edu 

Starting Wednesday, March 18, 2020, all classes will be delivered online.

The date to withdraw from classes has been extended to April 28. Contact the Mosher Success Center if you or your student needs assistance with this process.

Students: Taking a Class Remotely in the event of Closure
Faculty: Teaching Remotely in the event of Closure

The computer lab in the Colloms Campus Center will remain open 24-hours a day.

The Library Learning Commons is closed as of 3/20/19. See below for details on how to access library resources.

The following exceptions apply only to the incoming class for fall 2020.

ACT or SAT Test Requirement
Due to the cancellation of ACT and SAT tests, the standardized test requirement will become optional for students.
Students will be required to have a 2.75 unweighted GPA for acceptance without a test score.
A new matrix will be created to financially award students without a test score. Students with a 2.75 GPA will receive $8,000 on the new scale.
Students who were previously referred to the Enrollment & Academic Standing Committee will be accepted if they meet the 2.75 GPA requirement.
Students without a test score and with a GPA between 2.25 and 2.75 may appeal to the enrollment and academic status committee following the guidelines outlined for appeals in the Academic Catalog.

English Proficiency Requirement

Students will be allowed to use the current online TOEFL test to meet the English proficiency requirement, so long as their country is offering the online TOEFL.
For this incoming class, Duolingo’s English Test may be used to prove English proficiency.

Due to the uncertainty surrounding the spread of COVID-19, we are opening registration one week earlier than what is posted on the Academic Calendar.  As you prepare for class registration we wanted to let you know students may register as follows for the Fall 2020 term:

Monday, March 16, 2020 = Seniors (must have 90+ earned hours)
Tuesday, March 17, 2020 = Juniors (must have 60-89 earned hours)
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 = Sophomores (must have 28-59 earned hours)
Thursday, March 19, 2020 = Freshmen (must have 0-27 earned hours)
Friday, March 20, 2020 = open for all students

The student classification status is based on the current earned hours (not counting what you are enrolled in for this term because those hours haven’t been earned yet).  If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact our office.  We’ll be happy to assist but please double check your classification and any holds first that could prevent registration.

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced the cancellation of 2020 spring sports season on Monday, March 16. This cancellation affects the sports of baseball, softball, men's and women's golf, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's lacrosse, and men's and women's outdoor track and field.

Continue to follow Bulldogs Athletics on the web, Facebook and Twitter.

Clinical and field experiences and internships depend on input and consideration of outside organizations. During the period in which in-seat courses are moved online, these experiences may be able to continue as scheduled. It is also possible that these activities may be conducted remotely, be postponed, or be canceled. As decisions are made in these areas, TWU will rely on guidance from accreditors, school systems, and health systems.

Students involved in these experiences will receive communications from placement coordinators in their programs.

Education
The TWU Education Department is currently following the two guidelines provided by the Tennessee Department of Education for potentially necessary deviations from student teaching requirements.

The TWU Education Dept. is communicating with district partners where student teachers are currently placed and requesting that, provided both parties are in agreement, student teachers continue to report to their placement site and follow the district/school calendar.
In the event of placement district or school temporary closure, the TWU Education Dept. will consider possible alternate placement sites in other partner districts and schools. And if the placement district is providing online instruction, the TWU Education Dept. has recommended that student teachers may also support mentor teachers in providing and planning for online instruction.

As of March 16, the TN Dept. of Education did not anticipate that closures will impact eligibility for licensure; however, if closures extend beyond the month of March, the department will re-evaluate in coordination with affected stakeholders and communicate accordingly.

In addition, the TWU Education Dept. has suspended clinical experiences prior to student teaching occurring in schools till the end of the semester. Clinical experiences prior to student teaching will be completed with alternative online options provided by course instructors.

Please direct any questions to:
Education Dept. Program Director, Beau M Whitsett, PhD
bwhistett@tnwesleyan.edu 

Social Work
Social Work Field Placement students will continue direct contact hours in field placement sites that are still open and operational with the assurance of safety for the student and approval of the agency.  Students still engaged in direct contact hours are to follow the directive of the agency with the consultation of TWU Field Education Director, Field Instructors and Task Supervisors.  If a student is unable to continue direct contact hours, a contingency plan can be requested to work remotely for completion of field placement hours.

Tennessee Wesleyan University Social Work Program has developed a plan to address temporary disruption to students’ social work field placements due to national or local events such as communicable diseases and natural disasters.

If this type of event impacts the Social Work Program at Tennessee Wesleyan University, please review the following information regarding Field Education:

Students should contact the field instructor and/or task supervisor to work together if there are mandatory agency closures and follow the directive of the agency.
If the field placement is in a setting where additional support is needed, such as a hospital or disaster relief agency, we encourage students to make every effort to attend field as scheduled.

Students may attend field placements as scheduled with the assurance from the field placement of the safety for the field placement student.
Student must contact Field Education Director to request the option of working remotely.  Field Education Director will assess student’s rationale for the approval of an individualized work plan (see below).
Field Education Director will contact field instructors/task supervisors to discuss student request. Field Education Director will provide consultation on possible ideas of tasks for individualized work plans.

Please direct any questions to:
Field Education Director, Tammy Walker, MSSW
twalker@tnwesleyan.edu  423-746-5311

Convocations and chapel services have been canceled. Credits for the semester have been waived.

Chapels are still being recorded and shared via social media and the student Wesleyan Weekly. 

The dining hall will operate on a weekend schedule. If a student would like a to go box, they will be allowed one per meal.

Burkett's will be open from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Dining services is open to the on-campus community take-out only at this time.

On the recommendation from our partner physician, Dr. Breeden from Covenant Pediatrics, the Campus Health Clinic will close after the end of clinic hours on Friday, March 27, 2020.  The Covenant Pediatrics office is more adequately equipped to safeguard clinic personnel and TWU students during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

The office will continue to serve students through the remainder of the academic year. Should services be needed, students may call our office at 423-744-8755 and identify themselves as a TWU student. The staff will triage over the phone and together they will decide on the appropriate medical approach. TeleHealth is being offered as an option for patients who do not need to be seen in person, and outside testing is available as needed.

Students are also encouraged to use one of three walk-in clinics in town.

Fast Pace Health Urgent Care Athens
Urgent care center
1019 Decatur Pike
Open ⋅ Closes 8 p.m.
(423) 746-5973

Athens Family Practice Walk In Clinic
Walk-in clinic
711 Cook Dr Ste. 100
Open ⋅ Closes 6 p.m.
(423) 746-2907

Athens Walk In Clinic
Walk-in clinic
2324 Congress Pkwy S
Open ⋅ Closes 4:30 p.m.
(423) 745-2266

Dear International Students,

As you may have heard already, classes at Tennessee Wesleyan University will be canceled Monday and Tuesday, March 16 and 17 2020. Wednesday, March 18 2020, all classes will move online until April 06, 2020. However, the dining Hall, and offices will be open on campus, but all campus activities will be cancelled until April 6, 2020. On that day, the situation on campus will be accessed based on nationwide evaluation for further decisions. International students should know that per the presidential executive order dated March 11, 2020, all travels from Europe (except UK), and China in route to the US, will not be permitted, except for travelers that are United States citizens or permanent residents (Green card holder). Even though all classes are going online, I would strongly recommend that all international students avoid international travels at this time, and stay on campus until further notice, in order to minimize the risk of contamination, and also to avoid being stuck outside the country, as we do not know what decisions will be coming from the US government in the days to come in terms of travel restrictions. Should you have any questions regarding this information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Dr. Augustin Bocco

Contact: library@tnwesleyan.edu
Phone: 423-746-5250
Hours:
Monday-Thurday: 8:30am to 10:00pm 
Friday: 8:30am-5:00pm
Sunday: 2:00pm-8:00pm

The Library is open and observing all social distancing and mask-wearing practices. You can contact us by email:  library@tnwesleyan.edu, and call us on Teams: TWC-Library.

Make a research appointment with a librarian.

Library seating has been moved and some computer stations blocked off to allow for social distancing. There are plenty of quiet, individual study spaces and a few distanced seating areas for small groups. Refer to our web site for more info.

Please help us stay open by wearing your mask at all times!

Thousands of resources (e-books, journal articles, databases, streaming films, music files, images) are available 24/7 online by going to our website. Use the Discovery search box, or go to All Databases to choose an individual database. The “Research Guides” are great for choosing resources in your subject. Academic Search Complete  is an excellent source for journal articles in all subjects.

Meet online with a librarian for help by signing up for an online research appointment via email, phone, or Skype. Use the Jotform to sign up for an appointment.

Interlibrary loan- we can get electronic articles for you from other schools that we don’t have. Use the online form to request interlibrary loan.

Log in from off campus using your usual TWU credentials.

Find additional info and resources on the Library Resources During COVID-19 page.

Service is a central tenet at TWU. How do we continue to serve our Athens community when we’re practicing social distancing? Enter Love Thy Neighbor. Our food pantry is open and going strong for students and the community. TWU staff have stepped up to fill the void of student volunteers and will be filling orders and stocking shelves to help meet the needs of our community.

Thunder Fitness Center is closed.
The Game Room in Colloms will be open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. until April 6, but equipment will not be available for check out.
The physical campus bookstore will be closed. Shop anytime at https://www.bkstr.com/tennesseewesleyanstore/home.

Residence halls will remain open for students who wish to stay on campus. For students finishing the semester at home, check-out procedures will begin the afternoon of March 17. Please check with your RA for complete details.

Students leaving campus must complete check-out by 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 29. Resident students need to turn in mailbox keys and provide a forwarding address to the mailroom staff before leaving campus.

Spring 2020 Commencement has been postponed and will be held on Friday, August 7 at. 7 p.m.

Although classes will be delivered online, all support services will continue to be offered. Campus remains open, including buildings, dining areas and academic resources. Therefore, refunds are not being issued since students do have access to these for the rest of the spring semester.

During this period of online classes, students may not work on campus. Work scholarship students will not be penalized for incomplete hours. Federal Work Study students will be paid the exact same amount as last month. Time sheets do not need to be submitted this month. For any questions on this, please email me at lweese@tnwesleyan.edu

Staff Resources for working remotely.

IT Services will be shifting our priorities to supporting the campus’ transition to remote delivery of course content and remote provisioning of administrative services. We are fortunate as an institution in that we have the infrastructure in place to enable us to conduct much of our activities remotely without adversely affecting business processes.

To that end, given the dependence required on the IT staff to ensure a rapid and successful transition, we will be focusing our resources in the coming days on supporting faculty and administrative offices in adapting to electronic mediums of service delivery. During this period, please expect delays in face-to-face and physically-delivered support. We will be maintaining a limited number of on-campus staff during this time to provide physical support as needed.

To help with teaching, learning and working remotely, visit the IT website for the most current resources. This website will be updated as the current situation continues to develop.

Allied Health includes:  Dental Hygiene, Nursing, and Occupational Therapy

TWU’s allied health disciplines will follow Center for Disease Control (CDC), accrediting agencies, and institutional guidelines for providing direct patient care during the COVID 19 outbreak.   In the interest of student safety, we are requesting to limit student direct care of known or suspected cases of COVID 19 infection.
Effective 04/06/2020: Dental Hygiene will suspend all clinic visits until May 1 to coincide with the American Dental Association’s recommendation to cancel all non-emergent care. TWU Administration will continue to monitor ADA, CODA and CDC recommendations during this time.
As of 3/23/2020, Nursing:  For the safety of our students and clinical faculty and in response to the Knox Co. Health Dept. “safer at home” order issued earlier today, TWU-FSN will cancel all direct patient care clinical activities, effective March 23, 2020, for the remainder of the semester.   Course Coordinators will communicate directly with students regarding alternative assignments for the remaining clinical hours. Additional clinical assignments may be required in all courses.

Senior students who have logged 180 cumulative clinical hours between Advanced Nursing and Leadership/Management are considered to have met the direct patient care requirements for the last semester.  Senior preceptorships may continue in lower risk areas of the hospital, at the student’s own discretion, and in collaboration with Covenant Health administration.

The Knoxville Nursing office will be closed for the remainder of the semester.  Faculty and staff will be working remotely during this time.  If you need access to the building, notify Dr. Vesser in advance by calling 865-924-8535.

Occupational Therapy students are not scheduled in direct patient care settings at this time.

CDC screening recommendations will be utilized for all students and faculty working in a direct patient care environment.  Screening includes history of international travel, signs or symptoms of infection, fever, shortness of breath.  All TWU nursing students and faculty who were in Nicaragua for spring break have been cleared by Covenant Health to fully participate in clinical activities.

Exposure to COVID 19: Anyone who has been exposed to a person with a positive COVID 19 or anyone exhibiting signs or symptoms are to self-quarantine for 14 days.  If we suspect someone has COVID 19, we will report to the appropriate TWU Administration and the local health department.

All healthcare providers are to wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol before and after patient contact.

All healthcare providers are to use personal protective equipment appropriate for the procedures performed.

CDC recommends social distancing - approximately 6 feet or 2 meters - between people whenever possible.  When clinic visits resume, dental hygiene appointments will be scheduled to minimize possible contact with other patients in the waiting room.  Patients will be asked to arrive on time for their appointments, rather than too early to minimize time in the waiting room or reception area.

References

Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (no date). [Letter to Program Directors]. Available at https://contentsharing.net/actions/email_web_version.cfm?ep=meYaBzu0RnsdhC7q46zmbKWgFLKfuWgdBc4wO0tX8FsCkUI1F2Y43XjbmwCsTpTJbSHjDrRs4esTWwrZi-Ow24XBvCGQRR31vo7U_GrdrnxiEokrxafIjaf11Egqjuvy

American Association of Colleges of Nursing (March 12, 2020). Consideration for COVID-19 Preparedness and response in U.S. schools of nursing. Available at https://www.aacnnursing.org/News-Information/News/View/ArticleId/24590/AACN-Considerations-COVID19

American Dental Association (March 16, 2020).  ADA recommending dentists postpone elective procedures. Available at https://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2020-archive/march/ada-recommending-dentists-postpone-elective-procedures

American Dental Association (March 11, 2020). Coronavirus frequently asked questions. Available at https://success.ada.org/en/practice-management/patients/coronavirus-frequently-asked-questions

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). Coronavirus (COVID-19). Available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Commission on Dental Accreditation (April 3, 2020). Post-CODA meeting guidance on interruption of education related to COVID-19 for the class of 2020. Available at  https://www.ada.org/en/coda/accreditation/accreditation-news

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (March 12, 2020). Information regarding coronavirus impact on CCNE-accredited baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs.  Available at https://www.aacnnursing.org/CCNE

As healthcare providers, we are committed to ensuring the safety of faculty, students, staff, patients, families, and communities.  We are called upon to role-model healthy behaviors every day.  We must remain calm, use our best judgment, apply the scientific principles of disease containment, and continue our commitment to improving individual and population health outcomes (CCNE, 2020).

As of March 23, there will be no campus events until the end of April, at which point the situation will be reevaluated. Specific event information is below.
3/14/20 - Experience Wesleyan will continue as planned.
3/16/20 - 4/6/20 All individual campus visits will be canceled. Contact the Admissions Office to schedule a virtual tour, or to learn how you can still visit campus during this time.
3/19/20 - Scholarship Luncheon canceled. Please contact the Advancement Office with questions.
3/24/20 - Heritage Day canceled
3/28/20 - Choose Blue canceled
4/4/20 - ACT has decided to reschedule the April 4, 2020 National ACT® test date to our June 13 and July 18 test dates in response to concerns regarding the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
4/17/20 - University Square event postponed. New date is to be determined.
5/16/20 - Dwain Farmer Golf Tournament has been rescheduled for July 18.
June ACT has been cancelled; July still on as scheduled.

Recent Communication

 

Official University communication began on February 20, 2020. TWU has used the website, social media, email and SchoolCast to communicate with the campus community.

 

Dr. Knowles updated the class of 2020 on Spring Commencement activities. 

Message from Dr. Scott Mashburn to students about ongoing efforts from TWU during the COVID-19 crisis.

Message from Dr. Harley Knowles to students discusses moving all classes online the remainder of the spring semester.

University administrators will meet Friday, March 13 to determine immediate next steps for students, faculty and staff. A detailed release will be provided to the campus community and shared on the University website.

The AAC has suspended all weekend games, and the NAIA has cancelled all winter championship tournaments. Presidents and Athletic Directors will meet tomorrow to discuss the remaining season.

Visit, www.twbulldogs.com for updates to schedules.

A message sent from the Vice President for Student Life, Scott Mashburn, provides updates to campus as information continues to surface this week.
Food services has increased the frequency that staff cleans the serving and food preparation surfaces, employees are washing their hands every 15 minutes to reduce risks, and we are not permitting personal drink containers to be used at the drink machines in the dining hall or Burkett’s. 
Aramark, as a corporation, has implemented steps to address cleaning and serving should the situation impact us.
Housekeeping will continue to clean high contact surfaces such as door knobs, handles, and desks to reduce risks.
A team of administrators will meet at least once a week to review the current status of COVID-19 and will make additional decisions, as needed, for our campus.  The next meeting is currently scheduled for Friday, March 13.

Members of the campus community are also encouraged to monitor the CDC’s website for additional information regarding COVID-19.

The school is scheduled for Spring Break, which means many of our students and faculty will be traveling. We have two international trips planned during the week, with groups traveling to Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Neither location is currently identified on the CDC’s confirmed cases list. Staff in Student Life offices are also collecting names of community members who plan on international travel during the yearly break.
Facilities staff will use the break to increase current cleaning efforts by focusing on high-contact areas such as classrooms, desks, doorknobs and common gathering spaces. The disinfectant that we are currently using has received approval from CDC and EPA to include a kill claim for COVID-19. Their recommendation for cleaning is identical to the recommendations for the flu.

The campus nurse is also following prevention recommendations from the CDC and encourages all campus community members to practice everyday habits to prevent the spread of several viruses.
1. Stay home if you are sick.
2. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
3. Wash your hands multiple times a day, especially after you come in contact with public areas.

The University will continue to monitor recommendations by the CDC and other agencies related to COVID-19. We will update this webpage to share new information.