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Safety in classrooms and instructional labs

Safety practices include measures to create physical distance, enhanced cleaning, and use of disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, and face coverings.

Updated: January 15, 2021

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Classrooms have been reconfigured to increase physical distance.
  • Facilities Services has implemented enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures.
  • Disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer are available.
  • Instructor resources include safety training and guidance on teaching strategies.

Safety practices in classrooms and instructional labs include measures to create physical distance, enhanced cleaning, and use of sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, and face coverings.

Classroom plans for physical distancing

Classrooms have been reconfigured to increase physical distance among students and instructors. Unnecessary furniture has been removed, and fixed seating is marked to show where students should sit to stay socially distant. In rooms with movable furniture, floors are marked to ensure safe placement of chairs.

Rooms include defined instructional space to indicate boundaries between students and instructors for appropriate physical distancing.

Use of physical barriers such as plexiglass will be limited in favor of face coverings, which offer more flexibility for movement.

View the Facilities Services classroom plans.

Physical distancing practices

  • Avoid being within six feet of any other person for more than 15 minutes cumulatively over 24 hours.
  • Consider going paperless rather than using handouts.
  • If you do have handouts or other materials that need to be distributed in class, consider placing them on desks before students arrive or leaving them at a central location where students can pick them up in turn while maintaining distance.
  • Consider wearing gloves when collecting papers and other materials from students. If you do not wear gloves, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after handling materials. Avoid touching your face until you have washed your hands.

Use of technology

Classes are taught as face-to-face, hybrid, or fully online. The use of hybrid courses, which combine online and in-person instruction, is a substantial change. Hybrid courses provide some in-person instruction while helping enhance physical distancing across campus.

The Office of Information Technology has installed equipment to support real-time hybrid instruction. The technology also enables lectures to be recorded so that if a student must miss class, the course content will be available to view on demand.

Enhanced cleaning

Facilities Services has implemented enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Disinfecting wipes

Disinfecting wipes are available in classroom buildings. Students and instructors are encouraged to pick up a wipe on the way into classrooms and wipe down their work areas and classroom technology such as wireless microphones, keyboards, and podium touch pads.

Hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is conveniently located in classroom buildings.

Learn more about handwashing.

Face coverings

Face coverings are required in classrooms, instructional labs, and many other campus areas.

Face shields are not required for general use but provide added protection when combined with a face covering. Face shields can be especially helpful in environments where the risk of exposure to droplets, splashes, or sprays to the face is increased. A shield protects the entire face, is easy to clean, and prevents the person wearing it from touching their face.

The university will supply face coverings and face shields.

View requirements to wear face coverings.

Resources for instructors

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.