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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).


On Tuesday, October 6, Dr. Knowles emailed the campus community to share a recent uptick in testing resulting in positive cases.



Dear TWU Family,

I am writing to provide an update regarding the continuing challenges associated with the COVID pandemic. We have had a recent uptick in campus cases in the last couple of days. As you may have seen in the Wesleyan Weekly yesterday, our positivity rate has been low. However, we have begun doing rapid testing in the Health Center for those who are exhibiting symptoms or those who have had direct exposure to people who have tested positive. We are also doing significant contact tracing on campus, which has led to students being directed to the Health Center. As the rapid testing (results in 20 minutes) is ongoing, we are beginning to see an increase in positivity. We have had approximately 17 positive cases and about 100 students in quarantine because of exposure to the 17 positive cases.

The majority of positive cases and people in quarantine are student-athletes who are showing mild to no symptoms. In several cases, we are quarantining entire athletic teams out of an abundance of caution. The people in quarantine are only those who have had direct contact for more than 15 minutes with someone who has tested positive. Students who have tested positive are required to go into isolation. Most have chosen to return home and isolate there. We have a few who cannot get home and so they are isolating in single rooms in a section of a residence hall designated for isolation. They are being checked on regularly, and food is being delivered.

While I am proud of the many steps we have taken to keep our campus safe, we must continue to follow the CDC core action recommendations diligently. Our greatest vulnerability is when we let our guard down (or mask down) and forget to keep our physical distance from one another. We must be vigilant because the virus is virulent. Your assistance is vital to keeping our campus community physically together, albeit at a distance. We need your help by doing the following:
  • Please remain vigilant about the core actions, including in the evenings and on the weekends.
  • Please thank students and others with whom you see utilizing the core actions.
  • Please monitor your own health and temperature and make an appointment to be tested on campus or at the local health department if you are having symptoms.
  • Please utilize the Microsoft Teams platform as often as you can to avoid large group meetings.
  • Please get your flu shot.
We will continue to provide updates as the situation changes. Thank you all for your persistence, patience and prayers!
Dr. Harley Knowles, President
Tennessee Wesleyan University

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TWU faculty and staff are excited to welcome students back to campus for the Fall 2020 semester. The campus community has been hard at work to prepare a safe place for students. 


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.


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 is excited to be back in-seat in the fall. However, some students fall into a high-risk category due to COVID-19 and should consider taking courses remotely. Also, some students cannot comply with TWU requirements to wear a mask for medical reasons.
If you fall into either of these groups and need to take courses remotely, complete the form and send it by email (with documentation) to your advisor by Aug. 10.
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.

Financial Aid: 
Business Office (Student Financial Services): 
Student Life: 

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.

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 

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  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.


Dr. Augustin Bocco

Phone: 423-746-5250
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:, 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

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

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.


Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (no date). [Letter to Program Directors]. Available at

American Association of Colleges of Nursing (March 12, 2020). Consideration for COVID-19 Preparedness and response in U.S. schools of nursing. Available at

American Dental Association (March 16, 2020).  ADA recommending dentists postpone elective procedures. Available at

American Dental Association (March 11, 2020). Coronavirus frequently asked questions. Available at

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). Coronavirus (COVID-19). Available at

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

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

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, 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.