Return to Campus

Guidelines for Re-opening the University

The Plan for Return to Campus

NOTE: COVID-19 Testing in University Health Services will be unavailable Thursday, January 28 and Friday, January 29. University Health Services will re-open Monday, February 1 and will resume testing the same day at 9 am

As we face the current COVID-19 crisis and the uncertainty that surrounds it, we hope you are safe, healthy, and taking care of yourselves. We appreciate your patience while we have developed and finalized our plan to return to campus. First and foremost, your safety is our top priority. We continue to monitor local, state, and national public health alerts and seek guidance from health care experts. For a list of testing sites, visit: TSU Health Center or State of TN Testing Sites.

TSU is taking important steps to ensure the health and safety of our students. These include but are not limited to the following:


  • Face coverings are required to be worn at all times when in a public place.
  • Face coverings distributed to students, faculty, and staff.
  • Social distancing precautions are implemented at all times.
  • Download COVID19 App (Self-assessment & Contact tracing):
    IOS | Android
  • Students and employees are encouraged to wash their hands throughout the day.
  • Students are encouraged to keep their electronic devices in wipeable covers, and to apply disinfectant wipes to their devices often throughout the day.
  • Flu shots are strongly recommended for all students.


  • Desk shields available in areas that have been identified as at-risk.
  • Classrooms are being assessed to determine the number of students that can occupy the room, based on CDC guidelines.
  • Computer labs are being marked to determine the number of persons allowed to use the lab at the same time.
  • Appropriate cleaning and disinfecting of desks and high-touch surfaces occur throughout the day for classes, labs, and public areas between usage.
  • Technology expanded to provide greater services through utilization of technology.


  • Shields installed at service areas throughout the campus to provide a safe communication space.
  • Stations located throughout the campus to allow persons to frequently sanitize their hands.
  • All buildings are regularly cleaned and sanitized.
  • Thorough ongoing cleaning of all campus facilities including residence halls, student apartments, dining halls, and all buildings.
  • Social distancing stickers placed throughout the campus to identify the required six-feet distance.
  • Shuttle services modified to accommodate the ability to transport fewer passengers.



  • A non-emergency COVID-19 phone line and email have been established for reporting concerns.
    (615) 963-6888  |


We have implemented a multifaceted and integrated plan for COVID-19 surveillance, testing, and early warning. This includes 5 key components that will allow us to reopen and operate the campus, with early identification of virus cases as a critical element to limit outbreaks.

  1. DAILY MONITORING: We will conduct daily monitoring of temperature and any onset of symptoms by all faculty, staff, and students who enter campus. We also strongly encourage self-monitoring. Additionally, the Office of Emergency Management and the Campus Health Center will implement a system for contact tracing and will include safeguards to protect personal data and privacy. If there are symptoms, diagnostic testing will be required. If the test is positive, consultation with a health care provider and isolation will be mandatory.
  2. TESTING AT CHECK-IN: Testing is available at the time a student checks into the residence halls. Self-test kits are available for any student, faculty or staff member who request a kit. We will make population surveillance testing to ascertain the baseline infection rate on campus a top priority. Our goal is to make this testing available to all students, faculty, and staff who wish to be tested.
  3. CONTACT-TRACING: We will continue to work closely with the Tennessee Department of Health for contact tracing. For any positive diagnostic test results, we will operationalize the protocols in place, and will follow the state reporting guidelines. A contact tracing team will be in place to identify potential secondary cases to limit the spread of infection. We have also established our own early contract tracing.
  4. ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING: The campus family will be a part of comprehensive environmental monitoring. We are asking all employees to monitor wastewater, air, and high-touch surfaces in campus buildings. This early warning system can help identify areas of concern to help prevent additional outbreaks.
  5. CAMPUS FAMILY BEHAVIOR: Behavioral changes are vital to ensure the safety and well-being of the campus family. These behavioral changes include wearing a face covering at all times, staying 6 feet apart from others, frequent handwashing, and staying at home when sick.

View Fall 2020 Operations Guide >>


The semester began August 17 and ends by Thanksgiving. Final examinations will be completed by Wednesday, November 25 and commencement will be held on Saturday, November 28. We have implemented numerous health and safety guidelines for students and employees.

  • Aug 17 - Courses Began
  • Nov 25 - Exams Completed
  • Nov 28 - Commencement

View Academic Calendar >>


Classes began Monday, August 17, 2020. The first two weeks of class are online. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are both in-person and online instruction in the fall semester. Students are allowed the option of taking classes online or in-person.


In view of the financial hardships that impacted our students during this pandemic:

  • TSU did not increase tuition for the Fall or Spring semesters.

In addition to that decision, TSU is further discounting tuition for the students who take all online courses by doing the following:

  • In-state undergraduate students who do not reside on campus receive a 15% discount.
  • An E-rate is allowed out-of-state students.
  • Students choosing to take all classes online are allowed to cancel their housing and receive a full refund of their housing deposit.

Housing Website | Bursar's Office | Dining Services


We are working with faculty to enhance and create new and engaging curricula to maximize student learning and development. We are also assisting students in need by offering laptops and technology devices for the fall. In anticipation of this unique fall semester, every course in the catalog has an eLearn shell and is ready for online delivery. Again, all instruction for the first two weeks will be online.


For the health and protection of students, we are implementing a 14-day “safer in place” policy upon arrival for all students in residence halls. The “safer in place” concept requires students to stay in their places of residence unless they need to perform essential activities, e.g. get food, go to medical appointments, go to a predefined essential function, etc.


For students in the residence halls, the campus opened August 11. As mentioned above, we are implementing a 14-day “safer in place” policy upon arrival for all students in residence halls; and their first two weeks of class will be online. In-person instruction will begin on August 31st (following the first two weeks online).


A residential experience is an important component of the collegiate experience. We are working closely with public health experts including the Metro Public Health Department and Tennessee Department of Health for crucial information that will help with the housing plan.

Residential spaces are set aside for isolation and quarantining, if needed. Extensive procedures are also being implemented for the safety and health of Residence Life, housekeeping, and facilities staff.


  • DINING SERVICES: Food is delivered to students for the first two weeks of the semester while they are taking all classes online. Dining halls will open on August 31 with reduced seating capacity, carry-out options, and physical distancing.
  • MENTAL HEALTH & WELLNESS: The Campus Health Center and the Counseling Center will be open for in-person medical assistance and counseling, as well as online options for support.
  • COMMON AREA SPACES: The Floyd-Payne Student Center and other community gathering places will reopen with appropriate health and safety measures in place. Co-curricular programming will emphasize outdoor and virtual activities.

Housing Website | Bursar's Office | Dining Services

Athletics has a comprehensive plan to safely return to training, practice, competition, and work that complies with public health guidelines as well as NCAA and the OVC requirements. While we cannot predict what will happen as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic, this plan would allow us to salvage as much of the football season as possible. Our current plans may be adjusted depending on whether the trajectory of the pandemic and guidance from health officials.

  • We will delay opening the football season until the end of September - we will not play the first three games of the season.
  • After consulting with NCAA and Ohio Valley Conference officials, the current plan is to open the 2020 football season on Saturday, September 26, 2020 against Jacksonville State University.
  • The amended schedule includes the elimination of the annual John Merritt Classic for the first time.
  • This plan could change if pandemic numbers steadily increase as the start of the amended season approaches.
  • We are still reviewing information pertaining to the Homecoming game on October 10.

We believe this was the best scenario that would allow our athletes to have a season and a championship experience with conference play, with as many teams as possible.

Athletics Announcement

Athletics website