Roane State planning return to campuses for Fall 2021

UPPER CUMBERLAND – Roane State is unveiling a plan for Fall 2021 focused on getting students back into the classroom safely for in-person learning.

Nearly one year after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the majority of Roane State’s classes go virtual, the college reports that approximately 70% of classes remain all or mostly online for the Spring 2021 semester. However, that ratio is soon expected to shift.

“With case numbers falling, vaccination rates climbing and the public safety measures put in place over the last 11 months proving effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19, we are ready to bring students back to campus,” RSCC President Dr. Chris Whaley said.

“Those who halted their college plans last year are telling us they feel more comfortable and more successful in a traditional classroom,” Whaley added. “We hear those students loud and clear, and we want to help them move forward.”

Online courses will still be available for students who prefer that option, but the number of on-ground class sections will be increased for fall. Roane State administrators say the schedule of classes for Fall 2021 will look much more like Fall 2019, pre-pandemic.

“We are working hard to deliver what many of our students want and need this fall, which is a return to in-person education,” said Dr. Diane Ward, RSCC’s vice president for student learning. “As we craft plans for the new academic year, the prospect of being back together on campus has become a very positive driving force with safety remaining the top priority.”

COVID-19 protocols will remain in place this fall to protect the campus community. These protocols include wearing face masks and practicing social distancing as well as completing daily wellness screenings and checking in when arriving on campus. Students, faculty, staff and visitors will still be asked to self-report positive COVID-19 test results to the college and stay home if they are experiencing symptoms. Contact tracing and enhanced cleaning of facilities will also continue.

While confidence is high, administrators and members of the college’s COVID-19 Response Team caution that plans for Fall 2021 are tentative. If the pandemic worsens in our area prior to or during the fall semester, Roane State may once again implement a transition to online learning. Additional information on plans for the fall will be released throughout the coming months.

The most recent updates regarding Roane State’s pandemic response can be found online at

Roane State is a two-year college providing transfer programs, career-preparation programs and continuing education. Founded in 1971, the college has locations in Roane, Campbell, Cumberland, Fentress, Knox, Loudon, Morgan and Scott counties as well as a branch campus in Oak Ridge. For more information, visit or call (865) 882-4554. Remember, eligible adults can now attend Roane State tuition-free with the new Reconnect grant. Learn more at

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