COOKEVILLE — Tennessee Tech will be in full flight for Fall 2021, offering students the in-person classes and campus activities they expect from their college experience.
“Putting students first shaped the way we approached planning for fall semester,” said President Phil Oldham. “Our students benefit from being fully engaged on campus in classes, clubs, sports and other activities.”
Tennessee Tech is taking a different approach than many schools by planning to relax some restrictions while keeping basic safety measures in place. Unlike many other universities in the state, Tennessee Tech residence halls stayed open during the pandemic, and the university held in-person commencements. While many schools have a long way back to normal, Tech is closer than ever to offering the students ways to interact safely and often.
For example, the 165,000-square-foot Marc L. Burnett Student Recreation & Fitness Center, the newest university rec center in the state, opened just as the pandemic hit. Face coverings were strictly enforced for almost a year, but now users can go without a mask on some individual equipment.
Intramural sports will be back in full swing in the fall, as will many outdoor social events.
“Students can expect to see their favorite events return this fall, such as the Mix & Mingle, SOLO concerts, and Homecoming activities,” said Dean of Students Katie Williams. “During the spring, student activities and events looked a bit different with COVID safety protocols in place. Still, we continued to host many in-person events along with providing virtual options.
“We look forward to returning to a vibrant and active student experience in the fall,” she said.
Entering freshmen will find more than 80% of classes offered are in-person. Less than 15% are a hybrid of in-person and online, and only about 5% are completely online.
Faculty members who are passionate about fully reaching students anticipate being able to lecture safely without face coverings this fall in many classrooms where they can distance. Tech invested in more instructors so there will be more sections with a smaller number of students in each section. That means there will be a lot more students in the classrooms this fall as room capacities increase.
Masks will not be required outdoors when there is adequate space for social distancing. More than 250 air purifiers enhance the air quality in classrooms and offices.
In full flight also means that Tech is prepared to adjust to any challenges that could arise related to the health and safety of the campus community.