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July 15, 2021

1. Campus COVID-19 Guidelines

While we are excited to see you all returning back to campus, the UT Health Science Center continues to closely follow CDC guidelines as we monitor the impact that the variants of COVID-19, such as the Delta variant, are having on the number of cases around our campuses. 

UTHSC currently has the following campus COVID-19 guidelines:

  • Masks are not required for COVID-vaccinated individuals while indoors on campus
    • Non-vaccinated individuals are expected to wear masks indoors on campus in compliance with CDC guidelines
    • Vaccination is defined as: 
      • Pfizer and Moderna: 14 days post second dose
      • Johnson & Johnson: 14 days post single dose
    • Masks may be required in confined spaces where social distancing cannot be maintained, such as labs and simulation suites where posted, at the discretion of UTHSC Campus Safety and Emergency Management
    • Masks are required for clinical care facilities on campus, including waiting rooms
    • Masks are encouraged for groups when the vaccine status of everyone is not known
  • Social distancing will be maintained in lecture halls, study spaces, and testing facilities with occupancy of every other seat
    • Social distancing will be maintained on elevators and in other confined spaces
  • Students are required to report immunization/vaccination status   
    • When vaccinated, students must provide proof of vaccination status, including COVID-19, so UTHSC can certify their status for the clinical, education, and research rotation partners
  • UTHSC will honor immunization vaccination policies of clinical care, education, and research partners when in those facilities
  • Vaccination is strongly encouraged for all faculty, students, and staff!

Thank you for helping our campus and community to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19!

2. Chancellor Search: Open Sessions

The search process to find a successor for Chancellor Schwab is underway and we have retained the national executive search firm WittKieffer to assist with the search. John Thornburgh, Jeff Schroetlin, and Dr. Tony Barbato, along with members of the search committee, will conduct a series of meetings with stakeholders including administrators, faculty, students, trainees, and clinical and community partners. Their goal is to become better informed about the culture, strengths and opportunities for UTHSC, and to assist in further establishing the candidate criteria for this important role.

Comments and themes will be collected and shared with President Boyd and the search committee, chaired by UT Trustee Bill Rhodes. Based on all input, we will prepare a Leadership Profile document that will represent this opportunity to the marketplace.

This is an exciting time for UTHSC, and your participation in this process will be integral to our success in identifying this new leader to build upon Dr. Schwab's success. Thank you in advance for your participation in this important process.

The date, time, and location for the open sessions were sent to your UTHSC email on Monday, July 13 (search "Chancellor Search: Open Session" in your inbox) – you are welcome to attend in person or via Zoom.

As you prepare for this session, please keep the following questions in mind: 

  • What is the ideal candidate profile? (experience, leadership, context)
  • What do you expect the new Chancellor to accomplish in the first 18 to 24 months?
  • What are some of the challenges the next Chancellor will encounter?
  • How do you currently view the strengths and opportunities for UTHSC?
  • How can UTHSC and the next Chancellor advance the missions of education, clinical care, research, and community engagement?
  • Why is this a great move for a strong candidate?
  • Who would you suggest as a potentially outstanding candidate?

3. UT Policy on Firearms

We have received several questions regarding the impact of the new Tennessee law on permit-less carry, Public Chapter 108, that went into effect on July 1. Public Chapter 108 did not make any changes to current prohibitions and procedures concerning carrying firearms on the University of Tennessee Campuses.

Public Chapter 108 does allow permit-less carry generally by people who are either over 21 years of age or over 18 years of age and meet certain military qualifications (for example, an honorably discharged veteran or a person serving on active duty in the military). However, it does not change the current statutory framework for carrying a weapon on public college campuses. 
Current statute, Tennessee Code Annotated Section 39-17-1309, prohibits carrying a firearm on any UT campus, and limits who may carry a handgun on campus, to (1) full-time non-student employees, (2) with an Enhanced Handgun Carry Permit, (3) who notify the campus police department, and (4) carry the handgun in a concealed manner. This has not changed, and Public Chapter 108 does not permit any person to carry a firearm on campus (outside of a vehicle) who could not do so before.

Public Chapter 108 does slightly expand who may have a firearm in their vehicle on campus. The requirements for having a firearm have not changed – it must be in the vehicle, kept from ordinary observation by people outside the vehicle, and locked in the vehicle when the owner is not present in the vehicleThe range of people who may have a firearm in their vehicle now includes anyone who now has a right to carry a weapon without a permit – which, as noted above, includes people who are either over 21 years of age, or over 18 years of age that meet certain military qualifications. The UT System will be updating the UT System-wide Firearms Policy (SA0875) to reflect that statutory change.

Other than slightly expanding the range of people who may lawfully have a firearm in their vehicle, the new statute makes no changes to who may lawfully carry a firearm on campus.

For more information about firearms on the UTHSC campus, please visit the Firearms Information website and the Questions and Answers About UT Safety Policy 0875 – Firearms website.

4. Paid Parental Leave Policy Now in Effect

As of July 1, eligible UT faculty and staff are entitled to six weeks (30 days or 240 hours) of paid parental leave within the first 12 months following childbirth or adoption.

This benefit is available to regular, active employees (including 9-month faculty) as defined in HR0105, assigned to work at least 75 percent and on payroll for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the start of the requested leave.

Employees must use their paid parental leave within 12 months after the birth or adoption of their child. However, adoptive parents may use their paid parental leave before the placement if necessary to fulfill the legal requirements of the adoption process. Employees may take paid parental leave in a block (or blocks) of time, or they may take their leave intermittently by one-day increments. Use of intermittent leave must be coordinated with the supervisor.

Read the full paid parental leave policy, and learn more about the use period and eligibility:

5. July 30: Tax-Free Holiday at the HSC Hub

Stop by the HSC Hub on Friday, July 30 – or visit the HSC Hub's website July 30 through August 1 – and purchase tax-free clothing, school supplies, and computers! Certain restrictions apply. Items must be purchased for personal use, not for business or trade.

Employees can also take advantage of paycheck deductions for items purchased during the tax-free holiday! This is only available in-person at the HSC Hub location, and not via website orders.

Items that will be tax free:

  • General apparel that costs $100 or less per item, such as shirts, pants, sweatshirts, windbreakers, etc.
  • School and art supplies with a purchase price of $100 or less per item, such as binders, backpacks, paper, pens, etc.
  • Computers for personal use with a purchase price of $1,500 or less
  • Laptop computers and tablets, if priced at $1,500 or less

Items that will NOT be tax free:
  • Apparel items priced at more than $100
  • Items sold together cannot be split up to stay beneath the $100 maximum
  • Items such as jewelry, handbags, or sports and recreational equipment
  • School and art supplies individually priced at more than $100
  • Storage media, like flash drives
  • Individually purchased software
  • Printer supplies

The HSC Hub is located on the first floor of the Madison Plaza on the Memphis campus, and is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.

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