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Hesler Biology Building
Beauty shot of Hesler Biology Building on October 31, 2018. Photo by Steven Bridges

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Chancellor Donde Plowman today announced changes to the academic calendar for the 2020 fall semester. The changes are meant to condense the semester and minimize student travel to and from campus.

Classes will begin as scheduled on Wednesday, August 19. UT will hold classes on Labor Day and the two days formerly scheduled as fall break, October 8–9. The last day of instruction for the semester will be Tuesday, November 24. All final exams will be held online December 2–9.

The move-in and move-out schedule will also be different. Students who live on campus will receive updated information and instruction regarding the adjusted timeline for moving in and out of residence halls.

“As our university prepares for an on-campus experience this fall, the health and safety of the entire Volunteer community continue to be the top priority,” said Plowman. “The Re-Imagining Fall Task Force provided many excellent recommendations for how we can structure the fall semester to help protect the health of students, staff, and faculty.”

Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor David Manderscheid and his staff, along with Dean of Libraries Steve Smith in his capacity as special advisor to the chancellor, will work with deans and department heads to undertake changes to the weekly class schedule. These changes will include greater use of available class time slots Monday to Friday, including the use of evening time slots if necessary. The goal is to reduce the density of student traffic by spreading classes out across the week and the day.

Like most universities in the country, UT will include at least three types of classes in its fall schedule. Some will be taught face-to-face in larger rooms so students can properly distance from one another, some will need to be taught online, and others will be a combination of both. In face-to-face instructional settings, students will be spaced properly and protective measures will be in place. Time between classes will be increased to improve social distancing during transitions.

Manderscheid will also provide additional information about professional development for faculty to support technology-enhanced teaching and learning.

In a message to the campus community, Plowman said campus will be different this fall but that Volunteers are committed to taking care of one another.

“We will work together for the well-being of our community and are counting on our entire campus community to lead by putting health and safety first. Rocky Top has always been a special place, and we look forward to seeing our Vols on campus again.”

All fall 2020 calendar information is available on the registrar’s website. Additional key decisions affecting the campus community will be announced in the coming weeks and months. It is too soon to know how the spread of the virus will impact the dates for in-person commencement and hooding ceremonies.



Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,