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These are Frequently Asked Questions about university operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. This information will be updated as conditions change and new information is available. Questions and comments about this information can be directed to Bud Grimes, Office of University Relations, bgrimes@utm.edu.

  • CARES Act: The Department of Education released funding for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund created as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or CARES Act. UT Martin received more that $2.5 million from these funds to support students facing urgent needs created by the coronavirus pandemic through emergency financial aid grants for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations. This includes eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance. CARES money is on students’ accounts and ready to be accepted. Learn more here.
  • Reentry Task Force: A phased reopening of select UT Martin offices and UT Martin centers, except for the Jackson and Somerville centers, is underway; information about Somerville and Jackson will be announced later. Also, a Reentry Task Force is considering how UT Martin will operate for the 2020 Fall Semester and beyond following recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and infectious disease experts with the UT Health Science Center. The group will determine strategies, opportunities and threats to the university community as plans are made for the future in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The task force will consider all aspects of campus life and operations from academic schedule alternatives to campus life. You can provide feedback to the task force at the following link. The survey closes at 5 p.m., May 26. https://utmfallpreparation.questionpro.com
  • Phased Reopening: A phased reopening for UT Martin. Information about the plan and also guidance for supervisors during this important transition time provide a roadmap for the coming weeks and months.

Safety

  • Cleaning: The university is disinfecting high-touch campus areas during each work shift, including all computer labs. Sanitizing foggers are being used during the night shift for larger areas where treatment is allowed.

Academics

  • 2020 Fall Semester: The UT Martin main campus and five centers in Jackson, McNairy County/Selmer, Parsons, Ripley and Somerville plan a safe reopening to in-person classes this fall by following recommendations of the Reentry Task Force and scientific community. Additional information will be released in the coming weeks.
  • Summer Internships: UT Martin currently plans to run internships this summer but will continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to determine if internships need to be altered.
  • Graduate Programs: The application deadlines for most UT Martin graduate programs have been extended. For information, email graduatestudies@utm.edu or call 731-881-7012.
  • 2020 Summer Classes:: All Summer Semester classes are offered online. Students will be charged the on-campus course cost.
  • Mandatory Fees for Summer Courses: : Mandatory fees support multiple services and programs students use throughout the year and will be charged for online summer courses. The costs of these services are projected for an annual period and shared among students who attend the university during any given semester and are not term specific. They cover a variety of areas and provide resources and access to many services. Although students may not be taking class in a physical space over the summer, departments are still operating, which includes providing as many services as possible in an online format.
  • Dropping courses or withdrawing from the university after the drop deadline: Students who can verify one of the following situations may drop a single course or multiple courses or withdraw from the university after the drop deadline:
    1. Serious illness or injury of the student as verified by Student Health and Counseling Center or private physician,
    2. Serious personal or family problems as verified by a minister, physician or other appropriate professional, or
    3. Necessary change in work schedule, which conflicts with the class being dropped, as verified by the student’s employer submitted in writing on company letterhead.
    The course(s) must be dropped or withdrawal completed before the last day of class or administration of the final exam, whichever comes first. Following approval by the student’s adviser, registrar, and in the case of withdrawal the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, a grade of “W” will be recorded for each course. Additional information can be found in the Drop, Add, and Withdrawal from the “University” section of the 2019-2020 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog.
  • Senior Exit Exams Waiver for Summer 2020 Graduates: UT Martin's Faculty Senate working with Academic Affairs approved a waiver of the Senior Exit Exams baccalaureate degree requirement for all 2020 spring and summer semester graduating students. The two exams included in the waiver are the general education proficiency test (also referred to as the GenEd Exam or ETS Proficiency Exam) and the major field test required for every major. Students who will graduate this semester and had not completed one or both tests will be exempt from that graduation requirement. Students who are scheduled to graduate in fall 2020 and who had scheduled appointments with the UT Martin Testing Center during the time all classes were moved online will need to reschedule their appointment when students are allowed to return to campus.

Events

  • Prospective Student Tours: Prospective student tours are canceled.
  • Summer Camps: UT Martin summer camps are canceled for summer 2020; a decision about sports camps will be made in early June.
  • Fall Registration Events: The first Summer Orientation and Registration dates, originally planned for May 18 and 20, have been rescheduled for June 22 and 24, respectively. SOAR, previously seven sessions, will be consolidated into five sessions on the following dates: June 22 and 24, July 10 and 28 and Aug. 7. The SOAR sessions originally scheduled for June 5 and 19 have also been combined with the July 10 SOAR. Transfer Orientation will be June 23 and July 16.
  • Captain’s Challenge: The 2020 Captain’s Challenge is set for June 3. A $325,000 goal is set to support academic programs, scholarships, athletics and much more. Learn more at www.utmforever.com.
  • Tennessee Soybean Festival: The 27th Annual Tennessee Soybean Festival, planned for Sept. 5-12, 2020, has been canceled. The university is a co-sponsor of the annual festival, which is scheduled to be held Sept. 4-11, 2021.

Financial Aid

The U.S. Department of Education is providing guidance during the COVID-19 crisis, and regulatory relief is being reviewed frequently by Congress. Any changes will be posted in this FAQ. This information was last updated May 19, 2020.

General

Q. What do I need to do if I need to talk to someone in the UT Martin Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships?
All the financial aid staff will be available via email Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The general email address for our office is financialaid@utm.edu. UT Martin financial aid staff emails are listed here: Financial Aid Staff.
Q. How do Incompletes impact financial aid/scholarships? What would happen if a student takes an I in all of their classes for the semester?
When we run our process at the end of term to determine satisfactory academic progress (SAP), it will be counted as attempted hours, not earned. If their overall cumulative GPA drops below 2.0 or if their pace drops below 67% earned of attempted hours, they will fail SAP and would be ineligible for aid until they either get an approved appeal (reasons related to COVID-19 will be appealable without documentation) or their pace and GPA meet the standard once their incomplete course is completed.
Q. I am a student worker and have not been able to work during this time period. Is there any additional aid I can receive?
Many UT Martin students have been temporarily displaced from their jobs on campus and in the community due to recent closures from COVID-19. The Displaced Student Worker fund has been developed and is for department-paid student workers who cannot work on campus due to COVID-19. For more information, contact Mary Baker in the UT Martin Division of University Advancement at mfbaker@utm.edu.
Q. My household income has significantly changed due to the COVID-19 crisis. Is there anything I can do to update my 2020-21 FAFSA?
You can request the financial aid office review your information through a process called Professional Judgment due to special circumstances. We ask that you do not open your FAFSA to make corrections related to this. We will do it for you, pending the outcome of your request. To get the best picture of your financial situation, we are asking that you wait until mid-June before requesting a Professional Judgment. At that time, please complete and submit a Request for Professional Judgment, 2020-21 Form found at www.utm.edu/faforms. For more information, please contact us via email at financialaid@utm.edu.
Q. Will there be leniency when calculating HOPE/Lottery GPA during this time?
Tennessee has passed a ruling to allow schools leniency on Lottery GPA calculations during this time.
When calculating your Lottery GPA at the end of spring semester, UT Martin will consider either your prior term (for most of you, fall 2019) cumulative Lottery GPA, or the calculated spring 2020 cumulative Lottery GPA, whichever is best for you.
For those in Provisional mode, we will similarly use either your prior term (for most of you, fall 2019) semester Lottery GPA, or the calculated spring 2020 semester Lottery GPA, whichever is best for you.
Q. Since all of my classes are now online, I’m worried about my academic performance for Satisfactory Academic Progress. What should I do?
While you will earn a “W” for withdrawing from your class, reasons related to COVID-19 will be taken into consideration when evaluating your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). We recommend you simply do your best. If, at the end of the semester, you’ve been held for SAP you can file an appeal. Failure to meet SAP due to COVID-19 will be an acceptable basis for an appeal.

Verification

Q. Do I still need to complete verification during this time?
Yes, if selected for verification, you will still need to complete the process in order to receive financial aid. Please refer to the information you received regarding verification and submit your form and documentation using the forms provided at www.utm.edu/faforms.

Aid disbursement and refund checks

Q. Will aid posting and refund checks be delayed during this time?
Financial Aid processing and refund checks have not changed, but if you have not already signed up for Direct Deposit, it is strongly suggested you do this so you can receive your refund quicker and without having to go to the bank and cash the mailed check. If you do not have Direct Deposit set up, a check will be mailed to the address you have on file. Visit www.utm.edu/bursar for more information on setting up Direct Deposit.

Federal Student Loans

Q. I have a Federal Direct loan and cannot make payments right now because I am not working. Is there anything that I can do?
President Trump signed the COVID-19 Relief Package March 27, 2020. This package will suspend payments and interest accrual on federal Direct Loans and Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) held by ED until Sept. 30, 2020. The bill will also count each month of suspended loan payments as if the borrower had made a payment for the purpose of income-driven repayment plan loan forgiveness or Public Service Loan Forgiveness, as well as for loan rehabilitation purposes. Suspended payments are to be reported to consumer credit reporting agencies as regularly scheduled payments made by the borrower.
Involuntary collections such as wage garnishment, tax refund reductions, and reductions of federal benefits like Social Security benefits will also be suspended until Sept. 30, 2020.
The bill requires the Department of Education, within 15 days of enactment, to inform borrowers of the temporary suspension and of their option to continue to make payments. The bill also requires the Department of Education to send six notices to borrowers, beginning on Aug. 1, 2020, informing them that the temporary suspension period is ending, and reminding them of their obligation to resume repayment. Those notices will be required to include information about income-driven plans.

Private Student Loans

Q. I have Private Student Loans. Is there any relief being offered on these payments?
If you have Private Student Loans, you are encouraged to reach out to your lender to see if they are offering any relief. Since these are private loans, the federal government cannot mandate any changes to them; however, many are offering relief to student/parent borrowers, so it would be a good idea to contact your lender.

Security, Services and Access

All academic building doors are now locked 24/7 to ensure proper security. This is an added security measure because of fewer people in main-campus buildings.

  • Perry Children’s Center: The Perry Children’s Center remains closed, but detailed plans are being made for a phased reopening of the center using Centers of Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. More information will be released when it becomes available.
  • Boling University Center: The Boling University Center’s north patio door is open 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • Barnes & Noble Bookstore: The bookstore is open 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Textbooks should be ordered online and will be fulfilled by the Barnes & Noble warehouse.
  • UT Martin Computer Store: The Computer Store is open 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • Fitness Trail: The Fitness Trail is open for walking and running. Fitness Trail users are encouraged to use good social-distancing practices and to avoid group activities on the trail.
  • Help Desk Hours:
    • Monday-Friday: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. (phone support); 6 p.m.-9 p.m. (checking email and voicemail)
    • Saturday and Sunday: 12 p.m.-5 p.m. (phone support); 5 p.m.-9 p.m. (checking email and voicemail)
    • Contact the Help Desk at 731-881-7900 or helpdesk@utm.edu.
  • Hotspots: Verizon hotspots are available for loan through the CARES Act grant to students who are enrolled in a summer course who don’t have internet access. Students should call the Help Desk at 881-7900 to request a Verizon hotspot.
  • Hortense Parrish Writing Center: The Hortense Parrish Writing Center remains open and has converted its tutoring process to a distance-learning format in order to continue assisting students during the COVID-19 outbreak. All services provided by the center are free.
    1. The center now works by appointment. To schedule appointments, contact the center by email at OWL@utm.edu. Students will need to remember to request appointments in advance because it takes about 24 hours to collect their information and pair them with tutors. However, the appointment format also means that students can request multiple appointments far in advance, and they will likely receive the exact times they want if they do so. As always, our students are rewarded if they plan ahead.
    2. The center offers three tutoring services: email correspondence, phone appointments, and Zoom appointments.
    3. Note: Phone and Zoom sessions are more effective than emails. A tutoring conversation is faster, more productive, and requires much more engagement from students. It’s recommended that if faculty members want to require students to complete a writing center appointment, consider that students are required do so by phone or Zoom.
    4. The center can still give session reports, but the reporting system has changed due to the pandemic. If you wish to receive reports, email Dr. Kelle Alden or the OWL, and you’ll be placed on a list to receive them.
    5. The center has been hard at work making educational materials and planning online events! Dr. Alden will send emails to advertise these events, and anyone can follow the center on Facebook or Instagram to receive updates on important matters. Faculty members who have an idea for an event or handout are encouraged to reach out to the center.
    For more information about the Hortense Parrish Writing Center, contact Dr. Kelle Alden at kalden@utm.edu.
  • Paul Meek Library: The Paul Meek Library is now open 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Librarians will continue to monitor CHAT, and the 24-hour lab will be open. Social distancing will be practiced. The library’s 24/7 computer lab remains open, and students have access to the library’s online services.
  • Student Health and Counseling Services: Student Health and Counseling Services continues to be available for current students who have remained in the local area. Students who have appointments with Student Health and Counseling Services should call ahead to 731-881-7750 to confirm their visit.
  • Student Recreation Center: The Student Recreation Center is closed until further notice.
  • Testing Center: The UT Martin Testing Center reopened on a partial schedule May 4. At this time, the Testing Center will be open weekly on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for appointments only – no walk-ins. Please read and adhere to the following requirements to enter the Testing Center:
    For the safety concerns of our staff and all candidates, every candidate is required to bring and wear a mask or face covering while in the UT Martin Testing Center.
    By appearing to test, you attest that you:
    • Have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 or exhibited any symptoms within the last 14 days.
    • Have not been in close personal contact with someone who has a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis within the last 14 days.
    • Have not exhibited any flu-like symptoms such as fever or chills, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath within the last 14 days.
    • Have not traveled abroad within the last 14 days.
    If you cannot attest to all the above, you will not be permitted to enter the UT Martin Testing Center. Please reschedule your appointment for a time when you have met the above parameters.

Student Workers

  • Essential Workers: U.S. President Donald Trump and Tennessee Governor Bill Lee have both declared states of emergency because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised the nation to limit person-to-person contact and stay at home as much as possible. The university has activated the emergency response plan that provides essential services to the campus. Employees, including student workers, involved in delivering in-person essential services are allowed at work on campus during this state of emergency. Other full-time employees are advised to telework from home to limit opportunity for the virus to spread. Student workers who are providing essential services during the emergency will be paid for their actual time worked.
  • Displaced Student Worker Fund: This fund is helping students who are not Federal Work-Study and are not working in their university jobs because of the crisis. You can make a gift at www.utmforever.com/helpahawk.

Additional Information and Resources

 

General Overview

Among the many questions being asked is the availability of testing for the virus. In response to growing concern, the Tennessee Department of Health has now authorized COVID-19 testing seven days per week. The department’s website is www.tn.gov/health and the public information line is 1-877-857-2945.

The University of Tennessee System has also created an informational website that includes expert resources at each campus and unit. Visit the website at tennessee.edu/coronavirus.

  • UTM has no reports of coronavirus disease 2019 cases.
  • Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) is following CDC recommendations for screenings.
  • According to the CDC:
SHCS Support and Management Coronavirus Disease Resources