Workers keep the UTC campus safe during COVID-19 pandemic, as plans are made for return-to-normal

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga maintenance workers fix equipment, from left, Ron Hill and David Lee.
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga maintenance workers fix equipment, from left, Ron Hill and David Lee.

If you take a look around the nearly deserted University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus, you may notice a few dedicated employees who have continued to report for duty.

A work-from-home protocol was authorized at UTC in March, due to the ever evolving coronavirus pandemic.

But these workers–including the dispatchers and police officers who are among the combined more than 30 members of the UTC Police Department keeping the campus safe and secure–have jobs that can’t be done remotely. 

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga maintenance worker Carolyn Strickland.

Another 30 or so employees are on the team keeping campus grounds beautiful and buildings clean and comfortable. Two dozen more are attending to the needs of campus housing, still home to a handful of students whose personal circumstances made it necessary that they remain on campus.

And those students get to eat without leaving campus because of the daily efforts by 10 food service workers.

Additionally, another dozen or so employees on rotation for the Mocs Print and Mail Center and the UTC Bookstore continue to be available to offer on campus services.

While these workers are busy making sure the needs of the on-campus community are met, Chancellor Steven R. Angle is working with a task force he established to plan for eventual return to normal operations.

The chancellor has appointed Richard Brown and Robert Dooley to co-chair the fall 2020 task force and has given them a charge to develop creative solutions that can lead to safe and effective scenarios this fall.

Brown is executive vice chancellor of finance and administration and has been a member of the university staff for more than three decades.
Dooley is the dean of the Gary W. Rollins College of Business and has served the university in the past as interim provost.

Angle said the core principles the task force will operate under are to protect the health and safety of faculty, staff and students to provide a high-quality educational experience and to do so with transparency and flexibility.

“Our university has risen to the challenge of the coronavirus crisis over the past six weeks, and I am certain we will develop a plan that ensures the quality of the educational experience for our students while at the same time keeps the health and safety of our entire campus community at the forefront,” he said.

Shelle Ware serves food from an abbreviated hot menu at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga University Center.
Shelle Ware serves food from an abbreviated hot menu at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga University Center.

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