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Changes to Mask and Vaccine Requirements

Dear faculty, staff, and students,

We have been closely following the state of Tennessee’s legal challenge to President Biden’s Executive Order 14042. As I recently communicated, the executive order applies to federal contractors, including UT Knoxville, and lays out requirements for vaccines and masks.

Yesterday a federal district judge in Kentucky granted the states of Tennessee, Ohio, and Kentucky a preliminary injunction that—for now—prohibits the federal government from enforcing the executive order on federal contractors in those states.

What does this mean for you?

With the preliminary injunction in place, the university must now comply with Tennessee law, which prohibits state institutions like UT Knoxville from requiring masks or COVID-19 vaccinations.

As a result, all mask and vaccine requirements on our campus have been lifted. We ask that members of the campus community make whatever personal choices they think are best with respect to vaccines and masks while being considerate of the choices, health conditions, and requests of others.

Vaccines and boosters available at the Student Health Center

With the semester ending and many members of the campus community preparing to travel, vaccines continue to be the most effective means of protecting yourself and others from serious illness related to COVID-19.

Vaccines and boosters are available at the Student Health Center pharmacy for those who choose them. Walk-ins are welcome Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 4 p.m., or you can sign up for an appointment.

This situation may change again as the legal process continues. We will continue to keep you updated.

As we finish classes for the semester and head into exams, I’d like to thank each of you for your work and care for each other this semester.

Donde Plowman