Cornavirus

Coronavirus News Archive

July 2, 2020

We were made aware today that a Pellissippi State Community College employee has tested positive for COVID-19.

The employee was on campus Friday, June 26, at which time the employee was not showing any symptoms. The employee was on the second floor of the Goins Administration Building and in the Facilities reception area on the Hardin Valley Campus. 

The College has consulted with the Knox County Health Department and is following its recommendations. Pellissippi State has blocked off the areas for cleaning by our Facilities staff, and the College has notified all the people who were in extended contact with the employee on campus. 

The Health Department has deemed this a low-risk exposure. The employee wore a mask and practiced social distancing while on campus. Because the virus only lives seven days on surfaces and the areas the employee visited will be cleaned, the Hardin Valley Campus will reopen to the limited number of employees and students who have appointments on Monday, July 6, as scheduled. 


June 29, 2020

July 6 marks the start of Stage 3 in our College plan to return to campus. 

Beginning the week of July 6, four of our five campuses will be open to employees, but those who can work from home should continue to do so. As we are offering limited services on campus, not all employees are returning to work in Stage 3. If you don’t know whether you are expected to return to campus during this stage, ask your supervisor. 

Division Street Campus will remain closed for the summer, as in previous years, unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Another change in Stage 3 is that employees may visit their offices without appointments at all campuses, except Division Street, during the hours of 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. However, Covid-19 screening is still required, and all campus buildings are locked. Employees should contact Campus Police for access to buildings by calling 865.694.6646 when they arrive on campus or stopping by the Campus Police office in the Goins Administration Building on the Hardin Valley Campus. 

Access on Fridays to offices on the Blount County and Magnolia Avenue campuses will continue to be by appointment with Campus Police to ensure we have staff available to unlock buildings for you. 

The only students allowed on campus during Stage 3 are those who make in-person appointments with Enrollment Services and those students who have a class or lab on campus during this summer session. 

The campus remains closed to visitors during Stage 3. 

All who come to campus -- faculty, staff and students -- are required to wear face masks in buildings and practice social distancing of at least 6 feet between individuals.  

Before you can enter any campus building, you’ll need to fill out the Covid-19 screening questions. You can print a receipt to bring with you or save one to your smartphone – otherwise, you’ll need to fill out the questions at a Campus Access Station when you arrive, which could delay you getting to your destination. 

These screening questions must be answered each day before you arrive on campus. 

To find out how to make an appointment with Enrollment Services (Admissions, Financial Aid, Records) or with the Testing Center, visit the Know Before You Go page on our website. This page also explains how to make appointments with an advisor and how to request virtual tutoring. 

Open computer labs, the Library and the Student Recreation Center (SRC) remain closed in Stage 3. 

We will continue to reopen our campuses slowly and gradually in our ongoing effort to keep our Pellissippi State community as healthy and safe as possible. 


June 15-19, 2020

Students, if you haven’t registered yet for fall classes, we encourage you to go ahead and do so in order to get the courses you need in the format that works best for you right now. The class schedule in myPellissippi will let you know which courses are online, virtual, hybrid or in-person this fall. Here’s what that means: 

  • Asynchronous online courses allow you to log in and do the work on your own time instead of meeting as a class; 

  • Online courses with a virtual instruction component require some meetings on platforms such as Zoom; 

  • Hybrid courses require part of the classwork to be done online, although there also will be in-person class meetings on campus; and 

  • In-person courses will be taught on campus.  

Assistant Professor Shaquille Marsh shared this week his thoughts on making sure he is meeting the needs of his Communication Studies students who have different learning styles. As he notes in this Pellissippi Strong video, our faculty and staff are continuing to train this summer on how to best serve you this fall semester, so please don’t hesitate to continue your educational journey this August. 

For those who are cautious about returning to campus during a pandemic, you can be assured that our Pellissippi State emergency management team has your safety in mind. Wwill continue to follow social distancing guidelines and will have a cleaning protocol in place for classrooms that are in use. You will see other changes on campus as well, such as plexiglass barriers at service counters. 

Schedule an appointment with your advisor using the Navigate app today. The priority financial aid and registration deadline is July 1, and fall classes start Aug. 24. It will be here before you know it! 


June 8-12, 2020

Students, if you were waiting to register for classes once you could determine whether they would be held virtually or on campus, now is the time! Our staff has worked hard updating the course listings found in myPellissippi to tell you which classes will be taught in which format.  

Here are the descriptions to look for after the class titles: 

  • Online: Log into course during the first two days.  
  • Virtual: Online and virtual instruction. Log into course at posted time.  
  • Hybrid: Combo of online and on-campus instruction.  
  • On-campus: On-campus instruction.  

July 1 is the priority registration deadline, but we urge you to go ahead and get your classes lined up for this fall. By registering now, you have a better chance of getting the classes you need in the format that works best for you. If you have already registered for fall classes, be sure to check that your classes are offered in the format and at the time you expected.  

To set an appointment with an advisor, log in to the Navigate mobile app (App Store or Google Play) or desktop platform within myPellissippi and follow these instructions. 

When you look at our fall course offerings, you will find that most involve an online component. By limiting the number of classes taught in person, we can ensure that our students have the space necessary to practice social distancing while they are on campus. Offering online and virtual classes also helps us serve our students who would prefer not to return to campus at this time due to coronavirus. 

Thankfully, our spring 2020 data shows that students’ success rates in general education courses were just as high when we moved all classes online following spring break. As in the spring semester, we will offer a variety of student services this fall to help you be successful. 

In other coronavirus-related news, our Nursing department is helping train Blount Memorial Hospital nurses to provide care for Covid-19 patients. The BMH nurses have been meeting in the simulation lab on our Blount County Campus. You can read more about this partnership and see photos here. 


June 1-5, 2020

As Knoxville and Knox County implemented Phase 2 of its strategy for reopening, you may have wondered what is now open on our Pellissippi State campuses and how you can access those services.  

This week our Marketing and Communications team introduced a new webpage that will help you Know Before You Go. This webpage, which you can access from the very top of our homepage, serves as a convenient way to find out the status of the College, including which offices are open on site versus those that continue to operate virtually. 

Know Before You Go also includes detailed instructions about what you need to do before you arrive on campus each day you visit. Remember: you must have a receipt showing you’ve answered the Covid-19 screening questions that day before you will be allowed on campus. Those without a receipt will be directed to a Campus Access Station to fill out the form. This is true for both employees and students. 

The Know Before You Go page will be updated as Pellissippi State moves into future stages of reopening, so save yourself a trip by checking the website before you decide to drop by one of our campuses. 

We’ve also added a webpage to help you keep your educational ducks in a row while we’re working and learning from home. On our new Important Contacts page, you’ll find a list of the phone numbers and email addresses for all our academic and student services and academic departments, as well as a super handy list of “Whom to contact if you” You can access this page from our homepage. 

Meanwhile, our revamped Connect with Us page allows prospective students to sign up for online information sessions as well as request a remote meeting or schedule an in-person meeting with our Enrollment Services staff. 

In other coronavirus-related news this week, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission/Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation decided to waive the July 1 community service requirement for Tennessee Promise students. Tennessee Promise studentwill not be required to complete and submit community service to maintain eligibility for fall 2020. Email tn.promise@tn.gov if you have questions. 


June 1, 2020

Today new protocols go into effect to screen all individuals for Covid-19 before they are allowed onto our Pellissippi State campuses. We are committed to providing a safe environment for our students and employees, and daily screening is critical to that goal. 

Beginning today, those who wish to enter a building on any Pellissippi State campus will need to document your visit and respond to Covid-19 screening questions prior to entering the building. This must be done each day that you come to campus, even if you report to campus every day 

Everyone who is authorized to be on campus -- either as part of your work or study or by appointment for services -must visit this Covid-19 screening link on the day of your visit to campus and respond to questions related to your visit and to Covid-19 in order to be allowed entrance into a building. You cannot fill in the form ahead of time or for multiple visits. 

After answering the questions and submitting the form, you will be emailed a "receipt" to your email account. This receipt must be provided to those monitoring access at building entrances. The receipt may be displayed either on a cell phone or by bringing a printed copy of the email. 

For those who do not bring a receipt, each campus will have a designated Campus Access Station equipped with a computer so you may respond to the access and screening questions when you arrive. We encourage you not to wait, however, so that you will not be further delayed from reaching your destination on campus. 

While these steps add to the daily routine of those working and studying at Pellissippi State, they also make our campus community a safer place for all. We appreciate your patience and cooperation as we move forward with our return to campus. 

We encourage you to bookmark http://tiny.cc/PSCC-screening on your home computer or smartphone to access the Daily Campus Access and Screening form for employees and students. 


May 29, 2020

This has been a big week here at Pellissippi State! Even as Memorial Day marked the unofficial start of summer on Monday and we welcomed students to our first summer session on Tuesday, our academic deans were working behind the scenes to determine the best way for us to serve our students this fall. 

Today we are announcing that Pellissippi State plans to allow students to return to campus on a limited basis this fall, offering classes in four formats. 

“While our top priority remains providing a safe environment for our students and employees, our goal is to continue to give students the best learning experiences we can, both inside and outside the classroom,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. 

Students will be able to choose classes taught in a variety of ways this fall: 

  • Online: These traditional online courses do not meet on a certain day or at a certain time, but are taught completely through Pellissippi State’s learning management system, Brightspace; 

  • Virtual: These courses are offered online, but they use virtual platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom to offer instruction at the times and days listed in the College’s fall schedule; 

  • Hybrid: These courses offer part online or virtual instruction and part face-to-face instruction in a classroom, with instructors letting students know which days they will meet on campus; and 

  • On-campus: These courses are taught in a traditional classroom, face-to-face, and will be limited primarily to programs that have a strong hands-on component, such as Nursing and Welding. A few general education courses will be offered on campus in the evening with smaller enrollments to allow for social distancing. 

“By limiting the number of classes taught in person, we can ensure that our students have the space necessary to practice social distancing while they are on campus,” Dr. Wise said. “We know that some students may not feel comfortable returning to campus, however, and that is why we are offering even more options for students to continue their educational journey with us.” 

Pellissippi State’s data from spring 2020 shows that students' success rates in general education courses such as English, science, math and history did not suffer when the College moved its classes online March 23 for the remainder of the semester. This information bolstered the recommendation from Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Kathy Byrd and our academic deans that Pellissippi State continue to offer virtual and hybrid classes this fall. 

While the deans have been busy compiling which classes will be taught in which format, it will take a couple of weeks for those distinctions to be loaded into the class schedule. If you have already registered for classes, please check the class schedule after June 15 to see if the format for your classes has changed. If you need assistance adjusting your schedule, please contact an advisor at advising@pstcc.edu. They will be glad to help you. 

For those who have not yet registered, here are the key words you should look for in the class schedule after June 15 to ensure you are choosing the courses that work best for you. These descriptions will be listed after the class title: 

  • Online: Log into course during the first two days. 
  • Virtual: Online and virtual instruction. Log into course at posted time. 
  • Hybrid: Combo of online and on-campus instruction. 
  • On-campus: On-campus instruction. 

To set an appointment with an advisor, log in to the Navigate mobile app (App Store or Google Play) or desktop platform within MyPellissippi and follow these instructions. 

Keep checking your Pellissippi State email or our website this summer as our leadership determines which student services will be offered in-person this fall as well. While this fall may not look like “business as usual,” we remain committed to helping you start, stay and finish strong as you continue your education with us. 


May 26, 2020

This summer will be unlike any other in Pellissippi State’s history due to our continued caution brought on by the coronavirus. For one thing, most of you are taking your classes from home this semester.

We understand that can be a challenge, but please know that you are not alone. If you should encounter any difficulties, our faculty and staff are available to help you. All you have to do is ask.

The place to start is PantherHelp. If you have any questions, concerns or needs, please fill out the PantherHelp form, and someone will get back to you quickly. If you have any technical questions, contact the Helpdesk at 865.694.6537 or Helpdesk@pstcc.edu.

Enrollment Services will be available on the Hardin Valley Campus during limited times this summer. Financial Aid, Admissions and Records will all be available by appointment beginning June 1Request an appointment with Enrollment Services.

Other student services such as Advising and Tutoring continue to be offered virtually this summer. To set an appointment with an advisor, use Navigate. To request tutoring, see these detailed instructions.

Also, should you need it, Pellissippi State counselors are available this summer for personal, career and academic counseling services. You can access a counselor by phone at 865.694.6480 or through the main Counseling Services email,counseling@pstcc.edu. This email is seen by all of our Pellissippi State counselors, and one of them will follow up with you to schedule an appointment virtually through Microsoft Teams or by phone. 

Please be sure to check your Pellissippi State email frequently. We will send out weekly updates to let you know as announcements are made that affect you and post those on www.pstcc.edu as well. 

Thank you all for your patience during this stressful time. One thing that will never change at Pellissippi State is our desire to help you start strong, stay strong and finish strong. 


May 22, 2020

As we move into the next stage of our college plan to return to campus, we have modified our access and screening protocols to accommodate the return of additional Pellissippi State employees and students.

Beginning June 1, 2020, all persons who wish to enter a building on any Pellissippi State campus will need to document their visit and respond to COVID-19 screening questions prior to entering the building. This must be done each day that a person comes to campus. We are committed to providing a safe environment for our students and employees, and daily screening is critical to that goal.

Everyone who is authorized to be on campus-either as part of their work or study or by appointment for services-must access the link below on the day of their visit to campus and respond to questions related to their visit and to Covid-19 in order to be allowed entrance into a building. After answering the questions and submitting the form, you will be emailed a "receipt," to your email account. This receipt must be provided to those monitoring access at building entrances. The receipt may be displayed either on a cell phone or by bringing a printed copy of the email. Everyone is encouraged to complete this screening before approaching building entrances.

For those who do not bring a receipt, each campus will have a designated Campus Access Station with a  computer so they may respond to the access and screening questions. While these steps add to the daily routine of those working and studying at Pellissippi State, they also make our campus community a safer place for all. We appreciate your patience and cooperation as we move forward with our return to campus.

To access the Daily Campus Access and Screening form, employees and students should visit http://tiny.cc/PSCC-screening and guests should visit http://tiny.cc/PSCC-guestscreening.


May 18-22, 2020

You may have heard or read about the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald J. Trump on March 27. This economic relief package included some funds for colleges to distribute to students who qualify. Pellissippi State expects to begin distributing federal emergency financial assistance to students this week.

The funds are intended to help students cover expenses they incurred related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus pandemic. Examples of eligible expenses include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care, according to the U.S. Department of Education. 

The College will distribute 90% of the funds to eligible students and 10% through special payments to students with additional need, through an application process.  

Students eligible for payments are degree-seeking students who were enrolled full time or part time on or after March 13 for the spring 2020 semester. Under federal regulations, these are the exceptions who will not receive a payment: 

  • students not eligible to participate in federal Title IV aid programs (Pell Grant, federal student loans, and other federal financial aid programs);  
  • students who initially enrolled exclusively in online courses as of March 13;  
  • high school dual-enrollment students;  
  • non-degree-seeking students; and  
  • employees in special-industry training programs at the colleges. 

Pellissippi State has been working with the Tennessee Board of Regents, the governing body for Tennessee’s 13 community colleges, on determining student eligibility under federal guidelines and setting up the processes for making the payments. Eligible students will receive the payments through checks or by direct deposit if they have bank account information on file with the College. 

Payments to individual students will vary, in part because the federal formula allocating funding to each college includes a factor weighted toward the percentage of its students receiving Pell Grants. That means friends of yours at other colleges may receive a different payment than you do. Here at Pellissippi State, Pell eligible students can expect their payments to be around $534 and non-Pell eligible students can expect their payments to be around $484.

The other 10% of the federal funds Pellissippi State receives from the CARES Act will be held in reserve to provide special payments to students in need who meet all eligibility requirements outlined by the U.S. Department of Education. Students may request additional funding on the College’s CARES Act webpage at http://www.pstcc.edu/coronavirus/cares.php.

We hope this helps answer some of your initial questions about the CARES Act. If you have questions regarding your disbursement please contact 865.694.6605 or businessoffice@pstcc.edu. For questions regarding your Title IV eligibility please contact 865.694.6400, live chat at 865.270.6400 or email onestop@pstcc.edu.


May 11-15, 2020

Now that we have wrapped up the spring semester, we are moving to weekly updates to keep you informed of how Pellissippi State is moving forward as the coronavirus pandemic evolves.  

TENNESSEE TUTORING CORPS
College students who are willing to tutor children this summer can earn up to $1,000, thanks to a new statewide Tennessee Tutoring Corps announced Tuesday. 

The Bill and Crissy Haslam Foundation, in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs in Tennessee and other youth-serving organizations across the state, launched TTC to provide summer learning opportunities for kindergarten through 6th grade students whose education has been interrupted due to the pandemic. 

The TTC, which will run from June to August, aims to recruit at least 1,000 qualified college students to serve as tutors to students entering grades K-6 grade this fall. Recognizing that many college students are experiencing financial strain or loss of employment opportunities due to the pandemic, tutors will be compensated with a stipend of up to $1,000 for their work through the duration of the summer program.  

Qualified tutors must be current college students and must pass a background check. Preference will be given to those who have a 3.0 GPA or higher, have at least completed their freshman year and are Tennessee residents. Interested candidates can learn more and submit an application at www.tntutoringcorps.org. The deadline for applications is 11:59 a.m. Eastern on Friday, May 29.  

COUNSELING CONTINUES
Pellissippi State counselors will be available this summer for personal, career and academic counseling services. Counselors are available this summer to Pellissippi State students who were enrolled spring semester and are enrolled for fall semester. Students do not have to be enrolled in summer classes to be eligible for counseling services. 

Students can access a counselor by phone at 865-694-6480 or through the main Counseling Services email, counseling@pstcc.edu. This email is seen by all of our Pellissippi State counselors, and each week a counselor is responsible for replying to all inquiries. A counselor will follow up to schedule an appointment virtually through Microsoft Teams or by phone.  

MARK YOUR CALENDARS
Pellissippi State’s virtual conferring of degrees will be broadcast at 7 p.m. May 22. A YouTube link will be shared closer to the event, but the video will not premiere until 7 p.m. so that we can watch it at the same time, even though we cannot gather together.  

An in-person commencement is in the works for Aug. 7 on our Hardin Valley Campus. Details will be shared at a later date. 

We hope you are staying safe and healthy this summer as we ease out of isolation. As a reminder: all Pellissippi State campuses remain closed to all but essential personnel and those employees who need to pick up something from their offices. Those employees should email police@pstcc.edu to schedule a time to come to campus and should not arrive unannounced. 


May 8, 2020

Congratulations, everyone! We did it! We’ve made it to the end of the strangest spring semester any of us have likely encountered, whether as students or as employees. 

We know our 885 May graduates have been looking forward to Commencement, which originally was scheduled for this Sunday, May 10. We announced March 19 that commencement would be postponed until it was safe for us to gather in groups larger than 10, and we are working to find a date for commencement later this summer.

In the meantime, we are offering a virtual conferring of degrees, which we invite you to watch with us at 7 p.m. May 22. If you are graduating this semester and want to be included email your name to grad@pstcc.edu by Monday, May 11, and email a nice photo of yourself to grad@pstcc.edu by Friday, May 15. If you have photos of yourself in your cap and gown, we’d love to include one of those!

Over the next couple of weeks leading up to the virtual conferring of degrees, we’ll be celebrating the end of the semester through our social media. Keep an eye on the College Facebook and Instagram pages for fun posts like our graduation cap decorating contest.

While this semester ended differently than any of us could have imagined, we are thankful for the great memories still made this year. We’d love to hear your favorite memories from Pellissippi State. Drop us a line at marketing@pstcc.edu and let us know what moments made Pellissippi State special for you!

This has been a tough transition for all of us, and we know we’re not quite out of the woods yet. While this marks our final daily coronavirus update of spring semester, we will be updating you weekly – and as needed – for the foreseeable future as we navigate the unknown together. If you’re not in the habit of checking email over the summer, don’t worry: all updates are on our website as well.

Thank you all for the patience and grace you extended to your Pellissippi State family during this stressful time. One thing that will not change is our desire to help you start strong, stay strong and finish strong. 


May 7, 2020

Yesterday was National Nurses Day in the United States, which kicks off a week of recognition that ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. This year, in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s more apparent than ever just how vital nurses are to our community. We want to recognize our nursing students, faculty and alumni for their unwavering commitment to excellence. 

Many of our current nursing students are already working in facilities taking care of COVID-19 patients, and several Pellissippi State graduates work in local ICUs. Kelly Boring, a 2017 Pellissippi State graduate, is a registered nurse working full time in the Neuro Critical Care unit at UTMC as well as PRN in the CVICU/ICU at Tennova Turkey Creek Medical Center. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Boring has cared for those affected by the virus firsthand. She credits Pellissippi State’s Nursing program for developing her into a strong patient advocate. 

“I could not be more grateful for the instructors who were directly in charge of cultivating a realistic curriculum that prepared us for real world nursing. We cannot thank them enough!” says Boring.   

Dean of Nursing Angela Lunsford says she is proud of Pellissippi State’s Nursing faculty and students. 

“We are graduating 72 students this May, and most of them already have a job in facilities where they will be taking care of COVID-19 patients. This really makes me stop and appreciate the gravity of the work that our faculty do and the spirit of those 72 new nurses heading into a new profession that is truly a calling.  I will think of them every day and hope they stay safe while they save lives,” said Lunsford. 

Thank you to all our past, current and future nurses for your hard work and dedication! We are grateful for your commitment to keeping our community safe. 


May 6, 2020

Today UT announced that classes will return to campus this fall. This may have you wondering whether our Pellissippi State classes will get to resume in person come August.

Our College’s Emergency Management Team has long been planning on a fall return to our five campuses. A task force led by Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Kathy Byrd is discussing what that could look like if the country is still dealing with coronavirus, which we all expect will be the case.

Will this mean fewer students in a class to adhere to social distancing requirements of leaving 6 feet between individuals? Will this mean wearing masks in campus buildings? Will this mean introducing hybrid classes where instruction takes place online and only hands-on labs are held on campus? Will this mean limiting some students to Monday/Wednesday classes and others to Tuesday/Thursday?

These are the kinds of questions and creative solutions the task force is discussing. President Wise and our Emergency Management Team also are watching how other community colleges throughout the state and across the country are handling the possible return of students to their campuses.

Know that, whatever happens this summer, Pellissippi State will be in business this fall. Registration is open now – speak to your advisor! – and we will reach out to you with more details as soon as we can.


May 5, 2020

On this National Teacher Appreciation Day, we want to recognize our faculty who have shown such creativity, determination and resilience in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. It is hard to believe that, not even two months ago, our Pellissippi State family was heading into spring break without the faintest idea that classes would not be able to resume on campus this semester.

We’ve talked a lot over the past few weeks about how challenging this transition was for our students who had not elected to take online courses, and it absolutely was. But we also recognize what a colossal feat it was for our faculty to take their classes and, in one week, move those classes online for the second half of the semester. Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Kathy Byrd has described this shift from an academic perspective as the turning of the Titanic.

Last week our newly formed StayStrong team began recognizing faculty and staff that have been nominated by their peers for their outstanding work during the coronavirus pandemic. These employees are being lauded by email and in Microsoft Teams, and that will continue. But, here in Marketing and Communications, we’d like to hear from our students as well. Which faculty and staff have gone above and beyond to help you finish this semester Pellissippi Strong? Drop us a line at marketing@pstcc.edu and let us know who you think deserves some special praise.

Thank you, faculty, for all you do! Pellissippi State is the College it is because of you.


May 4, 2020

“Welcome back!” That’s not usually a phrase we say in May, but today a select few students and employees had the opportunity to return to our Hardin Valley and Strawberry Plains campuses – and what a beautiful day for it!

Police Chief Terry Crowe Jr., who leads the College’s Emergency Management Team that has been making decisions about when and how to reopen Pellissippi State, said that no issues were reported today as students and employees trickled back onto campus for labs.

One thing that may have taken folks by surprise as they pulled onto the Hardin Valley Campus today is the progress that has been made in our absence on the new Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science. Construction work was deemed essential during the state’s Safer at Home order, and the new building is coming right along. You can check out a time-lapse of the project here and see what it looks like today.

If you’re one of the students or employees returning to campus this week, please remember that, no matter how pretty it is outside, we still need you to wear a mask on campus and practice social distancing of at least 6 feet between individuals. And, most importantly, please do not report to campus if you’re exhibiting any of the Covid-19 symptoms outlined by the CDC.

Happy finals week, everyone! We can see the finish line from here! You got this!


May 1, 2020

Happy May, everyone!

Today we announced publicly in a news release to media that we will reopen the Hardin Valley and Strawberry Plains campuses to a limited number of employees and students on Monday, May 4. We first told you this in our daily update April 27, but we encourage you to review the news release if you are wondering whether you fall into one of the categories that is allowed to return to campus next week.

One new item for faculty and staff: all employees will be asked to take their temperatures before returning to campus each day. This is in keeping with guidance in the Community Strategy for Phased Reopening for Knox County and the City of Knoxville, which went into effect today.

Reopening our Hardin Valley and Strawberry Plains campuses to a limited number of employees and students on Monday, May 4, is just the first step in a multi-phase plan our Emergency Management Team has been drafting. Stage 2 is scheduled to start May 29 and reopens Blount County and Magnolia Avenue campuses to essential employees.

Our Division Street Campus will remain closed throughout summer, as in previous summers.

Future stages of our reopening plan will be announced later, as it remains our top priority to protect your health and well-being. Our EMT will continue to monitor the guidance from the Knox County Health Department, the Tennessee Board of Regents, the American College Health Association and the Centers for Disease Control as we move into a new normal.

Have a good weekend, and we’ll see some of you on Monday!


April 30, 2020

“April is the cruelest month …” -- T.S. Eliot

Congratulations, everyone! We’ve made it through April, a month unlike any other we probably can remember. It may have felt like the cruelest month at times, but take heart: you did it!

We know many of you are completing your journey with us next week, when you turn in your last projects and take your last finals. While we will not be holding commencement in May – we are holding out for an in-person commencement in August, to include our summer graduates – Dr. Wise announced today that we will be celebrating our spring graduates with a virtual conferring of degrees May 22.

To participate in this virtual event, all you have to do is email your name to grad@pstcc.edu by May 11 and email a nice photo of yourself to grad@pstcc.edu by May 15. We encourage you to choose a photo of yourself in your cap and gown, though this is not required. However, caps and gowns that are ordered by May 4 should arrive at your homes in time to make the deadline. You can order caps and gowns at this link, choosing May 10 as the event date. There is no charge for shipping.

We cannot wait to celebrate with you in person when it is safe to do so! In the meantime, we would love for you to participate in our virtual conferring of degrees to mark the end of this chapter for you and the beginning of the next. Your diploma, when it is mailed to you later this summer, will be dated May 8 regardless of when commencement is able to be held.

For more information about the virtual conferring of degrees, keep an eye on your Pellissippi State email. More details will be shared as we get them finalized.

Have a happy last day of classes tomorrow!


April 29, 2020

We know the news out of Nashville seems to be changing daily about what businesses and services can reopen May 1, which have to wait a while longer, and what the ones that reopen need to do to keep everyone as healthy and safe as possible.

Yesterday we announced that the limited number of employees and students who return to campus next week will need to wear a mask while inside our buildings. But what if you don’t have a mask? How should you wear one correctly? And should you wash it after use?

These are all good questions. Thankfully, the CDC has devoted a page of its website to the use of cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of Covid-19. This page includes guidelines on how to wear a mask, how and how regularly to wash your cloth face mask, and even sew and no-sew instructions for how to make your own cloth masks out of items you already may have around the house, like a T-shirt or a bandana. We encourage you to check out this page if wearing a mask on campus will be a new experience for you.

We also have asked any employees and students who have symptoms of Covid-19 to self-report, but we’re going a step farther with all those who return to campus. We will be asking each individual screening questions from the Knox County Health Department before you enter our buildings.

We don’t want you to be anxious about these questions, so we’re sharing them here:

  1. Have you been told to quarantine/isolate by a medical provider or the health department?
  2. Have you had face-to-face contact for 10 or more minutes with someone who has Covid-19?
  3. Are you feeling ill and/or experiencing any of the symptoms of Covid-19?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you will not be permitted to enter our buildings. We know finals are important, but you and your health are more important to us. Let your instructor know if you will not be able to report to campus due to possible Covid-19 or exposure to it.

Let’s Finish Strong … and healthy!


April 28, 2020

In the midst of changing times, we want to make sure that our Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect students continue to complete requirements needed to keep your scholarships. 

Tennessee Promise students: While you do not have to reapply for your Tennessee Promise scholarship, your deadline to complete your required eight hours of community service and submit them to tnachieves.org is July 1. We know that can seem daunting with so many organizations closed or working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. For that reason, Tennessee Achieves has a variety of webinars you can watch to fulfill your community service requirements. You can find those here. Each video counts for one hour of your community service. 

Tennessee Reconnect students: You are required to complete the Tennessee Reconnect application each year. Even if you’re unsure of your plans this fall, we encourage you to make sure you have the funding you need lined up. The good news is that reapplying takes less than 10 minutes! Just follow these three easy steps: 

  1. Log into the TSAC portal; if you have issues, call the TSAC Call Center at 800-342-1663. 
  2. Select “Apply for Scholarships” on the TSAC portal and then choose “Tennessee Reconnect.” Make sure Pellissippi State is selected as your institution! 
  3. Complete the application and submit it. 

Even if you do not qualify for Tennessee Promise or Tennessee Reconnect, we have hundreds of scholarships available based on financial need. Anyone who completes a FAFSA is eligible to apply for our Pellissippi State scholarships, including our Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect students. 

To be considered for Pellissippi State scholarships, all you have to do is fill out our General Scholarship Application, which only takes five minutes. There’s no need to apply for a specific scholarship, as our General Scholarship Application automatically matches you to the scholarships you are eligible to receive. For fall 2020, you must complete this application by July 15 

Note: the General Scholarship Application requires you to provide a name and email address for a reference. Please be sure to get your reference’s consent first and then verify your reference’s email address. 

We look forward to having you back with us this fall! 


April 27, 2020

Here we are, the last week of classes! Now that the governor has announced a framework for reopening the state and the Knoxville and Knox County mayors have followed suit, you may be wondering when you can come back to Pellissippi State.

The short answer is “not yet.” It will be some time before the College is back to “business as usual.”

Starting Monday, May 4, Pellissippi State will reopen its Hardin Valley and Strawberry Plains campuses only to those classes necessary for students to complete coursework that must be done on campus – skills assessment and project completion – during finals week. Instructors will communicate to their students when and where these classes will be held. Labs will not be operating at full capacity due to social distancing guidelines, so an entire class may not be able to work or test at the same time.

Blount County, Division Street and Magnolia Avenue campuses will remain closed. All classwork that needs to be completed in person will be pushed to the Hardin Valley and Strawberry Plains campuses.

Buildings will continue to be locked so instructors must contact Campus Police to arrange for access to the facilities. Please email Campus Police at police@pstcc.edu and include “Request for Access” with the location you wish to visit in your subject line.

While on campus, everyone should wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines of leaving at least 6 feet of space between yourself and others. Please bring a mask with you because we only have a limited number of masks for those who do not have one. Also, pay attention to new signage indicating which doors can be entered and which can be exited, as we incorporate one-way foot traffic inside our buildings.

Most importantly: those who are exhibiting any of the symptoms of Covid-19 as outlined by the CDC should not report to campus. Those symptoms can appear two to 14 days after exposure and include

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

You should self-report your symptoms, as well as any exposure you've had to someone who has these symptoms, using the form located in the righthand navigation of our coronavirus webpage.

The only other group of our Pellissippi State family allowed to return to campus starting Monday, May 4, are employees seeking to retrieve items from their offices. This access will be by appointment only, as buildings will continue to be locked. To make an appointment, please email our Campus Police at police@pstcc.edu and indicate in the subject line “Request for Access” and include the campus location you wish to visit.

Our Blount County, Division Street and Magnolia Avenue campuses will be open only on certain days so that essential coworkers can be there to assist you.

As with our students who will be returning to campus to complete classwork, all employees who come to campus should wear masks, practice social distancing of 6 feet or greater, and use only designated entrances and exits.

These are the only changes Pellissippi State is making starting Monday, May 4.

Those essential employees who have been reporting to campus during Safer at Home orders should continue to do so. Those employees who have been working from home should continue to do so. Future phases of reopening will be announced as we see how the coronavirus pandemic evolves.

Stay safe.


April 24, 2020

Congratulations, everyone! We’ve made it through another week of this virtual environment. Classes will end next week, and finals will be here before you know it. Summer classes are just around the corner, and we know some of you have been waiting to register.

We previously announced that any summer classes taking place prior to June 24 would be moved online exclusively. In the ongoing effort to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the College has now decided to move classes for the second four-week summer term to an almost exclusively online format as well.

The majority of these classes, which begin June 24, will be taught online, either through the traditional web format or with the use of virtual technology, such as Zoom or Teams. Students can look for the description of the mode of delivery in the class schedule online. A few skills-based or lab classes may meet face-to-face in small groups following social distancing guidelines.

Please check in with an advisor before registering. Even though our offices remain closed for now, our advisors are working from home. You can reach out to them via advising@pstcc.edu or through the Navigate app.

Regardless of which summer session you’re considering, the state has given us some good news: Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect students can enroll in summer classes for fewer hours than full time and still receive funding, given you continue to meet all other eligibility criteria.

The state granted this exception to the full-time rule to assist students during the Covid-19 pandemic. If you have questions about your scholarship and eligibility, please contact our Financial Aid staff at financialaid@pstcc.edu using your Pellissippi State email address.


April 23, 2020

Are you a nontraditional student (the academic way of saying “older than 24”) with a houseful of family members, trying to finish your classes from home while making ends meet? Our own Angela Anderton, a peer mentor and tutor who also serves as president of Alpha Theta Xi, knows what it’s like to juggle all these responsibilities. Angela offers three tips to ending your spring semester successfully in a short Pellissippi Strong video, available here or on our Facebook and Instagram accounts.

With gray skies and rain in the forecast today, it may be the perfect time to take a mental break from your studies and curl up with a good book. What are you reading right now? Something light to escape the stress of the coronavirus pandemic? Dystopian fiction that hits close to home? You can check out what some of our Pellissippi State folks are reading in this Pellissippi State Libraries Blog celebrating World Book Day today. If you see something you’d like to check out, our librarians can help you access books through the Ask a Librarian chat!


April 22, 2020

Students, if you feel like your mental health could use a little check-up these days, join our friends in Counseling Services for “Are You Okay? Let’s Talk” at noon Mondays and 4 p.m. Thursdays.

"Let’s Talk” is a one-hour open Zoom meeting during which our Pellissippi State counselors are standing by to chat with you in an informal setting, no appointment necessary. This model developed by Cornell University puts counselors around campus – not in their offices – to provide a space and time for students to stop in and talk with a counselor.

Counseling Services already had planned to implement “Let’s Talk” at Pellissippi State. The move to an online environment meant thinking a little further outside the box to provide this service for students.

Two counselors will be available on each “Let’s Talk” Zoom meeting. While this is not counseling like a traditional scheduled session, counselors will have the ability to move a student into a separate Chat Room if needed. Students also will have the opportunity to schedule a private appointment with one of our counselors after “Let’s Talk,” if they wish to do so.

“Let’s Talk” is just another way our friends in Counseling Services are here for you during this unusual time. To join “Let’s Talk,” which is free, use the Zoom link https://zoom.us/j/95501758678

Of course, we know how hard this pandemic has been on all of us, and we would be remiss to let this Administrative Professionals Day pass without thanking all of our administrative professionals at Pellissippi State. While we may not get to celebrate you in person this year, please know how much we appreciate all you do to keep the College running, whether we are on or off campus!


April 21, 2020

Yesterday we highlighted how some of our faculty are going above and beyond to help students succeed while we are working and learning from home. Today we want to tell you about some of our community partners who have been lending a helping hand during the coronavirus pandemic.

You may remember that Pellissippi State was one of several colleges tasked with 3D printing headbands to attach to plastic face shields health care professionals wear to protect themselves from infectious diseases such as Covid-19. The 3D printers in our MegaLab on the Strawberry Plains Campus were running 24/7, producing more than 1,700 headbands.

We couldn’t have done this without donations of filament from Knox County Schools’ Career Magnet Academy, Roane State Community College and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. You can read more about that project here.

Meanwhile, as grocery stores nationwide were experiencing food shortages due to the pandemic, our friends at FirstBank in Knoxville stepped up to help us supplement the food in our Pellissippi Pantry. That’s in addition to their support for our new Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science and their sponsorship of our upcoming Alumni and Friends Luncheon.

Thanks to our friends at FirstBank, the Pellissippi Pantry was able to provide food to more than 75 Pellissippi Pantry recipients earlier this month. Thanks also to our essential workers, such as our Campus Police, who volunteered to distribute the food! You can read more about that project here.


April 20, 2020

As we move into our fourth week of teaching and learning remotely, there are many instructors going above and beyond to make sure our students succeed in a less-than-ideal environment.

One example of this is our Mathematics department, which is supplementing the tutoring done by our Academic Support Center with nightly tutoring sessions.

"We have offered this to STATS (Math 1530) online sections for a couple of years. Since the Covid-19 virus, we have opened it up to all students in Math 0030, Math 0010, Math 0530, Math 1030, Math 1010, Math 1530, Math 1710, Math 1720, Math 1730, Math 1630, Math 1830, Math 1910 and Math 1920," said Judy Fethe, interim dean of Mathematics. "We have gone from five professors covering five nights to 15 professors volunteering to cover the five nights."

To take advantage of this extra math tutoring before finals, check out the schedule below. Thank you to all our faculty who are helping make sure our students Stay Strong and Finish Strong during the coronavirus pandemic!

ALGEBRA
https://zoom.us/s/608748535
OR
https://zoom.us/
Join a meeting
608 748 535

Sunday
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Kara Raymond 0030/1030/1130

Monday
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Chris Culliton 0030/1030/1130/1710

Tuesday
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Julies Oyier 0030/1130/1710/1630/1830

Wednesday
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Kim Martin 0030/1030/1130/1710

Thursday
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Becky Blackwell 0030/1030/1130/1710


STATS and SURVEY
https://zoom.us/s/161687478
OR
https://zoom.us/
Join a meeting
161 687 478

Sunday
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Ray Ishak 0530/1530

Monday
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

SueAnn Jones Dobbyn 0530/1530/0010/1010

Tuesday
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Claire Suddeth 0530/1530/0010/1010

Wednesday
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Carolyn Fellhoelter 0530/1530/0010/1010

Thursday
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Christina Elliot 0530/1530
Margaret Jansen 0530/1530/0010/1010


TRIG/CALCULUS
https://zoom.us/s/277733819
OR
https://zoom.us/
Join a meeting
277 733 819

Sunday
7:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Diann DeJulia 1710/1720/1730/1910/1920/2120

Monday
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Judy Fethe 1720/1730/1910/1920

Tuesday
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Mary Monroe Ellis 1720/1730/1910/1830

Wednesday
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Amy Tankersley 1720/1730

Thursday
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Ashley Boone 1720/1730/1910/1920

 


April 17, 2020

TGIF, Pellissippi State! We know we’re all busy and stressed as spring semester hits that fever pitch that happens before finals, but have you had a chance to stop for a second and take a look out a window today? The sun is shining (at least in Knoxville!), leaves are rustling in the breeze and birds are singing. Sunny days like today really make us miss campus! 

Since most of us can’t be there in person right now due to the governor’s Safer at Home Order, we’ve made some wallpapers of our five campuses that you can download on your desktop and mobile devices. When you change your background to one of these beautiful shots, you’ll practically feel like you’re back on campus again! 

These wallpapers are just one of the things we’ve rolled out this week on our Pellissippi State social media accounts. Did you see our Pellissippi State Bingo card we posted Monday? What about the photos of our faculty, staff and students celebrating National Wear Pajamas to Work Day yesterday? Social distancing doesn’t mean we have to be socially disconnected from each other. 

We encourage you to regularly check our Facebook and Instagram accounts to see what your fellow faculty, staff and students are up to. Next week we’ll have videos from students sharing their tips on working from home and eating healthy, a collaboration with our libraries for World Book Day and a look at all the fun outfits one of our deans has been donning for virtual meetings. 

Have a good weekend, friends. You deserve it. 


April 16, 2020

Good afternoon, Pellissippi State family. How are you hanging in there this week? We know Knox County Schools’ announcement yesterday that K-12 schools will be closed through the end of this academic year threw many of us for a loop. It's hard to be a full-time parent and a full-time employee at the same time. And we know the same is true for our students. You’re juggling classes with your families, your jobs and all your other responsibilities. 

Today we have some words of encouragement from Assistant Professor Carolyn Fellhoelter, who you may recognize from our Strawberry Plains Campus, where she teaches statistics. Assistant Professor Fellhoelter shares the steps she’s taken to overcome her fears and struggles during the coronavirus pandemic. We encourage you to take 2 minutes to check out Assistant Professor Fellhoelter’s Pellissippi Strong video and think about these words of wisdom: “I focus on what I can do and what I can control.”  

Remember, too, that you are not alone! Our faculty and staff across the College are here to help you find solutions to the challenges you’re facing. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your instructors as well as our tutors, librarians, counselors, advisors and other support servicesWe miss you, we want to hear from you and, mostly, we want you to be successful! 


April 15, 2020

As spring semester draws to a close and our summer semester ramps up, you may be wondering what to do about your textbooks. Allison Crye, our Pellissippi State Campus Stores manager, is working to get you the books you need. 

Spring semester rentals are due back to the bookstore by May 11. Those with rented textbooks can ship them back to the bookstore for free! Simply follow these steps: 

  1. Go to www.pstccshop.com and click "Sign in.” 

  2. Once signed into your account, click on "Rentals" to view all your rented titles.  

  3. Click "Return All Rentals by Mail,” and then select the books you wish to check in 

  4. Print your free return label and ship your books back to the bookstore. Be sure to print and include the packing slip along with your books! 

Those who have registered for summer classes can go ahead and get your books now, if you wish. While our physical bookstores are not open on any of our campuses, you can order what you need online through the bookstore’s website and have it shipped to you. 

If your financial aid is approved to use in the bookstore, you can charge to your financial aid online May 20-26. All you need is your student ID number, but you must include the P in front of the number, Allison stresses.  If you have questions, you can email Allison at bookstore@pstcc.edu or call her at 865-694-6642. 

Textbooks for fall classes will be up on the bookstore’s website closer to mid-June, but if you need textbooks for this summer, rest assured that Allison is on site, filling orders and shipping them out! Thank you to Allison and all our essential employees who are venturing outside their homes to make sure we can get what we need from the College during the coronavirus pandemic!


April 14, 2020

Tennessee’s Safer at Home Order has been extended through April 30, Gov. Bill Lee announced Monday. While our Pellissippi State leadership already had decided that the College will remain closed through April 30, we wanted to update you on how we’re keeping our campuses safe during this strange time and what comes next. 

As you know, only essential personnel are reporting to Pellissippi State’s campuses. Those essential personnel log every room in every building that they visit throughout the day so that our Facilities staff can continue to clean and disinfect those spaces. We are asking that essential personnel wear masks covering their noses and mouths when they are inside buildings on any of our Pellissippi State campuses and outside the buildings if they are engaging with others. 

None of us know if the Safer at Home Order will be extended into May, but our Emergency Management Team, which meets daily, is working to ensure that we follow all CDC guidelines before our campuses reopen. For example, those in our Pellissippi State community who recently have self-reported due to illness, travel or exposure to someone who has been sick or has traveled will be contacted personally by a member of our new Care Team to go over the CDC’s criteria for coming out of self-isolation and returning to Pellissippi State, when that time comes. 

As we continue to learn and work remotely, we encourage you to take the opportunities you have to get outside – socially distanced, of course! -- for some fresh air and sunshine, to stand up and stretch, to step away from your computer screen and rest your eyes. Please remember, too, that the pandemic is not a test of your productivity. We are going through a collective trauma experience, but we will get through it – together.


April 13, 2020

Welcome back! We’re starting week three of classes being moved online, and we hope you’re getting settled into the new flow. We know it’s not been easy. 

Today Pellissippi State sophomore Benjamin Bridges shares how he’s handling taking all his classes from home. "Covid-19 has completely changed my schedule from what I thought it would be, and I personally am not a fan,” Benjamin says. How many of us can relate? As a science major planning to finish a degree in biochemistry at UT, Benjamin is watching his professors demonstrate lessons on YouTube that normally he would learn, hands on, in our labs. But Benjamin is grateful for the professors who are going above and beyond to make sure their students succeed, “despite being out of their comfort zones themselves.” Take 2 minutes and check out Benjamin’s video, complete with a reference from “The Office” at the end. 

On our other social media channels – including Facebook and Instagram – we’ve compiled seven tips for learning and working remotely. How many are you practicing? What is one new thing you can start this week? You don’t have to have Facebook or Instagram accounts to see these tips, by the way, as our Pellissippi State social media accounts are public. If you click these links, you’ll go straight to them, no login required. 

As we continue the steady march toward finals and, for some of you, graduation, remember you always can reach out to your professors or to PantherHelp@pstcc.edu if you run into obstacles. Let’s finish the semester #pellissippistrong. 


April 9, 2020

Have you been mediating sibling squabbles between conference calls or while trying to pay attention in your classes? Have you had to repeatedly restart your computer because it can’t handle all the technology you’re having to use to do your work remotely? Have you worried yourself sick about loved ones who are out on the frontlines or wondered how you’re going to fill the gaps in your budget due to lost income? 

Wwant you to know that we’re all experiencing struggles, and that is not lip service! This is such a tough time to be juggling your work – for your classes and for your livelihood – with your family and other responsibilities, all while stuck at home. Frustrations are high. We’re feeling it, too. 

Today we launched a new Pellissippi Strong video series. Think of it a little like our own reality TV. These short, non-scripted videos, shot on whatever technology we have available to us at our homes, are a way for us to connect in a time when so many of us feel disconnected. Associate Professor Anne Pharr, program coordinator for our College 1000 courses, shares her experiences in the first video, which is under 2 minutes long. Check it out, and look for more virtual check-ins soon from your fellow Pellissippi State faculty, staff and students as we stay #pellissippistrong together. 


April 8, 2020

Attention, students! Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. wants to hear from you! Please join Dr. Wise and Student Government Association President Will King in a Zoom forum 1-2 p.m. Thursday, April 9. This will be a great time to ask questions and share how your online experience is going with both Dr. Wise and your fellow students. 

To access the Zoom chat with Dr. Wise tomorrow, you can use your Zoom app or visit join.zoom.us on your computer or mobile device. If you have never used Zoom before, here is some more information on how to join a meeting. The meeting ID and password are in the daily update we've emailed to your Pellissippi State account.

We look forward to talking to you!


April 7, 2020

Believe it or not, it’s already time to register for your fall classes at Pellissippi State! Registration opened yesterday, and we had almost 600 students register the first day! Right now we’re expecting that our fall classes will be held on our College campuses.  

Advisors are available to help you choose the best classes to continue your educational journey with us. You can schedule an appointment with your assigned advisor in Navigate or email advising@pstcc.edu. All advising is still being done remotely, as we continue to follow Safer at Home orders and practice social distancing. That means you could be helped by an advisor in an online format or on the phone. 

We are looking forward to seeing you back on campus this fall! You can find the fall schedule in myPellissippi. Steps to register for classes are here. 


April 6, 2020

Here we go, Pellissippi State community! It’s Week Two of our spring semester being moved online. We know this is a huge transition, so we’ve gathered some familiar faces to share some words of encouragement and support with you today. Check out the video here. 

As you know, our Pellissippi State leaders have been working for almost a month now to determine how we can best serve you during the coronavirus pandemic. In our continuing efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19 and to guard the health and safety of everyone in our College community, Pellissippi State will move all summer classes that begin before June 24 to an online environment. 

If you have signed up for an on-campus course that begins May 11 or May 26, the class will now be taught online — either in asynchronous fashion through Brightspace, where you do the work on your own time instead of meeting as a class, or through a video conferencing app such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom. 

Another change is that some courses expected to last four weeks in the classroom setting will now last eight weeks online to ensure a better, more complete educational experience. If your class format is being changed, or if your course is cancelled, you will be contacted via your Pellissippi State email address as well as by phone.  

While we hope to preserve our on-campus classes that begin later in the summer, we will convert those to online if the situation indicates it is best to do so. The deadline to register for summer courses is May 20. You can find the summer schedule in MyPellissippi. Steps to register for classes are here. 


April 3, 2020

Students, we have seen your petition requesting a pass-fail option for final grades for this semester. Although we understand and sympathize with your desire to move in that direction, the Tennessee Board of Regents has made the decision that all community colleges across the state will maintain standard letter grading for spring 2020. 

You should know the decision was made with students in mind. As community college students, many of you will be transferring to four-year institutions, and some of you will be vying for spots in competitive programs. We do not want the lack of a letter grade for courses to hinder your ability to transfer to another school or to gain a spot in an engineering, business or health sciences program. 

While we must follow the Board’s guideline, we also recognize the extraordinary circumstances you are facing as you work to complete your classes this term. Your life may have been disrupted in a number of ways: illness, job loss, expanded or changed work hours, children home from school and classes being delivered in an unfamiliar environment, along with the fear and anxiety of the pandemic itself. 

It is our goal to help you every step along the way as you navigate these challenges, and we want to be sure you complete your classes successfully. Though we have policies that govern decisions about incomplete grades for courses and withdrawals that take place after the March 27 deadline, we will look carefully at the circumstances surrounding every student’s individual situation.  

For classes that require a hands-on component that cannot be replicated in the virtual environment, your instructors might assign you an incomplete until we can all get back on campus and you can come in to finish the work of the course. In addition, though we want everyone to stay the course and earn your credits, we understand that a late withdrawal might be necessary in some extreme circumstances. If that’s the case, please contact Advising to help you with the process, as we want to make sure you understand how that could impact your financial aid. 

Thank you for returning to your classes this week after the extended spring break and giving this online environment a try. We know it’s a big change from how most of us were working and learning prior to March 14. If you haven’t returned but you are checking this email, please know that we have a dedicated team of employees who will be reaching out to you personally to see how we can help you. We will do everything we can to help you remain #pellissippistrong!


April 2, 2020

You may have seen earlier this week that President Trump extended the Coronavirus Guidelines for America through April 30. Although Gov. Lee’s Safer at Home Order for Tennessee is set to expire on April 14, Pellissippi State Community College will remain closed through at least April 30 in an effort to curb the number of our faculty, staff and students potentially exposed to coronavirus. 

What this means for you is that faculty, staff and students should plan to continue working and learning remotely for the rest of the month. Only essential employees are allowed on our campuses, and only then by filling out this form detailing each building and room they access while on campus so that our Facilities staff can stay on top of cleaning and disinfecting these spaces. 

If you’re a student, you may be thinking, “Dr. Wise already announced that all our classes would meet online for the rest of this semester.” You’re right! We already knew that classes would not be resuming on campus. However, this extension of federal Coronavirus Guidelines means that we won’t be opening our computer labs in April, as we had originally intended.  

Thankfully, we have resources in place to help students who are having issues accessing technology from their homes. In addition to our list of Internet Resources for Students on our Student Resources Page, we recently added a map to show you the best places to park on our Hardin Valley Campus to access our College WiFi. The Blount County Campus parking lot at the back of the building also has WiFi access. For our other campuses, park as close to the building as possible to connect to their WiFi. 

We appreciate your patience as we all learn how to make the best of an unfortunate situation. The health and safety of our Pellissippi State community remain our top priority. 


April 1, 2020

We have some great news today on the coronavirus front, and it isn’t an April Fool’s Day joke! One of our nursing students has made more than 700 surgical masks since March 20, and she is shipping them to people in need all over the United States! Last Friday alone, she sent 60 to Texas, 20 to Virginia and 12 to a critical care unit in Colorado. Bridget Frazier may not consider herself an inspiration, but we sure doYou can read about her amazing project here. 

We know there are more of you out there – students and employees – who are going above and beyond to help folks during the coronavirus pandemic. We would love to hear your stories! If you have things you want to share with our Pellissippi State communityplease shoot us an email at marketing@pstcc.edu or reach out to us on our social media accounts. 

In the meantime, if you’re craving some interaction with the Pellissippi State friends you are used to seeing on campus, why not pop into our Virtual College Center? You can drop by anytime between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to chat with fellow students or ask questions of faculty and staff who are hanging out in there to help you. You can get to the Virtual College Center by visiting http://tiny.cc/pscc-collegecenter. Microsoft Teams is free for you to use on your computer or mobile device! If you haven’t installed Teams, it’s a quick download. 


March 31, 2020

As we prepare to enter April still under a Safer at Home order from Knox County and now a similar Executive Order from the governor, we know a lot of us are feeling overwhelmed. Some of us are attempting to work or learn from home while our children are out of school. Many of us are worried about how we will continue to provide for ourselves and our families. Some of us are separated from loved ones who are in nursing homes and hospitals, locked down due to coronavirus. 

And, yes, many of us are navigating working and learning online with technology that we’ve never had to use before.  

It is important during this unusual time to remember that we are all in the same boat, says Elizabeth Firestone, Assistant Vice President for Student Services and former director of Counseling Services. 

“Sometimes it feels like everyone else is doing something that you can’t do easily, and you may feel inadequate,” she explains. “Usually others are feeling the same way you are, even if they don’t voice that.” 

Counseling Services Director Nancy Truett shares some simple ways we all can improve our physical, mental and emotional health during this time. 

By staying at home and thinking about our lives in new ways, we have the opportunity to set some positive habits that we may not have had time to do with our very busy school and work schedules,” she says. 

We encourage you to try some of these suggestions and see how they work for you: 

  1. Go outside and connect with nature: “For me, I am taking a daily walk with my dogs when I transition from work to home at the end of the day,” Truett says. “Keep your social distancing when seeing neighbors. Look up at the clouds, watch the sun move across the sky, notice children playing, say hello.
     
  2. Eat healthyWe can eat lunch, make tea, take time to cut an orange or an apple and eat it,” Truett suggests. “We may feel stressed about groceries and focus on fear and worry, yet we can be more mindful about preparing food and taking time to eat a meal with our families. 

  3. RestTake a break from your work. Get enough sleep at night. Maintain a regular routine. 

  4. ExerciseBe creative. Even if you cannot go to the gym, watch videos or YouTube clips with workout routines and follow along. Do something you have always wanted to do to release that stress or pent-up energy. Your bodies need it.

  5. Have funConnect with family and friends by phone. Talk. Laugh. Yes, remember to laugh! There is so much uncertainty right now, which can create a lot of anxiety, so call someone. Although we are physically isolating, we shouldn’t emotionally isolate ourselves.

  6. Practice gratitudeYears ago, I kept a Gratitude Journal,” Truett remembers. I wrote five things every day that I was grateful for that day. Simple things.

  7. Be creativeWrite, sing, dance, paint, do crafts, make art, work on a project, play board games, play cards, solve puzzles, organize photos, do whatever makes you happy in a fun, new way.

  8. ReadPerhaps pick up that book you have always wanted to read.

  9. Stay connected to your fellow students and colleagues: Keep studying, reading, learning and connecting with your peers on virtual platforms. Have conversations. Help each other.

  10. Use community resources if neededDo not be afraid or ashamed to reach out and ask for help. There are so many resources available to help people combat stress, loneliness, anxiety and depression. There are trained professionals available to help.  

As always, Pellissippi State Counseling Services provides free and confidential academic, career and personal counseling to students. You can reach out to counseling by emailing counseling@pstcc.edu. You also can find the names and email addresses of all our counselors on our counseling website. 

Faculty and staff who are having a hard time are encouraged to reach out to StayStrong@pstcc.edu, a new care team that can connect you to the resources you need. Human Resources can also help you decipher what mental health benefits you have or where you can turn for help if you are uninsured. Counseling Services has provided HR with a robust list of community resources, Truett notes. 

“You are not alone,” Truett stresses. “We are all in this together trying to figure all of this out while we are listening to the news and trying to stay well and safe.” 


March 30, 2020

Welcome back, students! We hope this first day of classes after your extended spring break went as smoothly as possible. We know this is a huge transition for both our students who have not taken an online course before and our faculty who have not taught online in the past. We expect there will be a few hiccups along the way, but with a bit of patience, we are confident we will get through this together. We have several resources in place to help you as we all adjust to this new reality, from our PantherHelp team that can assess your questions and get you to the correct person to our Student Opportunity Fund, which is accepting requests for emergency financial assistance directly from students and not just by referrals from faculty and staff. 

We know that Knox County’s Safer at Home Order and social distancing can be lonely. Our faculty and staff have been brainstorming ways to keep us connected while we cannot be in community with you. We encourage you to follow Pellissippi State on Facebook and Instagram and take part in the activities our social media specialist is spearheading. Just today we launched a new hashtag, #MyPellissippiCampus, and Dr. Wise kicked off this campaign by sharing some photos of his home workspace. We encourage you to upload photos of where you’re doing your work during the coronavirus pandemic, tag Pellissippi State and use the hashtag #MyPellissippiCampus.  

Likewise, our friends in Student Engagement and Leadership have been cooking up ways to keep us connected while we’re sheltering in place. This morning you should have received, in your Pellissippi State email, a Panther Pause newsletter that previews some of the activities SEAL has planned this week, from the practical (how to make a budget, how to file a FAFSA) to the frivolous (trivia, photos of your quarantine fashion choices). Check the Panther Pause for details or follow SEAL on FacebookInstagram, Snapchat and Twitter: @pscc_sab; or Tik Tok: @pscc_seal. 

Tomorrow we’ll be trying something new: a Virtual College Center on Microsoft Teams. You all can drop by the Virtual College Center 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday to chat with your fellow students or ask questions of the faculty and staff who will be hanging out in there to help you. You can get to the Virtual College Center by using this link, which opens in Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams is free for you to use on your computer or mobile device! If you haven’t installed Teams, it’s a quick download. 

Finally, we know there are so many of you doing good, kind things for others during this trying time. We always are happy to share these stories. If you know of someone in our Pellissippi State community going above and beyond to help others during the coronavirus pandemic, shoot us an email at Marketing@pstcc.edu and tell us a little bit about them, including the best way we can reach them. These are the stories that keep us going when times get tough, and we would love to pass them along to our Pellissippi State community.


March 27, 2020

Are you ready for classes to resume on Monday? We know this is a time of a great deal of anxiety and stress, but we also know that you can do this! Dr. Wise shared today his gratitude for the work that already has been done to welcome you back from your extended spring break. 

Students, your professors have been very busy preparing to continue your classes remotely, whether that's online through Brightspace or through the use of a video conferencing platform like Zoom or Teams. You may be wondering if you need to "go to class" at your regular time when the semester resumes Monday, March 30, or if the course will be conducted in another way. 

The answers should be there for you in your courses located in Brightspace. Your professors will provide you with instructions about how each class will run for the rest of the semester. There may be content in modules in Brightspace that you read and/or complete and even quizzes and tests you might do within the timeframe the instructor specifies. There may be some Zoom or Teams meetings at specific times, or there may be a little of both.  

If you have questions, please reach out to your instructors. They are here to help. Your success is their No. 1 goal. So hang in there! We are all behind you!  

As we prepare to work, teach or learn online next week, we all need to increase our attention to cybersecurity. Unfortunately, cybercriminals love to take advantage of this kind of situation – new tools, unfamiliar communication patterns, reliance on public Wi-Fi or loaned equipment – to scam and exploit people. 

Here are some steps our Vice President for Information Services Audrey Williams suggests you take when working, teaching and learning remotely: 

  • Ensure your computer and other devices are up-to-date with their operating system and applications. Run updated malware and anti-virus program scans. If you are using a loaned system, be sure to clear your browser history, cache and cookies after every use. Here’s how to do that.
     
  • If you are using a public Wi-Fi hotspot, stick to the ones from known providers such as Xfinity and ATT. Xfinity requires a special application on your device to locate and connect to its public hotspots, but they are all free now to everyone. Never do any kind of work on a public hotspot that involves your banking, medical or other sensitive information. We have information on free and low-cost internet services on our Student Resources page.
     
  • Back up your work regularlySave it to more than one location. OneDrive is a great place to keep files for access from anywhere, but you still should save important documents on a jump drive or other secondary location.
      
  • Use unique and strong passwords for all of your online services. Use passphrases that are long and easier to remember. Logging in with a passphrase of “ILove2EatChocolateChipC00kies!” is way easier to remember and vastly more secure than “23tYII%sd=6YT.” Enable multifactor authentication on any system that supports it.
     
  • Don’t open any unexpected attachments or emails/texts that contain links to login pages. You can always verify with someone before you open an attachment to ensure it is legitimate. Yes, this may take a minute or two, but this simple step can save everyone lots of time and heartache. Right now a very common scam is a spam email “from” a college or a company informing you of a COVID-19 positive test in a coworker. The email asks you to complete an attached “form” that contains malware. The U.SCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health organizations have been targeted for impersonation because of their position and importance during this time. Feel free to forward any email that is in question to the HelpDesk for advice and for awareness. The HelpDesk is happy to alert the college community about any active scam or spam campaigns. 
     
  • Remember: Pellissippi State will NEVER ask for your password via email.  

Cybersecurity relies on all of us keeping our systems updated, using strong passwords and multifactor authentication, and being cautious around new hotspots, loaned equipment and unexpected communications. Here are more resources about staying cybersafe online. 

Have a good weekend, and we’ll “see” you Monday! Let’s finish the semester #PellissippiStrong!  


March 26, 2020 - 6 p.m.

We are just days away from classes resuming Monday, March 30, in an online format, and we know this could be causing those of you who have never taken an online class some anxiety. Here at Pellissippi State, our faculty and staff have been working hard over your extended spring break to ensure that we have people and processes in place to get you through the rest of spring semester Pellissippi Strong. 

Here are some new ways we’re focusing on keeping you in school during these trying times: 

  • We have created a new PantherHelp team that you can contact simply by filling out this form. This team will know who best can help you with your concerns so that you don’t get passed from one office to another. We realize that’s frustrating even when we’re all on campus, and we certainly want to prevent that from happening when we’re all working remotely. 

  • Our Pellissippi State Foundation is offering emergency financial assistance to students who are facing financial challenges due to the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Students can request financial assistance from our Student Opportunity Fund by emailing SOF@pstcc.edu. Please provide your PNumber and the details of your need, and you will receive an email from the Foundation regarding its capacity to support your request. 

  • Your professors have been busy all week converting face-to-face classes to a format that will work while we all have to stay at home. Log in to your courses in Brightspace to see how they are ensuring that your education continues. 

  • We have been compiling resources to help you and linking to them from our new Student Resources page. Take a look, if you haven’t already, to learn tips and resources for succeeding in online classes, to see what resources are available to provide Internet access during this time if you don’t already have it at your home, and how to access Advising, Financial Aid and Tutoring while we aren’t on campus. Your Navigate app also includes a resource list updated to reflect our new online reality. 

We know it may be tempting to throw in the towel and withdraw from the classes you started in January, which seems like a different world from the one we’re living in now. We strongly encourage you to STOP, DON’T DROP AND STAY ENROLLED. There are permanent ramifications to financial aid such as Pell grants, student loans, and Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect scholarships if you drop below a certain number of hours. You can read about those consequences here. 

We care about you and your future, and we don’t want the coronavirus pandemic to derail your educational journey. Statewide, there are waivers being put into place to extend deadlines for completing Tennessee Promise community service hours, for exampleTesting that normally would take place in our Testing Center will be completed at home, online, overseen by an online proctor. 

Before you decide the effort to complete your classes this semester just isn’t worth the troubleplease talk to your instructor about how you’re doing in the class, take advantage of our online tutoring and other resources and speak to one of our full-time counselors who offer freconfidential academic, career and personal counseling. To reach out to the Counseling Center, please call 865-694-6480 or email counseling@pstcc.edu 

We are here to help, and we know that the way we will get through this is by working together. #pellissippistrong  


March 26, 2020

An important message from the Vice President of Student Affairs concerning student support programs and services for online learning.

Dear Students,

In response to the health risks posed by the spread of COVID-19 and out of concern for the health and safety of the Pellissippi State community, President Wise announced on March 19th that the College would move entirely to online learning for the remainder of the spring semester. Accordingly, all essential student support services are moving to an online delivery model. That includes Advising, Counseling, Testing, and Tutoring among others. 

Student engagement, entirely in a virtual environment, is an adjustment for all of us. However, we are committed to making this adjustment as smooth as possible. We pledge the support of the College to facilitate your success, and we want you to know that we are here to help you, just like when we are all on-site.

Stay Informed

For your convenient reference, included in this letter is important information pertaining to this transition and answers to some frequently asked questions.  You will find complete and up-to-date information and links to resources on the Pellissippi State coronavirus webpage. Information on this page changes frequently, so the College recommends that you visit the webpage several times each day.  Likewise, the College is sending daily updates to your Pellissippi State email addresses each day around 5 p.m. so that you have any information you need before the next day.

Stay Engaged

Please download the Navigate Student app to your smartphone or tablet and/or login to Navigate Student here.  This tool will help you organize, access resources, and stay connected with the College.  You may also contact the PantherHelp team here with questions or concerns that you have during this transition and throughout the remainder of the term.  It might be tempting to walk away from your educational pathway during this time.  We encourage you to reach out to us by completing a Panther Help request form or emailing us at PantherHelp@pstcc.edu with your concerns and give us an opportunity to partner with you to resolve them. 

Stay Strong

There are many resources that existed to support you prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and others that have been created for you specifically in response to its spread.  For example, the Pellissippi State Foundation realizes some of you may have financial challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Requests for financial assistance can be made by emailing the Student Opportunity Fund directly at SOF@pstcc.edu. Please provide your P-Number and the details of your need, and you will receive an e-mail regarding the Foundation’s capacity to support your request. 

Finally, if you believe that withdrawal from one or more courses is the best option for you under these circumstances, we encourage you to visit the Financial Aid web page and speak with Financial Aid staff before you finalize your decision.  Withdrawal from a course will have implications on your eligibility for federal financial aid, such as the Pell Grant, as well as TN Promise, Reconnect, HOPE, and other scholarships you may have earned.  The final date for withdrawal is Friday, March 27, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., EDT.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this new territory. Though this transition may seem a daunting task for our community, together we will meet this challenge.

Sincerely, 

Dr. Rushton Johnson

Vice President of Student Affairs

 

Advising Students may e-mail advising@pstcc.edu with questions or to schedule an appointment with an advisor remotely. Over the next several weeks, advisors will be reaching out to their assigned students through their Pellissippi State email to schedule advising appointments.  Students should check their email often and follow the directions of their advisor to schedule a time to meet with them. New student advising will begin May 4, 2020. 

Commencement – It is with sincere and deep regret that we must postpone all Spring 2020 Commencement activities until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and local public health officials, declare it safe to host large events.  We anticipate a rescheduled Spring 2020 Commencement for late August 2020, inclusive of summer graduates.  More information will be made available as the event details are confirmed. Updated information may be found here, on the Commencement webpage, when those details become available. 

Coronavirus Webpage – The latest coronavirus updates, campus and community resources, and impact on the operations of Pellissippi State may be found here. Information changes frequently, so you are encouraged to visit this webpage multiple times per day.

Counseling Services – We know this is a stressful time with many changes ahead as we work together to complete the semester. Please know that we understand that change can create much stress and anxiety. We know that you may be worrying about your classes and how you will be able to complete them successfully. Call a counselor today at 865-694-6480 or email us at counseling@pstcc.edu.

Disability Services – Disability Services is working remotely.  For students who are already registered, the best way to contact us is to email disabilityservices@pstcc.edu.

We encourage students who are just beginning the process for applying for disability services to complete the disability services application in MyPellissippi and to use the Secure Document Upload feature for submitting documentation.

Exit Testing –  If you are scheduled to complete the ETS Exit Exam before May 31, please continue to check your Pellissippi State email for updates on how to complete the ETS Exit Exam remotely, on your own time. 

Financial Aid - For assistance with financial aid e-mail financialaid@pstcc.edu.  Virtual appointments will be scheduled as necessary. If you are considering withdrawal from a course, please speak with financial aid staff before finalizing your decision. 

Navigate – Access Navigate to see the latest on how campus resources are working to assist you online during this unique time.  You will also find reminders about important college-wide deadlines and tips about how to succeed as your courses move online.

PantherHelp –  PantherHelp is a new care team created to assist students in navigating campus and community resources to #StayStrong in their courses. Questions related to a specific course are best answered by your professor, but the care team can assist with many of the questions you might have about staying successful in your online courses.  Contact PantherHelp at pantherhelp@pstcc.edu or through the PAVE reporting form found here.

Student Records - Ordering transcripts will follow the same process now that our Records office is working remotely. Please be patient as it may take longer to get official transcripts mailed to you. Request a transcript online here.

Student Engagement and Leadership - Student Engagement and Leadership has planned the Panther Online Takeover to provide engagement opportunities while we are online. Follow us on the following social media platforms to engage and learn with us for the rest of the semester.


Site Campuses - Currently, site campus locations are closed until April 7.  Check the College website daily and reach out to our Panther Help care team. You may also email employees who are working remotely.  We are available to answer your questions and to assist you as we can.

Technology Support – HelpDesk support is available by emailing helpdesk@pstcc.edu or calling 865-694-6537.

Tutoring - Virtual tutoring is available through MS Teams.  Click here for instructions Instructions for Virtual Tutoring through Microsoft Teams (PDF)

March 25, 2020 - 6 p.m.

As the number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to climb each day – Tennessee has 784 cases and Knox County has 20, as of today – we would like to stress how important it is to self-report positive diagnoses of COVID-19 or any symptoms, no matter how mild, to Pellissippi State so that we can keep our College community safe and stop the spread of coronavirus. We encourage you to self-report if you’ve met any of the conditions outlined here. 

You may be wondering why it’s still necessary to self-report when classes will not be resuming on campus this semester. While most of us are sheltering in place under Knox County’s Safer at Home Order issued Monday, essential employees continue to report to Pellissippi State to keep the College running, and it is important we do our best to protect those employees from illness. 

If we are allowed to reopen campuses after the 14-day Safer at Home Order expires at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, April 7, it will become even more imperative that we know who in our community is sick so that we can prevent the spread of coronavirus at Pellissippi State. Our intention is to reopen at least one open computer lab per campus and other spaces, such as academic labs, for necessary hands-on classwork with instructors, and we want to protect you from illness while you are on campus. 

We are committed to protecting your confidentiality while protecting our community. Self-reporting forms filled out by Pellissippi State employees go to Human Resources Executive Director Carole Gary. Those filled out by students go to Dean of Students Travis Loveday. The names of those employees or students who self-report are not shared beyond the small number of staff whose jobs are to respond to these forms. 

Employees and students who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been on one of our Pellissippi State campuses in a time period that puts others at risk can expect a phone call from our Office of Environmental Health and Safety Compliance. Employees and students who are exhibiting symptoms of illness, but do not have a positive COVID-19 diagnosis can expect to receive a call from a member of one of our newly formed Care Teams. 

During this phone call, you will be asked a set of basic questions covering when you started exhibiting symptoms, when you consulted a physician, if and when you received a diagnosis, when and where you were last on campus, and who of our Pellissippi State community you’ve seen in person during this time. This includes employees and students you may have seen casually off campus – say, at the grocery store – and not just those you were in contact with at the College.  

For those with a positive diagnosis: wwill ask how we can best support you during this time and will follow up with you later to see how you are feeling and if there is anything we can do to help you. For those who are exhibiting some symptoms of illness but do not have a positive diagnosis: we will follow guidance from the CDC and the Knox County Health Department in determining the best course of action to recommend, which could be as simple as staying at home or delaying your return to campus. 

Once we know where and when someone who has tested positive has been on campus, we will assess the situation and coordinate cleaning of any areas that may have been contaminated. We also will contact any employee or student who came in contact with the person who has tested positive for COVID-19, if that person had been on campus before his or her diagnosis. We will not identify the patient.  

We encourage you to share information with us so that can help keep our Pellissippi State community healthy and safe, and we hope our transparency about this process and what to expect helps you feel more comfortable self-reporting. We will get through this together. 


March 24, 2020 - 6 p.m.

Today marked our first day of closing our campuses to all but essential personnel, in keeping with Knox County’s Safer at Home Order issued Monday. We know this is not what we were envisioning even yesterday, when we were planning to still offer open computer labs that met social distancing guidelines. However, we are working hard to do our part to flatten the curve and not overwhelm our health care system with coronavirus patients. 

What does Safer at Home mean, in practice? This order directs all residents of Knox County to stay inside their homes for two weeks beginning today. All businesses not performing essential services are closed for 14 days. The businesses that are allowed to stay open are grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, banks, healthcare providers, restaurants offering takeout and delivery, utilities, government services and law enforcement. 

If you are not going to one of these places, you are required to stay at home. Yes, you can get outside and get some fresh air, if you continue to follow social distancing guidelines of staying at least 6 feet from others. But you should not visit family and friends, particularly those in hospitals, nursing homes and other residential care facilities. 

Educational institutions are closed during this two-week period except for personnel who have been designated as essential by their direct supervisors. Our Campus Police have been provided with a list of these designated essential personnel who are allowed on campus during this time. Those designated essential employees should contact Campus Police at 865.694.6649 to schedule an appointment before they arrive on campus so that Campus Police can unlock the buildings employees need to access. There will be no access to campus without an appointment. 

Once on campus, designated essential personnel should fill out this form, which is also available on the Faculty and Staff page of our coronavirus website, each time they access a facility on campus. Multiple entries per day are encouraged, detailing times and locations entered during the visit, so that Campus Police is aware of who is on campus in event of an emergency. This also helps our Facilities staff know which areas need to be cleaned and disinfected each night to keep Pellissippi State as germ free as possible.  

Now, for some good newsPellissippi State is one of the Tennessee colleges that is using 3D printers to manufacture personal protective equipment for health care professionals during this trying time. In just three days, Pellissippi State, Jackson State Community College and TCAT locations throughout the state cranked out more than 800 headbands that will be attached to transparent plastic face shields that health care workers wear over their masks when tending to patients with infectious diseases. This is important work that can be done with very little manpower and is a great way to utilize our campus resources while the College is closed. You can read more about that effort here. 


March 23, 2020 - 6 p.m.

Today the Knox County Health Department issued a Safer at Home Order that closes all nonessential businesses for two weeks beginning at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, March 24. That includes educational institutions such as Pellissippi State. You can read the Knox County Health Department’s frequently asked questions about that order here. 

In response, Pellissippi State is closing all its campuses in Knox and Blount counties for two weeks. The only employees allowed to report to work on campus are essential personnel such as Campus Police, Facilities staff and those needed to facilitate online learning. All essential personnel have been identified by their supervisors, and Campus Police has a list of those employees. 

Students, for you this Safer at Home Order means that we are not able to offer open computer labs for two weeks. We took a survey before spring break to determine which of you do not have access at your homes to a computer, internet access or a smartphone. We are working with those students individually in hopes of addressing how they can access their online classes when our extended spring break ends Monday, March 30. Any other student who has technological needs is encouraged to send a request to our new PantherHelp team through this form. We also have uploaded a list of internet access resources available to students on our Student Resources page. If you have not done so already, we encourage you to download the Navigate app as another way to stay connected with your instructors, classmates and advisors. We care about you, and we will work with you to get you through the rest of this semester. 

Faculty and stafffor you this Safer at Home Order means you will not be able to access your office after midnight tonight for the next 14 daysIf you feel that your access is essential, contact our Campus Police at 865.694.6649 to discuss.  

Regular full-time and regular part-time employees will still be paid during this time, even if you cannot come to campus to fulfill your job duties. Temporary part-time workersplease contact your supervisor to discuss alternate assignments that can be done from home during this time. We are willing to think outside the box to make sure that these important health measures do not cause financial strain. Please email staystrong@pstcc.edu if you need some extra support at this time. 

It is important that we all be good citizens and heed the Knox County Health Department’s guidance to stay at home for the next two weeks. This will be tough for many of us, but it is for the health of our community. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through the transition to an online learning and working environment. 


Friday, March 20, 2020, 6:39 p.m.

Pellissippi State announces first positive case of COVID-19

A student at Pellissippi State Community College has self-reported a positive test for COVID-19 today. The student has not been on campus for the past two weeks and has been under self-quarantine throughout that time. All relevant parties have been notified, and all facilities have been cleaned and disinfected.

Pellissippi State officials announced yesterday that the college is moving all of its classes and student services online for the remainder of the spring semester. Updates are being posted daily to the college’s website and social media accounts.

Out-of-state travelers should seek Health Department guidance whether to self-quarantine

Based on the increased number of cases being reported across the United States, we have changed our guidance for who should use the self-reporting form, particularly as our campus community returns from spring break trips that were planned before the pandemic.

Anyone who has traveled out of state since March 6 should contact the Knox County Health Department’s coronavirus hotline at 865.215.5555 to determine whether you should self-quarantine for 14 days. If you are instructed to do so, please fill out the form above.

Pellissippi State employees and students should also complete this form if:

You are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes it;

You have recently traveled to a high-risk country (CDC Level 2 or 3); or

You have been on a cruise in the past 14 days.

Although faculty have been instructed to come to campus Monday and Tuesday, March 23 and 24, to retrieve any items they need from their offices to prepare to teach remotely for the rest of the semester, those who meet any of the above conditions should not return to campus but should adhere to the 14-day self-quarantine. Contact your supervisor to discuss how to proceed.


Thursday, March 19, 2020, 5:47 p.m.

Dear Pellissippi State family, 

We have decided it is in the best interest of our faculty, staff and students to move our classes and our student services online for the remainder of the spring semester, with very few exceptions. This serious decision was made after the White House and the Centers for Disease Control revised their guidance that social gatherings should be limited to 10 or fewer people. It is, as you can imagine, hard to do that on a campus as robust as ours. 

To that end, all college events through May 11 have been canceled, effective immediately. Spring commencement and the Nursing pinning ceremony, originally planned for May 10, will be postponed until a later date. We will share details when we have them and look forward to celebrating the success of our graduates in person when it’s safe to do so.  

We know this is not the semester you imagined. It is not the semester we imagined. But we will get through this together. We have a dedicated group of employees working every day to ensure we cover all our bases to help you finish the semester Pellissippi Strong. This includes everything from offering advising and tutoring online or by phone to making sure our work-study students and part-time employees get paid, even if their jobs change to duties they can do remotely. 

Although our classes are moving to an online format for the rest of the semester, at least one computer lab on each campus will continue to operate its normal hours. However, there will be a reservation system put in place after the extended spring break ends to ensure that there are no more than 10 people in a lab at one time. We are committed to working with our students to help them meet their academic goals. On our Hardin Valley Campus, WiFi is available in the parking lots closest to the Goins Administration Building and the Educational Resource Center. On our other campuses, WiFi is available in the parking lots as well. The closer you are to the building, the better. 

As we make this transition to an online learning environment, we are putting into place even more resources to make sure we stay connected to our students and no one falls through the cracks. A new team will be checking in with students personally after the end of our extended spring break. Students also can submit specific questions and concerns about technology, coursework, and support services to PantherHelp at this link. 

We also realize this is a stressful time for our faculty and staff. We have created a team, the StayStrong team at StayStrong@pstcc.edu, to help during this time. We will follow up with you to check on how you are doing and find out if we can help in any way. 

Although students remain on extended spring break through Monday, March 30, we are asking all faculty and staff to start working from home as soon as possible. This will help us keep our buildings, which are being cleaned and disinfected, as germ free as possible. If you have questions about whether you can do your job remotely, talk to your supervisor. We are arranging alternate work assignments as needed. 

Faculty and staff who are not self-quarantined due to travel, illness or exposure to coronavirus will be allowed to come to campus between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. next Monday and Tuesday to gather materials needed to work remotely for the remainder of the semester. Faculty and staff should practice social distancing of at least 6 feet while on campus and should not gather in groups of 10 or more. After Tuesday, March 24, we will put in place a system to monitor who comes to campus, time of arrival, time of departure and what buildings and rooms are visited during that time. This will help us track where our housekeeping staff need to clean and disinfect each day. 

Our Business and Community Services office has suspended all non-credit classes until further notice as well and is working with our instructors to discuss rescheduling options. If you have any questions about non-credit classes, please call 865.539.7167 or email bcs@pstcc.edu. 

We are continuing to update our coronavirus webpage daily. There you will find frequently asked questions, as well as new pages of resources for faculty, staff and students as we navigate this new normal together. We will continue to update our website and communicate with you via your Pellissippi State email as well as through our social media accounts. We posted this video today. 

I look forward to the day when we can gather in community on campus again. 

Take care,

Anthony Wise, Jr.
President
Pellissippi State Community College 


Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 11:47 a.m.

Dr. Anthony Wise introduces PantherHelp, Pellissippi State's newest resource for students. Click here to watch the video.


Tuesday, March 17, 2020, 4:54 p.m.

Due to the new President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America, which are linked from the CDC website, we have adjusted our guidance today to allow no more than 10 people per room at one time instead of the previously reported limit of 15.

We will continue following social distance measures of leaving 6 feet of space between people.

We also started distributing computers to faculty and staff who indicated they needed one to do their jobs remotely.

We don’t have the resources to distribute computers to students. However, we have created a new form, PantherHelp, to help students address their concerns during this time.


Monday, March 16, 2020, 4:43 p.m.

The Tennessee Board of Regents has encouraged its community colleges to allow people to work from home as much as possible as we continue to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pellissippi State is not closing. We will remain open, but we are encouraging our employees to work from home until further notice.

Supervisors will determine when each office or department is ready to work remotely and which critical staff should remain on campus during this time.

Any requests for technology to help employees work from home should be routed through supervisors. Employees should not request these tools directly, as we have limited resources.

Because Pellissippi State will not be closed, employees also may come and go to their offices as they wish. However, while on campus, employees must practice social distancing, staying at least 6 feet apart from others at all times.

Do not enter any campus buildings if:

  • You have a fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, otherwise feel sick or have been exposed to coronavirus;
  • You have, in the past 14 days, been on a cruise;
  • You have, in the past 14 days, traveled to one of the countries with widespread ongoing transmission or one of the states with 200 or more cases reported to the CDC.

Friday, March 13, 2020, 12:22 p.m.

Update: Message to UT Bridge Students


Friday, March 13, 2020, 10:11 a.m.

  • The College’s Emergency Management Team (EMT) has been meeting regularly and will continue to meet regularly until the situation is resolved.
  • Pellissippi State is monitoring and following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Tennessee Department of Health and the Knox County Health Department.
  • Students will be on spring break March 16-20 and extended spring break March 23-27. All public spaces at each campus will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected during this time.
  • Classes will resume on March 30 in an online format, to the extent possible, through at least April 12.
  • Some academic and computer labs will remain open during this time for staggered instruction. No more than 10 people will be allowed in a space at one time. The College will adhere to social distancing recommendations of 3-6 feet, not allowing adjacent computers or work spaces to be used. These spaces will be cleaned daily.
  • Faculty and staff will continue to report to work as regularly scheduled.
  • All student travel authorized by the College and all out-of-state business travel for the College has been canceled until at least April 12.
  • College events that involve more than 10 people that are planned through April 12 must be canceled or rescheduled, effective immediately.
  • On-campus facility rentals that involve more than 10 people that are planned through April 12 must be canceled or rescheduled, effective immediately.

For more details, see A Message to Students and A Message to Faculty and Staff.


A Message to Students
A Message to Faculty and Staff
A Message to UT Bridge Students

Questions?

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Self-Reporting COVID-19 Exposure

For students:
PantherHelp

For employees:
Human Resources
StayStrong@pstcc.edu

Technical questions:
865.694.6537
Helpdesk@pstcc.edu