College System supports TN Pledge for Higher Education for health, safety of students, faculty, staff & public

Tennessee Pledge for Higher Education

The College System of Tennessee fully supports the Tennessee Pledge for Higher Education, an array of guidelines and best practices for the health and safety of campus communities while continuing high-quality instruction during the Covid-19 era, Chancellor Flora W. Tydings said today.

The Tennessee Pledge for Higher Education was released today by Gov. Bill Lee’s Economic Recovery Group. It was drafted in conjunction with the chief executive officers of the state’s public and private universities and higher education systems, including Dr. Tydings, chancellor of the College System of Tennessee – the state’s 13 community colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology.

“Our community and technical colleges fully support the recommendations in the Tennessee Pledge for Higher Education institutions because the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is our top priority as we shift back to on-campus instruction this summer and fall,” Tydings said. “Our 40 colleges already have been following these guidelines and best practices and will continue to do so as our campuses continue to re-open.

“I applaud Governor Lee, the Economic Recovery Group and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission for taking the lead on this effort, which consolidates into one document the current recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the American College Health Association. It will help students and all of our campus communities know and understand the important measures being taken to help keep them safe during the pandemic,” Tydings said.

The chancellor earlier established three separate task forces of system office staff and campus representatives to help plan and guide various aspects of reopening our colleges to on-campus instruction while continuing online instruction and hybrid in-person and online teaching when warranted. The task forces are also reviewing options that would enable our colleges to finish their on-campus instruction by Thanksgiving, completing instruction and final exams online after the holiday, to reduce the impacts of a possible resurgence of Covid-19 in late fall and winter.

The College System was able to quickly shift to an online environment in March when the pandemic reached the state because it has nearly 20 years of online instructional experience gained through the TN eCampus partnership launched in 2001. 

The Tennessee Pledge for Higher Education is available here.

Gov. Lee’s media release is here

The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.