Phased reopening of campuses is underway. Check for the latest on the college's response to COVID-19.

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Coronavirus Response - FAQ

Coronavirus Response - FAQ

IMPORTANT NOTE: The frequently asked questions and answers below will continue to be updated as new information is provided. If you have an immediate health concern, you should contact your healthcare provider. If you require emergency medical assistance, call 911.

What is Roane State doing in response to the coronavirus pandemic?

In February 2020, Roane State assembled an emergency action committee to monitor the rapidly evolving coronavirus situation. This committee has been meeting on a weekly basis and more frequently as needed to address the concerns of the campus community. They have updated our Pandemic Preparedness Plan, created an online resource page and assisted with communicating critical information to students, faculty and staff.

On March 13, 2020, Roane State announced an extension of the spring break period through March 22. This extension reduced the number of students and staff on campus and allowed time for faculty to prepare for the transition to delivering their courses online.

On March 23, 2020, all campuses were closed and most courses resumed in an online format. Those courses remained online for the rest of the spring semester. Campuses were closed through April 30 when the State of Tennessee's Safer-at-Home order expired. Only a small number of essential personnel were permitted on campus to perform critical tasks. This time period was also used for enhanced cleaning of facilities.

Beginning May 4, 2020, limited access on four campuses began so that programs could complete required in-person skills testing. The limited access locations include Roane County, Oak Ridge, Knox and Clinton. Only certain buildings or areas were used in these locations and only those who were approved were allowed access. All activity on campuses complied with CDC guidelines for safe physical distancing, face coverings, sanitizing and other precautions.

On June 24, 2020, Roane State outlined its phased reopening plan for the remainder of the summer term and leading into fall. RSCC is currently planning to offer its normal mix of in-person and online classes for the fall semester. However, the college is prepared for another transition to online learning if the need arises.

The health and safety of students, faculty, staff, their families, and the broader communities we serve are the top priority. We continue to seek guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Tennessee Department of Health and our local health departments as well as the Tennessee Board of Regents with any action or precaution taken in response to this outbreak. We hope these measures will help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Is graduation/commencement canceled because of the coronavirus?

Roane State decided to postpone, not cancel, its spring commencement originally planned for May due to health and safety guidelines. Students meeting all the requirements for graduation still received their degree. Plans are now underway for multiple in-person commencement ceremonies scheduled for Friday, July 24, and Saturday, July 25, on the Roane County campus. Visit the Graduation Ceremony page for updated information as it is released.

How do I take my exit exam?

Most exit exams will be given in an online format due to limited campus access. Additional information will be available as arrangements for online testing are completed. Check the exit exam page for updates.

Will Roane State be changing to a pass/fail grading system due to the COVID-19 crisis?

The Tennessee Board of Regents has looked into this matter closely and advised Roane State and all other TBR system colleges to continue using the current grading scale. Because pass/fail could have negative long-term impacts regarding financial aid eligibility, articulation agreements with other schools and additional issues, it would not be in the best interest of all of our students. Therefore, a pass/fail option will not be offered.

Can I still access the Learning Center, Library and tutoring resources?

Even though Learning Center tutors will not be on campus this summer, they are still available to help you achieve your academic goals. You can get feedback on essays and assistance with specific math formulas and equations through The Learning Center Online inside Momentum, you can meet virtually with a tutor in real time by scheduling an appointment through MyWCOnline, and you have 24-hour access to Smarthinking which offers tutoring in a wide variety of subject areas. For detailed information on how to take advantage of our services, visit the Learning Center web page.

For fall semester, the Learning Center and Library will be open and providing services both in-person and virtually. For in-person tutoring and library support, safety measures are being taken in an attempt to keep everyone safe. Plexiglass shields are being installed, tutors using iPads instead of looking over the shoulders of students is being considered, tutoring and library assistance using Zoom is planned. The Learning Center and Library are working diligently to address concerns and develop a safe and effective way to offer student support this fall.

Can I request an update to the household income reported on the FAFSA due to reduction in income resulting from the COVID-19 crisis?

Students may request an update to the income reported on the FAFSA for various reasons. Specific options relating to the COVID-19 crisis have been added. To submit a request, log into RaiderNet, click on Your Financial Aid and choose either the 2019-2020 Income Adjustment Request Form and the 2020-2021 Income Adjustment Request Form. Requests submitted are reviewed weekly and an email will be sent to your Roane State email account with additional steps to take.

Has there been a case of COVID-19 confirmed on any of Roane State’s campuses?

Yes, Roane State recieved the first report of a confirmed case of COVID-19 from a student on June 18, 2020. That student reported being in the Coffey-McNally Building of the Oak Ridge Branch Campus on June 16, 2020. No additional cases have been reported. Roane State moved to level two of its Pandemic Preparedness Plan on March 13, 2020, as a public health precaution.

If a positive test is reported this fall, what steps will be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Once RSCC is made aware that an individual has tested positive for COVID-19, the college will work with the student/staff/faculty member to track down all locations they may have visited on our campuses in the last 14 days. These areas will be closed and cleaned prior to reopening (2-5 days per current CDC guidelines). RSCC will also consult with the local health department.

Notification of the positive case will be sent out through the RaiderAlert system and via email so all members of the campus community are made aware as quickly as possible. The college will also make contact with any students/staff/faculty the positive case had been known to be in close contact with during their time on campus. Please keep in mind that close contact is defined as being within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more. All classrooms and labs will be set up for the 6 feet spacing and everyone should be wearing a face covering.

Where can I see how the college plans to respond if the situation in our area worsens?

Roane State’s Pandemic Preparedness Plan is available for review along with additional information at the following link: The plan includes details on the college’s multi-tiered response to coronavirus or any other widespread/pandemic illness.

Roane State will continue to monitor all the factors impacting our decisions regarding college schedule and campus access in consultation with health experts and the Tennessee Board of Regents.

The Pandemic Preparedness Plan and the coronavirus resource page listed above will continue to be updated as additional items of potential concern are identified.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus or COVID-19?

The CDC now reports that people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:

Or at least two of these symptoms:

Please note that this list is not all inclusive. The CDC advises that you should consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

With some COVID-19 cases being asymptomatic, what is the protocol for preventing the spread in these situations, especially in a lab setting?

The learning environment will be adapted for physical distancing in order to avoid close contact with others. As CDC guidance suggests, everyone should avoid touching their eyes, mouth and nose. Hands should be washed frequently and face coverings must be worn inside campus buildings. Cleaning of facilities will also be part of the daily routine. By taking these steps, we will reduce the risk of exposure even in cases of an asymptomatic person who does not know they have COVID-19.

If I feel sick, what should I do?

You should call your doctor immediately if you develop symptoms. You should not come to campus for any reason if you are ill.

Students should contact their instructors to let them know if they are sick and will be absent from online or in-person class meetings.

Essential employees who are still reporting to work should contact their supervisors as soon as possible to let them know if they develop symtoms and will be absent. If you are working from home and are unable to complete your work due to illness, you should also let your supervisor know.

Is there a way to get medical advice without going to my doctor’s office?

Yes, enrolled students can use telemedicine resources available through WellVia to connect with doctors anytime, anywhere for a reduced cost. WellVia doctors diagnose acute non-emergency medical conditions and prescribe medications when clinically appropriate. This service is also available to spouses and children of Roane State students. See program details and registration information.

If my symptoms worsen, when should I seek medical attention?

The CDC advises that if you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, you should get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:

*NOTE: This is not an all-inclusive list of emergency warning signs. Please consult your medical provider if you or a loved one begins exhibiting symptoms that are severe or concerning. Call 911 if you have a medical emergency and notify the operator that you have or think you might have COVID-19. If possible, put a cloth face covering on before medical help arrives.

If I’m absent due to illness, will my grades be affected?

Roane State will be providing flexibility for absences due to illness. Students should contact their instructors as soon as possible to let them know if they will be absent from online class meetings and to inquire about how they might make up any missed work.

If an RSCC employee tests positive for COVID-19, can they take paid leave or sick leave?

The answer depends on whether the employee can work from home. There is also the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) that an employee may be eligible for as well. Check your RSCC email for a message from Human Resources about FFCRA. If you believe you might be eligible for FFCRA, you should communicate with Human Resources to confirm eligibility. If eligible, an employee would not have to use their sick or annual leave up to a certain time period. There are different qualifying reasons for leave related to COVID-19, so it's important to review the information provided to you via email from HR. If you have any questions, please contact Human Resources directly.

What if I don’t have internet at home to take classes online?

Roane State will work with students without reliable internet access to make alternative arrangements. Please contact your instructor(s) advising them of your situation so they can help you find a solution. Possibilities include sending and/or receiving assignments via standard mail. You can also email for assistance.

For those in service areas for AT&T, Charter, Comcast, or T-Mobile, please visit the links below as these providers have recently announced that they may be able to offer internet access for student households through a temporarily free or low-cost program:

If you have a service provider in your area that is not listed above, you should also check with them directly to see if they have implemeted any special programs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

What if I’m sick, but I don’t think it’s COVID-19?

If you are sick with any illness, you should stay home and contact your doctor for advice and treatment. Please also contact your instructor to let them know if you will be absent from online or in-person class meetings due to illness. Essential employees who are still reporting to work should contact their supervisors if they are sick and will be absent.

How can I protect myself from the coronavirus?

The CDC reports that the virus is thought to be spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. For this reason, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Actions you can take to protect yourself and others include:

Are high-traffic areas at Roane State being cleaned more thoroughly in light of the outbreak?

Yes, enhanced cleaning as an additional public health and safety precaution is part of Roane State’s Pandemic Preparedness Plan.

How does Roane State plan to address physical distancing issues like students gathering outside of classrooms or other common areas in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Physical distancing reminders will be posted in campus buildings. The wellness screening that must be submitted daily by anyone who comes to campus also includes a statement of understanding that everyone must stay 6 feet apart.

Has a drill or simulation been conducted on campus to test physical distancing guidelines?

Spring and summer classes that were required to be held on campus allowed us to see the physical distancing rule in action and no major issues were discovered.

What happens during a college-wide closure?

Students and faculty continue their courses in a distance learning format (D2L) wherever possible. This means that instruction will be provided online using Momentum and Zoom.

Alternative arrangements will be made for courses that are not able to move completely to an online format. This may include a delay and extension of the semester.

Only essential personnel will be permitted on campus during a closure. If you are deemed essential, you will receive additional information and instruction from your direct supervisor.

How will I know what to do during a campus-specific or college-wide closure?

Roane State will communicate any announcements regarding interruptions to college activities and/or operations through RaiderAlerts, email, the college website, social media, and local media as needed. The same is true for an announcement that courses will return to the traditional in-person format. If you are impacted, instructors will provide information about how to continue classes and when to return. Please ensure your Roane State email inbox is not full and check it frequently for updates.

Has Roane State made a decision about college-organized international travel?

At this time, Roane State has canceled all upcoming study abroad trips planned for 2020. This includes trips to Italy, Costa Rica, Panama, and the Galapagos Islands. Students and faculty impacted by this decision will receive additional communication about refunds and other arrangements.

College-organized international travel is canceled. A determination about when international travel can resume will be made at a later date.

Is there any guidance from the college regarding personal travel, both domestic and international?

Roane State advises everyone to stay informed about global and domestic travel warnings. Please take the latest information from the CDC and the Tennessee Department of Health into consideration before traveling.

What if I don’t feel comfortable coming to class because of the coronavirus?

You should contact your instructor(s) with any concerns you have about attending class, whether you are sick or not.

What should I be doing right now?

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