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University of Tennessee extends mask requirement amid rising COVID-19 cases across the state

Students and staff were originally required to wear masks indoors until Tuesday. Now, they will need to continue wearing masks while leaders monitor COVID-19 cases.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Administrators at the University of Tennessee announced students and staff would need to continue wearing masks indoors, extending their mask requirement past its original expiration date.

Spanish Version: UT extiende requisito de mascarillas ante el aumento de casos de COVID-19 en todo el estado

Masks will be required in all indoor public spaces, except for private offices and residence hall rooms. They will be required in health care facilities and on public transportation. People will also not be expected to wear a mask while eating, drinking or while exercising.

The policy was originally expanded on Aug. 23 and was set to expire on Sept. 7. Then, officials announced that the policy would stay in place while UT administration continued monitoring COVID-19 cases and will re-evaluate the mask policy in the next few weeks.

The decision comes as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise across Tennessee. The state health department reported that nearly 1 in 75 Tennesseeans had the coronavirus on Tuesday. They also said COVID-19 vaccines were the most effective tool to prevent serious illness, urging people to get vaccinated.

Any student who needs accommodations due to a medical condition should contact Student Disability Services, officials said. Employees and visitors should contact the Office of Equity and Diversity.

Information about when the mask requirement would end was not immediately available.