Frequently Asked Questions related to the Coronavirus
We are pleased that current information suggests we will return safely to face-to-face classes this fall with normal seating capacities. If, for some reason, in-person attendance this fall will not be possible for you, please choose online classes that will allow you to continue your studies.
Disability Resources for Students and the Center for Teaching and Learning provide resources and support for faculty teaching online courses to ensure those courses are accessible to all students. Any student who has a disability-related barrier to participation in online learning should contact Disability Resources for Students at 901.678.2880 or email@example.com.
Information regarding eCourseware student support is located on the Keep Learning website. The site also contains information about non-university resources that may be helpful to students during this time. The ITS Service Desk at 901.678.8888 is available for technical assistance.
Financial Aid/Student Business Services
The University has opened a COVID-19 Testing Center for only UofM students, faculty and staff who are exhibiting symptoms. Testing Center access details are very specific and are provided at memphis.edu/coronavirusupdates/sick/testing.php.
Counseling: The Counseling Center is currently offering phone consultation and teletherapy
appointments. Please call 901.678.2068 to speak to a counselor. Our hours are 8 a.m.-4:30
p.m. If you have a crisis or emergency after 4:30 p.m., please call 901.678.HELP (4357).
Please check the Counseling Center website for more information.
Health Center: To protect the campus community and student health and wellness, the Student Health Center is providing in-person and virtual appointments for patients. Visit My Patient Portal to schedule an appointment, or call 901.678.2287.
If you have symptoms of coronavirus (persistent fever, cough, difficulty breathing) or had contact with a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus, please call the Health Center at 901.678.2287 between the hours of 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. After hours, please call the COVID-19 public information numbers, 833.556.2476 and 877.857.2945, available from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily, or the 24-hour COVID-19 hotline at 800.232.4636.
In an effort to support our students, faculty and staff, the Loewenberg College of Nursing has established a designated email helpline to submit questions. The email is staffed by experienced nursing and public health faculty who will respond to any COVID-19-related questions you may have. To submit your question to the helpline, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Self-quarantine means you should stay in your place of residence, take your temperature twice a day and not go out until the quarantine period of 14 days is over. Should your temperature rise during your quarantine, please consult your doctor. Do not show up at an urgent care facility, hospital emergency room or doctor’s office unannounced – be sure to call first to let them know you have been in quarantine.
If you’re a student living off campus: You should quarantine in your place of residence. After the required days have passed, you must be cleared by your personal doctor. Please be sure to call ahead and let the physician's office know you have been in quarantine.
If you’re a student living on campus: You should quarantine at your off-campus home with your family if possible. After the required days, you must be cleared by your personal doctor. You should not return to your residence hall or go to your room until you receive direction from University of Memphis Housing and Residential Life staff.
If you are a student living on campus who can’t quarantine off campus: You must contact the Residence Life Office so staff can assist you in setting up a place to quarantine on campus. Contact this department at email@example.com or 901.678.2295.
At the end of the quarantine, if you are free of symptoms and have followed quarantine procedures, you must make an appointment with your doctor to be cleared. Please be sure to call ahead and let the office know you have been in quarantine.
Students must be symptom free for 24 hours to return to campus. For guidance, the UofM Student Health Center can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 901.678.2287.
Faculty will provide flexibility regarding absences related to COVID or any other contagious illness. Those absences will be excused. Students who miss classes are still responsible for the material covered in those classes.
Even vaccinated persons can pass the virus to others in some cases, and a person’s stated answer may or may not be reliable. The best approach is not to ask about vaccination status but to wear a mask and maintain distance in all indoor settings, regardless of another person’s immunization status.
The Tiger Pantry can assist students with food insecurities. Visit memphis.edu/tigerpantry to learn more.The Tiger Meal Swipes program is also available. This program provides five free swipes to the Tiger Den facility to get a meal. Learn more about Tiger Meal Swipes >
The Office of the Dean of Students has compiled a comprehensive list of resources to assist with Emergency Fund Relief related to COVID-19. Review the list of resources >
The Office of the Dean of Students is available to provide you with guidance and resources to support your continued academic pursuits. To efficiently address your needs, we will provide service and support through our Dean of Students Student Support Assistance Request form. After receiving your form submission, we will connect you with a staff member who will identify resources for your specific needs.
Spring 2022 Semester
Politely remind all students that the University strongly encourages all students to wear a mask as an effective way to protect themselves and others around them. Acknowledge that you are aware that there is a state law the precludes masking this a requirement. You can ask those students who nonetheless decline to wear a mask to please try to seat themselves so that others who are not comfortable close to persons who are not wearing a mask can still maintain a safe social distance from those students.
Appropriate flexibility in the application of attendance policies is important for a range of health issues, including cases related to, but not just limited to COVID. Students who are ill, with COVID or any other contagious illness, should not be encouraged or feel forced to come to class. Those cases should count as excused absences. Regardless of the reason, students who miss classes are still responsible for the material covered in those classes. Students who miss too many classes may or may not be able to make up that work, but additional penalties for those excused absences should not be imposed.
Even vaccinated persons can pass the virus to others, and in some cases, a person’s stated answer may or may not be reliable. The best approach is not to ask about vaccination status but to wear a mask and maintain distance in all indoor settings, regardless of another person’s immunization status.
If a student in your class reports to you that she or he has tested positive for COVID-19, ask the student to contact the Office of the Dean of Students at email@example.com. Faculty should also notify the Dean of Students as a follow-up in case the student does not notify that office. The Office of the Dean of Students will then:
- Inform students of CDC recommended next steps.
- Begin the contact tracing process.
- Let students know about other support at the University.
The Office of the Dean of Students may contact you for information about the students who sat around the infected student for contact tracing purposes. The Office of the Dean of Students will contact students directly and inform them of appropriate follow-up steps based on CDC guidance about possible exposures in an indoor classroom setting. According to CDC guidance, it is not necessary or permitted for you or for the Dean of Students to inform any other students in the class.
A representative from the Office of the Dean of Students will contact you if a student who has attended your class tests positive. You will then be able to discuss the appropriate next steps and notifications to the other students with that representative.
Guidelines for Being on Campus
- Masks are strongly recommended to be worn by all persons while indoors and in places where maintaining appropriate social distancing is not possible.
- Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer frequently.
To appropriately respond to the impacts of COVID-19, the University has taken several steps following CDC guidelines and directives from local authorities to include:
- moving all academic offerings to remote instruction during Spring 2020, and offering hybrid, in-person and virtual options for the 2020-21 calendar year;
- allowing all non-essential personnel work from home in 2020 and Spring 2021;
- limiting access to campus facilities; and
- practicing appropriate social distancing and density of essential personnel on campus.
If you are displaying symptoms or believe you have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus, you must contact your healthcare provider immediately and discontinue working. After consulting your healthcare provider contact your HR Business Partner and Supervisor. Your HR Business Partner will advise you of your next steps as it relates to your work, health, leave and FMLA benefits including the Emergency Paid Sick Leave.
The University has opened a COVID-19 Testing Center for only UofM students, faculty and staff who are exhibiting symptoms. Testing Center access details are very specific and are provided at memphis.edu/coronavirusupdates/testing.
Leave of Absence
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) benefits enacted by the Department
of Labor effective April 1, 2020 expired December 31, 2020. This benefit is no longer available. Employees are welcomed to contact their HR Business Partner at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions regarding leave needed related to the pandemic. Learn more at https://www.memphis.edu/hr/ffcra.php.
To assist employees that may not have enough leave to cover any necessary absences due to illness associated with the COVID-19, and to allow the donation of leave from one employee to another, we are temporarily adjusting the Sick Leave Bank (SLB) Policy and the Sick Leave Transfer Between Employees Policy as follows:
- Employees do not need to have a minimum of 45 hours to be able to join the SLB provided that they have 22.5 hours of accumulated sick leave to donate to the pool upon joining.
- The 90-day waiting period for new members of the SLB to apply for SLB hours is being reduced to a 30-day waiting period.
- The 12-month waiting period for new members of the SLB to apply for hours due to a pre-existing condition is being waived provided the illness is related to COVID-19.
- Employees will not have to exhaust their accumulated sick and annual leave to petition hours from the SLB. As long as all accumulated sick leave is exhausted, a SLB member may request hours from the SLB without having used their accumulated annual leave.
- The stipulation that primary consideration for hours requested from the SLB would be given to SLB members on 100% medical leave is being waived. Equal consideration will be given to all that apply for hours from the SLB.
- Employees may transfer some of their own sick leave hours to a Sick Leave Bank member who has exhausted their accumulated sick leave hours as well as any SLB hours and continues to experience a disability due to illness associated with COVID-19. Employees do not have to exhaust their annual leave to receive hours from the SLB or donated hours from another employee.
Any requests and allocations of leave from the SLB and any leave transferred from one employee to another due to illness associated with COVID-19 requires a physician statement indicating the prognosis and diagnosis be provided to Human Resources. All medical documentation will be kept confidential in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
As a regular faculty or staff of the University, you accrue sick leave hours as well as annual leave hours, where applicable. While you are quarantined, you may continue getting paid by using first your accumulated sick leave and then your accumulated annual leave, if applicable.
- CDC Quarantine - Employees who are quarantined by the CDC, may use their accumulated sick and annual leave to remain on pay status. If the employee does not have sick or annual leave accumulated, they will be eligible to apply for hours from the Sick Leave Bank (SLB) provided they are members of the Bank and have been diagnosed by a physician as being infected with the coronavirus. For information on how to request hours from the SLB, refer to policy HR5026. Employees who have exhausted all available leave must contact their supervisor and Human Resources to initiate a request for leave of absence without pay.
- University Quarantine - Employees who are quarantined by the University may use their accumulated sick and annual leave to remain on pay status. Employees who are members of the Sick Leave Bank (SLB) will not be eligible to apply and receive hours from the Bank, unless the employee has been diagnosed by a physician as being infected with the coronavirus. If the employee has no accumulated leave to cover their absence, they must contact their supervisor and Human Resources to initiate a request for leave of absence without pay.
- Self-Quarantine - Employees who self-quarantine, may use their accumulated sick and annual leave to remain on pay status. Employees who are members of the SLB will not be eligible to apply and receive hours from the Bank, unless the employee has been diagnosed by a physician as being infected with the coronavirus. If the employee has no accumulated leave to cover their absence, they must contact their supervisor and Human Resources to initiate a request for leave of absence without pay.
Visit the Human Resources informational page related to COVID-19 that addresses leave, benefits, etc.
For any questions or additional information regarding your leave and/or benefits, you may contact your assigned Sr. HR Business Partner or Human Resources at 901.678.3573 or email@example.com. For a list of Sr. HR Business Partners, please visit: https://www.memphis.edu/hr/staff.php.
Working from Home
Employees working remotely are considered to be on an Alternate Work Arrangement/Schedule as specified in University Policy HR5061-Alternative Work Arrangements. If it is determined that the functions of a position can be performed remotely, the employee should complete the Alternative Work Arrangement Request Form and submit to Human Resources. Also, employees seeking accommodations related to the Americans with Disabilities Act may start that process online.
All COVID-related AWA requests that were in place prior to the University’s announced full return to campus on July 1 will be considered void as of June 30, 2021. Any faculty or staff member wishing to continue on an alternative work arrangement should complete a new form and have it approved by all authorities listed on the form for it to be considered valid.
Yes, per the CDC, your risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19 increases as you get older. In fact, 8 out of 10 COVID-19 related deaths reported in the United States have been among adults aged 65 years and older. See this link for more information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/older-adults.html.
Technical & Teaching Assistance
The University was transitioning to Zoom as our video conferencing software. Additional information (including documentation, training videos, etc.) is located on the Center for Teaching and Learning website.
- Any unavoidable costs due to COVID-19 are allowable as University expenses on all appropriate general, auxiliary and restricted funds. These include costs such as travel and lodging cancellation fees.
- Even if an expense is unavoidable, it may not be allowable on a sponsored project if the project doesn’t benefit from the expense. An example would be if a conference paid for on a project is cancelled. If the cost isn’t refunded or only partially refunded, then that expense will need to be moved onto a non-sponsored research fund.
- Any avoidable costs incurred out of caution to avoid activities that might expose personnel to COVID-19 are allowable on appropriate general, auxiliary and restricted funds; however, these costs aren’t allowable on sponsored research projects without approval from the sponsor. Examples include additional travel expenses incurred to avoid layovers in countries with a higher risk of COVID-19 per the CDC or choosing to avoid conferences that haven’t been cancelled.
- The Controller’s office is following this guidance for sponsored projects in the absence of any specific guidance from sponsors. Departments will want to check if specific sponsor guidance is available or reach out to the manager, Grants and Contracts Accounting, in order to determine what COVID-19 related expenses are allowable on their sponsored projects.
- The Controller’s office is working on a mechanism to track expenses related to COVID-19.
Effective May 1, 2021, the Position Prioritization Request (PPR) forms will no longer
be required as part of the requests to effect employment actions. Instead, departments
are asked to work with their respective division heads on employment actions prior
to submitting them through their traditional channels of approval. All employment
actions should include a thorough justification and confirmation of funding availability.
Human Resources will compile hiring requests received for the week and these will
be presented in summary to the President, through the Provost (faculty positions)
and the CFO (staff positions) for consideration and approval.
Please work with your assigned HR Business Partner to coordinate these requests moving forward. The amended process should allow for a quicker, more efficient review and approval of the employment actions.
The Division of Research & Innovation has developed a series of guidelines for research labs to reopen and restart their on-going research. View additional information related to research on the Division of Research & Innovation website >
Our facilities are appropriately ventilated and maintained in accordance with CDC, State of Tennessee and local safety standards. Our HVAC systems have been checked to ensure they are fully functioning and are maintained to operate as designed. Additionally, most of our buildings' HVAC systems are equipped with UV lights in the air handlers that is proven to significantly reduce viruses and germs including, COVID-19.
The risk of transmission of COVID-19 through surfaces and touch is minimal. Our facilities are cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis. Further, our buildings, classrooms and labs are regularly “fogged” with a disinfectant cleaner and equipped with hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and plexiglass sneeze protection, as necessary. Disposable masks will be made available across campus as needed.
Specific to our HVAC systems, we use MERV-8 air filters which trap particulates while still providing design air flow instead of HEPA filters. HEPA filters are more dense, thus restricting system air flow and providing less ventilation. We change all air filters regularly. With the frequency of filter changing, we achieve particulate matter capture at the same rate as the HEPA filter while maintaining equipment design parameters and ensuring appropriate airflow and ventilation.
Yes. This is the time to increase your hand hygiene efforts, observe good coughing/sneezing etiquette, keep your distance from anyone who is ill (at least six feet) and clean your area often.
If you are sick, please stay home and consult a medical professional. DO NOT show up at a medical facility for treatment without calling ahead first and advising the office of your symptoms, if you have fever, coughing and shortness of breath.
As a reminder, members of the University community, including visitors to the UofM, coming from countries with CDC Level 2 and 3 rating at the time of arrival in the U.S., regardless if the trip was related to University business or personal, are required to observe a 14-day self-quarantine period and must produce a medical clearance prior to returning to campus.
Self-quarantine means you should stay in your place of residence, take and log your temperature twice a day and not leave your residence until the quarantine period of 14 days is over. Should your temperature rise during your quarantine, please consult a medical professional. Do not show up at an urgent care facility, hospital emergency room or a medical professional’s office unannounced – be sure to call first to let them know your symptoms and that you have been in quarantine.
Any home being considered for self-quarantine should follow these minimum standards:
- Ability to provide a separate bedroom for the person in self-quarantine
- One bathroom designated for use by the person in self-quarantine
Actions and resources for the self-quarantined person:
- Do not go to work, school or public areas, and do not use public transportation, ride-apps (e.g. Uber) or taxis. Separate yourself from other people in your home. Take and document your temperature twice a day (A.M. and P.M.)
- If you develop a fever and/or flu-like symptoms, call a medical professional and explain your contact history and your signs and symptoms (include temperature readings). Other symptoms and signs to look for include: coughing, shortness of breath, chills, body aches, sore throat, headache, diarrhea, nausea/ vomiting and runny nose.
- Obtain food and necessary items using an internet provider/delivery service or from others in the household – do not go out into society. Stay six feet away from other family members and others inside the home.
- Avoid sharing household items. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other items with other people in your home. After using these items, you should wash them thoroughly with soap and water.
- Wash laundry thoroughly. In general, wash and dry with the warmest temperatures recommended on the clothing label.
- Practice proper hand and respiratory hygiene.
- Work/study from home using modern technology.
At the end of the quarantine:
Faculty and staff must be symptom free for 24 hours to return to campus. Faculty and staff who have
questions about returning to campus or who still have symptoms beyond the 14 day quarantine
period should contact Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org or 901.678.3573.
Students must be symptom free for 24 hours to return to campus. Review the “students” section for more information. For guidance, the UofM Student Health Center can be reached at email@example.com or 901.678.2287.
If you are feeling ill, it is important that you see a medical professional right away. Please call ahead and let the medical professional’s office know the symptoms you are having. Be sure to stay away from others, cover your cough and wash your hands frequently.
If you become symptomatic, you may call the UofM Health Center at 901.678.2287 to speak to someone who will give you further instructions. If you have symptoms, DO NOT go to the UofM Health Center as it is not a testing site for coronavirus.
As soon as possible, make notes about where you have been in the past two weeks and the people you have been in contact with. Should you be diagnosed with coronavirus, a medical professional will need these notes to trace the virus and help keep others healthy.
At the medical professional’s office, urgent care facility, or emergency room, you will be asked for your travel history, will be evaluated again and likely get an x-ray of the lungs, which is a critical step in diagnosing coronavirus. Depending on the results of the x-ray, you may or may not be tested for coronavirus. If you are tested for coronavirus, you can expect to get results back in 24 to 48 hours.
If you have been tested, you will be quarantined at home. If you test positive for coronavirus, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days. If you don’t test positive, you still would want to stay away from others until you feel better.
The University has opened a COVID-19 Testing Center for only UofM students, faculty and staff who are exhibiting symptoms. Testing Center access details are very specific and are provided at https://www.memphis.edu/coronavirusupdates/testing/index.php.
Physical Plant is actively monitoring campus cleanliness, and we are increasing servicing of heavily used facilities around campus ensuring that supplies such as soap, hand sanitizers, etc. are properly stocked.
We are also implementing an enhanced cleaning cycle for major facilities. We will continue to expand and recycle these efforts.
Based on CDC and local health guidelines, the University of Memphis has eliminated the requirement for additional approvals for University-related travel within the United States.
The CDC has revised its recommended restrictions for international travel based on COVID-19 and does not currently have any countries listed as "level 4" based on COVID conditions.
Of course, the U.S. Department of State continues to list travel advisories based on other safety issues unrelated to COVID.
For that reason, senior level (i.e., the Office of the Provost for faculty or the Office of the Chief Financial Officer for staff) approval for international travel is no longer required except to countries classified as level 4 by the Department of State for safety reasons other than COVID. University-sponsored student group travel will also now follow the usual approval procedures through the Study Abroad Office.
As a reminder, members of the University community, including visitors to the UofM coming from countries with CDC Level 2 and 3 rating at the time of arrival in the U.S., regardless if the trip was related to University business or personal, are required to observe a 14-day self-quarantine period and must produce a medical clearance prior to returning to campus.
We encourage all to exercise sound judgment when deciding to travel domestically and internationally even for personal reasons. Should you elect to travel internationally, especially to places rated level 2 or level 3, you will need to comply with applicable quarantine requirements.
Please note that members of the University community may face unpredictable circumstances while abroad, including insufficient health care provisions, disruption to local services and the potential for mobility restrictions.
Staff and faculty are required to follow University of Memphis policy, BF 4001- University Travel and related procedures when submitting their travel claims. In addition, the general guidelines on how to handle general university expenses and sponsored project expenditures will apply when impacted by the COVID 19. In keeping with these guidelines, please adhere to these additional steps when submitting your travel claim:
- Make a reasonable effort to recover prepayments related to cancelled travel plans, such as airline tickets, hotel bookings, registration fees etc.
- Attach documentation to substantiate the unavoidable nature of expenses such as cancelation charges and non-refunded expenses with receipts, vendor policy communication etc.
- Financial Manager/Supervisor may approve credits for future use instead of refunds where there is a reasonable expectation that such credit will benefit the University in the conduct of its business or furthering its mission.
The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided money to colleges and universities for emergency student grants. The purpose
of the money was to award emergency financial aid grants to students for specific
expenses that are a direct result of the disruption of campus operations due to the
The University of Memphis distributed CARES Act Emergency funding in a way that prioritized students with the greatest demonstrated need as evidenced by their completed FAFSA on file and ensures that funds are distributed as widely as possible.
The following is a list of expenses that can be considered for CARES Act Emergency grant assistance if they were incurred in "direct relation to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus."
- Course materials
- Health care
- Technology-related expenses (such as having to buy a computer when courses were moved online)
- Transportation (such as having to fly home because classes were canceled or having to return from study abroad when the program was canceled)
The CARES Act stipulates that the emergency funds cannot be used to replace a loss of income or to pay for student expenses that are not directly related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The US Department of Education states only undergraduate and graduate students who
are Title IV eligible can be awarded CARES Act Emergency funds. This means students
must have a FAFSA on file with the University of Memphis or be eligible to file one.
Additional recent federal guidance further clarified who may receive CARES Act Emergency
Unfortunately, the US Department of Education does not allow CARES Act Emergency funds to be used for international, DACA or undocumented students or for any student who was exclusively taking online courses prior to March 13, 2020.
No. An undergraduate student or graduate student only needs to be eligible to file a FAFSA or already have a FAFSA on file with the University of Memphis.
The University of Memphis has created separate funding pools for graduate students and undergraduate students to ensure we prioritize students with greatest need from both categories, which is in keeping with US Department of Education requirements. Funds have been allocated to each pool proportionately based on the eligible headcount for undergraduates and for graduates. Learn more here >
CARES Act Emergency funding for eligible undergraduate students will be distributed in two ways:
- Direct awards will be given to students receiving Pell Grants who the federal government defines as having exceptional need. The University will communicate directly to Pell recipients about their award through their UofM email account. Pell Grant recipients do not need to submit an application to receive their CARES Act Emergency funds.
- Remaining CARES Act Emergency funds will be set aside for eligible undergraduate students to access through the University’s existing emergency funding program. Students in this group should have filed a FAFSA or be eligible to file a FAFSA.
All emergency grants were processed through University and Student Business Services (USBS) via your Tiger Express student account. Emergency grants were directly deposited into bank accounts for students who are enrolled in direct deposit. Students without direct deposit received a paper refund check in the mail.
The full amount of the emergency grants will be given directly to the student, and the University of Memphis will not hold the funds to pay any outstanding balance owed.
No. This funding is not financial aid, it is emergency relief funding from Congress.
For any additional questions on the processing of your eligible CARES ACT Emergency funds, please contact the University and Student Business Services at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.