June 18, 2024

How to prepare to leave campus for Winter Break

Thanksgiving and winter break are quickly approaching and here is everything Vols need to know when preparing to move home.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville Torchbearer stands among the changing leaves. Credits: UTK Website

The leaves are changing and falling to the ground coating Big Orange Country in a blanket of fall shades. This could only mean one thing. It’s almost turkey time!

With Thanksgiving and Winter break quickly approaching, students are preparing to leave Rocky Top until Spring.  However, things are a little bit different this year.

UT has changed the typical scheduling of the 2020-2021 school year to reduce the spread of COVID-19. One of the ways they have done this is to eliminate university-sanctioned breaks. Classes for the fall semester began on Aug. 19, without breaks, and will conclude on Nov. 24. Finals will take place from Dec. 2 to Dec.9.

Students will start leaving campus after the conclusion of fall classes. Here is everything you need to know before you head home.

On-Campus Housing

For students planning on leaving campus for the holidays, residence halls require a few things before you leave.

First, take everything with you that you might need. This will help mitigate travel back and forth from campus lowering the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Clean your room before you leave. If you have a suite-style dorm make sure to clear all of your items out of the bathroom in order to prepare for the cleaning staff.

Students should take any perishable foods that could result in odor over a long period of time. Make sure to take out any trash before departing as well.

Students also need to ensure windows are closed and electrical cords are not plugged in.

Students living in halls that remain open for breaks will also need to log onto their UTK Housing Profile and indicate their plans for the break. The information on whether you are staying on campus or leaving will help the university in COVID-19 precautions.

COVID-19 Testing and Flu Shots

Before heading home it is recommended, but not required, that students get tested for COVID-19. Traveling with COVID-19 is dangerous and can lead to infection of anyone that comes in close contact. Even if you are not experiencing symptoms, you can still be positive for the virus.

The Student Health Center on Campus provides free testing for all students and encourages students to be tested before returning home. Call the Student Health Center to schedule a way to be tested.

In addition, remember to wear your mask. While many places in the nation are not under a mask mandate, wearing a mask lowers the chances of contracting or spreading the virus.

If you need to self-isolate over the break, UT asks students to still fill out the self-isolation form even if you will remain at home.

Those planning to live on campus for the spring semester or attend in-person classes will be required to get a flu vaccine. The Student health center can assist students who still need to receive a shot and provide direction on how to document vaccines.

West Tennessee

The University of Tennessee is offering students who reside in West Tennessee a way home for the semester. The program will provide transportation from UT to Nashville, Memphis and Jackson, Tenn.

The cost for students is $55. UT will also offer a return trip at the beginning of next semester.

Don’t Forget Finals

Classes may end before Thanksgiving but finals will be just around the corner. Don’t forget to study, get plenty of sleep and reach out for help.

UT still has online academic resources available to all students. The Math Place, The Writing Center, The Student Success Center’s open study hours and more are available to students.

The Counseling Center is also available for virtual appointments throughout the break for students struggling with mental health.

Classes will resume for the Spring semester on Jan. 20, 2021.



Edited by Donna Mitchell and Ryan Sylvia

Featured photo courtesy of UTK Website