tsu high vaccination percentage among employees, students, highlights commitment to safety

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is continuing to prioritize safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 70 percent of its full-time faculty and staff vaccinated, as well as hundreds of students.

As of Nov. 8, TSU officials said 74.5 percent, or roughly 920, faculty and staff have had both vaccination shots. More than 2,300 students have presented proof of vaccination.

“Tennessee State University has worked diligently to keep infections to a minimum,” said Dr. Curtis Johnson, TSU’s associate vice president and chief of staff. “We continue to enforce the guidelines we have in place to protect the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff, along with our visitors. We are grateful for the cooperation we have received from the TSU family. It is encouraging to see the results of our efforts, and it benefits our communities greatly.”

Added Frank Stevenson, associate vice president of Student Affairs and dean of students, “we created a really good vaccination wall on campus which has led to our low numbers of COVID cases in comparison to our sister institutions. We offered vaccinations to our students on campus in partnership with Meharry Medical College and the Metro Public Health Department.”

TSU’s emphasis on safety included a comprehensive plan with a 14-day “safer in place” policy upon arrival for all students in residence halls. The policy required students to stay in their places of residence unless they needed to perform essential activities, such as getting food, or going to medical appointments.

Under the plan, all classes were online for the first two weeks, and there were both in-person and online instruction throughout the semester, which will end by Thanksgiving. Additionally, classrooms were assessed to determine the number of students that can occupy the rooms, based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Other safety measures include wearing of face coverings and social distancing at all times; regular cleaning and sanitizing of buildings; temperature checks upon entering campus and randomly throughout campus; installation of shields throughout the campus; and establishment of a non-emergency COVID-19 phone line and email for reporting concerns.

The university is also offering $100 gift cards to employees and students who show proof of being fully vaccinated.

Dr. Kimberly Triplett, TSU’s Faculty Senate chair, said the university’s attention to safety reflects the commitment to excellence it strives to uphold each day.

“This is great news for the TSU community,” said Triplett of TSU’s high vaccination percentage, and its continued safety measures. “To our faculty and staff, this means we are committed to safety and the overall public health of our TSU community first, while at the same time creating a safe environment not only for our students, but everyone campus-wide. Our vaccination percentage rate among faculty allows for us to continue to provide education at the highest level, conducting research, and service to the university while protecting each other.”

Student Government Association President Derrick Sanders said TSU’s safety measures made it possible for alumni and other visitors to be comfortable during last month’s Homecoming, which had in-person festivities after they were canceled last year because of the pandemic. 

Sanders said he, and his peers, are going to continue to make the campus as safe as possible.

“We want everybody to wear a mask, protect one another,” said Sanders, a senior English major from Cincinnati, Ohio. “We just want to make sure that everybody stays safe.”

To learn more about TSU’s COVID-19 safety measures, visit  https://www.tnstate.edu/return/.

Department of Media Relations

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About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.