TSU Students Express Mixed Feelings About Leaving Campus in Wake of Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Like many Tennessee State University students, Trenton Jones says he understands why TSU is asking them to go home, but many have mixed feelings about leaving their campus environment.  Students must vacate the campus by Saturday, March 21.

“The coronavirus is a big deal right now and this move is to help us stay healthy,” said Jones, a freshman agricultural science major, as he and his parents emptied out his dorm room in Watson Hall on Wednesday to head back home to Northport, Alabama.

Tyrani Randolph, left, a freshman dental hygiene major from Memphis, helps classmate Trenton Jones, second from right, move out of Watson Hall. Jones’ parents, Malcolm and Rhonda Skinner, travelled from Northport, Alabama, to pick up their son. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“Students need to stay functional and campus offers that,” added Jones. “Being on our own, and to do class online, you are missing that interaction with teachers and fellow students. Face-to-face is the best interaction for learning.” 

 Parents Ronda Skinner and her husband Malcolm, who travelled from Northport, Alabama, to pick up their son, Trenton, said the trip was inconvenient, “but worth it.”

“Due to the circumstances of the coronavirus, an epidemic that has hit our nation severely, it is understandable that the school would have to make this decision,” Rhonda Skinner said. “The fact that schools around the country had to make this decision, I do believe that it is in the best interest of the students, and comforting for parents.”

TSU President Glenda Glover said the decision was in the best interest of the university, as both the federal government and State of Tennessee have declared a state of emergency.

On March 16, TSU went online with all classes as a precaution to contracting and spreading coronavirus (COVID-19).

“While we have adjusted the traditional manner in which we serve our students, we are ensuring that they continue to learn and excel academically,” stated President Glover. “We are taking every precaution necessary to minimize the spread of the virus.” 

The university will soon serve as a mobile testing site. As further precaution, the university has canceled all campus events where large crowds are expected, as well as suspended all international travel through the end of April to minimize exposure to the disease. Also, beginning Monday, March 23, the university will cease normal operations, allowing most employees to work remotely.

Tyrani Randolph, a freshman dental hygiene major from Memphis, Tennessee, who moved out of Wilson Hall, agreed with her fellow classmate.

“I believe everything is for a reason, and I believe this is a safety precaution,” she said.

 Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, said the university understands the “anxiety that this change causes for students.”

“It is an interruption into their ‘normal’ way of doing things as students,” he said. “We are trying to mitigate the situation and help them work through those feelings.”

Stevenson said the university is following the Centers for Disease Control and Infections guidelines, and best practices recommendations, in accordance with instructions from the governor’s office.

On Monday, the University will begin a campus wide wipe down of academic buildings and residence halls.

 For more information on campus operations and student information, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/covid19/

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

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 seven 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.