RSCC aims for in-person classes to resume in Fall 2021

Roane State is unveiling a plan for Fall 2021 focused on getting students back into the classroom safely for in-person learning.

Nearly one year after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the majority of Roane State’s classes go virtual, the college reports that approximately 70% of classes remain all or mostly online for the Spring 2021 semester. However, that ratio is soon expected to shift.

“With case numbers falling, vaccination rates climbing and the public safety measures put in place over the last 11 months proving effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19, we are ready to bring students back to campus,” RSCC President Dr. Chris Whaley said.

“Those who halted their college plans last year are telling us they feel more comfortable and more successful in a traditional classroom,” Dr. Whaley added. “We hear those students loud and clear, and we want to help them move forward.”

Online courses will still be available for students who prefer that option, but the number of on-ground class sections will be increased for fall. Roane State administrators say the schedule of classes for Fall 2021 will look much more like Fall 2019, pre-pandemic.

“We are working hard to deliver what many of our students want and need this fall, which is a return to in-person education,” said Dr. Diane Ward, RSCC’s vice president for student learning. “As we craft plans for the new academic year, the prospect of being back together on campus has become a very positive driving force with safety remaining the top priority.”

COVID-19 protocols will remain in place this fall to protect the campus community. These protocols include wearing face masks and practicing social distancing as well as completing daily wellness screenings and checking in when arriving on campus. Students, faculty, staff and visitors will still be asked to self-report positive COVID-19 test results to the college and stay home if they are experiencing symptoms. Contact tracing and enhanced cleaning of facilities will also continue.

While confidence is high, administrators and members of the college’s COVID-19 Response Team caution that plans for Fall 2021 are tentative. If the pandemic worsens in our area prior to or during the fall semester, Roane State may once again implement a transition to online learning. Additional information on plans for the fall will be released throughout the coming months.

The most recent updates regarding Roane State’s pandemic response can be found online at

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:30 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, and cats Oliver, Bow and Libby.

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