TBR advises community colleges to recommend masks rather than mandate them following Governor Lee Executive Order 84

Tennessee Board of Regents, in light of Executive Order 84 issued by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee Aug. 16, is recommending that colleges encourage faculty, students, and staff to wear masks in indoor settings where social distancing is not possible. TBR has advised that institutions should not have a mask mandate or requirement. Therefore, in accordance with TBR guidelines, Southwest Tennessee Community College and community colleges across Tennessee no longer require wearing masks at campus locations. Southwest also does not require a Covid-19 vaccination for access to the college in accordance with State of Tennessee policy.

“We have made employee and student safety a priority for the past 17 months and will continue to do everything within our scope of authority to keep everyone safe,” President Tracy D. Hall said. “We will continue to monitor the pandemic and adjust safety protocols as much as possible.”

In addition, President Hall and Southwest officials strongly recommend everyone to mask up while indoors in accordance with Shelby County Health Department’s Amended Health Order No. 24 that was issued Aug. 6 and remains in effect. SCHD officials in a press release stated that “the risk of transmission of COVID-19 is greater when people are unmasked and indoors.” SCHD officials went on to say that wearing masks indoors “is a reasonable and responsible action to mitigate the spread of the disease” and will help keep schools open and students learning.

“Let’s mask up and keep moving forward,” President Hall said.

Custodial team members will continue to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces every two hours. In addition, masks are provided at campus locations and healthy hygiene practices such as hand washing are being reinforced.

Students, employees, and visitors should be mindful of the College’s infectious disease policy and self-reporting protocols listed below. The College realizes the fluidity of the Coronavirus pandemic and ever-changing landscape of national, state, and local health and safety guidelines and is committed to keeping students and employees informed about the latest health and safety measures.


In accordance with the College’s infectious disease policy, please do not come to campus if you:

  1. Are experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms,
  2. Are waiting for COVID-19 test results,
  3. Are in isolation or quarantine due to a positive COVID-19 test result or exposure; or
  4. Have reason to believe you have come in contact with the virus.


All Southwest students, employees and visitors who test positive for COVID-19 are encouraged to self-report online. Visit the Southwest website at southwest.tn.edu and click the “Self-Report COVID-19” link at the top of the homepage. The form only takes a few minutes to complete and all information will be kept strictly confidential.


  • Employees with COVID-19-related conditions or concerns should fill out an online self-report form and notify Southwest Human Resources as soon as possible at hr@southwest.tn.edu or 901-333-5340.
  • Students with COVID-19-related conditions or concerns should fill out an online self-report form and contact instructors for guidance regarding class attendance and assignments. Students also may contact the College’s Counseling Services Office at kweddington@southwest.tn.edu or 901-333-5121..