Commodores Cares period will end Jan. 24, as planned

Students will once again be able to eat inside dining halls, and in-person gatherings and activities can resume.


Anjali Chanda

Sign in Sarratt Student Center that reads “Anchor Down, Mask Up,” as photographed on Feb. 5, 2020. (Hustler Multimedia/Anjali Chanda)

Charlotte Mauger, Managing Editor

Monday, Jan. 24 will mark the end of the university’s Commodores Care period that began when students returned to campus. The period was first announced on Dec. 30, along with the announcement of the delayed start of the Spring 2022 semester, in light of the omicron variant. 

During the period, students were only allowed to socialize in-person with their roommates and were only permitted to leave their rooms to attend class, seek medical attention, participate in distanced outdoor activities and work or do research for the university. Furthermore, all campus common spaces were closed and all dining was to-go. 

“The Commodores Care period has kept infection rates down; however, as we resume normal testing, we anticipate spikes in the number of positive cases, given the nature of this variant compared with the past variants,” Vice Provost and Dean of Students G.L Black said in an email to students on Jan. 21 around 12:20 p.m. CST announcing the end of the period. “We will continue to work closely with students to quarantine and isolate as needed.”

Students will now be allowed to eat inside dining halls, as well as attend athletic events. However, the announcement did highlight three “enhanced” safety protocols: masking indoors when not eating or drinking and wearing a KN95 mask when possible, distancing when possible and abiding by testing, contact tracing and quarantine protocols. 

Gatherings and activities are also now allowed, per the announcement. However, students are expected to limit group sizes and maintain distance as much as possible as well as offer virtual meetings “when appropriate.” 

Prior to the start of the Commodores Care period, some students expressed that they felt the policies were too severe, wishing that campus would return to “normal.” Meanwhile, other students felt there ought to be remote options for the semester, a sentiment that has continued into the start of the semester.

In fact, on Jan.18, graduate students protested the university’s omicron prevention policies. Three students started a petition asking for hybrid options, more testing options and clearer guidelines, which has amassed 405 signatures as of print. NewsChannel 5 Nashville covered the petition and graduate students’ concerns in two segments that aired on Jan. 19. 

In an email obtained by The Hustler, the Office of the Chancellor responded to the graduate students’ concerns, insisting upon the safety of in-person learning options and the efficacy of prevention measures in place. 

These measures include instituting a Commodores Care period for students and the resumption of required masking indoors, providing KN95 masks for all students, faculty, postdocs and on-campus staff, required testing for returning students, and greatly expanding our testing program for the spring to support the health and safety of our community,” the response reads. 

The announcement regarding the end of the Commodores Care period also highlighted new changes to Campus Dining. Campus Dining has determined their peak hours and encourages students to work around them if their schedule permits or utilize faster options such as Kissam, Alumni Hall and Rand “grab and go.”

Zeppos, EBI and Commons dining halls are now open until 8 p.m. CST for dinner and Kissam now offers breakfast on weekdays from 7-10 a.m. CST and brunch from 10 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. CST on weekends. Additionally, Rand will no longer close between breakfast and lunch. 

Furthermore, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. CST on weekdays, Highland Munchie Mart now offers a sushi and bubble tea meal option. Popup dining events will also continue as a collaboration between Campus Dining and Catering and Events this semester.