TCAT Elizabethton begins online instruction

Published 8:29 am Monday, March 23, 2020

In response to the coronavirus, TCAT Elizabethton will be providing online instruction beginning March 23, college president Dean Blevins announced Thursday.

Blevins said the “temporary” Distance Education delivery method will be used through the end of the Spring 2020 trimester date of April 24, 2020.

“It is anticipated the Distance Education mode of operation will continue through May 8, 2020 (8 weeks) with a possibility of continuing for an extended period of time past eight weeks based on the ever-changing COVID-19 Pandemic,” Blevins said.

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Students have been notified via the college emergency alert system to respond to online instruction provided by their instructors, Blevins said.

Conference calls were held on a regular basis with Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) Chancellor Flora Tydings and senior staff regarding options for the 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology. The presidents were given the option to implement the online instruction at their discretion.

One of the largest programs at TCAT Elizabethton, practical nursing has approximately 300 students total in classes in Kingsport and Elizabethton.  As part of their instruction, students also have supervised clinical experiences in health care facilities in the region.

Among the changes, clinical rotations have been suspended this semester; the April pinning ceremony has been postponed; and online instruction will begin March 23, according to Kathy Bullen, director of the practical nursing program.

“The decision to discontinue clinicals for the remainder of this semester only affects one class and a four day rotation. We made what we thought was a conservative decision in light of the current environment. We are in close contact with our facilities and communicate frequently with them,” Bullen said.

Nursing students at TCAT Elizabethton should receive an email from the nursing team explaining why the changes were necessary and the process going forward. “This disruption to our usual practice is very stressful to faculty and students,” Bullen said.

Although the pinning ceremony for April graduates has been postponed, students will be eligible to apply to the Tennessee Board of Nursing to test for licensure through the usual process. As of today, that process should not be affected, according to Bullen.

New student orientations will be conducted in small groups of 10. It is anticipated new students may start at the beginning of the Summer 2020 Trimester or whenever the college returns to Traditional Education methods.

Blevins said TCAT Elizabethton will work to maintain the current year Instructional Calendar as published in the Student Handbook and on the college website.

Please check the TCAT website,, for further updates from TCAT Elizabethton.