TCAT temporary closing announced

Published 7:59 am Tuesday, April 7, 2020

In response to the coronavirus, TCAT Elizabethton will continue online classes and there will be no in-person classes and labs at TCAT Elizabethton through April 30.
TCAT Elizabethton President Dean Blevins said the continued closing was discussed during a conference call with Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) Chancellor Flora Tydings. The chancellor is having conference calls each day with college presidents during the pandemic.
Blevins said the closing was in keeping with requests from Gov. Bill Lee, TBR officials and other elected and appointed government officials in northeast Tennessee “to be safe.”
However, Blevins indicated there will be a testing session for 3rd trimester nursing students at TCAT Elizabethton at a future date to be announced.
Meanwhile, activity is brisk among staff who are using a 3D printer, relocated to their place of residence, to make headbands for face masks used by health care professionals.
Danny O’Quinn, vice president of TCAT Elizabethton, said a WI-FI connection has been made available in the TCAT Elizabethton parking lot of the Main Campus, located at 426 Highway 91 north, for TCAT students from Carter County who don’t have internet access from their place of residence. Use of the system is password protected, he said.
John Lee, NC3 industry training coordinator at TCAT Elizabethton, has been busy placing curriculum online for use by TCAT students, who normally have a hands-on training session.
Lee is also the contact for NC3 ( which offers modules for online training on a variety of subjects.
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.
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 began 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.
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 orientation for the Summer 2020 trimester will be announced at a future date.
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.

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