JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — East Tennessee State University has been added to an exemption list the day after the Tennessee Comptroller announced an option for businesses and entities to request exemption from Gov. Bill Lee’s recently signed bill that limits COVID-19 restrictions within the workplace.

ETSU is exempt in order to prevent the school from losing federal funding.

“If the federal government changes their operating structure, then we would change our operating structure as well but part of compliance with that executive order is both the vaccine order as well as the masking aspect and I don’t want to do anything that jeopardizes more than 40 million dollars in federal funding,” said ETSU President, Dr. Brian Noland.

The state’s Comptroller Office website indicated ETSU’s exemption was effective beginning on Nov. 15, 2021 and will expire one year from the effective date unless it is extended.

If businesses or entities can prove that compliance with Chapter 2 or Chapter 6 of the new law would lead to a loss of federal funding, Comptroller officials said the office would grant an exemption.

This would allow the businesses or entities to impose COVID-19 vaccine and/or mask requirements among employees.

Questions regarding the exemptions should be directed to