Upper and middle plenum have to come off for those things. There was someone making 2 piece valve covers so u didn't have to, but I don't think that ever worked out. Even still its only a few minute job to pull the plenum off.
What I like to do is undo the 2 bolts that hold on the TB, this way you don't have to play with the sensors, or the coolent lines, etc that run to it. Then there are just the few vac lines, egr, and the plenum bolts.