Announcements

September 28, 2020

Testing Update and Spring Semester

Read message from President Jay Hartzell 

Here are some updates on UT’s COVID-19 testing efforts and how we’re planning to approach the spring 2021 semester:

Proactive Community Testing

  • The return of our student population has not resulted in wider spread throughout Austin and Travis County or increased hospitalizations.
  • The amount of confirmed positive cases is within the range of what we had expected given UT’s size.
  • Our Proactive Community Testing process has been updated and streamlined.
  • If you are coming to campus, we want you to get tested regularly — as frequently as once every two weeks.
  • If you get tested through UT’s proactive community testing program and produce a positive result, you will not have to take a second test for confirmation.
  • We will soon be rolling out a new incentive program for UT community members who volunteer to get tested.

Spring 2021

  • Our plan is to structure the spring 2021 semester in much the same way as we have the current semester. There will be robust online course offerings, hybrid learning options and some purely in-person classes.
  • The spring calendar will remain the same, with spring break and other key events occurring at the same time they have in previous years.
  • We have not yet determined what commencement will look like and how much of the celebration will be in person or online.
September 10, 2020

Cluster Announcement

University Health Services, UT Health Austin and Austin Public Health are actively conducting contact tracing as a result of three clusters that collectively have approximately 100 positive cases of COVID-19 in the West Campus area.

The individuals in these clusters are currently isolating and receiving necessary medical attention. Austin Public Health and UT Health Austin are working to identify additional potential exposures. The university’s contact tracing team is communicating directly with anyone determined to have been in close contact with a positive individual. This is defined as someone who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.

The university is committed to providing community members with relevant information about significant clusters that pose health and safety risks so they can make informed and healthy decisions in their daily lives.

The university cannot broadly communicate details about individual positive cases, including specific addresses, in compliance with applicable federal and state law.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches or a cough, please immediately contact your medical provider, University Health Services (UHS) (students only) or UT Health Austin (staff, faculty and students). Employees should also contact the Occupational Health Program.

If you have any COVID-19-related questions or concerns, please call the recently expanded Behavior Concerns and COVID-19 Advice Line at 512-232-5050 or submit your COVID-19 questions online.

August 24, 2020

COVID-19 Testing and Plans for the Fall

Read message from Interim President Jay Hartzell

On Wednesday, the fall semester officially begins. So many members of our university community have worked tirelessly to get us to this point, but I know a great deal of uncertainty still looms as we aim to carry forward our vital learning, teaching and research missions during these difficult times. Here are a few reminders:

  • While those employees who are able to work effectively from home will continue to do so, those who are working from campus can find needed information in our employee guidebook available in English and Spanish.
  • Campus events will be generally limited to 10 participants.
  • The university has been carrying out proactive community COVID-19 tests in addition to the more than 1,300 tests previously administered throughout the summer.
  • By testing widely during these early days, we will develop a better understanding of the baseline COVID-19 rates within our community and be in a stronger position to limit spread and provide care.
  • You will be able to track case numbers during the semester via our COVID-19 dashboard. And you will be able to see information about significant clusters here.
August 20, 2020

More Plans for the Fall Semester

Read message from Interim President Jay Hartzell

Next week, our community will reignite the learning, teaching and research that makes The University of Texas so special. Here are some updates on additional plans and resources for the fall semester and some of the efforts we’re making to keep our students, staff and faculty safe.

  • Many students have chosen to learn fully online this fall. 76% of the seats taken this semester will be for courses that are completely online, another 19% are for hybrid classes that combine online elements with in-person elements and only about 5% are fully in person.
  • We officially released the Protect Texas Together App for students, faculty and staff. The app is available to download here.
  • All students, faculty and staff will be required to complete an online, interactive training program called “Staying Healthy in a Changing Environment.”
  • We have decided to cancel this year’s Family Weekend.
  • While not directly related to COVID-19, safety enhancements made on and off campus in recent years remain in place and will be expanded as we move forward.
August 20, 2020

Cancellation of Family Weekend

Family Weekend is one of our great UT traditions, where thousands of UT parents and family members join their students on campus for a few days of fun and activities each fall. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing risks presented by COVID-19, we have decided to cancel this year’s Family Weekend. It was a difficult decision, but ultimately there was no way to safely bring together so many people from communities across the state and nation for a weekend and move ahead with our traditional programming.

August 13, 2020

Getting Ready for the Fall Semester

Read message from Interim President Jay Hartzell

As a community, we are gearing up for another semester of exceptional educational experiences — regardless of format — which means life-changing classes and teaching, visionary creative opportunities, innovative research and scholarship, and so much more. Here are some of the latest updates about the fall semester:

  • We currently project that 45% to 50% of undergraduate students have chosen to take all of their courses online in the fall.
  • Over 60% of UT faculty members will teach online-only this semester, and staff members who can continue to perform at a high level from home will continue to do so.
  • There will be substantial reductions in the numbers of students living in on-campus housing during the upcoming semester.
  • Every Longhorn is encouraged to make The Commitment to Protect Texas Together—a voluntary code of conduct and a statement of shared purpose.
  • The university recently launched Longhorns Online, an academic portal for all UT students, providing a wide range of resources for the semester’s reimagined college experience.
August 7, 2020

Social Distancing, Event Guidance, and Other Health and Safety Guidance

Read message from Soncia Reagins-Lilly, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

August 5, 2020

New Syllabi Requirements — Public Access to Course Information

Read message from the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost

August 4, 2020

COVID-19 Testing for Fall Semester

Read message from Interim President Jay Hartzell

Robust and rigorous testing will be needed to monitor and limit the presence of COVID-19 on our campus and keep our community members as safe as possible as we continue to navigate the pandemic. Here are some of the key elements of our strategy:

  • Working in collaboration with epidemiologists, infectious disease experts and other health care professionals, our strategic approach to COVID-19 testing consists of three components: testing for individuals who are ill, contact tracing and proactive community testing.
  • We will have the capacity to test hundreds of symptomatic students each day using in-house labs.
  • We have a goal of proactively testing up to 5,000 UT community members each week for COVID-19 using a strategic, scientific based approach.
  • The university, through an agreement between Dell Medical School and Austin Public Health, will continue to conduct contact tracing for university community members who test positive for COVID-19.