Health Information Update for Fall 2022

August 8, 2022

Dear Students,

As the summer winds down, we hope you are savoring the last few weeks before classes begin August 22 – you’ll be living the Longhorn life on campus soon! As we prepare to start the 2022-23 academic year, we know that COVID-19 is still present, but we’ve also shown that it no longer defines the way we live, learn and engage on the Forty Acres. We are grateful for scientific advances, the most notable of which started here at UT, that have allowed us to immerse ourselves more safely in an on-campus experience. The latest spike in COVID-19 has plateaued in Austin and is starting to slowly decline. However, we do expect to continue to have cases, which will be managed through appropriate accommodations. With effective prevention strategies, vaccines and treatments, combined with a less severe variant currently circulating, we look forward to continued in-person engagement with you throughout the semester.

Before You Return
We encourage you to be current on your COVID-19 vaccines and to test prior to the start of the fall semester — this could mean before moving into your college residence or before the first day of classes. Pre-arrival testing can help limit the spread of COVID-19 on campus at the beginning of the semester and allow affected people to isolate in a more comfortable and supported home environment.

Campus Resources
Protect Texas Together will continue to serve as the hub for all university COVID-19 information. Throughout the fall, the university will continue to make testing accessible by providing rapid antigen self-test kits at distribution sites throughout campus. Students, faculty and staff can receive up to four at a time. You are encouraged to keep a supply of self-test kits in your residence so that you have them available when you need them. Look for the Healthyhorns QR code sticker on the self-test kits provided by the university that links to important information related to testing. If you are symptomatic, testing will also be available through an appointment with a health care provider at University Health Services. However, self-testing is accurate and preferred. As a reminder, self-test kits are also available for free through the federal government and covered by health insurance for those who are insured. Masks are available for students who need one at the William C. Powers, Jr. Student Activity Center and Texas Union hospitality desks.

The exposure action chart offers guidance on what to do if you have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19 or if you test positive. If you experience symptoms, stay home and isolate and follow the instructions in the chart for symptomatic people.

Academic Flexibility
We understand that illness often results in absences, and the university continues to share best practices with faculty members and encourages all professors to provide flexibility. If you are unable to attend class and perform required academic assignments due to medical emergency, you should contact your professors to discuss any alternative arrangements available, and you are encouraged to complete a Class Absence Notification Form through Student Emergency Services to provide illness documentation. Please do not share your medical information with faculty members. Since course requirements and flexibility will vary between classes, schools and colleges, you are responsible for understanding the expectations of your faculty members and any accommodations they offer.

A Note about Monkeypox
Although the World Health Organization and the United States have declared monkeypox a health emergency, the disease does not spread easily in casual settings without prolonged close contact, and it is not expected to have the broad community impact associated with COVID-19. UT has a longstanding public health infrastructure and implements mitigation protocols when faced with known or emerging communicable diseases, and we collaborate on strategies needed to reduce the incidence or spread within our population. We will handle monkeypox as we would most other communicable illnesses with similar modes of transmission. We encourage you to visit University Health Services to learn more about its transmission, symptoms and what you should do if you think you have it.

Our goal as a university is to provide all of our students the resources and information they need to help them stay healthy and achieve their goals. We wish you a successful start to the fall semester.


Soncia Reagins-Lilly
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Terrance Hines, M.D., FAAFP
Executive Director & Chief Medical Officer, University Health Services

Amy Young, M.D.
Vice Dean of Professional Practice, Dell Medical School Chief Clinical Officer, UT Health Austin