Aug. 6, 2020
We are just weeks away from welcoming you back to the Forty Acres with a robust plan to keep you healthy on campus. Below is some specific guidance regarding staying healthy, whether you’re learning remotely or on campus.
As Interim President Jay Hartzell shared in his message on Tuesday, we have developed an innovative COVID-19 testing strategy for the campus. All students with COVID-like symptoms can access a test, with no out-of-pocket cost, through University Health Services. The testing method used for symptomatic individuals is a simple, painless nasal swab in the front part of the nose. Students exposed to someone who tests positive can also access testing at UHS. Additionally, using a simple saliva-based test, we will strategically test healthy individuals on campus to detect asymptomatic infection through the UT Proactive Community Testing program. All testing is voluntary but encouraged to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
We also have guidance for social distancing and density specifically for classrooms, lab space, elevators and restrooms. We encourage you to spend time outdoors rather than in enclosed spaces. Knowing that temperatures in Austin remain high at the beginning of the school year, it will be important to stay hydrated, so here is some information about water fountains during this pandemic.
Using hand sanitizers and handwashing are also essential to reduce the spread of all infections that cause colds, flu and COVID-19. You may feel well, but you could be ill and spread COVID-19 to others. Carry hand sanitizer with you and use the hand sanitizing stations across campus.
As you know, wearing recommended protective face masks is required inside university buildings except if you are alone in a private office, eating at a campus dining facility, or if you are in your own residence hall room. Wearing these masks in outdoor spaces is encouraged, especially if social distancing isn’t possible.
Students needing ADA accommodations (such as not being able to wear a mask) should contact Services for Students with Disabilities. Students with special circumstances (non-ADA) that require you to miss class, including for COVID-19 symptoms, should complete the absence notification request form with Student Emergency Services.
If you are a student employee on campus, please make sure to discuss your return to work with your supervisor, whether working virtually, in person or hybrid.
We are all looking forward to having you back on campus. The university is finalizing event guidance that will include required safety plans for any events and meetings that are permitted on campus this fall. They will draw from the guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as university, state and local orders.
One way to stay engaged is through the Longhorn Connection, which brings UT Austin students together with their friends, peers and the campus community, no matter how far from the Forty Acres you are. We encourage you to use this website as a resource to engage with your campus communities, prioritize your wellness, and enjoy creativity through virtual events and activities. Longhorn Connection is dynamic, so check back often for new opportunities.
We will continue to keep you updated through messages and the Protect Texas Together website. Make sure to frequently check the website as we move through this rapidly-changing time. You can also contact us if you have any questions.
Stay safe, stay healthy and Hook ‘em!
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students