June 23, 2020
Dear UT Community,
As we move along into the final days of June, the university continues to solidify our plans for the fall. We are keeping a close eye on COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Austin and across Texas, which have been on the rise in recent weeks. The disease remains a persistent threat, and our university community must continue to develop plans that are dynamic and adaptable so we can adjust quickly to future circumstances as they arise. I thank you all for your patience and understanding as we have carefully plotted out a series of measures and plans designed to keep our community safe and carry forward our education and research missions.
Next week, we will share our complete plan for the fall semester, along with our comprehensive website for students, faculty and staff. Today, I have just a few updates to share with you.
Increasing Online Courses
As the pandemic has shifted in recent weeks, the university has decided to expand the number of online courses available in the fall to about 3,500 of our 11,000 courses — an increase of approximately 1,500 from our initial strategy. This will give students and families greater flexibility as they make their plans by presenting a range of high-quality learning experiences both on and off the Forty Acres.
Changing Course Schedules
As part of the fall planning process, the UT Course Schedule is being updated daily through the end of June. These changes may affect the instructional mode (e.g., in-person or online), instructor, time or location of some classes.
Students do not need to take action at this time. Students will be notified in July to review their class schedules and make any changes, if needed. For more information, please visit the Texas One Stop FAQ page.
Preparations are underway for reopening dining facilities, including those in residence halls, for the fall semester. We will work to minimize person-to-person contact and incorporate social distancing measures for seating and crowd control.
This might include increased outside seating and additional space for dining, extended evening operating hours (Monday-Thursday at some dining locations) and to-go-only meals, with no self-serve option, at multiple locations.
Mental Health Services
The Counseling and Mental Health Center will continue to offer all services via telehealth during the fall. Several clinicians and support staff members will be on site every day during business hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m.) to provide any necessary in-person services, observing social distancing and cleaning guidelines. As an extension of a pilot project during the spring semester, CMHC will extend its virtual hours and offer evening appointments to students in the fall.
Medical Health Services
University Health Services, which has continued to care for students since campus closed, will resume all services on campus this fall. UHS will scale on-campus staffing based on social distancing and the ability to provide safe patient care and a safe work environment for staff members. Telehealth will continue to be offered as long as insurance carriers continue to reimburse for this service.
UHS will continue to offer COVID-19 screening (in the newly established Designated Respiratory Clinic in the Student Services Building), symptomatic testing and proactive community testing of well individuals. Other COVID-19-specific services include contact tracing (for students who test positive and those with COVID-19-like symptoms) and antibody testing. The physical space for UHS has also been modified to facilitate a safer environment for patients and staff members.
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Thank you for your dedication during this very challenging summer. We’ll get through this together, but the road is long and we must remain patient. Stay safe, take care of yourselves, take care of one another and keep moving forward.