July 7, 2020
Dear UT Community,
Last night, I received extremely sad news confirming the COVID-19-related death of one of our custodial services team members. This loss is absolutely devastating to me, as I know it is to so many members of our campus community. Out of respect to the family and the privacy of our staff member, we are unable to provide many other details. This is our university’s first death related to COVID-19, and it comes at a time when cases are growing in Texas and Travis County.
The individual’s positive test result was appropriately reported to the university’s HealthPoint Occupational Health Program (OHP) last month. Contact tracing, employee notification and facility assessment and disinfection occurred as necessary. All affected individuals had followed guidance to self-isolate following public health protocols.
There are many resources on our campus that can provide needed support to UT community members during this difficult time. Our HealthPoint Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is providing grief services to the individual’s co-workers in custodial services. EAP is also open and providing services remotely to employees through video and phone counseling. The Counseling and Mental Health Center continues to provide services for students.
There are no actions or new precautions to take on campus right now. However, given the virus is still very active in our city and in other locations across the state and nation, everyone should continue to follow preventive precautions, regardless of where you are:
Please wear cloth masks when you are around other people.
Keep a minimum distance of 6 feet between yourself and others whenever possible.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
You can read more about preventive precautions on the university website.
This is a heartbreaking moment for Longhorn Nation. We have weathered the pandemic for months, but now, it has become personal in a whole new way. As we manage our grief, it is my hope that we can pull together, unite, and redouble our commitment to health, safety and combatting this disease on campus and within our communities.
Please continue to take care of yourselves and your loved ones.