February 16, 2021
Dear UT Community,
I’m sure many of you, like me, continue to be overwhelmed by the news about how this severe winter weather has affected our community. Many continue to experience hardship and basic service interruption, making even our simplest daily activities difficult or nearly impossible. As we continue to track the forecast, we expect we will not see sustained temperatures above freezing until Friday, and we are expecting more winter precipitation tonight and Wednesday. Because your safety is our top priority, we have decided to remain closed until at least 8 a.m. Friday, February 19.
As mentioned in earlier communications, we will continue to monitor the situation and announce a reopening when conditions are determined to be safe. All classes and events are canceled including virtual/online classes and events through at least 8 a.m. Friday. Only core essential staff members will report to work during the remainder of this closure.
Faculty and Staff:
If your position is identified as essential and you are required to perform your work on campus, you will need to report for your shift. Essential positions are determined at the college or business unit level and are vital to the business continuity of university operations (e.g., life/safety positions; positions responsible for the security of buildings, data or property, etc.).
If you are identified as essential and unable to report to campus due to extenuating circumstances, such as unsafe roadways or child care issues, please contact your supervisor as soon as possible.
If you are a remote employee, you are not expected to work unless indicated by your supervisor.
Supervisors should allow employees time off during this closure as needed to care for themselves and their families. Employees should be working only if their tasks are urgent and necessary for the health and safety of the community.
If any faculty or staff member needs to use their office space for heat or charging devices, feel free to come to campus if you can travel safely.
If students can safely access campus, they can get warm and charge their devices at the facilities listed on the emergency website. The page has the most up-to-date operational information for campus warming centers and dining venues, as well as Student Emergency Services.
What gives me hope during this terrible situation is the many offers to help one another I’ve seen extended across our community, and even among strangers. It is during times like these that Longhorns step up, persevere and lend a hand to those in need. Although it’s important to help others during difficult times, please remember how important it is that we maintain our vigilance in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or think you are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19, it is essential that you isolate from others until you can get tested when campus reopens.
For resources and support related to isolation, please call the Behavior Concerns and COVID-19 Advice Line (BCCAL) at 512-232-5050, option 2, or submit COVID-19 questions online.
For students’ health-related questions, contact the University Health Services’ 24-Hour Nurse Advice Line at 512-475-6877.
Employees and graduate students with Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BC/BS TX) UT Select or Academic Blue health insurance can access online telemedicine visits for routine medical conditions and behavioral health concerns through MDLive with zero co-pay. Access MDLive online at MDLIVE.com/bcbstx or 888-680-8646.
The 24/7 UT Select BCBS-TX Nurseline is available to employees and their families provided by BC/BS TX at no additional cost through your UT Select medical plan. Get answers to your health care questions, information about major medical issues, chronic illness support, and lifestyle change support. Call toll-free: 1-888-315-9473, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
COVID-19 vaccine operations and proactive community testing will not continue during the closure. Individuals with appointments are being contacted directly to reschedule for a later date, and we expect to be able to use all vaccine doses we have available by increasing our throughput once conditions allow.
We will get through the pandemic and these winter storms if we continue to work together.
Stay warm, be safe, and take care.