UT Austin releases planning update for fall 2020

As the increase of COVID-19 cases increases in Texas, UT Austin has released a few updates that the university plans on establishing for the 2020 fall semester. 

The university is planning on finalizing all major plans for the fall semester at the end of June, however, at this time the university does plan to reopen the campus at some level. 

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"As the university prepares for the fall, we are working to develop a framework for how we decide upon, and adjust, the scope of our operations as needed given the fluctuating impact of COVID-19. We are working to define various “levels of opening,” which will inform many aspects of our approach and protocols," Interim President Jay Hartzell. "For instance, the highest level of opening at UT would be a complete reopening of campus without restriction. The lowest level of opening would resemble the university’s state this past April, when all learning was remote and most on-campus research was paused." 

For now, the school says they will open between those "two extremes" and will be based on a wide range of community and campus considerations. Those include COVID-19 test results, trends in Austin hospitalizations, medical data from the state, and more. 

The school has also started formalizing an agreement between Austin Public Health and Dell Medical School to conduct contact tracing for UT community members that have tested positive for coronavirus. 

"Contact tracing helps slow the spread of COVID-19 by identifying individuals who have been in close contact with those who test positive, getting them testing, and when necessary, into quarantine. Information voluntarily shared with contact tracers will be kept completely private and used for public health purposes only," Hartzell wrote. 


The UT community will also have access to "isolation spaces"  through APH if they can not self-isolate or quarantine safely in their own residence.

The university has also extended its current prohibition of university-sanctioned travel for business or study until July 31. They say there will be exceptions that will be processed by deans or vice presidents for domestic travel and by Texas Global for international travel. 

"Thank you for the dedication you’ve shown during these past four months. I hope you are able to find some time soon to visit with family and friends (even at a distance) and unwind during these hot summer months," wrote Hartzell. 

To see the full rundown of updates, click here.