UT Austin releases plans for fall semester, in-person commencement ceremonies

The University of Texas at Austin has released its plans for the fall semester and in-person commencement ceremonies, as well as other plans and measures related to school operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The university says the fall semester will begin as scheduled on August 26 and classes will run until Thanksgiving. However, students will not return after Thanksgiving and, instead, will participate in reading days and finals remotely.

"With COVID-19 still expected to be active this fall, we hope to avoid the possibility of students becoming infected during the Thanksgiving break and then spreading the virus to classmates upon their return after Thanksgiving," president Gregory Fenves and interim president-designate Jay Hartzell said in a letter to the UT community. "We are still developing the details for how this new schedule will affect course syllabi, residence hall living, and other key campus functions."

RELATED: Limited operations, online classes to continue at UT-Austin, officials plan to reopen campus this fall

All in-person commencement ceremonies in the fall will be postponed. The planned ceremony for the Class of 2020 will take place on campus at some point in 2021, says the letter, and spring and fall 2020 graduates will be invited. The date and plans will depend on the evolving COVID-19 situation.

The university-wide virtual commencement ceremony will take place this Saturday night as planned.


Get breaking news alerts in the FOX 7 Austin News app. It is FREE!

Download for iOS or Android


The letter also says they will be announcing specific plans for resuming research on campus. Lab directors and principal investigators will be given direction on the university’s plan, including how to apply to reopen their operations and the necessary steps they must take, including safety precautions and required mitigation plans. This plan is a phased approach to resuming research operations safely at UT this summer in labs, libraries, and other UT research spaces.

UT Austin will also require all employees authorized to work on campus through the summer to cover their faces with a mask or cloth-covering at all times unless they're in a private office or space.

RELATED: UT Austin to utilize campus resources to make COVID-19 testing available for students

To see a full list of the plans and updates for Fall 2020, visit UT Austin's website.



FOX 7 Austin is working to keep you up to date with coronavirus, with both local and national developments. Every weekday we're live at 12 p.m. with a special show reporting the latest news, prevention tips and treatment information.

You can watch live in your FOX 7 Austin app or on the FOX 7 Austin Facebook page.

You can also get the latest COVID-19 news from around the country at coronavirusnow.com.