AUSTIN, Texas - Friday is the last day of the spring 2020 semester at UT Austin, ending a difficult year for Longhorn students and staff who had to change the way 9,000 classes were executed.
“I'm so proud of the UT community, especially our students who had to quickly adjust their lives at the University of Texas at Austin in this unprecedented time,” said President Gregory Fenves.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the university closed its doors, and leaders had a month to plan for the following academic year and what it will look like.
“We are identifying which classes we can identify a need to meet in person because there are skills and students can only learn hands-on which many involve a mix of in-person and online experiences,” said Art Markman, Professor of Psychology and Marketing.
The university is working with six groups focused on academics and health and wellness to figure out what safety steps are necessary. How will student life, events, and sports be different? What precautions will be taken in student housing? In a Friday briefing, university leaders said they are still working out the logistics.
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One priority is access to COVID-19 testing. President Fenves said they’ll be looking at campus resources testing. “Through UT Health Austin and we have a few faculty and research labs that have the type of equipment that does tests,” he said. “We are looking at increasing our testing capacity.”
While federal and state leaders work to repair COVID-19’s impact on the economy, Fenves said the university will wait to see what state appropriations will be made to get a clear picture of the school’s fiscal budget.
“There will be significantly less hiring than what we normally do and we’ve also pulled back on the plan for merit increase for staff next year with some exceptions,” said Fenves.
Jay Hartzell, UT’s interim President-Designate, said the university looks forward to the next academic year. “I think it’s going to be fun to see ways as a campus how we are going to come together and rally and continue to find ways to make our student experiences exceptional,” said Hartzell.
Fall 2020 procedures are expected to be finalized by the end of June.
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