Dear UT Austin Community,
As students prepare to depart for an extended spring break, the university continues to take actions to slow the spread of COVID-19. Our community will be impacted and we are using every tool at our disposal to help mitigate that impact. As President Fenves noted last night, our campus environment will look and feel different upon your return on March 30. We are committed to supporting students, faculty and staff during this time.
In addition to extending spring break and transitioning the way some courses are delivered:
- The university has implemented new travel guidelines including:
- Worldwide recall of all university-sponsored travelers (students, faculty and staff).
- Cancellation of all education abroad programs through August 18.
- Suspension of university and externally-sponsored international and domestic travel through at least April 30.
- Requests to travel in restricted regions will not be accepted. Faculty and staff who require travel approval for COVID-19 pandemic research must contact Global Risk & Safety in Texas Global for further direction.
- Event mitigation and social distancing guidelines have been created for faculty, staff and students to make decisions regarding in-person classes, meetings or other gatherings that are deemed essential and cannot be postponed or moved to an online format.
- All events at the Frank Erwin Center and Bass Concert Hall are cancelled for the time being.
- The Office of Admissions has suspended campus visits, tours and in-person events until further notice and will soon announce online and virtual options for prospective students and their families.
- All delegations of visiting scholars have been cancelled through April 30 with the possibility that this date could be extended.
I want to re-emphasize the importance of prevention actions to protect yourself and others. The best way to prevent getting sick is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Please stay away from crowded settings, maintain a reasonable distance from others and remind family and friends to take steps that can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
As we say in healthcare, clean hands save lives. And one of the core values of our institution is responsibility. I can think of no better way to act responsibly than social distancing, staying home if you are sick, and taking every precaution to help prevent the spread of this virus.
Anyone returning from a region with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Level 3 travel notice will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Students returning from these regions should check-in with Student Emergency Services in the Office of the Dean of Students for support and to request academic accomodations. Faculty and staff needing to self-isolate should notify their department chair or direct supervisor.
For all other travelers, either international or domestic, plan to self-monitor upon return for 14 days by taking your temperature twice a day and remaining alert for cough or difficulty breathing. If you develop symptoms during this time, self-isolate and seek advice by telephone from a healthcare provider. Students should call the UHS Nurse Advice Line at 512-475-6877. Staff and faculty with UT Select insurance may contact the 24/7 Nurseline provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield at 888-315-9473 or seek care from UT Health Austin or their personal healthcare provider.
During your time away from campus, it is important to stay connected by checking your email and updates posted to the UT COVID-19 page and official UT Austin social media accounts.
Terrance Hines, MD, FAAFP
Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer
University Health Services
Division of Student Affairs