Recently, Interim President Jay Hartzell announced the university’s plan for the fall semester as well as the Protect Texas website with additional information and resources to help students navigate the pandemic.
While the plan seeks to adapt to the rapidly evolving circumstances of COVID-19, I know that many of you remain concerned about the rise of the virus in Texas and the uncertainty surrounding the fall semester.
Please know that the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff are the most-important priorities guiding the university’s approach, and we will adjust to the evolving circumstances. I will continue to advocate for the needs of graduate students during these difficult times.
Below are some updates on policies and resources for graduate students as we approach the fall semester.
As announced last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has withdrawn its July 6, 2020 guidance that would have prohibited F-1 international students in the U.S. from enrolling in or switching mid-semester to an all-online program of study during the fall.
We have learned that universities will be allowed to revert to the March 9, 2020 DHS guidance allowing “international students to take multiple online courses as a temporary accommodation that would remain in effect ‘for the duration of the emergency.’" Continuing F-1 international students will be able to enroll this fall in the instructional mode that best meets their needs (in-person, hybrid, online) and maintain their status in the United States.
Additionally, this announcement gives the university more flexibility to adjust to changes in the prevalence of COVID-19 and better ensure the health and safety of our students and community. Texas Global will continue to communicate additional information as it arises. You may monitor their Stay Informed page for updated information on immigration compliance.
I know that this has been a difficult few weeks for many international students, who have been struggling to find answers and the best path forward for completing their studies. I thank you for your continued patience. Please know that we will do everything we can to support the international community on campus and your tremendous contributions to the university’s mission.
Academic Employee Accommodations
Some graduate students have expressed concerns for their health and safety during the fall semester, including concerns related to their roles as GAs, AIs and TAs. The Graduate School has been working with colleges, schools and departments to ensure that graduate student course modality preferences are closely considered as fall classes are scheduled.
The Office of the Provost and Graduate School have asked colleges, schools and departments to make the following accommodations for academic employees: