How is UT-Austin policy changing because of coronavirus?

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Photo Credit: Stephanie Sonik | Daily Texan Staff

Editor’s note: This story is part of The Daily Texan’s coverage of how coronavirus concerns are affecting UT-Austin. Read the rest of our coverage here.

President Gregory Fenves, Executive Vice President and Provost Maurie McInnis, and chief medical officer Terrance Hines held a press conference on updates to the University’s coronavirus policies. Below is a list of changed policies.

Calendar

Spring break has been extended by one week and students will resume classes March 30, according to an email from Fenves.

There will be no change to the semester calendar or any weeks added, McInnis said. She said she advises faculty to adjust their syllabi accordingly. 

Classes

Large, lecture-style courses will be required to move online, McInnis said at the conference. Classes that cannot transition online, such as labs and performance-based classes, will have alternative arrangements, McInnis said. The specifics of changes will be left up to the dean of each school, according to an email to faculty from McInnis.

As of now, there is no requirement to transition fully to online classes, McInnis said.

McInnis said she has recommended faculty use flexible attendance policies to encourage students who are sick or have other health conditions to stay home.

Faculty members are required to submit a course plan for “instructional continuity” that outlines how they will be changing instruction for each class they teach, according to the University’s coronavirus guideline website.

The Butler School of Music is requiring all classes to move online, including small in-person classes, according to an email from Mary Poole, director of the Butler School of Music. 

Graduation

Fenves said students who are set to graduate by Spring 2020 should still complete their degrees on time. He said the University has not yet decided whether to cancel the commencement ceremony scheduled for May 23. 

Study Abroad

The University has canceled all study abroad programs through Aug. 18, so all students, faculty and staff on international University-sponsored travel must return by March 30. Students returning from abroad are required to self-isolate for 14 days.

University-sponsored travel, both international and domestic, has been suspended through April 30.

Housing and Dining

Fenves said the residence halls will remain open during the next two weeks, and the halls are working on social distancing policies and other ways to maintain hygiene.

Dining options will follow the usual limited spring break hours during the two weeks, UT spokesperson J.B. Bird said. 

Student Employment

Fenves said student staff will remain employed over the next two weeks and will likely have to adjust to social distancing policies. 

Principal Investigators can decide whether to keep their labs open or not over the next two weeks, according to an email to faculty from McInnis. Graduate students will need to communicate with their supervisors on any adjustments.

If a lab remains open, faculty cannot penalize students who are not present, according to McInnis. More information is to come from the Office of the Vice President of Research, said McInnis.

Other Facilities

Bass Concert Hall has canceled all events starting March 12 through 30, according to the Texas Performing Arts Website. UT Vice President and Athletics Director Chris Del Conte said in a press release Thursday that the Frank Erwin Center has canceled all events indefinitely. 

The Office of Admissions has suspended campus visits, Admission Welcome Center tours and in-person events until further notice, according to the University of Texas website. 

The LBJ Presidential Library announced Thursday they would be closed to the public beginning Friday evening, according to a press release. All LBJ Library events have also been canceled. 

All public events after March 23 at the Butler School of Music have been canceled.