UT-Austin cancels in-person, online classes through Wednesday morning “with a few exceptions”

Skye Seipp

Editor’s Note: This story is being updated as information is made available. This story was updated regularly until Sunday, February 22. Information within this story may no longer be up to date.

Updated: Friday, Feb. 19, 8:58 p.m. 

UT has closed campus and canceled online and in-person classes “with a few exceptions” until at least Wednesday at 8 a.m. due to this week’s severe weather, according to a message Friday from President Jay Hartzell.  

“On Monday and Tuesday, faculty members may use their class times creatively to keep students connected, such as presenting optional lectures, holding Zoom discussion sections, offering office hours, or providing discussion materials,” Hartzell said. “But nothing can be required in terms of materials or assignments, and neither faculty members nor students are obligated to participate.”

The academic calendar will still follow the same schedule with no semester extension and no time taken away from spring break, Hartzell said. 

Hartzell said all residence halls currently have workable restrooms, and any water pressure issues on campus are being investigated as they happen. He said portable restrooms are also being delivered to areas on campus that do not have working restrooms. 

COVID-19 vaccinations and proactive community testing will continue Monday, Hartzell said. 

Essential staff will still be required to be on campus those days, Hartzell said. Staff will receive instructions from Human Resources over the next few days on how to account for time, he said.

Hartzell also thanked faculty, staff and students for their mutual aid efforts to keep the community safe, and said UT will be restarting UT Shout-Outs on Texas Connect social media platforms to tell stories of Longhorns helping each other.

“Many of our dining staff have spent the night on campus for the past several days to help provide warm meals, even as demand for food increased and we provided free meals to thousands of students without meal plans,” Hartzell said. “Others have slept in their offices to help keep campus running, or worked long hours remotely in spite of difficult home conditions.”

Updated on Feb 17 at 6:25 PM:

UT has canceled in-person and online classes and campus events until at least Monday, Feb. 22 at 8 a.m. because of severe weather, according to a Wednesday UT news release.

The University is “not considering” taking away spring break because of class cancellations this week, according to the release. 

“Spring Break 2021 will happen as planned, and given what we’ve been through this academic year, such a break will be welcome and well deserved,” the release said. 

Essential staff are still required to come to campus through the closure, the release said. 

COVID-19 vaccinations and proactive community testing will continue starting Monday, the release said. 

People who had their second vaccine doses delayed by the closure do not have to start the regimen over because people will still be within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s timeline, the release said. 

Updated on Feb 16 at 9:56 PM:

UT canceled in-person and online classes and campus events again until Friday at 8 a.m. due to inclement weather and power outages, according to a message from UT President Jay Hartzell. 

Essential workers will still be required to work while campus is closed, Hartzell said. 

COVID-19 vaccinations and proactive community testing have also been halted through the closure, Hartzell said. 

“Many continue to experience hardship and basic service interruption, making even our simplest daily activities difficult or nearly impossible,” Hartzell said.

Hartzell announced on Monday class cancellation would be extended to at least Thursday morning after he originally canceled classes and campus events through Wednesday on Sunday

Over 193,000 Austin Energy customers are without power, according to the outage map at time of publication. Jackie Sargent, Austin Energy general manager, said power wouldn’t fully be restored until weather conditions improve at a press conference Tuesday. 

Students who don’t have power or other basic utilities can visit this list of services, created by The Daily Texan, offered by UT to help students. 

Original Story, published on Feb. 15 at 7:47 PM:

UT canceled all in-person and online classes and campus events through at least Thursday at 8 a.m. due to severe winter weather, according to a message from UT President Jay Hartzell

Essential workers, such as campus safety officers and residence hall employees, will still be required to be on campus this week despite the closure, Hartzell said.  

COVID-19 vaccinations and proactive community testing at the University will not continue on Wednesday, Hartzell said. The University expects to use all vaccine doses when vaccinations resume, but it is not clear when that may be.  

“Power outages and other challenges have made it difficult or impossible for many to work or learn, even remotely,” Hartzell said. “The forecast indicates that we will not see sustained temperatures above freezing for several more days, and we are expecting more winter precipitation.”

Campus initially closed due to the severe winter weather and power outages on Sunday, and all in-person and online classes and campus events were canceled through Wednesday morning, according to previous reporting by The Daily Texan

Power outages have continued throughout Austin since Monday morning after the Electric Reliability Council of Texas called for rotating outages. The outages were supposed to last for 10 to 45 minutes, but millions of Texans have been without power since early Monday morning. 

Students with power outages or housing issues can go to Kinsolving Dining or J2 for food and shelter during normal dining hours, according to previous reporting by the Texan

Travis County Judge Andy Brown tweeted “there’s a good chance” people without power won’t have it turned back on until Tuesday afternoon. 

Over 212,600 customers are currently without power, according to Austin Energy’s outage map. 

Austin residents with power are encouraged to conserve energy as much as possible to help bring back power to the area, according to Austin Energy. Ways people can conserve power include unplugging unused devices, turning down the heat and not using electronic appliances such as the stove or dishwasher.