Texas Exes cancels freshman retreat due to positive COVID-19 cases among Camp Buckner staff

Kevin Vu, News Reporter

Camp Texas, a retreat for incoming students, announced the cancelation of all four camp sessions due to positive COVID-19 cases amongst Camp Buckner staff Saturday. The announcement comes less than two days after UT president Jay Hartzell announced the University still plans for a “full return” this fall semester.

“Unfortunately, there was no choice. We didn’t have a facility available to us,” said Dorothy Guerrero, the vice president of communications for Texas Exes. “We were hoping to go back to the tradition the way it was with protocols and masking and everything, but unfortunately, this one was just out of our hands.”

Texas Exes found out about the cancelation Saturday night, Guerrero said. The first session of Camp Texas was set for today, with 185 students planning to attend. For students who were already in Austin waiting to attend the camp, Texas Exes staff and counselors helped arrange transportation and other logistical needs, she said. 

Camp Texas is a three-day retreat for incoming freshmen run by Texas Exes, Guerrero said. The retreat is held at Camp Buckner in Burnet, Texas every year. This is the first time Texas Exes has canceled the camp.

Guerrero said Texas Exes are looking at the best way to process refunds and reimburse students for the $250 registration fee. 

When asked if the cancelation will affect fall plans, University spokesperson Eliska Padilla said the University will continue with its plans for a full return in accordance with Hartzell’s July 30 email. 

Covid-19 cases have been on the rise in Austin and across the nation, with Austin officials announcing on Friday that city conditions have reached the threshold for level five of the city’s Covid-19 risk guidelines, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The city issues stage five recommendations during severe levels of Covid-19 community spread.

Guerrero said Camp Texas is getting together and looking at ways to find alternatives to bring incoming students and its counselors together for peer mentor relationships.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated to clarify that the positive Covid-19 cases were amongst Camp Buckner staff, the site where Camp Texas is held.