UT moves classes online for first 2 weeks of spring semester

Kevin Vu, News Reporter

As COVID-19 cases driven by the omicron variant rapidly increase throughout Texas, UT will have faculty teach remotely for the first two weeks of the semester and return in person by Jan. 31, according to an email to the community from UT President Jay Hartzell.

“Considering the spike in cases, increased hospitalizations, and current and expected staff shortages in local hospitals and in some functional areas of campus, our university’s COVID-19 Executive Committee determined short-term changes are needed as we start the spring semester,” Hartzell said in the email.

According to the UT Austin COVID-19 dashboard, 106 UT students tested positive Jan. 3, the second-largest spike of positive tests among students since fall 2020. According to the email, faculty will still have the option to teach hybrid or in-person classes.

The city of Austin returned to stage 4 of COVID-19 risk-based guidelines Dec. 29, recommending that fully vaccinated individuals wear masks when gathering with people outside of their household, traveling, dining and shopping. Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals are recommended to wear masks, avoid gatherings with people outside of their household, only travel and shop if essential and choose takeaway/curbside options for dining.

The University is also encouraging students to receive a COVID-19 viral test no more than 72 hours prior to returning to campus.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that there were 108 positive tests on Jan. 3, and that the tests were from the entire UT community, not just UT students. The story has been updated with the correct information. The Texan regrets this error.