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        Coronavirus Updates and FAQs

The latest information on ELP operations, social distancing and preventative measures


We know that many of you in the ELP community, as well as our friends and family, continue to have questions about COVID-19. In the last few weeks our ELP faculty and staff have been hard at work preparing for a shift to hybrid instruction, remote learning, and tele-working.

Please know that the ELP community—your adviser, professors, administrators, and peers—are here to support you the students in this challenging time. We are here for you and are committed to doing all we can to ensure the best outcomes for you as we work to complete this term and prepare for what’s ahead.

Please continue to monitor UT Austin's Protect Texas Together website, which provides a framework for the fall designed to accommodate the dynamic environment we are facing and enable us to adapt to changes in the prevalence of COVID-19 in Austin and throughout Texas. The university’s leaders are aware that things are changing every day. 

Please see below for the resources, institutional changes, and updates that are available to students as we deal with this ongoing public health crisis.

FAQs

For additional updates and announcements for graduate students,  please visit the Graduate School website for FAQs and new information.


The College of Education Dean’s Office would like you to be aware that the university encourages COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic individuals. This free testing is done by University Health Services, takes about five minutes, and the results are confidential.  There is plenty of capacity so please take advantage of this opportunity, which will help to the spread of COVID-19 on campus and in the community. More information is available at https://healthyhorns.utexas.edu/coronavirus_proactive_testing.html.

Information about contact tracing can be found at https://t.e2ma.net/message/jhv2yd/feyntgg.

The Protect Texas website https://protect.utexas.edu/ contains important information and resources.

The College of Education Dean’s Office also compiled the following information and links to share with you:

It is more important than ever that we exercise self-care and maintain our mental health and wellbeing. Toward this end, the Graduate School shares the new Graduate Student Mental Health Resource Guide: https://utexas.app.box.com/s/ldja0hj7ch7m5iccxjskyw9xrp27bc36.

For more information, please visit the University Health Services website: https://www.healthyhorns.utexas.edu/.


CARES ACT

The University of Texas at Austin has received funds under the CARES Act and is working to provide emergency assistance to as many students as possible to help them meet their emergency financial needs during this challenging time.

You can learn more about CARES and apply for funding by visiting the following link: https://onestop.utexas.edu/cares-act-faq/.

Please direct your questions to Texas One Stop by emailing them at onestop@utexas.edu


COVID -19 Variants

With the emergence of multiple variants of the COVID-19 virus globally, we are taking measures through our on-campus testing efforts to monitor for and detect the presence of variants within our campus community. We are analyzing samples that have indicators in our diagnostic testing that signal there could be a variant. This strategy, done through Next Generation Sequencing of the virus using UT’s state-of-the-art Genomic Sequencing and Analysis Facility, will allow us to identify newly described variants of concern.

Our COVID-19 modelers and public health experts believe that it is a matter of when, not if, we will see variants in our population, and we cannot afford to wait to step up our preventive behaviors. In order to get to the other side of this pandemic, it is now more important than ever to follow public health guidance. To this end, we are reviewing current university guidance and will update you soon if there are any changes. Please know that by doing your part to help us reduce transmission, you are helping to prevent the emergence of new variants. 

If you have symptoms, isolate and get tested immediately.

At the start of the spring semester, our COVID-19 modelers accurately predicted that the rate of imported cases — ones brought in from individuals returning to Austin from outside the community — would be higher than it was during the fall. This is evidenced in our higher case counts and higher positivity rates for Proactive Community Testing during the past few weeks. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, isolate and get tested immediately. We have seen through contact tracing that individuals wait an average of two days from symptom-onset before getting tested, which increases the opportunity to expose others to the virus. Further, if you are a contact, please adhere to the guidance given to you by the contact tracing team with regard to how long to quarantine and when to test. Testing too early after an exposure may result in a false negative, and a negative test does not mean you can discontinue quarantine earlier than advised.

What do these emerging variants mean for our campus?

Scientists are still learning about these emerging variants and determining whether they are more contagious, make people sicker or reduce effectiveness of the available vaccines. The university will closely follow this science and adapt our recommendations as appropriate and in alignment with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The presence of a variant in our community can result in a sharp increase in positive cases at a time when our health care system is already overtaxed. It is critical that members of our community deepen their commitment to public health measures, including remaining vigilant with:

  • wearing a mask,
  • getting tested immediately and staying away from others if you experience symptoms of COVID-19,
  • limiting contacts,
  • staying at least six feet apart and meeting in outdoor locations
  • routinely getting tested for free through UT's Proactive Community Testing program.

The vaccines currently available, as well as those on the horizon, are thought to still offer protection against the current variants. By having more people vaccinated, we can reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the opportunities for the mutations to become dominant strains. We encourage you to get vaccinated as soon as it is your turn to do so.

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

The UT COVID-19 Vaccine Form is still open for current faculty, staff and students who meet the state-defined Phase 1B criteria and who want to receive the two-dose vaccine from the university. The form allows the university to request sufficient supply from the state, but scheduling will be based on vaccine availability. Individuals who submit the form receive an email acknowledgement explaining the process and expected timeline for an appointment.

Members of the public, including retirees, emeritus faculty members, family members and dependents of members of the UT community who meet the state-defined Phase 1B criteria may request a COVID-19 vaccine from UT Health Austin by visiting the UTHA website. UTHA also continues to vaccinate health care workers as part of Phase 1A.

COVID-19 Vaccine “Hub” Designation

On Jan. 16, the university was designated as a vaccine “hub” by the Texas Department of State Health Services. As a hub, the university will continue to receive allocations of COVID-19 vaccine from the state, which will determine timing and quantities of all vaccine allotments. The hub status will allow us to, over time and depending on vaccine availability, continue to contribute on a greater scale to the overall vaccination capabilities of Austin and to vaccinate more people in the greater Austin community.

In anticipation of being able to provide more people the vaccine through a larger-scale distribution site once larger allocations are available, the university will move its vaccine operations to Gregory Gym beginning Feb. 8.

Since UT Austin began administering vaccinations in December, we have served members of the UT Austin community and the UT Health Austin patient population simultaneously. We will continue our efforts to vaccinate current UT students, staff and faculty alongside the community as quickly as allowed by vaccine supply to ultimately help our community reach herd immunity. For the benefit of our community, UT Austin is committed to making every effort to distribute vaccines as quickly, equitably and efficiently as possible.

We’ve come a long way since the beginning of the pandemic. The science has evolved, as has our understanding of the virus. We have new tools in our toolkit that can help us reach herd immunity, but they will work only if we use them alongside the preventive measures we've already been practicing. The pandemic is not over, but we are making great progress. We encourage all Longhorns to remain resilient and persevere as we continue to follow public heath guidelines to get past this.

Spring 2021 - Start of Semester


As the semester begins, we wanted to send you a reminder about testing and steps you can take to help us protect our vulnerable communities.

With our health care systems strained in the Austin area, our goal is to prevent a spike in cases as we return to Austin. We were able to quickly suppress a spike in September thanks to the responsible behavior of our students. We’d like to ask your help to help us, again, as we remain focused to minimize the spread of the virus.

  • Limit your contacts the seven days prior to returning to Austin, and get tested three-five days before your return, if possible.
  • Once you return to Austin, limit your contact with others for seven days. Get tested again the week of your arrival.
  • Wear your mask and limit gatherings.

We realize this is a busy time for you, and we appreciate your help to take the steps you can to help us slow the spread of the virus.
Best of luck on a successful semester.

Spring Break 2021- Covid Policies

With Spring Break on the horizon, the increased availability of vaccines and recent public discussions about policy choices, there are many questions about how we plan to finish this school year in terms of our safety and wellness protocols. UT has been safely delivering on our teaching and research missions so far this year, and our protocols have been working. As a result, those policies — including requiring masks in our buildings, classrooms and labs — will remain in place.

This is in accordance with the most recent guidance from the Texas Education Agency

Spring 2021 - UT Vaccine HUB for Texas

We learned during the weekend that the Texas Department of State Health Services has designated UT a vaccine hub for Texas. This is the result of a broad effort by many on campus who put together a compelling plan for how we can step up to help UT and our broader area. UT will be allocated more vaccine so we can take on an expanded role in vaccinating those in Austin, especially those in underserved communities, while also leading vaccination efforts on campus. Currently, we have been directed to vaccinate those whom the state of Texas classifies as 1A or 1B — essential health care workers and people who are medically vulnerable. Current students and employees can visit our vaccination distribution page for more information about our ongoing vaccination efforts. Details about how to request an appointment for members of the greater Austin community (who meet the criteria for 1B) will be provided soon.

The rollout of vaccines should fortify our resolve to see out the pandemic. As you heard recently from interim Provost Dan Jaffe, we’ve moved all hybrid classes to be fully online for the first two weeks of class. If you can delay your return to campus, we encourage you to do so in order to give our testing capacity time to accommodate those who are returning. For those of you who can’t, please stay safe, get tested, and follow the rules — remember that we mask up and socially distance not out of a sense of fear or sanctimony, but in a spirit of solidarity and responsibility. We will continue to work with the state and local community to monitor the pandemic, and we will adjust our strategies to match the demands of the day. I’m confident that we can help Protect Texas Together while continuing to produce and disseminate knowledge.

Spring 2021 - Upcoming Events

On February 4, I’ll be delivering my inaugural State of the University address through an audio broadcast that you can either stream or download frompresident.utexas.edu.

Additionally, the Eyes of Texas History Committee, commissioned in October to study the history of our school song, “The Eyes of Texas,” is due to finalize its report by March 1.

Finally, we are excited to announce that we are planning university-wide commencement events honoring the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021. For the Class of 2021, we plan on celebrating together at the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on May 22 at 8 p.m. For the Class of 2020, we’re marking Friday, September 17, on the calendar. Both events will include lighting the Tower and fireworks, and other details will be shared with those classes as they become available. Obviously, procedures for both celebrations could change depending on pandemic conditions, but I’m optimistic that we can proceed as planned. 

In Absentia Summer Registration 2021

The Graduate School’s deadline to apply to graduate for the spring semester is April 16, 2021. Graduating students must provide final submission materials to the Graduate School by the spring submission deadline of 3 p.m. on May 7, 2021.

If you were on track to graduate in May but your progress has been delayed by COVID-19 or by the effects of the winter storm, you may petition to register in absentia for the summer 2021 semester in order to provide you with extra time to finish.

To petition for in absentia registration, students must be enrolled during the spring semester, and they must apply to graduate in spring 2021 by the April 16, 2021 deadline.

In absentia registration is available, for example, if your final submission to the Graduate School has been delayed due to labs that were closed, courses that were canceled or research with human subjects that couldn't be completed either as a result of the university’s COVID-19 restrictions during the time period beginning in spring 2020 through spring 2021 or as a result of the storm in February 2021.

There is no cost to register in absentia, and students registered in absentia will be able to graduate in August of 2021 if they submit all graduation materials to the Graduate School before 3 p.m. on July 30, 2021.

If you would like to petition to register in absentia for the summer semester, please contact your graduate adviser and thesis/dissertation supervisor. They will need to submit by email a short petition form and a signed affirmation that you were on-track to graduate in May. You will be able to register for in absentia if the Graduate School approves the form.

The deadline to submit a petition to register in absentia is May 13, 2021.

Please be aware of restrictions that come with in absentia registration. Students registered in absentia are not technically enrolled and, thus, don’t have all the benefits of an enrolled student.

Here are some considerations for students registering in absentia:

  1. Students should continue to have building access, barring any building-specific restrictions of which we are not aware.
  2. They should have continued library privileges for the summer and access to resources that require a UT ID. Students with difficulty accessing library services should contact staff in UTL’s Borrower Services or the student, faculty and staff hotline at (512) 495-4300 to troubleshoot.
  3. They will not be eligible to hold AI, TA or GRA employment positions. (These positions require enrollment and most come with a tuition waiver.)
  4. Student employees enrolled in UT Select will not be able to maintain their health coverage in this plan. However, students registered in absentia may enroll in the Academic Blue health insurance plan during summer 2021. More information on student health insurance options is available on the Graduate School’s FAQ page.
  5. International students will have to apply for OPT in the last semester they are enrolled (i.e. spring 2021, not summer 2021)

Under certain circumstances, spring-to-summer in absentia registration might also be available to resolve an X (the symbol used for a temporary delay of a final course grade). Please contact your graduate adviser and thesis/dissertation supervisor for more information

Spring 2021 Parking and Transportation 

Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) would like to welcome everyone to campus, returning and new! Below are some spring semester parking and transportation information and tips: 

Shuttle Service

Shuttle Service


Due to most classes being online through January, UT Shuttle service is not scheduled to resume until Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. See the UT Shuttle Calendar for the most current information. Students, faculty, and staff can ride all UT Shuttle and Capital Metro mainline routes for free using their UT ID. Be sure to wear a recommended protective face mask and keep an empty seat between you and other passengers to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. See the CapMetro & COVID-19 page for more information on sanitizing and social distancing protocols on buses.

Campus Parking

Parking Options


Permit Availability


If you still need a permit, you can purchase your permit online at a pro-rated price. You will have the option to print out a dashboard permit, and if your permit includes garage access you can register a toll tag or download a QR code to open garage gates.
Student Permits currently available: 

  • C, C+, D, D+, M, N, and N+.
  • S garage permits for non-dorm residents at San Jacinto (SJG), Manor (MAG), Trinity (TRG), Health Center (HCG), and East Campus (ECG).
  • R garage permits for dorm residents at San Jacinto (SJG), Speedway (SWG), Trinity (TRG), and East Campus (ECG).


ECG is less than half the price of other annual or dual semester permits, with a convenient East Campus shuttle stop nearby and free bike storage for permit holders. 
If the garage you want is not available, you can get on the waitlist.
Occasional Parking


If you only bring your car to campus occasionally and do not need a permit, you can park in a garage or at a meter at rates based on the amount of time parked. Meters are limited to two hours during the day. Non-dorm resident students can also use the Parking Perks Debit Program for low-cost occasional garage parking.

Bicycling

Bicycling

  • Bike Auction - For an affordable option to purchase used bicycles, the next PTS bicycle auction will be held online Feb. 2-11, 2021. All bids will begin at $5.
  • Registration - Registering your bike online will improve the chances of getting your bike back if it is impounded, lost, or stolen, and registration is FREE.
  • Fixit Stations  Fixit Stations across campus provide bicyclists access to tools for repairs 24/7.
  • Bike Sharing – For bicyclists who do not want to maintain their own bikes, MetroBike members can borrow bikes from stations throughout campus and the city at a low cost.

After-Hours Transportation

After-Hours Transportation

  • Sure Walk has resumed service for the spring semester. It currently runs 7 days a week from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. If you are on campus late and have concerns about your safety, all students, faculty, and staff can request Sure Walkers to accompany them on their walk home or to their campus destination.
  • UT Night Rides continues to operate. Lyft is the provider for UT Night Rides. This program provides Lyfts away from main campus to your home 7 days a week from midnight to 4 a.m.

PTS Office Hours

PTS Office Hours

Avoid in-person transactions by using My Parking Profile to purchase permits, appeal and pay citations, manage permit waitlist selections, and update vehicle and address information. Should you have a parking issue, most can be addressed via email to parking@utexas.edu. Offices for staffed garages are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (with one-hour lunch closure) for those who need to do in-person transactions. The Conference Center and Health Center Garage offices are open 24 hours.


Spring 2021 Zoom

Starting Feb. 3, 2021 all Zoom users must be using the minimum client version of Zoom 5.3.0. ITS, at the guidance of the Information Security Office, will require all Zoom clients to be updated at minimum to Zoom version 5.3.0 to increase security and improve the user experience.

If your Zoom client is not updated at least to the minimum client version of Zoom 5.3.0, you may not be able to join Zoom meetings until the update has been performed. 

Updating your Zoom client typically resolves most issues while also providing you with new features.  Maintaining up-to-date versions of all of our software is a best practice.

Going forward, ITS will continue to require a minimum client version for all UT users. To ensure you are always on the minimum client version, updating to the newest version of Zoom is recommended. 

Updating Zoom 

Anyone not using the minimum client version of Zoom 5.3.0 will see a banner alerting them that an update is required. You may not be able to host or join a meeting until your Zoom client is updated.

Click the banner alert in Zoom and perform the update. If you have already updated your Zoom client, you will not see a banner.

Visit the ITS website for more information on updating your Zoom client. 

Duo for multi-factor authentication – “Remember Me for 30 Days” 

Duo for multi-factor authentication is required to access most online services that require a UT EID. To save time, enable the “Remember Me for 30 Days” option on your devices and browsers. Watch this short video for more information.

Visit the IT@UT Duo webpage for more information. 

Starting in September, Zoom will require a passcode or waiting room for guests

Beginning September 27, Zoom will require that a passcode (previously called password) or waiting room be enabled for all Zoom meetings. This change (including its timing and the manner of enforcement) was initiated by Zoom. If you invite a non-UT guest to your Zoom meeting, the host or co-host of the Zoom meeting will either need to provide them with a passcode or be prepared to admit through the waiting room. ITS will send an email reminder before this update is implemented.
Visit the IT@UT Zoom Waiting Room webpage for more information.

‘Trust and Accept’ New Wi-Fi Certificate on your phones and computers

The first time you arrive physically on campus, you will be required to accept a new certificate to access the utexas Wi-Fi network from your phones, tablets and computers while on university property. Please note that the university has several Wi-Fi networks and this certificate only applies to the utexas Wi-Fi network. All university students, faculty and staff should use the utexas network for accessing university online services.

Helpful Tip: Not only is the utexas Wi-Fi network required for official UT business, it is also 20X faster than the guest network. 

For more information, visit the IT@UT webpage on Wi-Fi Network Certificate Change - July 2020 and the Network Access video.

Struggling with poor cell service in buildings? Enable Wi-Fi calling on your mobile device for best performance

If you find that you have poor cell service in certain areas on campus, you can enable Wi-Fi calling on your mobile phone to ensure you are able to make phone calls when needed as long as you are also connected to the utexas Wi-Fi network. Visit these help links for how to enable your device for Wi-Fi calling.

Set up Wi-Fi calling on an Android phone

Take advantage of services available to you at no additional cost

The university provides certain online tools to students and employees at no additional cost to include access to Office 365 (which comes with Microsoft Word), PowerPoint, Excel and other tools. Additionally, the university provides file storage through UT Box, UT Austin branded Google G Suite email account and unlimited Google Drive Storage, survey creation through Qualtrics, and other tools. Before purchasing a tool, check the IT@UT web page on no additional cost services to see if it is already provided by ITS.

How to get help

ITS provides several ways to get help with UT online services.

Search the IT@UT website for help articles 


Information Technology Services – Multi-Factor Authentication

In an effort to increase security, multi-factor authentication (Duo) will be required to access most online services that require a UT EID login by June 15. Canvas and Zoom will begin requiring Duo on May 26. All other services, including MyUT, will require Duo starting June 15.

Multi-factor authentication provides an additional level of security when using university online services. Since the start of COVID-19 (coronavirus), phishing attacks and scams have seen a major increase and students are particularly vulnerable. In 2018, student compromised accounts rose 51% in one year and the Information Security Office (ISO) predicts this trend will only go up.

Actions required

If you have already been using Duo for multi-factor authentication for activities like accessing Workday for human resources or Office 365, be prepared to use Duo with more services. It is also recommended that you determine which back-up option you will use if needed.

If you have not used Duo before, please select how you would like to interact with Duo and be sure to also select a back-up option. Visit the ITS web page on getting started with Duo.

Students can register their device for Duo at:  http://bit.ly/utduo

If anyone has issues with Duo they can call the College of Education ITS service desk at 512-475-9400.

It is important to set up Duo before you need it or you may experience delays in accessing a service.

Options include:

    • Via the Duo Smartphone app  
    • SMS text message
    • Phone call to a mobile number
    • Phone call to a land line
    • Touch ID
    • Security Key such as YubiKey
    • Visit the IT@UT website for more information including FAQs on low cost and zero costs options, options that don’t require wifi, and what to do if you forget or lose your device.

Watch this Duo Help Video from ITS for info on how to get started with Duo.

How to get help

Visit the IT@UT website for more information, FAQs, and help articles on how to get started with Duo multi-factor authentication.

If you find yourself without access to your primary or back-up options for Duo, contact the UT Service Desk.

Why is this happening?

Cyber-security attacks are on the rise, with 20% more university accounts compromised in 2019 as compared to 2018. Additionally, student and guest compromised accounts have risen 51% since 2018, with about 80% of all security breaches involving a compromised username or password. Forecasting from the university’s Information Security Office (ISO) predicts this growth will only continue without intervention. These attacks have  increased since the start of COVID-19 (coronavirus).  Multi-factor authentication makes a difference in reducing compromised accounts.

Thank you for doing your part to help protect yourself and university data from bad actors who would compromise our user accounts, data, and systems. 


Resources

The College and University have made many resources available to students. Here’s a curated list:

Learning from Home: As you study and learn from home, there are services available to assist you, including Keep Learning.

Information for students in need of technology resource funding: We are writing to share important information about financial aid for students in need of technology resources which may include laptops or other technology such as webcams, mobile hotspots, software, etc. Students who have submitted a financial aid application, either a FAFSA or TASFA, who are in need of additional funding for these resources should submit a cost of attendance appeal form. Students can request via this appeal a reevaluation of their cost of attendance, the estimated cost of all expenses that determines their maximum financial aid eligibility. This appeal may be submitted for the following additional expenses: 

 

·         computers and other technology needs (including Wi-Fi, webcams, hotspots)

·         additional textbooks and supplies

·         unusual medical/dental/optical expenses

·         increased rent/mortgage payment, and 

·         child care expenses.

UT will leverage the established cost of attendance appeal process to award financial aid for additional technology resources. 

Will students receive grants or loans?

Students who have financial need as determined by Federal and state aid guidelines, will be reviewed for grant funding on a funds-available basis, while students without need will be reviewed for loans. 

Once a student submits an appeal, when will they hear if they receive financial aid?

Students will receive a response to their submissions beginning the week after 12th class day (September 11, 2020). If eligible, students will receive a revised financial aid notice (FAN) with the additional grants or loans offered after review of the appeal. 

Zoom: 

UT will be implementing the highest level of access security. This will require users who join classes or meetings to be authenticated through the UT Austin Zoom system and use a Zoom application.

Steps You Need to Take
This is important. Students need to take two fairly simple steps to ensure seamless access to high security Zoom.

If you haven’t already, you must claim your UT Zoom account by going to utexas.zoom.us and registering by clicking on Sign In. You will not be able to directly join a class or meeting until you have done so. Using any other Zoom account, including Zoom’s free account, will not work.

Download and register the Zoom app on your devices (including computers). This is necessary so that Zoom’s application can validate you as part of the UT community every time you access a class or meeting. The Zoom app is available in the Apple App Store and in the Google Play store for Android. The desktop app can be downloaded at utexas.zoom.us. Click Download Client, and then download Zoom Client for Meetings.  

That’s all you have to do, but these steps must be taken before you join a class or meeting. Otherwise, you will be delayed joining class while you download the app, or you will be placed in the Zoom Waiting Room where you will have to wait for your instructor to manually admit you.

Technical support is available to help any student who needs it. Contact the ITS Service Desk at 512-475-9400 or email zoom@utexas.edu.

Zoom Sign In: How to Avoid the Waiting Room (Video)
Join a Zoom Meeting
Screen Sharing in Zoom

Proctorio:

Proctorio 101 for Students

Adobe Spark:

Adobe Spark 101 for Students

UT Libraries Gradual Reopening
UT Libraries began making select services and spaces available on August 20. Please check the Service Continuity Guide regularly to see the current status of specific library operations.

Digital Access to Libraries:

UT Libraries are making many of their collections available online so that students can access the materials they need to continue their research work. Please visit their website to review their extensive online resources, including access to their digital collections.

Additionally, libraries and information providers have collaborated to temporarily provide expanded access to many additional online resources. Graduate students can now access the 17 million volumes in the Hathi Trust digital library. A list of Hathi Trust volumes is available on their website.

Graduate students can learn about other textbooks, ebooks, streaming media, databases and resources that have been recently opened on the UT Libraries website.

Digital Access to Copyrighted Content

The HathiTrust has opened copyrighted content to participating libraries. UT Libraries now has online access to copyrighted books that the university owns in print. This provides access to about 45% of the UT Libraries print materials, which will hopefully give you some flexibility while the Libraries are closed. The process to “check out” a book from HathiTrust is confusing, so UT Librarian Gina Bastone made this tutorial to help with the process: https://guides.lib.utexas.edu/englishlit/hathitrusttemp

Please keep in mind these restrictions:

      • The HathiTrust requires an additional login (even if you are already logged in to other library resources), and asks you to verify your institutional affiliation with UT Austin from a drop-down menu. (See the tutorial for screenshots and instructions.)
      • All copyrighted books will be limited to one UT Austin user at a time. The HathiTrust has developed an online checkout system, and when you are done with an ebook, you will see a prompt to “return” it so other UT Austin folks can access it. This is especially important if you are using HathiTrust ebooks as course texts. (See the tutorial for additional instructions.)
      • This access is temporary. We will only have it as long as our physical libraries are closed.

Related, many scholarly publishers have opened their content temporarily for the pandemic. UT Librarians colleagues put together this wonderful guide covering most of what is available to us: https://guides.lib.utexas.edu/tempopen/home Dates of access and other important information is noted.

Additionally, libraries and information providers have collaborated to temporarily provide expanded access to many additional online resources. Graduate students can now access the 17 million volumes in the Hathi Trust digital library. A list of Hathi Trust volumes is available on their website.

Graduate students can learn about other textbooks, ebooks, streaming media, databases and resources that have been recently opened on the UT Libraries website.

New Expanded Behavior Concerns and Covid-19 Advice Line (BCCAL)

The new Behavior Concerns and COVID-19 Advice Line (BCCAL) 512-232-5050 is 24-hour/seven-days-a-week advice line now operational and ready to receive anonymous reports of COVID-19 health and safety noncompliance. In addition to reporting student or employee noncompliance, BCCAL support staff can also answer questions about reporting positive COVID-19 cases and assist with self-isolation or quarantine, contact tracing, and other campus concerns. 

Mental Health & Student Emergency Services: The CMHC has resources available and are utilizing telecounseling as an approach to support students. If you or a peer are experiencing stress and/or trauma, please visit their website here: https://cmhc.utexas.edu/ . It is important to realize that being knowledgeable of these resources will not only be beneficial for you, but also for friends and colleagues who may be under duress.

 Please communicate directly to your faculty, your adviser, and departmental leadership if you are experiencing difficulty during this stressful time. While we have taken the approach to limit communication and cluttering your inboxes, we also realize it’s important that you know we are here to assist you however we can.

For remote mental health services, students can reach out to the Counseling and Mental Health Center, and staff and faculty members can get support through the Employee Assistance Program. Additionally, if you are a student who needs assistance with food or housing, or you don’t have access to a personal computer or internet connection, please complete the Student Emergency Services form and the university will work to help you.

Therapy Groups: College students often face overwhelming emotions, difficult relationships and adjustments, and academic problems for which a group may be the best support option – often being more beneficial than one-on-one counseling. Groups offer a unique setting in which peer interactions facilitate self-improvement and the alleviation of suffering. 

CMHC offers therapy groups, therapeutic classes, and skill-building workshops that address a range of student needs. Some students are initially hesitant to participate in a group, but those who join consistently find them to be a beneficial and positive experience.

 Groups are now meeting online via zoom:

https://cmhc.utexas.edu/groups.html

Graduate Student Mental Health Resource Guide – Fall 2020

It is more important than ever that we exercise self-care and maintain our mental health and well-being. Toward this end, please visit the new Graduate Student Mental Health Resource Guide. The guide compiles mental health and wellness resources available across campus with a focus on the needs of graduate students. It provides contact information for various offices and descriptions of remote and telehealth services. The resource guide is the culmination of a project initiated by the Graduate Assembly.



Family Obligations Support – Updated July 7, 2020:

Please be aware that CMHC has a weekly group that meets to discuss/support students who have children or are otherwise counted on to support family members during this period of COVID.  The group happens to be led by our Jackson School CARE counselor from CMHC. 

In a recent survey of our students, childcare and family issues were the #1 concern of students and how to balance those demands with research, teaching, schoolwork, etc.
Please be aware that CMHC has a weekly group that meets to discuss/support students who have children or are otherwise counted on to support family members during this period of COVID.  The group happens to be led by our Jackson School CARE counselor from CMHC. 

If you have these kinds of family obligations, encourage them to check out  https://cmhc.utexas.edu/groups.html#schedule


Health:

As the virus continues to affect communities across the country, there is much you can do to monitor your health and protect others during this time. If you have symptoms  or have been exposed to COVID-19, it’s important for you to be screened for testing. Students can call the UHS Nurse Advice Line at 512-475-6877.

Others can call UT Health Austin at 833-882-2737; call your physician, who can register you to be tested with Austin Public Health; call CommUnityCare at 512-978-8775; or access telehealth services (via Austin Public Health). If you are not in the Austin area, we encourage you to reach out to your personal physician and local health care providers for support.

University Health Services (UHS) is still open to provide care for acute illness or injury. Call the UHS Nurse Advice Line — 512-475-6877 — for guidance about when to come to UHS, especially if you have a fever and respiratory symptoms. UHS can also schedule telehealth appointments at 512-471-4955 for some health concerns.

Above all, it’s critical that we take care of ourselves and one another. That includes adhering to Austin Public Health and City of Austin orders to stay home except for essential needs and continuing to be vigilant about hand-washing, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and practicing social distancing. Further, stay aware of travel guidelines, including the need to quarantine when traveling from a COVID-19 hot spot.  

For additional information related to COVID-19, including messages in multiple languages, visit Austin Public Health.

Health – Updated Information on August 4, 2020

COVID-19 Testing During Fall 2020

Below we would like to share the university’s comprehensive testing strategy for COVID-19 during the fall semester, which is only a few weeks away. Robust and rigorous testing will be needed to monitor and limit the presence of COVID-19 on our campus and keep our community members as safe as possible as we continue to navigate the pandemic. Here are some of the key elements of our strategy:

      • We have a goal of proactively testing up to 5,000 UT community members each week for COVID-19 using a strategic, scientific-based approach.
      • We will rely heavily on our in-house testing capabilities, leveraging the world-class expertise of UT faculty and staff members from across the university. By developing our capacity in house, we are shielded — to a substantial degree — from fluctuations in demand that can limit the available capacity of commercial labs serving the broader community.
      • We will have the capacity to test hundreds of symptomatic students each day using in-house labs. Additionally, we have ordered three rapid testing machines that will allow for approximately 100 tests per day with a 15-minute turnaround time for results.
          Participation in all COVID-19 testing and contact tracing is completely voluntary, but we strongly encourage our community members to use these services as needed.       Working in collaboration with epidemiologists, infectious disease experts and other health care professionals, our strategic approach to COVID-19 testing consists of three                        components: testing for individuals who are ill, contact tracing and proactive community testing.

Testing for individuals who are ill 
The university anticipates that several hundred tests could be needed daily for individuals who might have signs or symptoms consistent with COVID-19. 

      • If you are a UT student exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, you will be able to schedule a test with University Health Services.
      • If you are a UT faculty or staff member exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, you will be able to schedule a test with UT Health Austin. You can also arrange a test with the health care provider of your choice.
      • As mentioned above, University Health Services (UHS) has the capacity to test hundreds of symptomatic students each day using its in-house lab. We have also ordered three rapid testing machines that will allow for approximately 100 tests per day with a 15-minute turnaround time for results. This enables faster contact tracing and decreases unnecessary self-isolation. We are also contracting with commercial labs to add additional back-up capacity. 
      • UHS and UT Health Austin (UTHA) will bill an individual’s insurance plan for this clinical testing, and most insurance plans, including the UT Select employee insurance plan and the Academic Blue student health insurance plan, fully cover the cost of testing for symptomatic individuals.  
      • For uninsured students tested at UHS, the university is subsidizing the costs for the tests so there is no out-of-pocket expense. For employees who are uninsured, UTHA will explore the use of federal programs, if available, to help cover the cost.
      • If a faculty or staff member has symptoms or is being tested for COVID-19, he or she should report that result to the Occupational Health Program. If a student tests positive for COVID-19 at a testing facility that is not UHS, we recommend that student share this information with UHS. Confidentiality will be maintained.

         Contact Tracing (exposed individuals) 
         The university, through an agreement between Dell Medical School and Austin Public Health, will continue to conduct contact tracing for university community members who test             positive for COVID-19. Contact tracing helps slow the spread of COVID-19 by identifying individuals who have been in close contact with those who test positive and recommending         they quarantine and also get tested. We have a robust team of experienced contact tracers on hand to identify and test close contacts in a timely manner.

Proactive Community Testing 
The UT Proactive Community Testing Program is a critical aspect of our public health strategy. It will help us monitor the spread of infection within the campus community, specific campus populations and identified areas of higher risk based on real-time feedback from our contact tracing team. Proactive Community Testing is designated for asymptomatic individuals. As mentioned above, community members who have symptoms should secure testing through UHS or UTHA.

Proactive Community Testing is done at no cost to individuals being tested, who will be notified directly if they test positive. The university follows privacy requirements consistent with public health reporting and contact tracing guidelines. Results are confidential, and departments and supervisors will not be notified.

The university will identify and reach out to individuals and groups to participate in voluntary, proactive testing and is not currently accepting individual requests to participate.

Our goal is to test up to 5,000 UT community members each week using a strategic, scientific-based approach. This includes: 

      • Extended network testing to deter outbreaks, such as testing a wing of a residence hall or all members of a student organization who may have been at risk for exposure. This allows us to cast a wider net than simply testing close contacts of symptomatic individuals.
      • Testing populations such as health care workers, day care employees or researchers in certain labs who may be at higher risk of disease spread based on their inability to always practice social distancing because of their jobs or activities.
      • Broad-based random testing to monitor the conditions on campus and identify cases.

We have already begun testing members of our community through this program during the summer and plan to quickly scale up to test all students living in campus residence halls between the opening of the residence halls on August 20 and the beginning of September. UHS will administer these simple saliva-based tests for students, faculty and staff, and the High Throughput Testing Core lab, developed by the Center for Biomedical Research Support under the Vice President for Research, will perform the testing.  

* * *

Our testing plan has been rigorously designed and developed collaboratively by experts in the College of Natural Sciences, University Health Services and Dell Medical School. Our goal is to make testing as accessible as possible for our students, faculty and staff.

Our success as a university begins and ends with the health of our community. While we continue to pursue our teaching and research missions, we must also do our best to limit the presence of COVID-19 on the Forty Acres. This starts with robust and rigorous testing, but also includes our individual actions as community members and our adherence to vital requirements for self-quarantining, daily symptom screening, wearing face maskshand hygiene, social distancing and other key safety measures. 

In short, our testing strategy is a piece of a much larger commitment from our community that will require the vigilance and mindfulness of every one of us. If we are to Protect Texas Together, we must adopt a new way of living, working, learning, teaching and discovering on the Forty Acres. That’s how we will thrive during the fall. That’s how we, at UT, will continue to change this ever-evolving world.

Antibody Testing for Past Infection

Antibody testing can identify if someone has been infected with COVID-19 at least 14 days prior to testing. There are many limitations to these antibody tests. Thus, we require a counseling tele-visit in advance of the test to ensure informed decision making, to determine if this test is appropriate, and to explain the meaning of varying results. Antibody tests require a blood draw at the UT Health Austin WorkLife walk-in clinic or at UHS (for students)


It is unclear at this time if the presence of antibodies makes an individual immune to subsequent infection.  

To request testing or to learn more:

      • Call the UHS Nurse Advice Line at 512-475-6877 (UT students only).
      • Call UT Health Austin at 833-UT-CARES (833-882-2737).

Don’t Delay ER Care

Importantly, please don’t delay or avoid lifesaving emergency care. Avoiding emergency rooms out of fear of COVID-19 can have dire consequences during emergencies requiring time-sensitive treatment. Emergency rooms and clinics are among the safest places to receive care that cannot wait. 

Now more than ever, please continue to practice social distancing, wear masks/face coverings, stay home if you are symptomatic or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, and get tested when appropriate. 

Campus Health Services

There are numerous healthcare options on campus that continue to serve students during the campus closure:

      • University Health Services provides care for most health concerns through telemedicine, including evaluation of COVID-19. In-person appointments for acute illness or injury are scheduled after an initial telemedicine consultation in which the provider determines an in-person visit is necessary in order to provide treatment or care.
      • Forty Acres Pharmacy offers speed and convenience in fulfilling most prescription needs for UT students.
      • MD Live virtual visits provide a live consultation between you and a doctor for many non-emergency and behavioral health needs
      • UT Health Austin focuses the expertise of a team of experienced medical professionals to deliver personalized, whole person care.
      • Wellness Center at the School of Nursing staffs two clinics, a Children’s Wellness Clinic and a Family Wellness Clinic, where nurse practitioners provide primary care and manage acute and chronic conditions.  

Health Insurance:

As a graduate student at UT Austin, you have different options for obtaining health insurance through the university, depending on whether you hold a fellowship or benefits-eligible academic employment position as a teaching assistant (TA), assistant instructor (AI) or Graduate Research Assistant (GRA).

All students at the university may enroll in Academic Blue, which provides excellent care at an affordable price. Benefits-eligible academic employees (AIs, TAs and GRAs) are automatically enrolled in UT Select, the university’s employee health plan, and receive state premium-sharing dollars to offset the cost of their enrollment.

Graduate students with fellowships valued at $10,000 or more are eligible to enroll in either plan, but Academic Blue is more cost effective for fellowship students since they do not receive premium sharing dollars to offset the cost of UT Select.

Below are updates with new policies, enrollment deadlines and links to more information and resources.

Academic Blue

      • Starting this fall, students seeking coverage through Academic Blue must enroll each semester (fall, spring and summer) to maintain health insurance. Formerly, students enrolled in Academic Blue on annual basis. UT System made this change to prevent issues related to retroactive insurance cancellations for students who no longer meet academic eligibility requirements.
      • The deadline to enroll in Academic Blue for the 2020 fall semester is Sept. 16, 2020. Students can enroll through the Academic Blue online portal.
      • UT GAP Coverage is available for students currently on Academic Blue who are scheduled to start a benefits-eligible academic employment position (TA, AI or GRA) during the fall. Academic Blue coverage ends Aug. 15, and UT Select coverage begins Sept. 1, so students can purchase GAP Coverage to maintain coverage during this time. GAP Coverage can be purchased through the online portal.

If you are currently enrolled in UT Select and you choose to enroll in Academic Blue, you must take action to drop UT Select.  For more information, please refer to the Change of Status webpage. 

UT Select

      • New, benefits-eligible academic graduate student employees (TAs, AIs and GRAs) will be auto-enrolled in UT Select on Sept. 1, 2020 after their departments have approved their appointments in Workday and the students have completed the necessary Workday onboarding tasks.

Academic employees should review the New Student Employee Checklist to learn more about their onboarding responsibilities, optional insurance plans and the 31-day initial enrollment period.

Fellowship Holders

      • Graduate students with a fellowship valued at $10,000 or more are able to choose between Academic Blue or UT Select. They may also mix and match coverage between the plans (i.e enroll in Academic Blue medical, and UT Select dental).
      • The following resources are available to help you make the decision that is best for you and your families:
        • Academic Blue Brochure - Includes information on monthly premiums, covered medical procedures and information on plan structure (i.e., what the plan pays versus what the student pays).
        • UT Select Webpage - Provides information about UT’s employee insurance plans, including information related to costs, covered medical procedures and information on plan structure.
      • As previously mentioned, graduate student fellows are not eligible for premium-sharing on the UT Select plan, and are responsible for the full cost of monthly premiums.
      • Fellows may also explore the health insurance and enrollment options available through the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace at Healthcare.gov
      • The marketplace offers health insurance plans for a variety of needs, and depending upon your income, you may qualify for premium tax credits that you can use to lower the cost of you monthly premiums.  
      • For additional information about marketplace plans or plan enrollment, use one of the many contact options available through HealthCare.gov.

Access to Food

Student Emergency Services in the Office of the Dean of Students has launched UT Outpost to support students on our campus.

Hunger and food insecurity on our campus is real. Between 2015-16 and 2016-17, Student Emergency Services saw a 28% increase in the number of students helped with food-related needs. We know food insecurity makes it hard for students to stay in class and succeed, and our goal is to help students understand and identify food insecurity, as well as making nutritious food readily available to students when they need it.

Along with our food pantry, our team has launched a career closet to make sure every Longhorn has access to professional clothes for job and internship interviews. Emergencies and financial hardships can interfere with student success beyond the classroom, and this program serves as an additional resource for students.

For information about obtaining such resources please visit:

https://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/emergency/utoutpost.php


The Writing Center

is open for online consultations. If you've never had a one-on-one appointment before, now may be a great time to use this service from the convenience of your own home. Consultants can work with you on any piece of writing at any stage of development.

All consultations will proceed as they did before: 45 minutes long with a trained graduate student consultant. Now, of course, the meeting will be held online, where you can talk with a consultant and share your work.

For more information about online appointments, visit our website at http://uwc.utexas.edu/appointments-new/ 

or email us at uwcgradservices@utexas.edu

To book an appointment, click here.


The Graduate School

In response to the university’s social distancing policy for COVID-19, the Graduate School will not be open for student walk-ins until further notice.

Instead, the Graduate School is accepting all forms digitally/online, including request for final oral examination forms (*ELP has been doing these primarily via DocuSign already.)

Dissertation/treatise proposal committee meetings as well as dissertation/treatise final defense meetings will now be conducted remotely (i.e. via Zoom) only.

Email Forms to the Graduate School:

Please email all materials to: GradStudentSvcs@austin.utexas.edu.

Include your name and UT EID in all correspondence.

All forms must be submitted in PDF format only. 

Please ensure forms contain all the required signatures before emailing, as this may delay processing.  

During peak periods, it may take up to seven days for our staff to reply. Please do not send your email more than once. You will receive a confirmation when your form is accepted.

Graduating Students

ELP Doctoral Candidates Impacted by Covid-19

Per the Graduate School, graduate students who were on track to graduate in May but whose progress was delayed by COVID-19 may petition to register in absentia during the summer 2020 semester. This means that students will have until August 14, 2020 at 3pm to submit final materials without having to pay summer tuition.  

Please note that in order to register in absentia for summer, students MUST apply to graduate during the spring semester and submit their programs of work before April 24.  Students registered in absentia will be able to graduate in the summer 2020 semester if they submit all graduation materials to the Graduate School before 3 p.m. on August 14. Please note that these deadlines have been updated from the previous in absentia policy.

Please be aware (per email below) of the following restrictions if you do register in absentia.

      1. Your student IDs will be inactive, which may impact building access should campus reopen.
      2. You will not be eligible for AI, TA or GRA employment. (These positions require enrollment and most, of course, come with tuition.) 
      3. You will not have access to UT libraries that require an ID.
      4. International students will have to apply for OPT in the last semester they are enrolled (i.e. spring 2020, not summer 2020)

To petition to be registered in absentia in the summer 2020 semester, please submit your petition application by Friday, April 24 at 5:00pm.

Required Documents:

Petition application packet must include:

      1. Petition form (use attached in absentia application form)
      2. Acknowledgement of dissertation/treatise chair (an email is sufficient)
      3. Chapters of the written dissertation/treatise that have been completed thus far (required by Graduate School).

The completed application should be single PDF document emailed to Andrea Kehoe at Andrea.Kehoe@austin.utexas.edu.

For any questions that you may have, please contact Andrea Kehoe, ELP Director of Student Affairs, at Andrea.Kehoe@austin.utexas.edu

To report your dissertation, please follow the instructions detailed on the Graduate School website: 

https://gradschool.utexas.edu/academics/graduation/deadlines-and-submission-instructions.

Upload the formatted dissertation BEFORE you email the forms, listed below, to GradStudentSvcs@austin.utexas.edu.

      1. Include your UT EID and Full Name on all communication with the Graduate School
      2. Collapse forms into Single PDF

Forms include:

      1. The Report of Dissertation Committee form*
      2. Statement on Research with Human Participants form; and
      3. Any requests to Delay Publication, if applicable

*The Graduate School will email you “The Report of Dissertation Committee” form a few days before the defense. Post-defense, let ELP Director of Student Affairs know if you need help seeking signatures on this form via Docusign, a digital workflow platform.

Only submit required pages  Final reports, theses and dissertations MUST be uploaded to the Texas Digital Library before before your final paperwork and pages will be reviewed. After submission, no revisions or corrections will be allowed except for those required by the dean of the Graduate School. 

Electronic signatures continue to be approved for use on all Graduate School forms such as the Request for Final Oral, Master’s Committee Approval and Report of Dissertation Committee. Digital signatures or scanned signatures are also allowed.

Please make every attempt to ensure that your report/thesis/dissertation complies with university format guidelines.

Please continue checking the Graduate School website for updates.

Accepted Forms Via Email:

Doctoral –

Request for Final Oral Examination

Current conditions will require greater flexibility in accommodating Ph.D. students’ final defenses. The Graduate School does not distinguish between physical attendance or electronic/virtual attendance. Given the university’s current policy on meetings of two or more individuals, final defenses should be conducted remotely if at all possible.

Doctoral students and their committees should consult in advance to identify an acceptable format. This may include individual communication between student and committee member, rather than the conventional single defense presentation to the entire committee.

Regardless of the format of the final defense, the Graduate School will consider a student to have passed when committee members have indicated their approval by signing the Report of Dissertation Committee. This verifies that committee members have read and reviewed the final dissertation to determine that it is an independent investigation and constitutes an original contribution to knowledge.

Request for Change in Doctoral Committee 

Final Submission Required Pages

Masters (thesis/report options only) –

Petition for Change in Master’s Supervising Committee

PDF Graduation Applications (dual degree students only)

Petition to Extend the Six-Year Limit on Coursework

Final Submission Required Pages

All Students -

Authorization for Leave of Absence

Portfolio Completion Reporting Form

Request for University Extension Credit

Petition to Transfer a Graduate Course from Another Institution

Students who miss deadlines because of self-isolation or health-related issues should email our staff at GradStudentSvcs@austin.utexas.edu to request accommodation.

Online Resources – Updated May 13, 2020

In support of the transition to online classes, the FIC has developed extensive online materials that you might find helpful, including:

      • Instructional Continuity Guide – A step-by-step guide for instructors to transition courses for remote delivery. Developed in collaboration with campus partners, it features support around instructional activities, student engagement, assessments and more.
      • Resources for Graduate Student Instructors – A resource for teaching assistants that provides guidance on coordinating with faculty members, conducting virtual office hours, facilitating discussions and communicating with students. 
      • Remote Teaching Series – A series of videos led by Provost’s Teaching Fellows and helpful one-pagers for teaching online, such as Building Community in Online Classrooms
      • Deeper Dive Instructional Guides – Collections of information, resources, research and models of best practices related to important teaching and learning topics such as inclusive teaching and learning, creating online courses and more.

Graduate Student Programs & Services- Updated May 13, 2020

The FIC offers a variety of programs and services to help graduate students develop teaching skills, including:

      • Teaching Preparation Series – Sessions for graduate students to learn about, observe, practice, receive feedback and reflect upon teaching techniques. Participating students have the opportunity to earn teaching preparation certificates.  
      • GRS 097: Fundamental for TAs – A semester-long, zero-credit hour, professional development seminar aimed to support first-time Teaching Assistants (TAs) in their instructional duties.
      • Individual Consultations – Individual sessions for graduate students to receive feedback and guidance on teaching statements and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) statements.

Graduating Student Pursuing Academic/ Professional Careers Resources- Updated May 20, 2020

Due to COVID-19 and its impact on the economy, many of you will face a drastically different job market when you graduate. It is more important than ever that you are aware of the many career resources and professional development services available to you, whether you are pursuing academic or professional careers.

The Graduate School has partnered with Texas Career Engagement (TCE) to provide resources to assist graduate students. We would like to highlight some of the resources available through TCE that you might find helpful.

Individualized Career Advising- Updated May 20, 2020

TCE offers individualized career advising with expert advisors who work on a wide-range of career-related topics, accounting for the unique challenges and opportunities graduate students are considering when thinking about their future. Advising sessions range from self-assessment, decision-making and planning to specific advice on resume, CV and cover letter preparation for the job search.

Department Requests - Updated May 20, 2020 

TCE is happy to work with your department or student organization to develop more discipline-specific, tailored career workshops relevant to you and your colleagues. Please email Annie Maxfield, director of graduate career and professional development with any questions.

Research-related Resources

Office of Sponsored Projects COVID-19 FAQs

VP Research COVID-19 FAQs

Institutional Review Board COVID-19 FAQs


Research Restart – Update Information February 23, 2021

Changes to the Research Cohort/Shift Model
Working in close coordination with university leadership and health experts, we have decided to introduce more flexibility to the Research Level 3 cohort and daily shift schedules.

Building-wide research cohorts, each assigned to daily shift schedules, were originally put in place in July 2020 to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission among researchers on campus. The cohorts — together with workforce density limits and masking adherence — resulted in very few cases of COVID-19 within our research community.

While research cohorts have been successful in mitigating viral transmission, I also understand that strict, building-wide cohorts come with disadvantages. Researchers assigned to evening or weekend shifts, for example, might not have the opportunity to interact directly with their supervising PIs or other colleagues who are contributing substantially to their projects. I know this can hamper both collaboration and morale, and therefore it’s difficult to sustain long term.

That’s why, beginning as soon as buildings and lab spaces are certified safe to reopen, each college/school/unit (CSU) may decide for itself whether to continue the cohort model. There are several things to note, however:

  • We are staying at Research Restart Level 3. All policies and permitted research activities remain strictly in place.
  • A 50% workforce density limit with no more than 1 person per 125 sq. ft. is still in effect at all times.
  • New masking guidelines were issued two weeks ago (see below). While not requirements, I strongly urge all of you to follow these recommendations diligently.
  • Each CSU is responsible for determining whether to maintain or suspend cohorts. You will receive CSU-specific guidance from your associate dean for research (ADR).
  • If a CSU decides to make cohorts voluntary, it then becomes the responsibility of each PI to set their research group’s new schedule, ensuring that the 50% workforce density and square footage limits are adhered to at all times.
  • PIs must continue to keep detailed lab and research space occupancy logs (whether digital or physical) for contact tracing purposes. Some CSUs will still require occupancy information to be reported to ADRs. More guidance will come from your ADR.
  • Lab operating hours will continue to be 6 a.m. – 2 a.m. daily.
  • Meetings should continue to be held virtually.
  • All violations of lab density, masking, or social distancing policies should be reported directly to your associate dean for research. ADRs are prepared to enforce these policies.

    New Face Coverings– Update Information February 23, 2021

New Campus Masking Guidelines
Effectively immediately, double masking is strongly recommended. We are asking that you wear a medical-grade (ASTM level 2 or 3) surgical mask with a cloth mask on top when indoors, unless you are alone in a single-occupancy office. (If your research requires a KN95 or N95 mask, continue wearing those during working hours on campus.) Medical-grade masks are available in the STEM stockroom. (Please note: PPE will be charged to the grant or sponsored award for which the PPE is being used, unless the sponsor explicitly prohibits it. If you do not have a grant or other research funds, UT will cover PPE costs for your research projects.)

With the prevalence of new, more contagious coronavirus variants in Austin, it is imperative that you not reuse surgical masks. They are intended for one-time use only and should be replaced daily or if the mask gets damaged or wet. Cloth masks should be washed daily. Please refer to these updated guidelines for more information.

If there are widespread COVID-19 outbreaks on campus, Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) staff may not be able to keep up with the rigorous disinfecting schedule already in place. In that case, labs and research spaces will likely have to be shut down for several days if someone becomes infected. Therefore, it is critically important that everyone adhere to masking guidelines and research density limits.

New Guidance for Quarantine after Exposure
And because one of these more contagious variants could become the dominant strain in Texas, UT is altering its quarantine policies. Effective immediately, if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you are now required to isolate for a full 10 days, even if you yourself test negative for COVID-19 and/or have been vaccinated. Additionally, anyone who has been vaccinated, along with those who have previously tested positive, are still required to quarantine following an exposure if the exposure is within 14 days of receipt of second vaccine or after 90 days post vaccine/test-confirmed infection. 

Please review UHS’ updated guidelines and UT’s Testing Guidance document for more information.

Weekly COVID-19 Testing
I also strongly encourage all campus researchers to get tested for COVID-19 weekly, even if you have been vaccinated. The vaccine helps prevent severe, symptomatic COVID-19 cases but may not necessarily prevent infection. Even if you have been vaccinated, you could feel healthy but be capable of spreading the virus. Undergraduate researchers are still required to get tested at least once every two weeks, and PIs are required to enforce this and review test results.

Visit UT’s Proactive Community Testing Program page or the City of Austin COVID-19 website to schedule a test — or talk to your personal healthcare provider. And if you haven’t already downloaded the Protect Texas Together app, please consider doing so. If getting tested on campus, you can use the app to fill out consent forms digitally, which saves time in line.

Contact Tracing– Update Information May 21, 2020 

All researchers will be responsible for keeping a log of individuals who enters their research offices/laboratories. These logs should be updated daily with the contact information for each individual. See the VPRs Research Restart Toolkit for more information about contact tracing.


Other Resources

Central Health helps the people of Travis County live healthier. Created in 2004 by the voters of Travis County, we are the local public entity that provides access to the high-quality care everyone needs to get well and stay healthy. We work with a network of partners to eliminate health disparities to reach our vision of Travis County becoming a model healthy community.

Today, CommUnityCare Health Centers provides services at 27 locations and 3 partner locations throughout Travis County and surrounding counties.

CommUnityCare provides outpatient primary healthcare, dental care, pediatric, specialty care, lab, radiology including mammography, a full-service pharmacy, and behavioral health services. With the addition of Carousel Pediatrics, we are now also able to offer: dental pediatrics and mental health, speech, physical and occupational therapy for children. These services are provided to all Travis County residents and those residing in surrounding counties, including people whose income and lack of private health insurance prevents them from accessing care elsewhere.

Institutional Changes

Fall 2020 - Updated Information July 30, 2020

Below, you will find a few important policy updates and announcements related to COVID-19. As a reminder, the key details of our fall reopening plan are available on the Protect Texas Together website. We also recently launched a COVID-19 dashboard to monitor the number of confirmed cases within our community. Please keep an eye on both of these resources in the days and weeks ahead. We will be updating them continually.

Students Self-Quarantine Prior to Campus Arrival

In order to help prevent COVID-19 infections on our campus and in our local Austin community, we are requesting that students self-quarantine for 14 days prior to arrival in Austin.  

To effectively self-quarantine, please stay in your home and limit in-person interactions as much as possible throughout the two-week period — you can learn more about how to self-quarantine here. If quarantining at home is not possible, then please quarantine for up to 14 days before your first on-campus activity once you arrive in Austin. If you are already in Austin, you should quarantine in your Austin residence for 14 days prior to the start of classes or your first on-campus activity. We know that everyone’s situation is different; please make self-quarantine plans in a manner that makes sense for you.

We are relying on all students to take very seriously the responsibility of preventing the spread of COVID-19, and self-quarantining is a critical first step.

If you are coming to campus to attend class, study, exercise, safely meet friends, dine or work, whatever the reason, you must do the following:

    • Wear a recommended protective face mask indoors.
    • Wash your hands well and often. Carry hand sanitizer and surface wipes.
    • Keep six feet (two meters) of distance between yourself and others whenever possible.
    • Participate in daily symptom screening using the Protect Texas Together app.
    • Sneeze and cough into your elbow, and open doors without your hands if possible.
    • When possible, meet online or outdoors and in larger common areas, not private offices or small enclosed spaces.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or are feeling sick, stay home and call the University Health Services’ Nurse Advice Line at 512-475-6877, available 24/7, 365 days a year. You should also contact Student Emergency Services to complete the absence notifications for class.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, follow the City of Austin’s Stay Home Save Lives Order and the Governor’s Orders. While the orders and guidelines continue to evolve, parties (whether on or off campus) put peoples’ health and safety at risk and raise anxiety levels. No parties on or off campus are allowed.

The Office of the Dean of Students has identified health and safety behaviors for students that will be enforced by the Institutional Rules. Please review these rules and FAQ for more information. Remember that it is mandatory to wear a recommended protective face mask at all times when inside university buildings, except when you are alone in a private office, seated and eating in a campus dining facility, or in your own residence hall room. Recommended protective face masks are encouraged outdoors.

We know you know this, but do not put others at risk of contracting the virus by coughing on, spitting on, sneezing on, and/or purposely invading the personal space of others. Sanctions (including suspension) will be assessed based on the severity of the incident.

You can click here to report a COVID-19 violation. The university will take all reported violations seriously; however, you may not be notified of the outcome of a reported student's behavior due to federal privacy laws known as FERPA.

Please read the University President’s message on Wednesday; we are requesting that you self-quarantine for 14 days prior to arrival in Austin. You can learn more about how to self-quarantine here.

For information and updates on our Fall 2020 reopening, check the university’s Protect Texas Together website, which provides specific guidance for students, and answers many frequently asked questions.

Protect Texas Together App
We continue to make progress on the development of the Protect Texas Together app for students, faculty and staff that will help individuals track their symptoms each day and — based on those symptoms — indicate whether they are cleared to come to campus. The app is being designed with privacy in mind. Members of the UT research community have been voluntarily using the beta version of the app to help us learn and troubleshoot so that we can make it as effective as possible. The plan is to officially launch the app in mid-August 

    • Users can track their symptoms each day, and the app can provide a daily campus pass for those without any major COVID-19 symptoms.
    • If the app’s algorithm determines that an individual may have COVID-19 based on the symptoms that person selected, the app will decline to provide a pass and instead direct the user to either University Health Services or UT Health Austin for guidance or testing. Faculty and staff members can also go to the provider of their choice.
    • The app will also allow users to note their location when they enter or exit any campus room or office. For those using the app, this can replace filling out a room’s paper sign-in sheet and help keep an accurate log of campus activity so the university can quickly identify spaces that might need to be decontaminated or closed if someone later tests positive for COVID-19.
    • There will be app-specific QR codes posted outside many campus buildings. If your room has a QR code, you can quickly scan that instead of manually entering your room number into the app.

Additionally, ITS is developing a call-based app to accommodate users who do not have smartphones or computer access.

Face Mask Enforcement
As a reminder, it is required that UT community members and visitors wear recommended protective face masks at all times when inside university owned and controlled buildings except:

    • When alone in a private office.
    • For students, when alone — or with a roommate — in an assigned residence hall room. 
    • When eating and drinking while practicing social distancing — including in a campus dining facility. 
    • When an alternative has been approved as part of the Americans with Disabilities Act or religious observance accommodation processes.

We encourage community members to wear recommended protective face masks outdoors.

UT will encourage compliance by increasing awareness and fostering a spirit of cooperation. For those who continue putting the community at risk with their behavior, corrective, disciplinary and enforcement action may be taken in accordance with the university’s guidelines for facultystaff and students.

Students who refuse to follow directives to wear a mask — and force class to be canceled with this refusal — will be referred to Student Conduct and Academic Integrity in the Office of the Dean of Students for disciplinary action. Repeat violations will lead to sanctions including suspension from campus.

Crowd Size at Longhorn Football Games
As we’ve planned for the fall semester, one of the common questions we’ve heard from our community is: How do we expect our athletic events, and football in particular, to take place? We have been exploring a range of scenarios surrounding crowd attendance for upcoming football games at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium, with a maximum occupancy of up to 50% of crowd capacity.  

Kevin Eltife, Chairman of the UT System Board of Regents, has requested that the university continue to review its policies and specifically explore the logistics, health and safety effects of crowds at 25% of capacity (including students).

The analysis of this new crowd size target is a reflection of the consistent change and uncertainty that has come with the COVID-19 pandemic. As rates in Austin and throughout Texas continue to ebb and flow, we must be agile and work consistently to develop strategies to protect the safety of our student athletes, coaches, staff members, students and all who visit our campus for athletic events. As we approach the start of the football season, we will closely monitor the spread of COVID-19 and make final decisions based on the guidance of our Board of Regents and state health officials in the coming weeks.

Longhorns Online - New Information July 28, 2020

We hope this email finds you healthy and safe. As we prepare to welcome you back to The University of Texas at Austin, we have created a new resource to help you find academic support, connect with other students, and share that UT spirit: Longhorns Online.

As you know, the university has reimagined the Fall 2020 classroom experience because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the new student learning experience now includes robust online, hybrid, and in-person classroom options. No matter which learning option you choose, you will have access to campus resources that will help you find what you need for success in the fall semester and beyond.

You can use Longhorns Online to easily access:

    • Academic support, like advising, tutoring, and writing consultations
    • Financial aid and tuition information
    • Virtual career and professional development resources
    • Opportunities to engage with the UT community through initiatives like Longhorn Connection and Longhorn Friday
    • Resources for international students
    • And much more

To learn more about Longhorns Online, watch this quick video here.

Whether you’re planning to learn on campus, online, or a combination of the two, we're all Protecting Texas Together.

Fall 2020 Domestic and International Travel - Updated Information July 22, 2020

The domestic and international travel policy has been updated and the current travel suspensions for faculty, staff and students have been extended to 12/31/2020.

Visit Travel Management website for details:  https://travel.utexas.edu/

Fall 2020 Registration Period - Updated Information July 19, 2020

You can find important information regarding the UT Course Schedule and the university’s Roadmap to Fall 2020. Here is an update on fall 2020 registration.

Additional changes are being made to the UT Course Schedule in order to provide more course options for fall. We have extended the fall open registration period for all students through July 31 should you need to make changes to your Fall 2020 class schedule.

We encourage you to review your course schedule regularly throughout the rest of the summer.

For questions, please contact Texas One Stop at (512) 232-6988 or onestop@utexas.edu.

Please stay safe and help us all Protect Texas Together!

Fall 2020 Registration

Leading up to the 2020 fall semester, please review the Graduate School’s key dates and the university’s academic calendar and payment procedures for policies and deadlines that affect your status and studies. 

Below is an overview of some of the important deadlines for the upcoming semester. 

Registration and Payment

You must register, pay tuition and confirm attendance 
according to payment procedures at My Tuition Bill. Students who do not pay and confirm attendance will be dropped from classes.

Adding and Dropping Classes 

Graduate students may add and drop courses during the first 12 class days, Aug. 26 – Sept. 11. After this period, dropped classes will remain on students’ records and no refunds will be given. Please ensure that all courses you are enrolled in are correct before the 12th class day.

Students dropping classes (but maintaining some credit hours) during the first 12 class days will receive a tuition refund for hours dropped. However, students who drop all credit hours (withdraw) after the first day of class will be responsible for a portion of their tuition, according to the following rates: 

Date Withdrawn        Refunded Tuition

Aug. 26 – Sept. 1:       80 percent

Sept. 2 – Sept. 9:         70 percent

Sept. 10 – Sept. 16:        50 percent

Sept. 17 – Sept. 23:        25 percent

After Sept. 24:               None

Students who wish to drop all classes must complete a withdrawal request and submit it to GradStudentSvcs@austin.utexas.edu.


Further information can be found at cancel my registration and leave of absence websites. If you have any questions about these processes, please consult with your program’s graduate coordinator.


Registration timelines and important dates are listed below for your planning purposes:

August 21 – 24: Registration all students, including new students (Fall semester only)

August 26: First class day, Fall semester

December 7: Last class day, Fall semester

Dates listed above are posted on the University’s academic calendars:

https://registrar.utexas.edu/calendars/20summer

https://registrar.utexas.edu/calendars/20-21

Learning - Updated Information June 30, 2020 

    • The fall 2020 semester will start August 26. In-person instruction will end November 25, the day before Thanksgiving. Most students will remain away from campus for the remainder of the semester, taking final exams online from December 7 to 16. 
    • Students may choose to experience the full fall semester online but should make sure to assess how this decision will affect their paths toward graduation. 
    • Classes will be more evenly distributed throughout the day, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Rooms will be assigned to classes so that when all students registered for a given class attend in person, no more than 40% of seats in that classroom will be occupied.
    • There will be three modes of classes:
      1. Online — a class designed from the ground up so all students can attend the main class experience online.
      2. Hybrid — a class that has both in-person and remote learning elements, with the frequency of in-person learning based on instructional needs. Students may be able to take some hybrid courses on a completely remote basis, but other hybrid courses will require students to be on campus for a portion of their coursework. Specific frequency of in-person class meetings will vary by course and may be modified by departments in consultation with their deans during the semester as conditions change. The specific hybrid classes that can be taken completely online will be communicated to students in the coming weeks.  
      3. In-person — a class for which there is at least some essential material that can be acquired only through in-person attendance.
      • In many in-person and hybrid classes, lectures will be streamed and/or recorded to allow students who become ill or who need to self-isolate to keep up and continue to make progress.
      • Every course will have an instructional continuity plan, including designating a teaching partner to take over the class in the event of instructor illness or emergency. 
    • Online, hybrid and in-person courses will have the same tuition rates.

COVID-19 Dashboard – Updated July 8, 2020

Interim President Hartzell announced key elements of the plan for the fall semester that include our strategy for testing those who may have symptoms of COVID-19, as well as proactive community testing of well individuals on a voluntary basis. 

To keep you informed, we have created a COVID-19 dashboard focused on the UT community that includes an overview of:

      • The number of known cases among UT students, faculty, and staff
      • Testing conducted by University Health Services and UT Health Austin clinics
      • Positive test results that individuals self-report to University Health Services and HealthPoint Occupational Health Program
      • Trends in proactive community testing at UT (Positive cases are updated daily and results of proactive community testing are updated weekly.) 

The dashboard also reflects selected data points from the Austin Public Health Travis County COVID-19 Digital Tracking Dashboard, including daily updates of cases in Travis County and hospitalization numbers for the Austin Metropolitan Statistical Area (Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson Counties).

Data is a powerful tool in our understanding of the spread and impact of the pandemic on our campus. The goal of this dashboard is to provide the UT community with transparent access to the latest information. 

IRB Changes - Updated Information July 8, 2020

PIs engaged in human subjects research will soon benefit from major improvements to the electronic solution for managing studies subject to Institutional Review Board oversight. Pending final development and testing, UT Research Management Suite – IRB will replace our legacy system, IRBaccess, in August 2020. This new tool - one of several research management solutions designed to reduce the administrative and regulatory burden on investigators - will manage the IRB study application and continuing review processes, integrate with training resources, and centralize communications between the IRB Office and researchers, study teams, and research and administrative support staff.

On July 20, 2020 the IRBaccess system will be restricted to actions for Full Board studies only. All new exempt and expedited studies need to be submitted prior to this date or preferably held until they can be submitted in the new IRB module in August. This time will allow us to complete migration of all existing study records to the UT Research Management Suite. For continued guidance on how to submit study documents during system migration, please monitor the Office of Research Support and Compliance Human Subjects webpage.

To prepare you to use the new IRB module, researchers and support staff are invited to attend informational webinars throughout the month of August. Please register for one of the UT Research Management Suite - IRB Informational Webinars below to learn more about the new solution and help you get started with your submissions.

Aug. 3, 2020

Register

Aug. 13, 2020

Register

Aug. 17, 2020

Register

Aug 18, 2020

Register

For more information on the UT Research Management Suite, or to ask questions or raise concerns about the transition to the new system, please contact the project team or email era@austin.utexas.edu.

Your Health and Well-Being - Updated Information July 8, 2020
The university has created a plan to keep our Longhorn family healthy on campus. Residence halls, student health centers, and dining and other facilities are being modified to comply with health and safety protocols, and plan to be fully sanitized and operational when students move in on Aug. 20. We have provided personal protective equipment (PPE) for our staff working in our facilities to wear, and will continue to do so. Hand hygiene products and cleaning stations will be readily available across campus. 

When you arrive on campus, the university will require you to:

Wear a cloth mask indoors, with the exception of when you are eating in a campus dining facility, or are alone or with your roommate in your on-campus residence hall room. Masks outdoors are strongly encouraged.

Avoid touching your face and cloth mask.

Carry your own cloth masks (wear one, carry a spare), alcohol-based hand sanitizer and surface wipes.

Keep your hands clean: sneeze and cough into your elbow; open doors without your hands, if possible.

Wash your hands well and often.

Keep six feet of distance between yourself and friends, faculty, staff and others whenever possible.

We encourage you to meet up with others either outdoors or in larger common areas (not private rooms), following mask and social distancing guidelines, or to meet up online.

Daily symptom screening with the university’s Protect Texas Together app (available in mid-August) will be expected for all students, faculty and staff. For select campus buildings and units, in-person temperature screening will be required; more information will be available in August. Visitors will be expected to complete a symptom screening to participate in campus meetings or other activities; visitors will not be allowed in the residence halls.

University Health Services (UHS) will continue to offer COVID-19 screening in the newly-established Designated Respiratory Clinic for symptomatic individuals and those with known exposure. They will also do Proactive Community Testing of well individuals with no known exposure. UHS is also offering COVID-19 antibody testing, and will offer vaccine administration when a vaccine becomes available.

If you get sick, stay home and call the UHS Nurse Advice Line at 512-475-6877. Please program your phone with this number before you arrive to campus—it can be used 24/7, 365 days a year. You should also contact Student Emergency Services (SES), who can help meet your basic needs and provide absence notifications for class. If you test positive or have been identified as high risk because of exposure, you will be expected to self-isolate or quarantine, as directed by health care professionals. If you can’t self-isolate or quarantine safely in your residence, UHS and SES will help you access isolation spaces through Austin Public Health at a local hotel at no cost. Medical personnel staff this facility. Individuals will be provided with three meals a day, a late-night snack, unlimited water and free internet.

When we reopen, UHS will also conduct contact tracing for UT students who have tested positive for COVID-19. Contact tracing helps slow the spread of COVID-19 by identifying individuals who have been in close contact with those who test positive, getting them testing and, when necessary, self-quarantining. The university will keep confidential all information voluntarily shared with contact tracers, and use it only for public health purposes.

Students needing ADA accommodations (such as wearing a mask) should contact Services for Students with Disabilities. Students with special circumstances (non-ADA), including COVID-19 symptoms, should go to SES and complete the absence notification request form.

We will encourage compliance by increasing awareness and fostering a culture of cooperation. On a case-by-case basis, for those who put the community at risk with their behavior, corrective and disciplinary action may be taken in accordance with the university’s guidelines for facultystaff and students.

The Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC) will provide its full array of services to students beginning Fall 2020, and continue telehealth services. They will extend virtual hours and offer evening appointments to students in the fall. CMHC and other facilities are converting rooms for students to use for private teletherapy appointments without having to worry about roommates or family members overhearing their confidential conversations.

UHS, which has continued to care for students since campus closed, will resume all services on campus this fall. UHS will scale on-campus staffing based on social distancing and the ability to provide safe patient care and a safe work environment for staff. Telehealth will continue to be offered as long as insurance carriers continue to reimburse for this service. UHS completed a pilot program of extended hours during the latter part of the spring semester, which is being considered for the fall (currently on hold due to reduced summer staffing).

Longhorn Wellness Center services will be offered virtually, including student organization meetings and trainings, and awareness events. Both in-person and virtual workshops will be offered, with an emphasis on sharing resources and tools that are most relevant to students right now. Students can join Canvas modules that include topics about student well-being, and access information about staying well while staying home.

Living and Dining - Updated Information July 8, 2020
All university-owned residence halls plan to open Aug. 20. We have a new process to Mooov-In safely over a period of several days, with extended hours to honor social distancing. We ask students and families to wear a cloth mask during Mooov-In, and follow all signage and staff directions. Please limit the number of accompanying helpers to no more than two or your immediate family members. Helpers will be asked to stay in their car within East Campus Garage while the student picks up their room key.

We are slating most rooms in our residence halls as double occupancy, in addition to a number of single occupancy rooms, with residents following the Guidance for Living in University Residence Halls. After Mooov-In, visitors will not be allowed in the residence halls. Residents will be required to wear cloth masks in common spaces, but not when they are alone or with their roommates in their own rooms, or when eating at an on-campus dining facility. Our staff are cleaning and disinfecting facilities daily, performing enhanced, routine cleaning of common areas, and wearing PPE.

UHD is also preparing community-building and individual opportunities to make sure students in our residence halls feel connected, including assigning a resident assistant to each resident to help them find ways to build community.

University Apartments are operating as usual, and students are being asked to follow university guidelines for personal care and social distancing, including in elevators, laundry rooms, restrooms, lounges and other common areas.

We are also modifying dining options, including ordering, delivery and seating, to follow health behavior guidelines and limit unnecessary interactions. Preparations are underway to reopen dining facilities, including those in the residence halls, for the fall semester. Possibilities include offering to-go meals served by staff, with no self-serve option at multiple locations. During peak periods, additional locations may be opened for packaged hot meal pick-up to reduce the number of diners at any one location. We are looking into increasing outside seating and potentially adding space in the halls for dining, as well as extending evening operating hours at some dining locations. Our staff are cleaning and disinfecting facilities daily, performing enhanced, routine cleaning of common areas, and wearing PPE. Dining halls will accept credit cards and funds on UT IDs such as Bevo Pay, Dine In Dollars and the resident meal plan. We are also exploring mobile apps for placing orders and pick-up.

For more information about university-owned housing and residence hall dining, please click here for up-to-date information and answers to frequently asked questions.

Campus Life and Engagement - Updated Information July 8, 2020
Student-focused buildings and spaces, including dining facilities, Recreational Sports facilities, the Student Services Building, the Texas Union and the William C. Powers, Jr. Student Activity Center, are expected to be open, with social distancing and masking requirements in place, when residence halls open to students on Aug. 20. Facility teams are beginning to implement enhanced sanitization and disinfection protocols. They will also modify furniture arrangements and adjust population capacities to follow the university’s social distancing requirements.

We want students, whether learning on or away from campus, to experience campus life and all of its benefits. The university is working on guidelines to ensure that we safely resume in-person events, meetings, student-facing transactions and student gatherings this fall. We will provide student engagement activities fully or partially online, on campus and/or in outdoor spaces. This includes meetings of student organizations, recreational sports activities and other student gatherings of various sizes. The university will institute contactless check-in for UT events and student life activities when those resume, in accordance with university events guidelines. These guidelines will be available when you arrive in August.

All student life activities will be closely monitored to follow the health and wellness guidelines, policies and procedures, to enhance the campus experience. Department support services, programs and engagement efforts will be added, removed or adapted, in response to safety protocols and direction from university leadership.

Also, look for Longhorn Connection to launch this summer. This online student portal will deliver innovative options to connect students through activities and events. Another creative outlet is Longhorn Lockbox, a portal that is now available where you can share your stories during these stressful times through poetry, lyrics, prose, music, videos, podcasts, etc.

The Office of the Dean of Students will provide a wide variety of student life activities and support services, in person and remotely. The Leadership and Ethics Institute will offer CoachUT, LEAP, open workshops and Workshops on Demand virtually. ProjectLEAD will begin in the fall semester and will remain an in-person experience to the fullest extent possible.

Sorority and Fraternity Life will continue to offer its services virtually, including programming and regular council and chapter meetings with staff. Student Emergency Services and Student Veteran Services will meet with students over the phone/online as much as possible. There may be situations when a student walks into the office in distress, or there is heightened safety concern, in which an in-person meeting will be appropriate.

Student Conduct and Academic Integrity will hold all meetings and hearings on Zoom. Title IX Training and Investigations will also schedule all meetings on Zoom. A private courtesy computer and phone will be available should a student not have equipment available and need to reach Title IX Training and Investigations.

Students who are interested in programs from New Student Services, such as Longhorn TIES (initiative to help students on the autism spectrum) and Off-Campus Living Resources (resources to help students who live off-campus), can find updated information linked from the homepage here.

University Unions’ Events + Entertainment (E+E), the largest event-planning organization on campus, is developing a variety of social, educational and cultural programs, both virtually and in-person, for the fall.

The Multicultural Engagement Center will provide leadership development opportunities, peer-facilitated social justice and education trainings, and support services to student organizations and its six student agencies. The Gender and Sexuality Center will also continue to support women and the LGBTQIA+ communities through education, outreach and advocacy.

Recreational Sports - Updated Information July 8, 2020 

Plans a phased reopening for the fall semester, with some modifications regarding how you experience facilities, programs and services, in order to practice physical distancing, minimize contact, and allow for enhanced cleaning protocols. Staff will implement contactless check-in and virtual customer service options. In addition to operational modifications, there will also be a number of things that we ask you to do as you gear up to return to work out, play and participate in Recreational Sports, to help keep yourself and others safe. Virtual programming options will continue for those who are unable to participate in-person or on-campus.

If you are an incoming first-year or transfer student who was unable to participate in an online orientation session in June or July, please sign up for August Orientation. If you are a new freshman or transfer student, I encourage you to join your official “Class of . . .” Facebook group to get to know other Longhorns before the fall semester. Make plans to participate in Longhorn Welcome. This series of events welcomes new Longhorns to campus and takes place Aug. 18-28. The majority of the events will be virtual, and the details of the events will be sent to students in early August and posted at longhornwelcome.utexas.edu.


Faculty Members - Updated Information June 30, 2020

Faculty members may choose to hold office hours on campus while adhering to campus safety and social distancing guidelines, or remotely (via Zoom or another technology solution).

Faculty members with medical conditions or other risk factors placing them at high risk for COVID-19 can request a reasonable accommodation using the Americans with Disabilities Act process. Those who already have an arrangement with their department chair to teach online do not need to go through this process. All others can request this accommodation using this form.

Faculty members who are assigned to teach in person but are concerned because they have a household member who is at high risk for COVID-19 may request flexible teaching arrangements using this form.

Faculty members who are unable to work due to COVID-19-related child care or school limitations should explore flexible work processes and review leave options available under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Staff Members and Student Employees - Updated Information June 30, 2020

Staff members who are able to work effectively from home will continue to do so into the fall with approval from their managers. 

If an employee expresses personal concerns about a job that requires an on-campus presence, the university will use its existing flexible work processes to determine whether an alternate work arrangement is feasible.

If a return to campus concern involves a high-risk employee, the university will use our existing Americans with Disabilities Act process. Employees interested in requesting a reasonable accommodation should review the Employee Accommodation Request form.

Employees unable to work due to COVID-19-related child care or school limitations should explore flexible work processes and review leave options available under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

If you are a staff member participating in a voluntary or involuntary furlough program, please review these frequently asked questions.

Student employees will work with their supervisors to determine their working location and expectations, whether working in person, remote or hybrid.

We encourage supervisors and employees to work together to find solutions to address any current or future concerns that may arise.

Athletics - Updated Information June 30, 2020

The university is developing policies and procedures for hosting football games and other athletics events this fall pursuant to state, local and Big 12 Conference health and safety guidelines. UT expects to narrow the scenarios under consideration by the first week of August.

We are also implementing policies and procedures to return essential coaches, athletics staff and all student-athletes to campus in the fall for practice/competition pursuant to guidance by the CDC, state and local officials and athletics and campus medical staff.

For more information, please read the Athletics COVID-19 Policies and Procedures Manuals.

Specialized Qualifying Exam:

For more information on the SQE, see: https://wikis.utexas.edu/display/ELP/Doctoral+Program+Process

 For 2nd year doctoral students - Mid Program Review: 

All ELP doctoral students are expected to complete their Mid Program Review by the end of spring semester of their 2nd year in their program. The Mid Program Review consists of a meeting between a student and their adviser, and for the remainder of the semester, these meetings will happen remotely/online with your faculty adviser. Please plan on completing your Mid Program Review by 5/30/20.  See the Mid Program Review section of our wiki for more information: 

https://wikis.utexas.edu/display/ELP/Doctoral+Program+Process

Student Travel Awards:

Accommodations for fall 2020:

1.          PDA awards can be used for other professional development activities, such as online workshops or data/analytical training (e.g. statistics).  These activities cannot be regular coursework but instead new things to extend the student’s current training that require funding. 

2.          Students going to virtual conferences must still be presenting their research in order to use the PDA.

3.          Students taking language training will only be covered by a PDA if that language is not taught at UT and relates to degree requirements.

4.          Amount restrictions still apply; $100 minimum (temporarily lowered from $250), $1000 maximum.

5.          Students still need to submit a short report about the professional development value they received from this activity,

6.          Dates of the activity must still be within the dates for the fall semester that the funds are requested.


The university has suspended all university sponsored international and domestic travel through April 30 with the possibility that this date could be extended. ELP will therefore not be disbursing any student travel awards this semester. Please reach out to the conference organizers, Airbnb, hotels, airlines, etc. to inquire about cancelling any reservations and receiving refunds. If you are encountering difficulties please let us know.


Domestic travel exception requests must be approved by the relevant dean or vice president prior to the submission of a Request-to-Travel (RTA), and that approval should be included when the RTA is submitted. International travel will follow the guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), International SOS (ISOS) and U.S. Department of State (USDOS) for dates later than July 1.

Stipends

The university has taken steps to help graduate students financially. As previously announced by the provost, the Tuition Reduction Benefit (TRB) gap will continue to be covered during summer 2020 and the 2020-21 academic year. Also, the university will be providing central funding for TA and AI salary increases (in an amount equivalent to 2 percent of the current TA/AI salary pool) for the next academic year. Colleges and schools will allocate these funds to help improve equity and elevate graduate student salaries.

 Career Options & Planning 

The Graduate School continues to partner with Texas Career Engagement to develop programming to help students plan careers during the pandemic. The Graduate School is also continuing its work through the AAU Ph.D. Education Initiative to inform students of their many career options and help them to successfully navigate a wide variety of career paths. You can view upcoming sessions for graduate students at the Texas Career Engagement website.

Professional Development

In the coming weeks, Texas Career Engagement will be developing resources and hosting online events to help students prepare for their job search following the economic impact of the pandemic.

You may apply for a complimentary registration to attend Beyond the Professoriate's 7th Annual Online Career Conference for Ph.D.s. Texas Career Engagement and the Graduate School will be providing registration for 50 graduate students for the Zoom webinar event on Saturday, May 2 and 9 from 10 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. 

Teaching Resources

The Faculty Innovation Center (FIC) continues to provide resources to help you make the transition to online courses as well as improve teaching and learning  in general.

Additionally, the FIC’s Graduate Student Teaching Showcase presentations are now online. Seven graduate students from across campus were selected to present at the showcase, which highlights instructors who have implemented creative pedagogical approaches in their classrooms.


Updates - Where to find them

Announcements from the University and College related to the response to COVID-19 will continue to be posted at the websites below:

Please Check the Following Regularly –

UT Coronavirus Updates and FAQs: https://coronavirus.utexas.edu/.You can also provide feedback and submit questions there so that the university can continue to respond and support you through this challenging period.

College of Ed Guidance: https://education.utexas.edu/coronavirus.

Graduate School: https://gradschool.utexas.edu/content/covid-19-frequently-asked-questions

The Texas One Stop, for critical information around registration, tuition, and financial aid. This information will be updated frequently. Additionally, graduate students can contact their graduate coordinators and advisers for more information.

Finally

We are aware that the COVID-19 moment has exposed some of society’s greatest flaws. Xenophobic and racist behavior directed to the Asian and Asian American community; racist trolls infiltrating our online communities and using hateful slurs towards our students; and the fraying of the social safety net for the most vulnerable members of our community. Please know that the ELP community is here to support you and your families, colleagues, and community members. Don’t hesitate to reach out directly to your faculty, your advisors, and departmental leadership if you are experiencing difficulty during this stressful time. Also, the Campus Climate Response Team (CCRT) is accepting bias reports; you can access the online system here:

 https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form?EQBCT=11b77a5089cc4d6b9226bb17e6f79a2d.

We know this is not how you envisioned your spring semester to be (none of us did), but we are all doing our very best to adjust and transition. Our goal is to preserve your academic experience and continue your educational journey as much as possible and ensure your success at UT.




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