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University of Texas will open in the fall, UT President Fenves says

Students will not return after Thanksgiving and, instead, will participate in reading days and final exams remotely, UT President Greg Fenves said.

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin will start its fall semester on Aug. 26 and classes will run until Thanksgiving, according to a letter from UT President Greg Fenves.

Fenves said in the letter "students will not return after Thanksgiving and, instead, will participate in reading days and final exams remotely."

"With COVID-19 still expected to be active this fall, we hope to avoid the possibility of students becoming infected during the Thanksgiving break and then spreading the virus to classmates upon their return after Thanksgiving," Fenves said. "We are still developing the details for how this new schedule will affect course syllabi, residence hall living and other key campus functions. We will continue to provide additional information as we move forward."

The announcement comes one day after UT shared plans with staff and faculty members about the second phase of financial mitigation measures the university is taking in light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. 


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"These measures are necessary because of the impact of COVID-19 on the university’s finances," Fenves said. "They will affect our co-workers, colleagues and friends significantly, and we hope that you will show understanding for those in revenue-generating units. Moving forward, we will continue to address hard financial realities, and it is likely that there will be more difficult employment decisions to make in the months ahead." 

All in-person commencement ceremonies for the fall semester will be postponed since students will not be returning to campus after Thanksgiving, Fenves said. According to Fenves, the planned in-person, university-wide commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 will take place on campus at some point in 2021, and spring and fall 2020 graduates will be invited to this in-person celebration. 

The university-wide virtual commencement ceremony will take place Saturday, May 23, as planned.

Fenves also said all UT employees who are authorized to work on campus must cover their faces with a mask or cloth-covering at all times unless they are in a private office or space throughout the summer months of the coronavirus pandemic. 

For more information, see Fenves' letter to the UT community here.


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