AUSTIN, Texas — A month away from the start of the fall semester, the University of Texas at Austin announced it is requesting all students self-quarantine for 14 days prior to arrival. Texas State University is also asking students to quarantine before returning.
The request is part of the universities' plan to limit the spread of the coronavirus as students return.
On Wednesday, a new report showed UT has had more COVID-19 cases reported than any other university in the U.S.
UT is asking arriving students to stay home and limit in-person interactions as much as possible throughout the two-week period.
“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,” UT interim president Jay Hartzell said in a letter on Wednesday.
Those already in Austin are asked to quarantine at their Austin residence for 14 days prior to the start of classes or their first on-campus activity.
“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,” said Hartzell.
Texas State University officials are also asking students to quarantine for 14 days before arriving on campus for the fall semester. Returning students are also required to wear a mask and urged to practice social distancing and wash their hands frequently.
UT Austin is also working on developing an app for students, faculty and staff to track their symptoms each day and – based on those symptoms – indicate whether they are cleared to come to campus. The Protect Texas Together app will officially launch in mid-August and will help contact trace positive cases using a QR code system, UT said.
All UT community members will be required to wear face masks at all times indoors, except when alone in a private office, when alone or with a roommate in a residence hall room or when eating or drinking while social distancing.
On Wednesday, UT Austin said it is exploring a 25% capacity model for football games this fall at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium. Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said college football in the fall “is going to be a stretch.”