AUSTIN, Texas — After coronavirus concerns caused the University of Texas to move classes online and postpone May 2020 graduation ceremonies, UT said on Wednesday it will announce the university’s plan for the fall semester by the end of June.
Last week, UT told KVUE there were no plans to delay the fall semester, but it was continuing to monitor the situation with COVID-19.
In a letter to the UT community on Wednesday, President Gregory L. Fenves and Interim President Designate Jay Hartzell said the university will address several issues in the months ahead, including how to safely bring students, faculty and staff back to campus.
UT said the timing will allow faculty to prepare their classes and curriculums, as well as integrate new learning technologies and prepare to implement new health practices and policies.
“How do we expand testing for COVID-19?” the letter said. “What will social distancing look like on campus? How can we enhance the online learning experience? When will the Longhorn football team be able to take the field at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium again?”
Fenves and Hartzell said these questions will be evaluated by a university-wide task force led by Art Markman, professor of psychology and marketing and director of UT’s IC² Institute.
“He is overseeing a planning team that is directing subgroups, each charged with a specific sector of campus life and learning,” the letter said. “These subgroups are harnessing the talent and expertise of UT faculty, staff and undergraduate and graduate students, while coordinating with city and state officials as well as off-campus housing providers.”
All students have been told to register for summer and fall courses starting on April 27. The university said it will be able to better plan coursework for the fall by knowing which classes students are taking in advance.
“As we look ahead, there is much to prepare for,” Fenves and Hartzell told the UT community. “But one thing is certain: The University of Texas will make it through all of these challenges together, and we’ll end up stronger and more prepared to do what we do best – change the world.”
The university is currently offering virtual tours for incoming graduates, but told KVUE the overall application process remains largely unchanged.
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