AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Wednesday, the University of Texas at Austin announced that it would extend its Spring Break one week in response to the spread of COVID-19.
According to UT, classes will resume on March 30 and students should plan on returning before that date.
During the extra Spring Break week, the University will remain open as faculty and staff make preparations.
The school says it will increase “social distancing” on campus. This includes shifting many lectures online, reconfiguring spaces where students must meet face-to-face, and reducing unnecessary contact in general.
President Greg Fenves said in the announcement:
“I know this is not the spring break we had expected. Typically, March is a special month, when tens of thousands flock to Austin for South by Southwest and students and community members spend time resting and enjoying new experiences around the nation and the world. I am aware that many of you have had to change your plans, and I appreciate the resiliency you have shown throughout these difficult weeks. We must all come together as a community to make the semester as productive as possible.”
On Thursday Fenves provided additional information to explain the decision to extend spring break and the steps that the University of Texas at Austin is taking to protect students and faculty members.
“This decision was designed to give our community additional time to prepare as we implement new strategies for the health of our students, faculty and staff on our campus,” said Fenves.
Fenves told reporters that some of the steps being considered to mitigate spread of the virus including shifting many lectures to online instruction, re-configuring classroom space and develop alternative instructional methods for classes that must meet in person such as science labs and performing arts studios. Students are set to return to campus on Monday, March 30.
Additionally, the university is suspending international travel through the summer. It is also suspending campus visits such as tours and in-person admission events. Fenves said they will soon be announcing a variety of online and virtual options for prospective students.
“COVID-19 is a very serious public health concern and the situation is rapidly changing here locally and across the nation,” said Fenves. “We will continue to monitor the situation, we feel these are the right measures at this time and will continue to continually evaluate our plans as the situation does change.”
UT community members can visit the school’s Guidance Related to the Coronavirus Disease webpage for the latest updates and announcements. Students, faculty, families and community members can also submit their own suggestions and questions for UT related to COVID-19 here.
Austin Community College
On Thursday, ACC announced it will extend its Spring Break for student through March 29. Classes will resume Monday, March 30, in online and hybrid formats.
All events and school-related travel are also canceled.
ACC community members and students can keep up with the latest updates at the school’s Coronavirus page.
On Thursday morning, Texas State University announced it is extending spring break for students by a week and moving courses to remote delivery through April 12.
This will enable the university to enact social distancing measures on campus, Texas State President Denise Trauth said.
Students and staff have been told to continue monitoring the Texas State official email and the university website regularly.
There are no reported cases of coronavirus on either the San Marcos or Round Rock campus, and none in Hays or Williamson County, the school said.
Meanwhile, Baylor University announced that out of caution of coronavirus it would extend its Spring Break one week and classes will also be taught online for one week after.
Baylor says that Spring Break will be held through March 20 and that classes will be taught online afterwards, from March 23 to April 3.
The school says the move is “for the safety and wellbeing of its students,” but that there are currently no reported cases of COVID-19 on campus, in the city of Waco, within McLeannan County or the surrounding area.
The Spring Break extension applies to all University-related campuses and locations, however, residence halls and designated dining facilities will be open, depending on demand.
In its announcement, the school finishes saying, in part:
“This is a challenging time, but the health and safety of our campus community remains our central focus at Baylor University.”
For information and the latest updates, the Baylor community can visit the school’s Coronavirus (COVID-10) Information page.
In Georgetown, Southwestern University also announced it will extend its Spring Break by two days, with Spring Break beginning March 16 and continue through March 24. The break will only apply to students.
In its announcement, Southwestern says, “The University’s leadership team made a decision to continue campus operations and university-sponsored domestic travel for students, faculty, and staff, for the time being. The University will immediately communicate any changes to this decision.”
Other Texas universities announce changes
University of Texas at San Antonio
UTSA announced on Tuesday, Spring Break would also be extended one week and resume on March 23. All classes that week will also be conducted online.
In its announcement, the school said: “I understand that these changes will be disruptive, but we believe that the potential consequences of not taking immediate action far outweigh these temporary inconveniences.”
Roadrunners can visit UTSA’s Coronavirus Update page here.
St. Edward’s University
St. Edward’s University will shift to online-only classes from March 23-April 4, the school announced Thursday. There will be no on campus instruction during that time.
The university said its spring break will continue as scheduled. The university encourages students who leave for spring break not to return to campus during that time and to do classes remotely.
Some campus services will be modified for students that will be on campus during spring break and the two weeks of online-only classes. Residence halls, the recreation and athletics center, health and counseling center, the library and dining halls will be open.
All university-sponsored events, on and off campus between March 16-April 5, are being evaluated.
Staff will continue to work on campus, and professors can choose to teach from campus or another location. All remaining spring semester school-sponsored travel for student, faculty and staff is being evaluated.
Texas Tech University
Following the regularly-scheduled spring break, all classes from March 23-27 are canceled, the university said.
Beginning March 30, all classes will be online until further notice.
Students may stay on campus during spring break, and residence halls, along with dining locations, will operate as normal. Faculty and staff will be on duty as normal unless supervisors or department chairs determine otherwise
Texas A&M announced Thursday that classes from March 16-20 are canceled and will resume online-only March 23-April 28.
The campus will, however, remain open to faculty, staff and students.
Texas A&M community members can keep up with the latest announcements at the school’s Coronavirus Updates page.