AUSTIN (KXAN) — The University of Texas Austin has released a series of guidelines it will use going into the fall 2021 semester for faculty and staff during rising case numbers of the delta variant of COVID-19 in Central Texas.
A letter sent to UT faculty and staff Monday says “the emergence of the delta variant is affecting many aspects of our lives at home and at work. I can assure you that we are following the evolution of COVID-19 very closely and our plans for the fall will respond accordingly.”
UT is asking its community to wear masks while inside classrooms or other indoor settings on campus — regardless of vaccination status. Masks do not need to be worn in a private office or single-occupant cubicle.
Classes that are scheduled to be in-person or hybrid can be held at reduced density for the first two weeks of the semester. However, all students enrolled in the course must have at least one in-person experience per week, UT says.
For contact tracing purposes, UT recommends faculty keep a seating chart for all classes with more than 30 students. Students may be asked to not sit in the first few rows of the classroom and maintain six feet of distance when asking questions. Faculty can also hold office hours online.
All students on campus for the semester must get a viral COVID-19 test, antigen or PCR, within 72 hours prior to arrival in Austin. Students already in Austin will test within 72 hours of moving into their residence for the semester.
Students living at residence halls or University apartments will need to show proof of a negative viral COVID-19 test result to receive keys at check-in.
Immunocompromised faculty and staff members should request accommodations through the ADA accommodation process.
UT says it recognizes some faculty planning to teach in-person will need to move to online courses for the safety of an immunocompromised dependent. Faculty can automatically qualify for flexible teaching arrangements if the dependent has a condition on the list below.
- Dependents with solid organ transplants or stem cell transplant
- Dependents who are currently in cycle for chemotherapy or cancers associated with immune deficiency (leukemias and lymphomas)
- Dependents with chronic inflammatory diseases treated with systemic corticosteroid therapy > 20 mg prednisone daily, immunomodulator medications, and/or biologic agent
- Dependents with primary immune deficiency disorder
- Dependents with immune deficiencies due to HIV infection
- Dependents with sickle cell disease (not trait)
- Dependents with surgical asplenia
Classes at UT-Austin are scheduled to begin Aug. 25.