'An Exercise In Trust': UT Austin Plans To Reopen Dorms And Dining Halls, Offer In-Person Classes

Jun 29, 2020

UT Austin students will have the choice of attending classes in person, taking them online or doing a combination when campus reopens in August, the university announced Monday. Residence halls, dining halls, student centers, the union and recreation centers will be open.  

Under the university's plan, students living in dorms will still have roommates, but will be required to wear masks in common areas. Students will be able to cancel their residence fees if they choose to stay home and do digital learning.

Students and staff will be required to wear masks inside campus buildings, unless alone in a private office or when eating in a dining facility.

During a virtual press conference Monday, administrators said they could enact penalties for people who don’t follow these rules, but said they’d prefer students to just keep safety a priority.

“Part of this is an exercise in trust," interim President Jay Hartzell said. "We’re entrusting that our students will be able to do the right things as we go forward.”

Classes held in person will be in rooms where only 40% of the space is taken.

Students will leave campus for Thanksgiving break and not return for the rest of the calendar year; final exams will be conducted online.

UT says it will continuously monitor COVID-19 and adjust its plan if needed.