UT Austin is asking students to self-quarantine for 14 days before they arrive on campus this fall.
The request is the latest effort in the university’s attempts to prevent COVID-19 infections in the UT community. Since March, 456 people on campus – including students, faculty and staff – have tested positive for the coronavirus. UT topped a New York Times survey published Wednesday of American universities with the most reported cases of COVID-19.
The semester is set to begin Aug. 26. UT says students should stay home and limit interactions with others as much as possible before arriving. Those who can’t quarantine at home for whatever reason are being told to quarantine for up to 14 days when they get to Austin before going to their first activity on campus.
“We know that everyone’s situation is different; please make self-quarantine plans in a manner that makes sense to you,” interim UT President Jay Hartzell wrote in an update Wednesday.
UT has put thousands of classes online for the coming semester to help limit in-person interactions. But it’s also offering in-person and hybrid courses and welcoming students back to residence halls. People will be required to wear face coverings when in campus buildings, unless they’re alone or eating and drinking.
The university is also developing an app that tracks symptoms of students, faculty and staff to determine if they are cleared to be on campus.
Last week, UT said football games would continue this fall with 50% crowd capacity at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. In his update Wednesday, though, Hartzell said UT is now exploring limiting that capacity to 25% — which would equate to about 25,000 fans as opposed to 50,000.
“The analysis of this new crowd size target is a reflection of the consistent change and uncertainty that has come with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hartzell said. “As we approach the start of the football season, we will closely monitor the spread of COVID-19 and make final decisions based on the guidance of our Board of Regents and state health officials in the coming weeks.”
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