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The University of Texas at Austin released a plan for the fall semester that includes online, hybrid and in-person courses and mandatory masks, among other measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


"Today's plan provides a framework for the fall that is designed to accommodate the dynamic environment we're facing and enable us to adapt to changes in the prevalence of COVID-19 in Austin and throughout Texas," Interim President Jay Hartzell said in the statement. "And I know that things are changing every day."

The plans for the semester, which will start August 26, include the following:

  • Classes will be online, in-person, or a hybrid, but they will all have the same tuition rates.
  • Students may take the full semester online.
  • In-person courses will end November 25, before Thanksgiving. After that, students will mostly stay off-campus and take finals online from December 7 to 16.
  • Classes will take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a 40% cap on capacity in each classroom.
  • Many hybrid and in-person courses will be streamed or recorded for students who become ill or need to self-isolate to continue their course progress.

The plan was released shortly after a meeting of the UT System Board of Regents concluded. Speaking during the meeting, Chancellor James Milliken emphasized the importance of students continuing their education instead of taking time off.

"We know from student surveys that if we do not open, many students will choose to pause their education, and we know from research that pausing has an impact on persistence and graduation," Milliken said. "The most vulnerable students, low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students, will be at the greatest risk of falling off the path to success."

UT Austin's reopening plan also included stipulations for health and wellness pertaining to university buildings and residence halls. Masks will be required at all times when in campus buildings, except when alone in a private office, alone in a dorm room with a roommate, eating and drinking in dining facilities, and in other cases approved under the American's with Disabilities Act or for religious reasons.

The university is still developing plans for hosting football games and other athletic events in the fall in accordance with state, local and Big 12 Conference guidelines.

(Roschetzky Photography/Adobe)

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