Two students living in on-campus residence halls have tested positive for COVID-19, a University of Texas at Austin spokesperson confirmed Monday.
"Following our protocols, the individuals have been isolating and public health professionals have reached out to notify primary close contacts … advising them to get tested and self-quarantine," UT Austin spokesperson J.B. Bird told Austonia.
Bird said other contacts of the infected students were advised to self-monitor for any symptoms, practice social distancing and sign up for testing through UT's Proactive Community Testing program reserved for asymptomatic testing.
The students live in Jester and San Jacinto residence halls and have been isolated, according to a report by student newspaper The Daily Texan.
Residents of the Scottish Rite Dormitory, an off-campus house for women, received notification on Sunday that one of their peer residents had tested positive for COVID-19.
Prior to classes beginning on August 26, UT's own researchers estimated up to 183 students would arrive on campus during the first week of the semester already infected with the disease.
Since classes began last Wednesday, five people in the campus community have tested positive, according to the university's COVID-19 dashboard. (The dashboard does not yet include cases reported over the weekend.)
The university previously announced it has the capacity to test up to 5,000 asymptomatic people a week. During the week of Aug. 23, it tested 678 people, of whom one person received a positive result.
A number of colleges and universities across the country—including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Notre Dame—have recently shifted to online instruction after outbreaks occurred on their campuses.
In an Aug. 21 email sent to the campus community, UT Austin Interim President Jay Hartzell said the university will consider a number of metrics in deciding whether to move more classes online or close buildings on campus in the coming weeks.
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Nicklaus Pereksta says he loves photographing enthusiastic people, and it’s why his latest gig offering pictures to people out on Lady Bird Lake’s hike and bike trail is going smoothly. He sets up his gear on the Pfluger pedestrian bridge and puts out a sign: Photos, $10.
“Overwhelmingly, this has been a really positive experience,” Pereksta said. “I get excited when I wake up in the morning and I can't wait to go to work.”
Bikers and joggers are excited about it too. On the pedestrian bridge leading to downtown Thursday morning, a man on an e-bike rode up and posed, wanting more photos.
“I posted the last pictures on Instagram and people loved it. They asked, ‘where is this guy?’” the biker told Pereksta. Bashfully, Pereksta, who also photographs landscapes and at weddings and other events, said he was happy to hear that.
Pereksta started these photos about a month ago, after the strenuous runs required in his valet job started causing pain in his legs. And though he has a passion for photography, he wasn’t so sure when he started working independently if it would work out.
He felt uncertain about the demand for it and was also worried about having lots of expensive equipment out in the open.
“Then like the first day was nothing but high praise and people are like, this is so awesome. This is great. I've never seen anything like this before. I was like, Wow, this was really good, like positive turnout. So I got encouraged.”
Now, he wants to expand and is thinking of contacting the Mueller Farmers Market about how to become a vendor. Still, he'll carry a connection to photographing on the bridge since the word bridge is related to his last name.
“It's a name my great, great, great grandfather came up with when he was marrying somebody. It's actually quite a romantic name. It means a joining of two bridges," Pereksta said. "So, I thought it was ironic that I'm set up on a bridge. I'm kind of representing my last name right now.”
Austonia talked to Pereksta about life in Austin, where he’s lived for eight years after living in Boston doing band photography.
What was your first experience with Austin?
I came here to visit some friends and they took me to Barbarella. So we went to Barbarella and I was like, ‘wow, this place is great.’ And then the restaurants and the food and going to Barton Springs. I was like, ‘this is amazing.’ Because there's nothing like that in Boston. If you want to go to a natural spring, you got to go to New Hampshire. There's no pools in the city at all. So there's lots of swimming out here.
What do you like best about Austin?
You go to any little quiet bar and there's a band playing that should be like onstage for a sold out show. Yeah, they're playing to 10 people, right? Like, one of the best bands ever and they're playing for 10 people, right? And just little magic moments like that are pretty fun. You just run into little random weird things.
What do you think makes Austin different from other places?
There’s no fall.
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