UT-Austin is asking all students to self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus

The University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin (Wikimedia Commons)

AUSTIN, Texas – The University of Texas has requested that all students self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus for the fall semester, due to the growing number of coronavirus cases in Austin.

The university’s goal is to help prevent COVID-19 infections from spreading across its campus when students return to campus on Aug. 24. The new policy asks for students to stay home and limit in-person interactions throughout the two-week period.

UT Austin provided a link for students about how to self-quarantine.

“We are relying on all students to take very seriously the responsibility of preventing the spread of COVID-19, and self-quarantining is a critical first step,” according to the university’s Facebook page.

The school also created a “Protect Texas Together App,” intended to help students, faculty and staff track their symptoms every day with the goal of indicating whether they are clear to come to campus. The app is expected to launch in mid-August.

Here’s how the Protect Texas Together app will work:

• Users can track their symptoms each day, and the app can provide a daily campus pass for those without any major COVID-19 symptoms

• If the app’s algorithm determines that an individual may have COVID-19 based on the symptoms that person selected, the app will decline to provide a pass and instead direct the user to either University Health Services or UT Health Austin for guidance or testing. Faculty and staff members can also go to the provider of their choice

• The app will also allow users to note their location when they enter or exit any campus room or office. For those using the app, this can replace filling out a room’s paper sign-in sheet and help keep an accurate log of campus activity so the university can quickly identify spaces that might need to be decontaminated or closed if someone later tests positive for COVID-19

• There will be app-specific QR codes posted outside many campus buildings. If your room has a QR code, you can quickly scan that instead of manually entering your room number into the app

Additionally, ITS is developing a call-based app to accommodate users who do not have smartphones or computer access.

Face mask policy

UT community members and visitors are required to wear protective face masks at all times when inside university-owned and controlled buildings except the following:

  • When alone in a private office
  • For students, when alone — or with a roommate — in an assigned residence hall room
  • When eating and drinking while practicing social distancing — including in a campus dining facility
  • When an alternative has been approved as part of the Americans with Disabilities Act or religious observance accommodation processes

The university is also encouraging its community members to wear face masks outdoors as well.

Officials said students who refuse to follow directives to wear a mask and force classes to be canceled with this refusal will be referred to Student Conduct and Academic Integrity in the Office of the Dean of Students for disciplinary action. Repeat violations will lead to sanctions including suspension from campus, officials said.

Crowd size at football games

Upcoming football games at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium will have a maximum occupancy of up to 50% of crowd capacity.

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