COVID-19 Update: President Benson Announces Changes to UT Dallas Operations
University Extends Spring Break, Will Move to Online Learning on March 30
Editor’s Note (March 17): The newest information about campus operations may not be reflected in the message below. For the latest updates, visit the University’s COVID-19 webpage.
Members of the UT Dallas community:
After discussions with campus leadership and public health authorities, I am announcing changes to our University schedule and operations for the remainder of the spring semester. As we have learned in recent days and weeks, the situation caused by COVID-19 (coronavirus) is highly dynamic, and risks to our community can change rapidly. There is no higher priority than the safety and welfare of our UT Dallas community. Although we don’t currently have a reported case of COVID-19 on our campus, the actions outlined below are taken upon the advice of public health authorities and with the goal of slowing the spread of the virus. In taking these actions, we are also guided by our commitment to provide an education of the highest quality to our nearly 30,000 students and to support those who call our campus home.
- Spring break will be extended by one week. Classes scheduled for March 23-27 are canceled. Faculty and staff will use the next two weeks to prepare to transition courses to online delivery.
- Classes will resume March 30. When classes resume, we will shift courses to an online format. Provost Inga Musselman will provide additional details to faculty members on these changes in the coming days. Students will be notified by their instructors about accessing content and coursework on our eLearning platform.
- All campus events will be canceled, virtualized or postponed until further notice as a social distancing measure, which helps minimize person-to-person contact, in order to slow the spread of disease. Questions about previously scheduled events should be referred to the event sponsor. Event sponsors should consult with the appropriate dean or vice president for further input on cancellations.
- A decision about changes to spring athletic events will be made separately in consultation with officials from the American Southwest Conference.
- The University will make accommodations for students, faculty and staff who have concerns about exposure to COVID-19 because of their health, age, or other factors or who are unable to return to campus due to self-isolation. Employees needing modified or flexible work alternatives should contact their supervisor.
- UT Dallas plans to maintain normal business operations throughout the extended spring break period and beyond. This includes our research enterprise (e.g., laboratories and core research facilities), clinical services, student services, and other administrative and support functions.
- Student housing will remain open and accessible throughout the extended spring break period and beyond. Students who wish to return to on-campus housing on or before March 23 may do so.
- Campus services and facilities primarily serving students, including dining services, McDermott Library, Activity Center, Rec Center West, Student Union, University Bookstore, Student Health Center, and Student Counseling Center, will remain open. Services and facilities that normally reduce hours for spring break will continue reduced hours through March 27.
As we face this unprecedented situation, it is incumbent upon all of us to practice good hygiene and social distancing. This includes washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching your face, and isolating yourself if you become sick. The best information on what you can do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 can be found on the CDC website. The well-being of our campus community is my utmost priority. We will continually assess potential impacts and will not hesitate to implement whatever additional measures are necessary to protect our students, faculty and staff. I know that these actions will change your UT Dallas experience in the coming weeks; however, we are committed to providing our students the best education possible despite these unprecedented circumstances. I also would like to take a moment to encourage you to take care of both your physical and mental health during this stressful time. I am confident that if we take care of ourselves and take care of each other we will get through this challenge. Please check our website frequently for all updates to our campus response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Richard C. Benson
Eugene McDermott Distinguished University Chair of Leadership
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].