Dear faculty colleagues,
As you probably know, the university has revised its masking guidance to make it consistent with that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and with the Governor’s Order in Council.
We are entering a new phase of transition in which many aspects of our lives will return to normal. For some in our community, this transition will be uncomfortable. I think it is important to recognize this. Although more and more people in our communities are being vaccinated and the effectiveness of these vaccinations is very good, COVID-19 will not go away, forcing us to deal with it for years to come.
The trends we are seeing now support a transition to a more normal existence, but with the proper precautions. For us, that means, among other things, that students return for in-person teaching this fall. The new masking guidelines do not change our baseline plan for the fall, but discussions are underway to provide appropriate campus health and safety guidelines, under the guidance of our Health and Safety Committee. well-being. We’ll be sharing these updates with you this summer, as well as some languages you may want to consider including in your programs.
We will also continue to operate and promote our Proactive community testing program. Since last June, we have administered more than 100,000 tests UT students, professors and staff. Testing will continue to play a critical role. This program has been a fast, free and efficient way for all members of our campus to receive a test promptly and has also enabled us to effectively identify and contact positive trace results.
We will also continue to promote and administer vaccinations by the university to the Austin campus and area communities. We expect that anyone wishing to be vaccinated will have had the opportunity to do so well before the start of the fall semester. Our health and wellness committee also follows advice on potential vaccine booster shots and mechanisms for delivering them, if needed.
This year’s arc in our lives has been dramatic and unpredictable. The transition to normality can seem unusual in different ways, and the decisions of individuals regarding masks will demand respect from each other. I hope the data this summer continues to show that having more people fully immunized in our communities will help return to a more normal fall semester.
I appreciate everything you have done this year. Thank you.