Texas announces some plans to return to campus in the fall
By ACACIA CORONADO
Associated Press/Report for America
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The University of Texas plans to have more than 2,000 classes online and residence halls will reopen when students return to campus in the fall, school officials said Wednesday.
Classrooms will be limited to 40% capacity for in-person instruction to help maintain social distancing and avoid the spread of the coronavirus, according to a letter from interim President Jay Hartzell.
The school — among the nation’s largest with about 50,000 students — has already announced that its 400 largest classes will be conducted online in the fall semester that starts Aug. 26. Students will be allowed to take only online classes if they choose, but will have to consider how that will affect their progress toward graduation.
Details of residence hall capacity and social distancing guidelines there have not yet been released. The school said a face-covering policy will be announced later.
Football players will be allowed to return to campus later this month with protocols in place for testing and social distancing. School officials said they also plan to offer voluntary testing of students and staff in the fall.
Texas has reported more than 66,500 infections, including 1,688 deaths. The true number is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.
The virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in two to three weeks in most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
CAPITOL SECURITY OFFICER
A member of the security detail stationed at or near the Texas Capitol has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Texas Preservation Board, which maintains the building.
State troopers and members of the Texas National Guard have been stationed around the Capitol in Austin after some protesters spray-painted and knocked over a fountain on the building grounds Saturday.
Preservation Board spokesman Chris Currens confirmed the positive test results to media outlets but did not respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.
A statement from the Texas Department of Public Safety, which oversees state troopers, said the agency does not have a “new, confirmed case of COVID-19 among our employees assigned to the Capitol.”
The infection within the security detail has not had an impact on Republican Gov. Greg Abbott or his staff, spokesman John Wittman said. Abbott has been working at a location away from the Capitol since Friday, Wittman said without elaborating.
“The governor has not been close to him,” Wittman said. “The governor’s staff has not been close to this guy.”
Acacia Coronado is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.
Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
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