Keep track of coronavirus updates from UTSA administration members

This article will be updated as more information is made available.

The+mostly-empty+Sombrilla+sits+in+the+center+of+Main+Campus.+UTSA+has+recently+decided+to+transition+classes+online+for+the+remainder+of+the+spring+semester.

Julia Maenius

The mostly-empty Sombrilla sits in the center of Main Campus. UTSA has recently decided to transition classes online for the remainder of the spring semester.

Josh Peck, News Editor

For the most up-to-date information, visit UTSA’s coronavirus information page.

 

March 23 Update from UTSA President Dr. Taylor Eighmy

On March 23, President Dr. Taylor Eighmy sent an email to students updating them on how UTSA will adjust its operations after San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff announced the new Stay Home, Work Safe order, which restricts travel in the city and county beginning March 24 at 11:59 p.m. The email announced changes to telecommuting and the availability of services provided by the John Peace Library (JPL), the Downtown Library, Student Health Services, Counseling & Mental Health Services, Student Disability Services, dining and the Downtown Campus food pantry. 

Both the JPL and Downtown Library are now closed. Eighmy’s email said that students who need internet access should reach out to the Tech Café. Library resources, like having chapters from textbooks scanned and sent to your email or speaking with a librarian, can still be accessed.

Student Health Services, Counseling & Mental Health Services (CMHS) and Student Disability Services offices will remain open only for students who will continue living on campus. For students not living on campus, telephone and virtual consultations will be available. CMHS is encouraging students to use apps such as Tao and Headspace to improve self-care and reduce anxiety and stress. 

The Downtown food pantry is closed for the remainder of the semester while the Main Campus Roadrunner Pantry will remain open. UTSA is working with “our local officials to evaluate alternative locations and a plan for continued operation.” 

UTSA is also transitioning all but a very limited number of the staff to telecommuting, and only “essential and critical facilities, public safety and other limited campus operations” will continue.

 

March 17 Update from UTSA President Dr. Taylor Eighmy

On March 17, UTSA President Dr. Taylor Eighmy sent an email to students informing them of the extension of online instruction through the spring semester, the postponement of commencement and the mandatory move-out for students living in on-campus housing, with some exceptions. 

For a detailed summary of the changes, find the full story here.

 

March 15 Update from UTSA Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Business Affairs Veronica Mendez

On March 15, Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Business Affairs Veronica Mendez sent an email to UTSA faculty and staff regarding updates to UTSA policy surrounding the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. 

Mendez introduced a revision of the new international travel policy President Dr. Taylor Eighmy implemented on March 13. The revision requires all students, faculty and staff who traveled home by plane from an international location, regardless of the country’s warning level given by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to self-isolate for 14 days, report their travel to UTSA Global Initiatives and contact Student Health Services. This includes both university-sponsored and personal travel. 

The original policy required a 14-day self-isolation of people returning from CDC-designated Warning – Level 3 countries and UTSA community members to report their travel to Global Initiatives.

Mendez also made a revision of travel policies regarding domestic travel. Mendez is strongly encouraging UTSA community members returning from Washington state, California, Washington, D.C., Boston or the greater metropolitan New York area to self-isolate for 14 days. This list of locations is subject to change with new developments in the spread of COVID-19. 

Mendez informed faculty and staff that if they “fall into a higher-risk category or feel [they] have a medical need to work from home, please follow the HR accommodation process by notifying your supervisor, obtaining medical documentation, completing the request for telecommuting and submitting these materials to HR for review.”

UTSA is planning for potential coronavirus-related eventualities, including the closing of campus, and assessing how they would affect faculty. 

“In the event of a campus closure, plans are in development for employees to telecommute,” Mendez’s email said. 

For now, all faculty and staff are expected to report to work as normal starting Monday, March 16.

Mendez’s comments about a potential campus closure did not mention plans for students living or working on campus. 

 

March 13 Update from UTSA President Dr. Taylor Eighmy

On March 13, UTSA President Dr. Taylor Eighmy sent an email to the UTSA community providing updates to the university’s response to COVID-19. 

These updates included a new travel policy, which, effective immediately, ended all university-sponsored domestic and international travel with few limited exceptions, which included travel deemed mission-critical or health-critical by university leadership. The ban applies until at least April 12. The new travel policy also mandates that all students, faculty and staff returning from countries labeled Warning – Level 3 — avoid all non-essential travel — by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must undergo a self-isolation period of 14 days before returning to campus. These students, faculty and staff must also report their travel to UTSA Global Initiatives

Eighmy also informed the UTSA community that “all UTSA events expected to draw more than 50 people must be postponed, canceled or conducted virtually.” For events under 50 people, Eighmy advised organizers to consider how to make the events as safe as possible. 

According to the email, UTSA is “recalling our study abroad students from other countries.” UTSA has yet to respond to a request for comment regarding details about which countries are being affected by this recall, the number of students being recalled and other information about the decision. 

For students experiencing flu-like symptoms, Eighmy said this: “Self-isolate if you are experiencing symptoms identified with coronavirus; do not go to an urgent care [facility] or hospital to request a test; and call ahead to your primary care physician or a free clinic in the area for consultation and guidance.” 

To learn more about what to do to stay safe, or if you think you may have COVID-19 symptoms, visit the UTSA FAQ page on the coronavirus. 

 

March 11 Update from UTSA President Dr. Taylor Eighmy

On March 11, UTSA President Dr. Taylor Eighmy sent an email to UTSA students informing them of updates to university procedures and policies due to COVID-19. 

Classes will be canceled the week of March 16 and will resume online beginning on March 23, remaining so until at least April 13. Faculty are expected to reach out to their students the week of March 16 to inform them how classes will be conducted online.

Although students who can stay home are encouraged not to return to campus, Eighmy assured students who live on campus that they will be allowed to continue doing so through the extended break and the remainder of the semester. This policy differentiates UTSA from several other universities like Stanford University, the University of Virginia, Trinity University and Rice University, which have mandated that a majority of students — with some schools allowing some exceptions —  move out of on-campus housing because of coronavirus fears. 

Eighmy also informed students that campus services such as Dining Services, UTSA Libraries, the Campus Recreation Center, the Student Union, Student Health Services and Counseling & Mental Health Services will remain open. Dining Services will have reduced hours. Meal plans will remain active during the extended break. 

 

March 11 Update from Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Kimberly Espy

On March 11, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Kimbery Espy sent an email to students that elaborated on some of UTSA’s policy changes affected by COVID-19. This email followed Eighmy’s earlier message to students about how the university would be adjusting to the public health emergency. 

In her email, Espy informed students they will be able to use the Air Rowdy WiFi network, JPL, computer labs and Student Union on main and downtown campuses to access their online classes. 

Espy also told students the academic calendar would be extended three days and the final day of classes will be May 8 rather than May 5. Final exams will take place from May 11 to May 15. Commencement will occur on May 16 and 17 as previously planned. 

Parking services remain unchanged, and The Runner will continue to provide transport to Main Campus on a reduced schedule.