President Eighmy updates the UTSA community on the university’s response to the coronavirus pandemic

Virtual instruction will continue until the end of the semester, Spring 2020 commencement will be postponed and on-campus residents must move home

Breahna Luera, News Editor

On March 17, President Dr. Taylor Eighmy sent students an email with an update on COVID-19’s effects on the UTSA community. The email stated that virtual instruction will last through the end of the spring semester, Spring 2020 commencement ceremonies will be postponed and all able students who live on-campus must move home for the remainder of the semester. This announcement came after a letter from the UT System Chancellor was sent to the presidents of UT System institutions. 

I know that these changes will cause serious disruptions, but they are based on the best public health information we have under advisement today from UT System as well as our city, county and state governments,” Eighmy said in his email.

Students who are expected to graduate this semester will still have their degrees awarded to them in May, but a ceremony will be postponed until later in the summer or the Fall 2020 semester, according to the student section of UTSA’s coronavirus FAQ page.

Students who live on-campus must move out of their dorms by March 31, and the university is “developing plans to reimburse students [who have paid for on-campus housing] on a pro-rated basis,” according to Eighmy. There are some exceptions for students who can remain on campus such as students who are: facing housing insecurity; facing financial insecurity; in the Supervised Independent Living Program; or an international student whose home is in a country with a CDC level two or three, has limited internet access in their home or has an immigration, travel and/or visa restriction. Students who are moving are encouraged to do so without the assistance of family members if possible in an attempt to reduce the number of people on campus as much as possible. 

For students who remain on campus, the following campus resources will remain open on modified schedules: Housing and Residence Life, Student Health Services, Counseling and Mental Health Services, dining, libraries, Disability Services, the Roadrunner Pantry, research labs and Research Safety and Animal Care. Limited academic support and central and senior administration will also be provided.

According to Eighmy, UTSA will transition into a mostly telecommuting workforce with the exception of employees who are “essential to campus operations.” The staff section of UTSA’s coronavirus FAQ page states that “a follow-up message will be sent by the end of this week with more information and guidance on telecommuting for faculty and staff.” 

There will be two upcoming town halls for the UTSA community to watch virtually where a panel of Eighmy and members of his leadership team will be able to answer questions students, faculty and staff have about these new changes to university operations. The faculty town hall will be held from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. on March 18 and the student town hall will be held from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m on March 19.