Jan 5, 2022 - COVID

Austin universities go back to the virtual chalkboard

The administrative tower at the University of Texas.
The University of Texas Tower. Photo: Ilana Panich-Linsman for The Washington Post via Getty Images

In light of the ramped-up COVID numbers, university students in Austin will have to wait to return to the classroom.

The big picture: Officials at the University of Texas on Tuesday evening announced they're asking instructors to delay in-person teaching until the end of January.

  • The announcement follows decisions by Texas State University and Huston-Tillotson University to go remote the first two weeks of their semesters.

What they're saying: "Although severe illness and resulting hospitalizations appear less prevalent with this variant, we expect conditions in our community to be challenging during the next month," University president Jay Hartzell wrote to the UT community.

Between the lines: In keeping with executive orders from Gov. Greg Abbott barring masking and vaccine mandates at state agencies, Hartzell's letter says testing by employees before returning to campus is "encouraged" and masking is "recommended." He stops short of actually requiring vaccination.

  • All students returning to campus for the spring semester "should receive a viral test within 72 hours (three days) prior to returning to campus," Hartzell wrote.

Zoom out: Nationwide universities from Yale to Stanford have announced delays to in-person classes.

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