When It Comes To Reopening UT In The Fall, ‘Hope’ Is The Operative Word

The head of the university’s reopening task force says the plan is to reopen in some capacity, but specific predictions are hard to make during a pandemic.

By Laura RiceMay 15, 2020 10:57 am, ,

There doesn’t seem to be a universal template for how to reopen a university campus during a pandemic. The California State University System, for example, is going exclusively online in the fall, while Texas Tech University in Lubbock will offer a mix of online and in-person classes.

The University of Texas at Austin is in the midst of developing its own reopening plan. Psychology professor Art Markman is leading that operation. He told Texas standard host David Brown on Friday that though the university hasn’t made a final decision, it hopes to open in the fall, at least partially.

Markman said there is intrinsic value to in-person learning and the on-campus experience.

“If there’s a way for us to be safe and also have our students engage with the campus, with each other, with our faculty, that’s an important priority – that’s something that’s been fundamental to the Longhorn experience,” Markman said.

Hundreds of people across campus have been involved in the university’s reopening effort.

Meanwhile, UT is also bolstering its online learning infrastructure because more classes will inevitably go online even if the campus reopens.

Markman said he can’t predict how the pandemic could change things come fall, but as of now he expects the university to open in some capacity. Interim President Jay Hartzell will wake the final decision in June.

But Markman admitted that the university will be a different place no matter what.

“That campus experience won’t look like it did two years ago, or even last fall when students came back, pre-COVID-19. But, yeah, I think that is our plan, and we’re working to make it so.”

Web story by Caroline Covington.


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