The Department of Government
The Department of Government

Fall 20 GOV Building Guidance

*Last Updated: August 14, 2020

Dear Faculty and Graduate Students,

Below please find our guidelines for being present in our BAT and MEZ office space through the end of the year. All these guidelines are subject to revision, as conditions evolve and as we learn more about occupancy patterns. They are also subject to revision if we find that people are not using spaces appropriately.

The first question you might ask is: am I allowed to be on campus and in the building?

The answer is yes, but with a caveat. While providing permission to be on campus, the university has asked those who do not have to be on campus, to remain off campus. For example, university guidelines for reopening research labs say this, which applies as well to anyone using a shared space:

·      Working remotely is recommended to the extent possible for research activities such as computational research/coding, literature reviews, data analysis and writing.

·      Develop a process to document time and location while in the research space so that contact tracing is enhanced in the case that laboratory personnel test positive for COVID-19.

·      Conduct research group meetings remotely whenever possible. When in-person meetings are necessary, conduct them in a space large enough to promote social distancing.

We will leave it to you to decide whether you need to work from campus, trusting you will remain cognizant of the broader community in making decisions about where to spend your time. And we want you to feel you are able to work and be as productive as possible. But below are rules we expect you to follow when in the building.

General Guidelines

Be mindful of common areas. Do not congregate in the hallways. Respect posted signage at all times. Pay particular attention to posted occupancy limits and one way signs in stairwells. If you want to visit with others, do so outside whenever possible. And please remember that unless you are behind a closed door in your own office, you must wear a face covering in all university buildings at all times. The University recommends that you wear a face covering outside as well.

Faculty/Instructional Staff/Any Similarly Situated Offices

1.     Offices are single occupant offices at all times.

This means all office hours are virtual. The building will remain accessible by ID only. Undergraduate students and the general public will not (should not) have access to the building. If you must meet with someone, you may use the shared spaces discussed below.

Shared Spaces

Please remember to observe social distancing rules when using any shared spaces – that is, you must wear a face covering at all times, and remain at least six feet apart. Occupancy limits for shared spaces are based on the university's rule of one person per 200 square feet.

1.     Many small shared spaces will remain closed. These include:

a.     Hallways, and their “sitting areas.”

b.     Several rooms on the first floor of BAT – (1.118; 1.126; 1.128).

2.     Larger shared spaces in BAT will be closed by default, but accessible with occupancy limits by reservation, by email request to Jenna or Stuart. These include:

a.     1.104 – max occupancy of 1

b.     1.130 - max occupancy of 1

c.     2.120D – max occupancy of 1

d.     5.102 – max occupancy of 2

e.     5.108 – max occupancy of 4
3.     Some shared spaces in BAT will remain accessible, with occupancy limits. These include:

a.     Mailroom – max occupancy of 2 (please refrain from entering if you see others in the mailroom, and do not linger)

b.     Copy rooms – max occupancy of 1

4.     Graduate student TA cubicles

a.     No more than 9 students in BAT 1.102 at any one time; no more than 7 students in BAT 1.116 at any one time. TAs will have assigned cubicles and should use only their assigned cubicle.

b.     Graduate students will be allowed to work from their TA cubicles by signing up to use that space. Sign up sheets will be maintained online.

BAT 1.102 - Sign Up Sheet

BAT 1.116 - Sign Up Sheet

c.     Graduate students will be allowed to schedule time in their cubicle, in advance, for up to four hours per day, but may extend that time by signing up for additional time on the day of, if there are vacancies

5.     Shared AI/Fellowship/other offices in MEZ connector and elsewhere

a.     If you share an office with someone, please treat it as a single occupancy office. Work out a schedule or a sign-up system with your office mate, so that you are not both there at the same time.

6.     MEZ Fifth Floor

a.     The Policy Agendas Project and Public Policy Institute will implement a plan for managing the fifth floor of Mezes consistent with the guidelines set forth for the rest of the department. Please refer to their guidelines if you use the fifth floor.

Undergraduate Advising Suite

1.     Undergraduate advisors will work remotely through the Fall semester. The undergraduate advising suite will remain closed.

Administrative Staff and Access to the Administrative Suite

1.     Most staff will work remotely for the semester, however we will have a limited staff presence on campus capable of responding to needs as they arise, whether that be replacing toner in a printer or assisting with faculty duplication needs. All requests should be emailed to Stuart and Jenna. Please assume up to a 24-72 hour turnaround for specific requests.

2.     The administrative suite will remain closed and locked. However, we are making a key available for those who might need it in an emergency, for example because keys were locked inside an office, or for access to the department scanner. The key will be in a lock box in the administrative slot in the mailroom. The combination to the lock box will be changed weekly, and you will need to email Jenna and Stuart for the combination so we can track who accesses the key.

3.     Mail and packages will be delivered on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Mail services will deliver to the mailroom. Staff will retrieve deliveries from the mailroom and distribute. Given limited space, deliveries in many cases will be made to individual offices. Staff will knock on the door. If you are inside, please reply, and we will let you know we are entering to drop off the mail/package. Despite the resumption of mail services, we continue to encourage you to have items delivered directly to your home whenever possible, in the event campus mail services prove to be less than reliable.

4.     Staff will remain available, primarily via email. But you can also reach out to individual staff members to see their preferred means of communication. The staff are all using Microsoft Teams to communicate with each other, which is a great means to keep in touch, as it includes a one-stop shop for phone, video, chat, and document sharing. We ask that you remain flexible with staff, given the many things we are all balancing in our lives these days. That said, if you are having problems with staff responsiveness, first make sure you didn’t accidentally email History, and second contact Stuart. You are also always free to email if you are unsure where to send an email.

When in doubt about what is permitted on campus, or what precautions to take, please consult

Finally, as part of the university’s procedure for reopening buildings, we are required to pass along the following information, most of which appears to apply primarily to shared spaces:

Custodial Services is currently not cleaning personal work areas. Send an email reminder to tenants to do the following in shared workspaces:

-Occupants of personal spaces (offices and cubicles) are responsible for disinfecting their space, and also for disinfecting shared office equipment such as copiers, fax machines, refrigerator door handles, coffee machines, vending machines, etc.

-Disinfect desk surfaces, drawer pulls, stapler, tape dispenser, paperclip holder, and any other commonly used desk items. 

-Disinfect keyboard, mouse, phone, and any available writing utensils (including dry-erase markers).

-Disinfect computer monitor, power buttons, and flash drives being used. 

-Wash any dishes or cups left on desk in open air prior to use.

-Disinfect chair including lever handles and arm rests.

Please remember, if you have appliances in your office and will not regularly be in your office, to please unplug them and tend to them in a responsible manner. If you have a refrigerator in your office, Stuart recently emailed you about this. The university has identified water damage to buildings from refrigerators in office as one of the larger potential consequences of an extended period away from campus.


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  • Department of Government

    The University of Texas at Austin
    158 W 21st ST STOP A1800
    Batts Hall 2.116
    Austin, TX 78712-1704