College of Liberal Arts

COVID-19 Update

Teaching

Spring Break has been extended for an extra week for students, with classes resuming on Monday, March 30. Prior to that date, faculty and staff will develop social distancing plans for coursework and activities, including transitioning most in-person classes to online formats and making logistical changes to those classes that must remain in-person.

  • If you are an assistant instructor, you need to develop a plan for instructional continuity for your course. The Faculty Innovation Center has provided resources to help you do so, and Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services (LAITS) is offering assistance, including workshops. You will then need to submit a Course Plan for Instructional Continuity for each course you teach for accreditation and other compliance purposes.
  • If you are a teaching assistant, you will need to work with your faculty members while they develop such plans for their courses, including potential changes to your teaching responsibilities and, if applicable, any discussion sections and labs that you lead. Faculty have been instructed to revise any TA agreements accordingly with your input.
  • The Graduate School has granted an exception to the usual work restriction attached to fellowships through the end of March 2020, to allow fellowship recipients to assist with the conversion of in-person classes to online instructional platforms.

Travel

UT is recalling all university-sponsored travelers worldwide, including students traveling for their research and studies. Graduate students with unique situations or concerns should contact Texas Global (educationabroad@austin.utexas.edu) IMMEDIATELY with their particular circumstances.
  • All university-sponsored international and domestic travel is suspended through April 30, with the possibility that this date could be extended.
  • Requests for travel to restricted regions will not be accepted.
  • Students should check Global Risk and Safety for updates.

For department’s graduate student researchers who recently returned from international travel due to COVID-19, if they are in need of insurance, please see the following from Ivan Kopecky at Academic Health Plans:

  • IF the students were doing research as an eligible student while doing research abroad and are return to the US an eligible UT student, then they may enroll in UT SHIP with our qualifying event form. AHP would require a copy of the letter that they are required to return to the US that contains the dates.
  • Qualifying Event Form: https://myahpcare.com/wp-content/uploads/UT_Austin_EF_QE_SP_19_20-3.pdf

Other Issues

  • If you have specific technology needs to enable you to perform your duties remotely, please contact your supervisor/department chairs. Department chairs will compile needs for their units and report them to LAITS.
  • Comprehensive examinations and dissertation/thesis defenses are allowed to continue online or in-person with appropriate social distancing plans and other appropriate guidelines. Your departments are charged with developing such plans.
  • The university will work to accommodate any special needs you have as you engage in teaching and research due to your own underlying health concerns or because you live with or in contact with someone who either is in self-isolation or who might be in a vulnerable health condition. The portal for submitting an accommodations request is: https://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/secure/emergency/covid19checkin.php
  • Students in need of medical attention may call the UHS Nurse Advice Line at 512-475-6877. Faculty, staff, and students employed as teaching assistants, assistant instructors, or graduate assistants with UT Select insurance may contact the 24/7 Nurseline provided by the Blue Cross Blue Shield at 888-315-9473 or seek care from UT Health Austin or their personal healthcare provider.
  • The University’s Coronavirus Guidance website offers useful information as well as regular updates.
  • As the University’s response to Covid-19 evolves in the coming weeks, please maintain regular contact with your supervising faculty and departmental leadership regarding continuity plans and adjustments to course instruction and evaluation methods.
  • Your best point of contact for information and guidance is your department’s chair, graduate advisor, or graduate program coordinator. My office will be in regular communication with them. You may also contact my office at whittington@austin.utexas.edu if you have concerns that you would rather share directly with us.

Let me close by saying that we understand how much the College of Liberal Arts depends on you and that your needs are important to us. Please take care.

Robert Crosnoe
Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies
College of Liberal Arts

Erica Whittington
Office of Research and Graduate Studies
College of Liberal Arts