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UTSA issues Public Health Task Force report to guide fall planning

UTSA issues Public Health Task Force report to guide fall planning

JUNE 16, 2020Editor’s note: The following message was sent today via email from President Taylor Eighmy to all students, faculty and staff: 

I am pleased today to share the report from our Public Health Task Force to guide our safe and healthy return to campus this fall.

The recommendations within the report will allow us to further develop our fall semester plans. We expect additional guidance from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and UT System, so this report may evolve. Nonetheless, it is an excellent jumping off point for the tactical teams and their planning efforts.

The task force developed its recommendations based on a set of guiding principles and public health current best practices. The report includes guidance on wearing face coverings; ensuring effective physical controls in our classrooms, offices, residence halls, dining facilities, and other spaces; holding on-campus events and social gatherings; and protecting high-risk populations.

More broadly, the report emphasizes our paramount commitment to safeguarding the health and welfare of every member of the UTSA community and our shared responsibility to take steps to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infections on our campuses. Each of us must do our part, and mandatory compliance training on appropriate public health measures will be required for all students, faculty, and staff.

The two tactical teams charged with developing plans for resuming instruction and student activities in August — Undergraduate and Master’s Education and Advancing Belonging and the Out-of-Classroom Experience — will integrate the report’s recommendations into their work. We expect to be able to share high-level decisions from those two teams by June 30 and to release their final reports in early July. In the meantime, I encourage you to review the fall planning FAQ.

The remaining tactical teams (those focused on UTSA’s future postpandemic) will begin work later this summer and continue through fall. We will provide updates on their progress as available.

To provide an opportunity for all students, faculty, and staff to learn more about our planning process for fall 2020, UTSA will hold two town halls this week. The Public Health Task Force co-chairs will share insights on their report, and the co-chairs of the two tactical teams mentioned above will give updates on their progress. The bulk of these sessions will be dedicated to answering questions and providing an opportunity for the UTSA community to offer input into their planning considerations.

Both town halls will cover the same content, and both will be recorded for those who wish to view at a later date.

Virtual Town Hall #1
Wednesday, June 17
10–11 a.m.
Virtual Town Hall #2
Thursday, June 18
2–3 p.m. 

I encourage you make plans to attend one of these town halls. If you are unable — or if you have additional input following the town halls — you are welcome to share your thoughts by emailing

I want to thank co-chairs Bernard Arulanandam, vice president for research, economic development, and knowledge enterprise, and Lynne Cossman, dean of the College for Health, Community and Policy, and the entire Public Health Task Force for giving their full attention to this effort over the past couple of weeks. I am particularly grateful to our Public Health Expert Advisory Group for its participation. Together, their hard work, collaboration, and thoughtfulness have provided us with an excellent framework for a safe and productive fall semester.

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The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

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