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Office of the Provost - The University of Texas at Arlington


September 8, 2021

Dear Faculty,

As we reach two weeks into the fall semester, I hope you have had the opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and projects and engage with students enrolled in your fall classes even through preventative measures in place to reduce spread on campus and the continued stress from COVID‑19 rates. Thank you for all the work you are doing to ensure education, research, and other vital activities can continue while keeping everyone’s health a top priority.

I am grateful for the multiple discussions—including those with representatives from Faculty Senate, Student Government, deans, associate deans, and others—on the best way to transition back to on-campus class meetings without reduced density. Interim President Lim indicated our planned way forward in his email message yesterday:

  • "As a preventive measure, it was previously announced courses would be offered at a reduced density until Sept. 8. Since that time, the University’s leadership team and I have received much feedback and have actively sought out various points of view in order to hear the needs and concerns of students, faculty and staff. Additionally, we have been consulting with health experts and regional and statewide leaders, as well as reviewing the latest available data around COVID‑19.
  • Though the University continues to gather and evaluate COVID‑19 testing data, we are encouraged by the low positivity rate on our campus: approximately 1% since testing began on Aug. 13. Further, contact tracing efforts since the start of the semester have not identified any cases of classroom transmission, and the majority of the known COVID‑19 positive cases on campus are asymptomatic or have only mild illness.
  • With this information and after consultation with health experts, we feel comfortable making the decision to begin pivoting back to primarily in-person instruction by no later than Sept. 20."

While our current COVID‑19 mitigation strategies have been successful thus far—as evidenced by low positivity rates, no known classroom transmissions, and predominantly mild or asymptomatic cases on campus—we are extending the date for courses to pivot back to normal classroom density out of an abundance of caution. Rather than beginning the transition to normal classroom density this week as originally planned, faculty may begin the transition back starting Sept. 13 and should be fully transitioned by Sept. 20.

Be sure to let students know your classroom plan. Over the next few weeks, students will be working with various online and on-campus schedules, so notifying students in your courses of your plans as soon as possible will help them with their planning and transitions.

Faculty will need to maintain their scheduled teaching on campus starting Sept. 20 through the end of the fall term. If you are unable to teach on campus due to health needs, please follow processes for ADA accommodations that will be included in an email from the Office of Human Resources.

While I am hopeful we will continue to have low infection rates on campus and no classroom transmission, it is important that everyone is aware of processes related to close contact and positive COVID‑19 test results. Remember that all faculty, staff, and students should report close contact and positive results via the forms linked on the Reporting and Daily Self-Monitoring webpage. Reporting of positive results will initiate a series of actions, including contact tracing by UTA Health Services and disinfecting applicable areas.

If a faculty member tests positive, they should work with their chair to determine the best course of action. This may include temporarily moving class meetings online or finding a substitute instructor. Close contact protocols, based on Centers for Disease Control guidance, can be found on the Reporting and Daily Self-Monitoring webpage.

If a student notifies you directly that they had a COVID‑19 positive test result or have been in close contact with someone who is confirmed COVID‑19 positive, guide them to the forms linked on the Reporting and Daily Self-Monitoring webpage. If a student tests positive, a notification with guidance will be sent to the deans under which the students’ courses reside.

The Faculty FAQs contain additional information such as the process for when a student tests positive, measures to prevent spread in the classroom, resources to record class activities, vaccine incentives and more. Detailed and updated information is available on the main UTA COVID‑19 webpage. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at

As always, UTA will continue to monitor regional and local COVID‑19 data and consult with health officials to guide any future planning. I appreciate your continued dedication as we navigate our fall semester together.


Pranesh Aswath, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs ad interim




Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

The University of Texas at Arlington

321 Davis Hall • Box 19118 • Arlington, TX 76019

817-272-2103 (voice) • 817-272-3400 (fax)