Beginning Wednesday, anyone entering a building on the University of Texas' Arlington campus will be required to wear a face covering. Masks will also be required in areas of the campus — like buses or large outdoor events — where social distancing is impossible, the university announced Monday.
Masks are not required in private offices, residence hall rooms or when researchers or students are working alone in the school's labs.
Anyone needing a reusable mask can pick one up from from the school's Central Library or its main information desk. Research groups at the school will be provide with disposable, three-ply masks.
"We will all do our part to keep our community safe by continuing to practice safe social distancing, follow proper hygiene and sanitation procedures, and wear masks on campus and in public—especially when social distancing cannot be achieved. We are in this together," Teik Lim, the school's interim president, said in a email sent to students, faculty and staff.
According to Lim's letter, UTA is reopening campus in three phases, with faculty and staff returning to the school's campus through the early fall. Eventually, he says, the school expects to return to in-person classes. UTA's summer schedule is all online.
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In the fall, students will attend limited in-person classes in addition to online classes, Lim said.
"Throughout the planning process we have proceeded thoughtfully and deliberately with safety as our guiding principle," he writes. "The plan to bring people back to campus encourages social distancing, minimizes on-campus presence, and provides the safest environment for staff, faculty, and students as we resume in-person activity. That means we will be entering the fall semester in a hybrid teaching format, with a mixture of in-person and online learning."
Several universities in Texas have released plans that would see students stay home after leaving campus for Thanksgiving break. The full details of UTA's plan for the fall have yet to be released.