Monday, Aug. 23, 2021

Dear UNT Faculty and Staff,

The first week of school is underway and it is truly invigorating to have you back on campus for a full university experience. This year holds great possibilities and by continuing to make sound decisions with health and safety in mind, we will thrive as a united UNT Family.

You likely have heard my welcome back video in your classes, and I want to reiterate that we are requesting all students, faculty, and staff wear a face covering while indoors per CDC guidance for our region. This is a proven way we can protect ourselves and others.

The video also addresses our mandatory COVID-19 testing requirement for all students, faculty, and staff at designated intervals throughout the semester. Vaccinated individuals may opt out by providing proof of vaccination. The first testing interval ends Sept. 10, and testing is free and available on campus.

If you are not vaccinated, I urge you to do so as soon as possible to protect yourself and our campus. We know that vaccines reduce the chance of experiencing severe impacts from COVID-19 and minimize transmission of the disease. Vaccinated individuals still have time to opt-in to UNT's Vaccine Incentive Program through Sept. 10. Participants are automatically entered into weekly drawings for more than 2,500 prizes, including tuition, parking passes, gift cards, sporting event tickets, and more!

I am looking forward to a vibrant fall semester with activities and events such as our annual Founder's Day picnic Sept. 10 on the Library Mall and my State of the University Sept. 21 at the Murchison Performing Arts Center. We also will host our TEDxUNT event Oct. 1, and we will celebrate Homecoming the week of Nov. 7-13. I look forward to wrapping up the semester with Fall Commencement Dec. 10-12. Mark your calendars now to participate in these events! 

As you progress through this semester, don't forget that our new Navigate mobile app is your one-stop shop for access to UNT resources and support. Not only can you schedule appointments with your advisors and other critical services like the Career Center and our First Generation Success Center, but you also can keep track of important dates and deadlines and find course study buddies. Students who access Navigate before Sept. 15 will be entered to win giveaways including suite seats at a UNT football game, an Apple Watch, and lunch with me! 

UNT is a resilient and caring university. Let's continue to care for our UNT community and make this fall fantastic!

UNT Proud,
Neal Smatresk