Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020

Dear UNT Students,

Last week, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported the highest single-day count of new COVID-19 cases since this pandemic began. We must push past the COVID fatigue we are all feeling and take an aggressive approach to preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

I know this is a special time of year, and we normally enjoy a wonderful holiday season together. I am as disappointed about all of this as each of you. However, it is imperative that we refrain from any campus gatherings or holiday parties this year. The CDC and epidemiologists have been clear in guidance regarding gatherings. The more people who gather together and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the risk of spreading COVID-19.

To protect your family and friends as you prepare to leave campus next week, we encourage you to take advantage of free and expanded on-campus COVID-19 testing administered by Well Health - an independent service located at the UNT Circle Garage. Beginning on Wednesday, Nov. 18, the company will be testing everyday between now and Dec. 5 (except for Thanksgiving and the Friday after). More information, including how to register, can be found at www.gogettested.com. The UNT Student Health and Wellness Center also will continue to offer tests, and more information can be found here.

In addition to expanded testing, the following guidelines should be followed:

  • Each division is evaluating campus staffing plans between now and Dec. 31 in an effort to limit potential virus spread. At the same time, UNT remains committed to the needs of students like you, and student-serving offices, computer labs and tutoring centers will remain available to serve you through final exams in December.
  • Any type of carpooling is discouraged right now for students, faculty or staff.
  • All holiday-related gatherings, including those on- and off-campus as well as any student organization, division or department holiday party, are prohibited.
  • There will be no group activities on campus beginning Nov. 23 through the end of the year. One-on-one meetings with students will continue as requested by students, and we encourage you to continue with only essential activities like going to class.
  • If you will be returning to live on campus after Thanksgiving or returning for other reasons, we strongly encourage you get tested before coming back to campus. While not required, it is an important and simple way you can help keep our campus community healthy. Please be mindful of our campus community's safety and do not come to campus if you might be sick.


We must continue to look out for one another as much as possible. These safety measures are in place to protect all of us, including loved ones. As I mentioned last week, many of you will soon be spending time with family, including elderly or potentially immunocompromised relatives, which means your choices can have a deep impact beyond your own health. Be smart. Be vigilant. Be kind to one another.

Neal Smatresk
UNT President