Friday, Dec. 18, 2020

Dear UNT faculty and staff,

As we head into a much-needed winter break, I want each of you to know how incredibly grateful I am for all you have done this past year to help our university stay focused on our students and their success. It certainly hasn't been easy, but I continue to be proud of what we have been able to accomplish and I am hopeful of what we will achieve in the coming year. During this break, I hope you will find opportunities to enjoy the season and unwind from the semester.

As you enjoy the break, please keep in mind the CDC-recommended public health strategies, including wearing your face mask, staying socially distanced, and avoiding nonessential indoor spaces and crowded outdoor venues, among others.

From day one of this COVID-19 pandemic, our primary goal has been keeping our UNT community safe and healthy while continuing to serve our students and provide them the best experience possible. We were able to take a step forward by safely allowing small, in-person events and meetings for student organizations this fall, and I am hopeful for what we can offer this spring. I also am hopeful for what the COVID-19 vaccine might mean for our community in the coming months.

With all of this in mind, our university team developed a proposal for Spring 2021 that includes continuing in-person events and meetings in a safe environment, when possible. When we return in January, we will continue to evaluate the COVID-19 conditions and move forward with - or adjust - those plans as appropriate.

Opening in the spring in the safest way possible will take all of us working together and each of us doing our part. Before returning to campus after the holiday break, you are strongly encouraged to get a COVID-19 test and to self-monitor for 14 days before returning. The self-monitoring form can serve as a guide, and you also can use Bridge to access the COVID-19 safety protocols training as a refresher.

Daily COVID-19 testing administered by WellHealth will continue at the Union Circle Garage. The testing is available with no individual out-of-pocket cost. To register, visit, search for Denton on the map and follow the “Book Now" link on the "Denton - UNT Union Circle Garage - Texas Emergency Management” location. Include the group code "UNT" to allow positive test results to be sent directly to UNT's COVID response team. Testing is offered from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays, except for holidays.

It also is important to note that all faculty, staff or students arriving from any international location will be asked to quarantine off campus for 10 days. International students who will be living on campus will be provided with an on-campus quarantine room. To report your international travel to the COVID hotline, call 844-366-5892 or email for instructions on their quarantine period or on-campus quarantine housing.

I hope you enjoy your winter break - please do find some time to rest and recharge! I look forward to seeing you in the spring and continuing to work together to keep our community safe.

Stay safe,

Neal Smatresk
UNT President