Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021

Dear UNT Community,

We recently finished processing student, staff, and faculty submissions to our Fall COVID-19 Mandatory Testing Program. I am pleased to report we had 38,275 community members comply with the program - a 90% participation rate from faculty and staff, and an 81% participation rate from our students. However, what is possibly most notable from our participation data is that our vaccination rates among faculty, staff and students are higher than the state and county averages. Based on the information we received from the faculty, staff and students who chose to share their records, about 73% of our faculty and staff and 54% of our students are vaccinated. Nationwide, only 56% of Americans are vaccinated, and that number drops to 51% here in Texas. While this deadly virus has continued to wreak havoc worldwide, our UNT community has been relatively fortunate — a fact I attribute to the effort each of you has made to protect yourselves and those around you during this pandemic.

We are continuing to monitor case numbers within our community and following the latest advice from public health officials. The most up-to-date resource for all COVID-related UNT news is still the http://healthalerts.unt.edu/ website. There you will find answers to your frequently asked questions, the latest guidance and restrictions, and the dashboard tracking active cases within our community.

Next week we will begin the second interval of our testing program designed to stay ahead of any potential outbreaks as we continually work to keep our community as safe as possible. This phase features random testing every two weeks. Participation is voluntary, but I hope you will continue to join us in taking these small steps toward keeping our community safe.

Every two weeks, a randomized computer program will select 2,000 members of the campus community, including both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, who will be notified of their selection via email. Selected individuals will have two weeks to get tested at either the Student Health and Wellness Center, one of the on-campus Curative locations, or another location of their choosing. Individuals who are randomly selected this fall will not be eligible for re-selection again this semester.

Should the need arise, we will return to mandatory testing. I understand that COVID fatigue is real and challenging for us all, but now is not the time to quit.

We've come incredibly far in a short amount of time, and our ability to keep one another safe throughout this pandemic has truly been incredible. I am honored to lead such a remarkable community.

Thank you for continuing to care for one another every day. Your value in social responsibility shines bright, and I truly am appreciative of all you do.

UNT proud,
Neal Smatresk
UNT President