Friday, May 14, 2021

Dear UNT Community,

With COVID-19 case counts down on campus and in our Denton community, I am excited to share that we are continuing our plans for a full Fall 2021 university experience. UNT safety committees have been diligently reviewing federal and state guidance and making recommendations for how we apply the rapidly evolving changes to our campus operations.

The most immediate change is that we are eliminating outdoor mask requirements on campus as of today, and I'm pleased to share the following changes that will be effective on or before June 1.

  • Indoor mask requirements will be eliminated.
  • Conversion of classroom spaces to their pre-COVID configuration has begun. Capacity signage will be posted to be equivalent to the university social distancing standard.   
  • Visitors are permitted on campus, including visiting student and faculty scholars, media, and other guests. (Note that third-party rentals of university spaces are still prohibited and university events still need approval by the events subcommittee.)
  • Water fountains are being turned back on.
  • Work items can be shared - such as pens and paper - following CDC guidance regarding a lack of evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 via surfaces.
  • Elevator occupancy limits are lifted.

As a caring campus community, and out of respect for those who have a need to continue practicing safety guidelines that have been in place during the pandemic, we will continue to recommend social distancing and frequent handwashing.

I also urge you to get vaccinated if you haven't yet done so. While there are no campus vaccine clinics at this time, we continue to review the need for additional clinic opportunities. You also are encouraged to consider one of the many convenient options at local pharmacies and other locations. A vaccination does not mean you cannot contract COVID-19, but the risk of becoming sick is extremely low and the CDC reports that early data shows the vaccines help people without symptoms from transmitting the virus to others. Let's make UNT an even safer place to study and work through vaccinations.

University travel restrictions will remain in place for now and any business travel must be approved by your division's vice president. For those planning personal travel this summer, check the CDC for the latest travel advisories. All faculty, staff, or students returning from international travel will need to quarantine off campus for 10 days, and international students who will be living on campus will be provided with an on-campus quarantine room. You can find UNT's latest travel guidelines here.

Throughout the summer, we will do our best to keep you updated regarding additional changes. We will continue to carefully review the latest advice from public health experts and adjust our plans accordingly. I encourage you to visit the CDC safety guidelines and our Health Alerts website regularly for the latest campus guidelines as they go into effect.

I am excited by our progress toward resuming a full university experience, and I know that many of you are, too. As we approach fall, you will see even more changes as more of our Mean Green Family returns and settles back into the routines we've long been missing. I sincerely look forward to seeing more of you very soon as we experience the vibrancy of our campus community together.

UNT proud,
Neal Smatresk
UNT President