What you need to know when classes start (undergraduate)

Dear students,

As we prepare for classes to resume on Monday, March 30, I’d like to share information about what you can expect when you begin your remote studies. Your professors and the campus are diligently preparing for the transition to new learning environments and are eager to support your academic success.

I want you to know that I fully understand how hard this is on you, your friends and your families. My son was sent home from college last week and began his online classes yesterday. This requires an adjustment for the entire family as we make sure he has what he needs. We deeply appreciate your flexibility and patience during this difficult time.

And we know that many of you are facing significant challenges right now: concerns about access to technology, housing, finances, and the health of yourself and your family. Please contact Student Emergency Services if you need support. Our central priority is doing what is necessary to help you. We want to be sure that you have what you need to be successful. This message is intended to address some of the academic questions you might have.

What you can expect as classes begin
Your professors and staff have been working tirelessly to prepare their remote classrooms for your return. We must ensure students have reliable internet access and computer equipment to engage in remote learning. If you need Wi-Fi or equipment for online classes, please contact Student Emergency Services and complete this online form for assistance.

Instructors are being asked to communicate with you about their remote course plans by this Friday, March 27 at noon. Their plans will allow you to be prepared to complete the remainder of the semester and provide guidance on expectations and assignments.

Technology Support for Remote Learning
To support this unprecedented shift to remote learning, we have developed resources for students who lack personal computers or who have other technology access challenges that impede remote learning. (PDF)

Q-drop and Withdrawal Deadline Extended to May 8
We understand changes to your classes are significant. To support the transition to this new mode of course delivery, the deadline for Q-drops and withdrawals is now the last class day — May 8. Typically, students are allowed a maximum of six Q-drops, but Q-drops made this semester will not count toward this limit (this includes Q-drops during the first half of the semester).

In addition, we will be making changes to our grading system. This may be similar to what our peer universities have done across the country and will allow for students to choose a Pass/Fail grading option in courses where that was not previously available. We have heard from students about their concerns about grading. We know that an option like this will alleviate many of those concerns, and you can expect more details later this week after Faculty Council has voted on this issue and made their recommendations to the president and myself.

Regularly Check Texas One Stop Website
Before classes begin and throughout the semester, Texas One Stop will have critical information about registration, tuition, and financial aid. This information will be updated frequently. Staff members are there to help you prepare and remain on track with your degree plan. Don’t hesitate to contact them if you have any questions. They are there to help you navigate through issues you encounter, and they want to support you in your progress toward graduation.

Staying Healthy
Please remember to access these services throughout the semester should you need them.

  • University Health Services (UHS) is open to provide care for acute illness or injury, including evaluation of COVID-19. Call the UHS Nurse Advice Line — 512-475-6877 — for guidance about when to come to UHS, especially if you have a fever and respiratory symptoms. UHS can also schedule telehealth appointments at 512-471-4955 for some health concerns.
  • The Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC) remains available for services over the phone, and the CMHC Crisis Line, 512-471-2255, operates 24/7.
  • Take preventative steps, like regularly washing hands, adhere to social distancing guidelines and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Finally, please be sure to regularly check the UT Austin COVID-19 webpage for the most recent updates. You can also provide feedback and submit questions there so we can continue to respond and support you through this challenging period. Our goal is to preserve your academic experience and continue your educational journey as much as possible and ensure your success at UT.

As you prepare to continue your classes next week through new online environments, I want to thank you in advance for your patience and resilience throughout all of this. This will be a considerable adjustment for everyone, but we are committed to helping you to pursue your goals through this period. I so deeply admire how well our community has responded, and we will continue to work to support you during this challenging time.


Maurie McInnis

Messages from the Provost
Student Updates