Dear School of Architecture Community,
By now, most of you are aware that concurrent shelter in place declarations from City of Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt were issued today to take effect at 11:59 pm this evening and continue until April 13, 2020. For details of the order please see the President’s message:
As an educational institution, UT has certain exemptions from this order as long as our roles are “facilitating distance learning, performing critical research, or performing other essential functions, provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible.”
What does this order mean for our school?
- While the order allows us to perform essential functions, it does mean that we must restrict entry into our buildings to only those few individuals designated as essential personnel. As of now, this is our admin team (Michelle Addington, Charlton Lewis, Cisco Gomes, Allan Shearer, Jeff Evelyn, Luke Dunlap) and selected staff members depending on the need. Most of our team and staff will be on rotation to minimize contact while still maintaining our operations, but we expect that there will always be at least two of us operating on campus for part of the day M-F, with additional staff coming in as needed. Our buildings will effectively close tonight with the exception of these few individuals.
- We understand that this order, when coupled with the closing of dormitories, has made it extremely difficult for the students who still have materials at their workspace or in their studio that are needed. We have made arrangements with the University to allow some limited access for students to collect materials until March 30. We will temporarily be using a system similar to the one we set up and had in place this past week in which students came by to pick up their materials, but you must first either check-in at the reception desk in Goldsmith from 9 am to 4 pm or e-mail Justin Taylor at Justin.Taylor@austin.utexas.edu Do not enter the buildings without checking in first, and do not let anyone else in. Each person who enters a building must separately use their ID card. If you need help carrying heavy items, such as drafting boards, and you have a family member or friend who will be helping you, please give their name when you check in. Please do not bring children, pets, and other individuals with you into the buildings.
- Beginning on March 30, 2020, UTSOA buildings will no longer be accessible and card swipe entry will be disabled with the exception of staff and faculty. We do recognize that travel restrictions may prevent some of you for coming back to Austin before the 30th and we are working on a process to allow some limited entry for those of you who are adversely affected by those restrictions. UTSOA Student Affairs has been acting as the primary point of contact regarding any difficulties with access and personal circumstances and will continue to do so. If the above directions pose issues please contact Assistant Dean Charlton Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further as soon as possible.
- Any materials or supplies left at desks and workspaces because students were unable to return to pick them up will be left in place and the studios locked until such a time as our buildings reopen and students are able to retrieve their things.
- During the shelter-in-place order, we also understand that some faculty may need to access materials in their office. If it is necessary to come to campus during this period, we ask that you also check in with Justin to alert him of when you arrive and leave, and where you will be. And please, do not bring in any family members or other guests.
Our major concern at this moment is safety. With few people on campus, and even fewer in our buildings, we must be ever vigilant to protect one another.
As we respond to yet another shift in our rapidly changing circumstances, I want to remind students that there is support through the Vice President for Student Affairs office. Among the many resources this office has available for students is the Student Emergency Fund which is intended for students with limited access to WIFI or with specific computer needs. A good summary of their available support resources can be found at
There will be many more messages coming out over the next week as we get ready to resume classes on Monday, March 30. We will do our best to consolidate information on our main web page so that you are always up to date. And please check our page often.
Take care, be safe, and shelter at home,