New mask guidance

Graphic by Juhi Karnalkar | Mercury Staff


Following Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-36, UTD and all other schools in the UT system will no longer require individuals on campus to wear face masks.

Mask-wearing is now voluntary everywhere on campus except for the Davidson Gundy Alumni Center, which is still running a COVID-19 vaccine clinic. However, Vice President and Chief of Staff Rafael Martín said after the clinic closes on July 6, the Alumni Center will join the rest of campus in not requiring masks.

While face coverings are no longer mandatory, Martín said that completing the Daily Health Check still is for unvaccinated Comets coming to campus. The procedures for the Daily Health Check remain the same as the previous two semesters – that is, individuals must specify whether they are visiting campus that day and if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms via a secure text or email link. Fully vaccinated Comets can opt out of the Check two weeks after reporting their status on the Voluntary Vaccine Reporting Form.

“We [are] assessing right now kind of how we will try to implement that in the fall when obviously we’ll have many, many more students who will be coming to campus,” Martín said. “As it stands right now, for those students that do not self-report their vaccination status, we will require them to complete the Daily Health Check in the fall semester.”

Martín said he encourages all Comets to follow CDC guidelines, which say unvaccinated individuals should wear masks when near others, and vaccinated individuals do not necessarily need to wear masks but can continue to do so if they wish. Martín also encourages Comets to continue getting vaccinated and reporting their status on the Voluntary Vaccine Reporting Form. Currently, 20.18% of students and 57.47% of employees are considered fully immunized by the Office of Emergency Management & Continuity Planning, though the numbers might be higher. To help increase the percentages, Martin said UTD is in negotiations with Walmart corporations to have on-demand immunizations on campus.

“We are going to try to make [on-demand] vaccinations readily available for students in the fall semester,” Martín said. “Hopefully, that will push us over the edge … so we can achieve population or herd immunity on campus and have very low incidents of new cases in the fall.”