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UT announces shortened semester, extended class days in final fall semester plan

The finalized plans for the 2020 fall semester at the University of Texas have been released.

AUSTIN, Texas — Leaders with the University of Texas at Austin have released their final plans for the fall 2020 semester as students and faculty grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

Details about the plans were explained on June 29. Interim UT President Jay Hartzell, along with other leaders and experts, are expected to discuss them in a press conference Monday at 2:30 p.m.

The plan said that the fall 2020 semester will be shortened, starting on Aug. 26, with in-person instruction ending on Nov. 25. The remainder of the semester will be held online, with finals taking place from Dec. 7 to 16.

Additionally, class days will run on an extended schedule from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. No more than 40% of the seats in each classroom are to be occupied.

Some of the key points from the plan include campus testing protocols, an optional online experience for the full semester and residence hall protocols.

According to the university's plan, there will be daily health screenings to ensure the campus' safety. Additionally, the plan said the University Health Services will continue offering COVID-19 screenings.

The plan also said that residence halls, student health centers and dining facilities are being modified to comply with health and safety protocols.

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Some of the changes to residence halls include residents being required to wear cloth masks in common areas and guests no longer being allowed during the day or overnight.

Regarding dining, the university said some of the modified options include ordering, delivering and modified seating.

UT said it will honor all contracts for university-owned residence halls, but students will be required to sign a COVID-19 amendment.

“Our goal with this plan — as it has been from the beginning — is to create an environment that is as safe as possible for all community members, while reigniting the learning, teaching and research that make our university the outstanding place that it is,” Hartzell wrote in a letter to campus.

In early June, the interim UT president announced that all students, faculty and staff will be required to wear face masks on campus during the fall. In a temporary move, high school students applying to attend UT Austin will not be required to submit an ACT or SAT score as part of their application for fall 2021.

WATCH: UT waives SAT, ACT requirements for fall 2021

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