LBJ School COVID-19 Resources and Guidance | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

LBJ School COVID-19 Resources and Guidance

Information for LBJ School students, faculty and staff

The LBJ School embodies a spirit of commitment, a broad outlook toward the world and a passion to be part of making it better. It is a community committed to tackling the world's most pressing problems. And as we navigate a global crisis in real time, we are also committed to providing you with the resources to succeed and take the next step into the arena.

Please continue to reference this resource page and the university's centralized guidance related to COVID-19, changes in academic policy and operations and the health and safety of our community.

 

KEEP HEALTHY   |   KEEP LEARNING   |    KEEP TEACHING   
  KEEP WORKING   |   KEEP HELPING

 

 

KEEP HEALTHY

Is University Health Services open?
University Health Services remains open Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. to provide care for most health concerns through telemedicine, including evaluation of COVID-19. In-person appointments for acute illness or injury will be scheduled only after an initial telemedicine consultation. Call UHS at 512-471-4955 to schedule or the UHS Nurse Advice Line at 512-475-6877. UHS can test for COVID-19 in patients who meet selected criteria. Capacity for testing varies with test availability.

UHS COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines

How do I seek support or counseling services?
You can receive phone/virtual counseling through the Counseling and Mental Health Center. Visit the website and/or call 512-471-3515 for assistance.

A guide to free or low-cost (sliding scale) counseling services in Austin.

Dell Medical School Department of Health Social Work has put together some advice: Coping in Times of Uncertainty.

 

 

KEEP LEARNING

How do I make sure I remain on track to complete my degree?
Keep Learning on Texas One Stop has tips and tools to study virtually and stay focused.

What if I do not have off-campus access to a computer and/or Wi-Fi?
Please reach out to Student Emergency Services for support, and complete the Student Emergency Fund application. If you do reach out to Student Emergency Services, please inform OSAA by email so the office can track requests and their resolution. The LBJ School cannot provide these services unilaterally — you must go through this central system.

In addition, Spectrum is offering free Wi-Fi to students without internet. Installation fees will be waived for student households. Call 844-488-8395 to enroll.

Can students receive rebates/refunds for services they pay for but are not using currently?
The University is providing prorated rebates on parking, child care, University Housing and Dining. Learn more.

Will I still be able to access online course materials?
University Co-Op is providing free access to online textbooks through May 25 with an @utexas.edu email address via bookshelf.vitalsource.com. Learn more.  

What are the University's current travel policies?
University Health Services has issued the following travel policies:

  • Worldwide recall of all university-sponsored travelers (students, faculty and staff).
  • Cancellation of all education abroad programs through Aug. 18.
  • Suspension of university and externally-sponsored international and domestic travel through at least April 30.
  • Requests to travel in restricted regions will not be accepted.
  • Anyone returning from a region with a CDC and Prevention Level 3 travel notice will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Students returning from these regions should check in with Student Emergency Services in the Office of the Dean of Students for support and to request academic accommodations. Faculty and staff needing to self-isolate should notify their department chair or direct supervisor.

As of April 14, UT has issued a delay in all travel authorizations for both domestic and international travel. Central administration will make a decision by April 30 about all student, staff and faculty travel commencing after May 31. No requests for travel authorization will be reviewed until this decision has been issued.

 

Academics

Are any in-person class sessions scheduled?
All classes for the 2020 Spring Semester have moved online. Faculty members will determine course structure and schedule, as well as expectations for work assignments, submissions, deadlines and assessments. Please reach out to your course instructors and teaching assistance with questions.

Summer classes in the LBJ Washington Center for the DC Fellows also will take place online.

The UT Zoom is located at utexas.zoom.us. Log on using your UTEID and UTEID password. PLEASE NOTE: Students are prohibited from sharing recordings outside the class in any form. Violation of this restriction could lead to Student Misconduct proceedings.

Have the Credit/No Credit rules changed during these special circumstances?
Graduate students will have the option of taking all Spring 2020 classes Credit/No Credit if they elect to do so, so long as the total number of courses taken Credit/No Credit is less than 50 percent of their entire program of work. This includes core requirements and specializations.

From the UT Austin Graduate School: Credit courses taken during the spring 2020 semester will not be included in the Graduate School's calculation of the 20-percent limit on a graduate student's program of work, as long as the total (including Spring 2020 classes) does not exceed 50 percent at the time of graduation.

Students have until one week after final grades have been received to make this choice. Contact the LBJ Office of Student Affairs and Admissions (OSAA) for information, including electronic signatures for the necessary forms.

Any grade equivalent to a C or higher is passing, and will earn credit. A grade of C- or lower will receive no credit. No Credit does not affect GPA.

Do the Credit/No credit rules apply to the Executive Master in Public Leadership (EMPL) program?
Yes.

How do the changed Credit/No Credit rules affect LBJ fellowships?
They do not.

The fellowships office continues to operate on normal business hours. Contact the office at lbjfellowships@austin.utexas.edu.

Does the old deadline to Quit/Drop a class still apply?
The Quit/Drop deadline has been extended to May 8. The Add/Drop Form is a fillable PDF.

Will the LBJ School internship requirement remain in place?
Yes — with some changes. New LBJ School Internship Policies for Summer 2020 have been adopted.

LBJ policies generally require internships to be full-time (~40 hours/week). However, the "full-time" requirement is being temporarily suspended to provide greater flexibility — though unless otherwise approved by your graduate advisers, all internships should still add up to 400 hours.

Increased flexibility in the new internship policies:

  1. Virtual internship placements
  2. Combining shorter-term internships
  3. Shorter internship durations
  4. Alternatives to traditional internship placements

The LBJ School Internship Policies for Summer 2020 has all of the details about these options.

If you are seeking an alternative internship, you must complete the Alternative Internship Application.

How do these policy changes affect international students?
International students may have questions related to visa status, travel policies and policies affecting their ability to return to their home country for the remainder of the semester. See the UT International Student and Scholar Services FAQ. Direct further questions via email to the ISSS advisers.

How do the new policies affect students in the LBJ DC cohort?
Due to the DC program's unique curricular and apprenticeship requirements, LBJ leadership is working with LBJ Washington Center Executive Director Bill Shute to ensure that we anticipate challenges and address them quickly. Shute and DC Associate Director Robin Presta Boone are working with each student directly as we develop our contingency plans.Contact them with questions.

What if I need to take extra semesters to complete my degree?
You can take as many extra semesters as needed.

Do these policy changes apply to both dual degrees and single degrees?
Yes.

What are the work expectations for Graduate Teaching Assistants, Graduate Research Assistants and student hourly workers?
Continue to work remotely and make arrangements with your supervisors.

Is there a new procedure for dissertation and thesis defenses?
All dissertation and thesis defenses are to take place online. Work with your dissertation or thesis chair to make appropriate arrangements. All dissertations and thesis can also be signed electronically and submitted online. See more from the UT Graduate School on deadlines and submissions.

When and how will LBJ students take final exams?
Final exams will take place on the same timeline and will be completed by May 23. Exams will take place online — via Canvas or other means.

Can I register in absentia to graduate during summer 2020?
Graduate students who were on track to graduate in May but whose progress was delayed by COVID-19 may petition to register in absentia during the summer 2020 semester. Please note that in order to register in absentia for summer, students MUST apply to graduate during the spring semester and submit their programs of work before April 24. The deadline to petition is May 1. Students registered in absentia will be able to graduate in the summer 2020 semester if they submit all graduation materials to the Graduate School before 3 p.m. on Aug. 14. Please note that these deadlines have been updated from the previous in absentia policy.

The cost to register in absentia is usually $25, but this fee will be waived this semester. To identify students who qualify for in absentia registration, the Graduate School will ask graduate advisers and thesis/dissertation supervisors to submit by email a short petition form with basic information and a brief justification. Also, we ask that advisers include the chapters of the written thesis/dissertation that have been completed thus far. For student petitions in the fine arts disciplines that would complete a recital, advisers may attach a project completion summary in lieu of written materials.

Students and faculty members should be aware of restrictions that come with in absentia registration. Students registered in absentia are not technically enrolled and thus don't have all the benefits of an enrolled student. Here are some of the relevant restrictions for students registered in absentia:

  • Their student IDs will be inactive, which may impact building access should campus reopen.
  • They will not be eligible for AI, TA or GRA employment. (These positions require enrollment and most, of course, come with tuition.)
  • They will not have access to UT libraries that require an ID.
  • International students will have to apply for OPT in the last semester they are enrolled (i.e., spring 2020, not summer 2020).

However, students registered in absentia may enroll in the AcademicBlue health insurance plan during summer 2020. More information on student health insurance options is available on the Graduate School's FAQ page.

Will the summer semester start on time?
Yes. There are no changes planned for the dates of the summer semester.

Will the LBJ School offer summer classes?
At this time, we can offer three to five spots in the classes offered in Washington, DC, as they will all take place online. We are investigating other options with regard to the Austin campus.

Has Fall 2020 registration been pushed back?
No. The Fall 2020 registration will still take place at the same time. Contact OSAA for more information.

The University expects to announce plans for the fall semester by the end of June. Students begin registering for summer and fall courses starting April 27. Learn more about how to register for classes.

 

Facilities

I need to access programs on the student computer labs. Can I do that remotely?
The LBJ School IT team has configured remote access to student computer labs.

Can I get into the LBJ School building?
Access to the LBJ School building is restricted and student ID cards have been disabled.

Can student groups and organizations hold meetings and events online?
Yes — we encourage you to do so. You may use your UT Zoom or other online account.

 

Commencement

Will commencement still take place?
UT has postponed its physical University-wide and CSU graduations until late summer/early fall. The LBJ School is working on the logistics and details for a virtual commencement. We will keep you informed — expect more information in the coming weeks.

Due to changes in the Credit/No Credit rules, the certification of degrees will be pushed back one week.

Can students "walking" in the 2020 commencement come back and walk in the 2021 commencement?
Yes.

 

Research

Have research conference submission deadlines changed?
We will continue to track deadlines and distribute updated information as it arises.

The APPAM Fall Research Conference, scheduled to take place Nov. 12–14 in Washington, DC, has extended its submission deadline to April 24. They are also continuing to update the Single Paper Listing on a weekly basis.

 

 

KEEP TEACHING

Online instruction

Faculty members and course instructors at the LBJ School can find resources for transitioning to online instruction on the LBJ Faculty Online Resource Hub located on Canvas. Among them:

Also on Canvas: Additional resources on Keep Teaching.

The Office of the Provost has provided Instructional Continuity FAQs, including guidance about language to include in the modified syllabus around video.

The Faculty Innovation Center Continuity Guide houses tools and support for shifting classes online, including:

 

Final Exams

All exams will be given online, but faculty can determine whether to hold the exam in real time (synchronous) or to assign the exam to students to complete on their own time.

If you plan to hold your exam in real time during finals week, such that your students must be online at the same time, you should ONLY use the time period of your regularly assigned course. If you plan to assign a take-home exam, do not require students to work on it during any other regularly scheduled course, to avoid conflict.

Students who take courses outside of the LBJ school may be assigned an exam during one of our course periods, and will be required to ask their non-LBJ professor to give them an opportunity to take the exam at another time period if it conflicts with your exam.

To allow us time to prepare for any potential conflicts, please contact Cynthia Osborne if you plan to administer a real-time (synchronous) final exam this semester.

 

Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants

Teaching assistants are expected to continue to assist faculty virtually, under your direction.

Research Assistants are expected to continue to work with faculty virtually.

 

Dissertation Supervision

All proposal or dissertation defenses will be held virtually.

 

Research

Deadlines for OVPR Pop-up Institutes and for the Co-op Research Excellence Awards have been extended. You may self-nominate for these awards. The information below includes nomination requirements and materials that will need to be submitted. If you are considering self-nominating for the Career Excellence Award, please note that you will need to submit two external letters of support (outside the UT system).

2020 University Co-op Research Excellence Awards: The University Co-Operative Society's Research Awards are given for outstanding research and scholarship conducted by eligible University of Texas at Austin faculty members or researchers, in three categories: Career Research Excellence ($10,000), Best Research Paper ($3,000), and Creative Research ($3,000). The application deadline has been extended to Monday, April 27 at 5 p.m.

APPAM has extended the abstract submission deadline for its Fall Research Conference to April 24. More information is available on the weekly-updated Single Paper Listing.

 

Travel

As of April 14, UT has issued a delay in all travel authorizations for both domestic and international travel. Central administration will make a decision by April 30 about all student, staff and faculty travel commencing after May 31. No requests for travel authorization will be reviewed until this decision has been issued.

University leadership has approved the following international travel guidelines:

All future international university-related travel must be booked by the UT Austin contracted travel agents or Concur UT's online booking tool.

Travel to CDC Level 2 and 3 travel advisory locations for coronavirus is restricted. Travel to these areas will require authorization from the International Oversight Committee as well as additional university authorities. Travelers will be required to forward their International Oversight Committee approval letter to the travel agencies prior to airfare issuance.

This information is also posted on the Travel Management Services website.

Anyone returning from CDC Level 2 and 3 travel advisory locations for coronavirus will be required to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to campus. This self-isolation applies to both university-sponsored and personal travel.

 

 

KEEP WORKING

LBJ School staff can find a variety of resources to help with teleworking during this time. They include:

UT HR also has put together a Guide to Day-to-Day Living Under Covid-19. It highlights available resources you can take advantage of to stay mentally and physically healthy, connect with and support other UT employees through programs like the Victims Advocate Network and the Staff Emergency Fund, and work on your own professional development and personal growth.

Follow Human Resources on Facebook and #ConnectingUT on other social media for additional resources and to share your ideas for how to stay connected as a community of coworkers, colleagues and friends.

 

We will continue to update this list.

 

 

KEEP HELPING

It's easy to feel helpless and isolated during this time of distance learning and social distancing. But there are many ways to help — the list below is just a starting point.

 

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