COVID-19 FAQs

We appreciate your understanding and support as the university works to protect Texas together and navigates changes in the public health environment. This page will help provide the information you need about our operations and will be updated regularly.

Return to Campus

How are decisions being made about the spring 2022 semester?

University Housing and Dining follows the university campus closures and COVID-19 guidance. Learn more about what the university is doing to protect Texas together. You can also view announcements from President Hartzell and the university for the latest communication.

What communication has University Housing and Dining sent to residents?

Jan. 11, 2022 – COVID-19 Testing for Spring 2022 (Dobie Twenty21)
Jan. 7, 2022 – Residence Hall and Dining Updates
Jan. 7, 2022 - Spring reminders and updates for 2400 Nueces
Dec. 23, 2021 – Housing Headlines: Spring Semester Updates
Dec. 17, 2021 – COVID-19 Testing for Spring 2022

When do the residence halls and dining locations open for the spring semester?

The residence halls and dining operations will be open as planned starting January 14. This is for student convenience so residents have access to their community and campus resources since the university is open.

Do I need to schedule an arrival time slot in the housing portal?

Students returning to their on-campus residence hall must schedule an arrival time slot between Jan. 14 – 31 in their housing portal. It is especially important for students to arrive at their scheduled appointment time to avoid overcrowding and help our staff plan accordingly. 2400 Nueces and Dobie Twenty21 residents do not need to schedule their arrival.

If my return plans change, can I change my arrival time in the housing portal?

You can change your arrival time using the check-in scheduler in your housing portal by canceling your existing time slot and selecting a new one.

Conditional COVID-19 Testing

Do I need to get a COVID-19 test before returning to my residence hall in January?

Residing in university-owned residence halls is conditional upon testing 72 hours (3 days) prior to your return date. Testing prior to arrival in Austin will allow individuals who are positive to isolate in their hometowns with support of family or friends.

Do I need to get a COVID-19 test if I live in 2400 Nueces, Dobie Twenty21 or University Apartments?

This conditional testing applies to the university’s 14 on-campus residence halls, 2400 Nueces apartments and Dobie Twenty21. Students residing in University Apartments do not need to follow this protocol.

How and when do I get tested?

The COVID-19 test must be anytime within 72 hours (3 days) prior to returning to university-owned housing. Contact your healthcare provider or visit your local health department’s website to find the latest local information on testing. The type of viral COVID-19 tests offered may differ by location. At-home over-the-counter tests are also accepted (see FAQ below).

What if I am a current resident who stayed in university-owned housing over winter break?

Get tested at a location of your choosing no later than January 18. Residents should show their proof of testing to their residence hall desk. The type of viral COVID-19 tests offered may differ by location. At-home over-the-counter tests are also accepted (see FAQ below). You may also test through the free UT Proactive Community Testing program.

Can I use an at-home over-the-counter test?

At home self-collection test kits will be accepted. Follow the instructions of the test exactly as written and take a picture of the result alongside your photo ID so that your identity can be verified. The provision of false or misleading information in this declaration constitutes a violation of Institutional Rules sections 11-404(a) (16)(a)(b) - Providing False and Misleading Information and 11-404(a)(3) Harmful Behavior, and may result in referral to Student Conduct and Academic Integrity in the Office of the Dean of Students for possible investigation and disciplinary proceedings.

What type of test should I get?

Antigen testing is recommended over PCR tests. PCR tests can detect past infections after you have fully recovered and are no longer infectious, resulting in a false positive. A prior positive test result is not acceptable as proof of immunity. Antibody (serology) tests for COVID-19 antibodies (e.g., IgG, IgM) will not be accepted.

What if my test is positive?

If you test positive, you should isolate at home and delay your return until your isolation period has ended. Contact the housing office to coordinate your updated expected arrival date and time.

If I delay when I return due to a positive COVID-19 test, will I get a discount for those days on my housing?

Students who need to adjust their arrival time beyond the first day of class due to a positive COVID-19 test result will receive an adjustment to their housing bill. UHD will coordinate with the student on a case-by-case basis to determine a new arrival date after they have completed their isolation period as instructed by their healthcare provider.

I’m fully vaccinated. Do I still have to get tested?

Yes. Being fully vaccinated does not exempt you from testing due to the possibility of breakthrough cases among vaccinated individuals. Vaccinated individuals infected with the delta variant of COVID-19 are able to spread the virus to others.

I’ve had COVID-19 previously. Do I still have to get tested?

Yes. Due to the possibility of reinfection, individuals who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 are not exempt from testing. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days, it is recommended that you test using an antigen test.

Where do I present documentation that I was tested?

You will need to show proof of a negative test result to your residence hall desk the day you return. Residence hall staff will verify that your test was done within the previous 72 hours and that the result was negative.

Dobie Twenty21 residents will need to show proof of a negative test result at the front desk as soon as possible after your arrival between 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday - Friday.

If you remained in university-owned housing over winter break, show proof of testing no later than January 18 to your front desk.

What information is required on the documentation?

For tests conducted by a lab/healthcare entity: Your proof of test must state the type of test, the name of the entity issuing the test (lab or healthcare entity), your name, the date and time at which the specimen was collected, and the results.

See instructions above for at-home tests.

Can I pull up the results on my phone or do I need to have a printed copy of the results?

Printed copies or electronic results on your phone will be accepted as long as staff can easily read and interpret them.

How do I request a testing exemption?
  • If you would like to request an exemption because of a medical or religious accommodation, please email test_exemption@austin.utexas.edu at least five days prior to your scheduled return date to receive the required exemption request form.
  • Once you submit your completed form, you will receive a response indicating whether your request is approved. When you return, show the exemption approval documentation to your front desk instead of a test result. If your exemption request is not approved, you will be required to complete a test, as described above.
  • Please note that submission of a request does not guarantee an exemption will be granted in your case. Failure to participate in communications related to your request may delay review of your exemption request.
  • Approved exemptions are limited to this current testing expectation and do not apply to other university COVID-19 policies on quarantine/isolation. If you had an exemption for a temporary medical condition in the fall and require an exemption again this spring, you will need to submit a new request. Individuals who had an exemption in the fall for a permanent medical condition or a religious exemption do not need to resubmit. Being granted an exemption in January does not preclude students from being able to access the free UT Proactive Community Testing at other points throughout the semester.
What if I am unable to test before I arrive?
  • If you are unable to test before arrival, you must test locally through a provider or the free UT Proactive Community Testing program as soon as possible, but no later than 72 hours after your arrival. Residents should show their proof of testing to their residence hall desk.
  • If you test positive, Student Emergency Services will work with you to identify the best option to ensure you have a space to isolate.
If I test positive for COVID-19 after arriving back on campus, can I stay in the residence halls?
  • Student Emergency Services (SES) will work directly with students who test positive to identify the best option for them. Our staff will connect the student with SES to ensure the student has a space to isolate.
After I have moved in, what do I do if I think I might have COVID-19?
  • Students who are concerned they have COVID-19 should immediately contact University Health Services (UHS). Students can contact the UHS Nurse Advice Line 24/7 at 512-475-6877 to find out any necessary next steps.
  • For more information about COVID-19, visit the UHS website.
Am I able to cancel my housing contract for COVID-19 related reasons?

All cancellation requests require approval from our housing office. Cancellation fees may apply. If a student wishes to cancel their contract, they are asked to contact our office at housing@austin.utexas.edu, or request to speak with someone by calling 512-471-3136.

Dining

How will dining operations work while the university has remote instruction?

Food will be served in single-use, disposable containers through Jan. 30 after which we will continue to follow guidance from the university and adjust our dining services accordingly. All dining operations will be takeout only – the dining seating areas will be temporarily closed to follow the university’s health and safety recommendations. The Eco2Go program is suspended until Jan. 31. Be sure to check our homepage for current dining hours before you go to eat, as they may change.

What is included in a dining hall takeout meal?

After you swipe in or pay for your meal, the cashier will hand you a single-use, disposable container that you can fill up at any open station. There will be to-go cups at beverage stations for your choice of drink. Utensils and napkins will be available as you exit.

Do these dining changes affect the resident unlimited meal plan?

Residents can use their unlimited meal plan as many times a day as they choose. They will receive one takeout meal per visit with a meal swipe.

How does a student living in the residence halls get food if they need to self-quarantine?

Residents who are in quarantine can pick up food to go from the dining venues.

If a resident tests positive for COVID-19, Student Emergency Services (SES) will work directly with student to identify the best option for them.

How does dining on campus work with the resident unlimited meal plan?

Residents can use their unlimited meal plan as many times a day as they choose to dine in at the buffet-style dining halls - Jester City Limits, J2 and Kins Dining.

Residents also receive $300 Dine In Dollars per semester and $200 in Bevo Pay funds to spend at UHD operated locations and merchants participating in Bevo Pay

How are dining operations supporting the health and safety of the UT Austin community?

Hand sanitizing stations are available throughout the serving and seating areas.

There are sneeze guards between patrons and dining staff at all serving lines.

Can I see the menus before entering the dining locations?

Patrons can view the online menu before visiting the dining locations.

What if I have a dietary concern?

We believe that menu transparency is an important part of the dining experience, especially for those who follow a specific diet plan. Our online menu provides nutrition facts, ingredients and allergen information in addition to weekly menus.

It is recommended that all students with a dietary concern speak with one our registered dietitian at dietitian@austin.utexas.edu for guidance and support managing their diet while on campus.

What are my dining options on campus?

To learn more about our dining options, view our locations, menus and hours of operation.

Are meal plans available to students who live off campus, faculty and staff?

Students living off campus, faculty and staff can sign up for our Commuter Meal Plan and enjoy hot meals at the dining halls plus additional Dine In Dollars to spend at on-campus restaurants, coffee shops and convenience stores. View the three Commuter Meal Plan options and sign up here.

Faculty and staff can also sign up for Dine In Dollars. Learn more here.

Safety Protocols

Will a COVID-19 vaccination be required for students living on campus?

The university is encouraging all students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.

What is the notification process for COVID-19 positive tests in the residence halls?

The university is continuing to do robust contact tracing which consists of case investigation and notifying close contacts.

What if my roommate tests positive for COVID-19?

If your roommate tests positive and you are unvaccinated, you will be required to self-quarantine. The self-quarantine must be for a full 7 days following the exposure if you have no symptoms and with a negative test result occurring on day 6 or later following the last time you were with your roommate. Alternatively, you can self-quarantine for 10 days after the last exposure as with no symptoms and without testing. In both cases, continue to monitor for symptoms for 14 days after last exposure. Self-quarantine means to stay home and limit interactions with others, self-monitor to check for fever or symptoms. How to self-quarantine (pdf). You may self-quarantine in the residence hall.

If your roommate tests positive and you are vaccinated, per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you do not need to self-quarantine unless you have symptoms.

What steps are being taken for students’ health and safety?

University Housing and Dining is implementing policies and practices in alignment with the university’s health and safety guidelines. Facilities staff is taking precautions to ensure staff have appropriate personal protective equipment prior to working on the floors and entering student rooms to perform work.

How are the shared facilities being cleaned?

Our facilities staff are cleaning and disinfecting daily. All high touch areas, such as door handles, faucet handles, flush handles, elevator buttons and drinking fountains are disinfected a minimum of three times daily. All study area furniture and table tops are disinfected a minimum of two times daily.

Will students be required to wear protective face masks in the residence halls and dining venues?

Per university guidelines, masks are optional but strongly recommended indoors regardless of vaccination status.

What steps are being taken to ensure staff members are staying healthy and following guidelines?

University Housing and Dining is implementing policies and practices in alignment with University health and wellness guidelines.

How does social distancing work in community bathrooms?

Plexiglass dividers have been placed between sinks in community bathrooms.

All showers are single-occupant facilities.

Am I allowed to have a guest in my room?

Residents will be permitted to host one guest at a time in the residence halls.

Residents need to check in guests at the front desk.

If the resident has a roommate, the roommate must agree that the guest can stay.

Guest stays are limited to no more than 72 consecutive hours in any given seven-day period.

As with our current policy on Personal Responsibility, the resident is responsible for the guest’s conduct, and the guest must follow all University Housing and Dining policies, including those related to COVID-19.

If a guest’s conduct violates university and/or University Housing and Dining policies, the guest may be asked to leave, and policy violations will be referred to Student Conduct and Academic Integrity in the Office of the Dean of Students.

Housing Contracts

If I want to change rooms, are there still spaces available?

Students have access to the room change request form through their housing portals. We will work through requests in the order they’re received.

Can I still apply for housing?

Students who have accepted enrollment to the university are eligible to apply for on-campus housing. The application fee is $50. Applying does not guarantee that a student will be offered a housing contract.

Are accommodations available if it is medically necessary for me to have a single occupancy room?

If a student has a medical or disability-related need that impacts where they will live, they need to indicate the type of accommodation they require in the space provided on their housing application. Students need to submit a request and documentation to Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD). They will review the documentation provided and forward our office the recommendations regarding housing accommodations. All documentation will be kept confidential within the SSD office. Please refer to the housing and dining accommodations page for the complete accommodation request process.

What is the best way for me to get a question answered about my housing contract?

For questions regarding housing, please contact our office as soon as possible. For quicker responses, email us at housing@austin.utexas.edu, or request to speak with a housing representative by calling 512-471-3136.

Resident Opportunities

How can residents get involved in the residence hall community?

The University Housing and Dining Residence Life staff is working hard to provide residents with a variety of engagement opportunities. 

Each resident is assigned a resident assistant (RA) who can help students find ways to be involved in the halls and on campus.

The Residence Hall Programming Team (RHPT) helps foster community for the residents with peer-planned events. Residents will be informed about events via social media, posters and marketing materials in the halls. Residents are encouraged to follow @utrhpt on Instagram to learn more about upcoming events.

The University Residence Hall Association represents all residence halls on campus, and each individual residence hall has its own Residence Hall Council. These leadership organizations advocate for the students of their halls and provide engagement opportunities for residents.

Living the Longhorn Life is an initiative from the Vice President of Student Affairs engaging Longhorn students through community-building, events and traditions. Follow @livingthelonghornlife on Instagram to learn about upcoming events happening on campus.