Since March 14, UTA has confirmed 89 positive COVID-19 cases among students, staff, faculty and vendors on campus. Compared to many universities, this number is minimal and shows that UTA administration made a solid plan of action going into the fall semester.
However, when it comes to communicating increases in cases and other important information to students, UTA has fallen short. We call on UTA to provide more information about positive COVID-19 cases and to make that information more readily available to students.
The Shorthorn has reported on COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, and we will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. However, the university has not reported increases in cases to students, even when the number of positive cases nearly doubled. It is our job and responsibility to report on the pandemic, but in this crisis, the university shares equal responsibility to report vital information related to COVID-19.
UTA has not sent out notifications to keep students updated. While the number of cases is posted on the UTA website, it is not displayed prominently and lacks vital information. The website does not specify the number of active cases compared to the total number reported and lacks information about how many coronavirus-positive students are currently living on campus. There is also no indication of how many cases have since recovered, nor is there information about what contact tracing methods UTA is using.
UTA’s lack of transparency stands in contrast to other schools in the UT System. UT-Austin has a full COVID-19 dashboard complete with charts, diagrams and a timeline of cases.
In the North Texas area, Texas Christian University has a similar dashboard which details the number of active cases, the number of students on campus with COVID-19 and the total number of recovered cases. UT-Dallas provides detailed reports on where positive cases have occurred, thereby letting students know if and where they might be at risk.
To be fair, the UTA administration has performed exceedingly well during a crisis. The lack of cases on our campus demonstrates UTA administration had a well-thought-out and comprehensive plan. It must also be acknowledged that administration may not feel the need to display more information because the case count is so low.
But students deserve as much information as the university can deliver. We call on UTA administration to provide more detailed information where it can and to update students directly if there is an increase in cases.
The Shorthorn Editorial Board is made up of opinion editor Spencer Brewer; Editor-in-Chief Shay Cohen; news editor Angelica Perez; Cecilia Lenzen, life and entertainment editor; sports editor Chris Amaya; David Silva Ramirez, life and entertainment reporter; and copy editor Andrew Walter. Lenzen was not present for this editorial decision, and engagement editor Rocio Hernandez filled in.