EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — University of Texas System Chancellor J.B. Milliken visited UTEP on Thursday, where he viewed campus preparations for the fall semester, including UTEP’s proactive testing program.
“I am quite impressed,” Milliken said. “UTEP has really thought about all of the things that need to be done to make this as safe an environment as it can be.”
UTEP President Heather Wilson and other senior leaders guided Milliken on a socially distanced tour, where he learned more about proactive campus testing, athlete safety, technology enhancements, socially distanced campus operations and student support.
“Chancellor Milliken wanted to make sure we were getting all the support we need, and it was great to have him here to see what we are doing to prepare for the fall semester,” Wilson said. “Our COVID-19 testing program will help keep UTEP safer, but it’s also good for the community around us — another way UTEP is ‘in service to Texas.’”
Milliken observed training and COVID-19 testing of athletes and university staff that started this week through the University’s proactive coronavirus testing program.
The program will test as many on-campus students, faculty and staff as possible through the first two weeks of the semester, then continue testing up to 500 people per day through December. The intention is to identify and suppress the spread of coronavirus on campus.
“The capacity that the institution has to be able to do its own testing, both as required by the NCAA for athletes, but also for students and faculty, and continuing to test those who are asymptomatic so that they can get ahead of any outbreak, is a terrific capacity that not many institutions have available,” Milliken said.
The UT System, which comprises 14 academic and health institutions, including UTEP, will offer courses this fall in a hybrid format, with some classes online and some in-person.
During the fall semester, UTEP will allow people to work and study remotely when they can. About 75 percent of UTEP course sections will be taught remotely in the fall and only 5 percent fully face-to-face.
Under the theme of “Miners take care of Miners,” UTEP is building a collective commitment to use best health practices all the time. Milliken observed signage and procedures in place at UTEP to promote prevention of the spread of disease. Moreover, classrooms and public spaces have been modified to make UTEP a very safe place to be for those who cannot work or study remotely.