UT Austin campus has more COVID-19 cases than any other public 4-year college in the U.S., report finds

16 Texas colleges and universities were reported to have COVID cases

The University of Texas at Austin (Wikimedia Commons)

AUSTIN, Texas – A recent study by the New York Times found more that than 6,300 coronavirus cases have been linked to colleges and universities across the U.S. with the highest concentration found at The University of Texas at Austin

As of July 28, UT has had 449 cases. Coming in second was the University of Central Florida with 438 cases and the University of Georgia with 390 cases.

According to the study, every public four-year college in the country was surveyed, in addition to every private institution that competes in Division I sports or is a member of an elite group of research universities.

In total, 270 colleges were found to have cases of COVID-19 tied to the campus via students, administrators, residents, sports teams and in one case, construction workers who were working on the Appalachian State campus in North Carolina.

The data shows 16 Texas colleges and universities were found to have COVID-19 cases, including:

  • University of Texas at Austin - 449
  • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center - 207
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
  • South Texas College
  • Texas Woman’s University
  • Texas A&M University-Kingsville
  • Texas Tech University*
  • West Texas A&M University
  • University of Texas at Arlington
  • University of Texas at Dallas
  • Texas State University*
  • University of North Texas*
  • University of Texas at San Antonio*
  • Texas A&M University
  • University of Texas Permian Basin
  • Texas A&M University-Central Texas

All schools noted with an asterisk indicate that the COVID cases are limited to the athletic department only.

The report from the New York Times also states that while some schools provided full or partial numbers for COVID cases, “others refused to answer basic questions, citing privacy concerns” and “hundreds of colleges did not respond at all.” Nearly 1,000 schools were contacted by the New York Times for the report.

The non-response and refusal to answer the survey by some school officials likely means that the reported 6,300 cases is an undercount and this is before students are expected to return to campuses for the upcoming academic year.

Currently, there is no method or standard for reporting COVID cases or deaths at colleges and universities.

“Among the colleges that provided information, many offered no details about who contracted the virus, when they became ill or whether a case was connected to a larger outbreak,” according to the report.

Many schools are pivoting to online learning as the coronavirus pandemic continues, including the Alamo Colleges where students will learn remotely this fall.

In Texas, some teachers and waging war with state officials about how and when to safely reopen campuses for learning.

Earlier this month, officials with the Texas State Teachers Association demanded that the academic year start with remote learning.

Texas State Teachers Association President Noel Candelaria said “millions of lives are at stake, beginning with our children, our educators, their families and communities.”

Classes at the University of Texas at San Antonio are expected to be mostly online this fall but tuition is not expected to change, according to a previous KSAT report.

Classes at the University of Texas at Austin, which the numbers show is the hardest hit campus in Texas, will be capped at 40% capacity in-classroom seating, according to the university’s website.

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.