Interim President's Message - Looking Ahead to 2021
Dear Faculty & Staff,
I know many of you are looking forward to some time off in the coming weeks. Before you depart or “unplug” for the holidays, I’d like to update you on the University’s status following the break.
UHD will remain at Step 2-Orange on its Response Matrix. The recent spike in Texas COVID-19 cases prompted our decision to stay the course and ensure the safety of the campus community.
All of us will continue to work as we have been doing since September. Those currently telecommuting should continue to do so at the start of 2021, with the exception of those whose jobs require them to be on campus periodically to support specific semester start-up activities. Employees who are unclear as to whether they are in this category should check with their supervisors. Essential personnel who have already been working on campus should plan to carry on with the same protocols in place.
UHD will continue to maintain a safe environment with mask and distancing requirements in place and designated entrances (accessible with sign in or ID scans) for faculty, staff and students coming to campus. Those measures will remain in effect until further notice.
The COVID-19 Response Team, the President’s Cabinet, Department of Emergency Management and others will continue to monitor pandemic levels during and after the break. A follow-up message will be distributed by Jan. 8 informing the community of UHD’s status and whether it can move to the next step on the Response Matrix.
With regards to travel, the University of Houston-Downtown has extended its restrictions on domestic and international trips for the coming year. University-sanctioned domestic and international travel will be prohibited through May 31 and July 31 respectively. Additional details on UHD travel policies and the quarantine process following personal and professional trips can be found on the UHD Coronavirus website.
As we conclude a rather unique year, we must begin 2021 with the same vigilance that has served our University well. In doing so, I am asking each and every one of you to take those recommended precautions to remain safe over the holiday season.
A recent message from the Department of Emergency Management offered some tips on how to stay safe over the break. I encourage you to keep those suggestions in mind.
All of you have adapted to the challenges of working and living as safely as possible through COVID-19. While we hope that we can ultimately return to a pre-pandemic existence, let’s continue to work together and make smart decisions to ensure our personal safety as well as that of our colleagues and campus community.
Have a great break, Gators. I look forward to seeing you in 2021.
Antonio D. TIllis, Ph.D. Interim President, University of Houston-Downtown