Interim President's Message: Update on Classes Beginning March 22
Dear Faculty & Staff,
I hope this note finds you safe and in good health.
As you're aware, out of concern over the post-holiday spike in COVID-19 infections, all University of Houston-Downtown courses have been conducted 100 percent online since the start of the spring semester. Fortunately, since peaking in mid-January, the infection rate for our region has come down significantly. Therefore, effective March 22, all Spring 2021 classes will be conducted using the instructional delivery mode originally scheduled.
For example, if a spring class was scheduled to be online, it will remain online. If a spring class was scheduled for some on-campus engagement (face-to-face classes, hybrid classes, and the on-campus portions of remote interactive classes), then that on-campus engagement will begin on March 22.
In making decisions regarding the opening of campus, UHD leadership considers guidance from the UH System, regional health officials, UHD's Department of Emergency Management and the UHD COVID-19 Task Force. In this instance, incoming UHD President Loren J. Blanchard was also consulted.
Faculty, please communicate with your students to inform them if your class is among those returning to campus and to remind them of the class location. And staff, please prepare to support those Gators coming back to campus following Spring Break.
While the Governor's Office has issued an Executive Order that includes ending the state's mask mandate, all UHD safety protocols remain in place until further notice. These include required masks/face coverings on campus at all times; signing in at designated entrances; maintaining proper distancing in hallways, classrooms and public spaces; and a four-person limit on elevators.
It is important that all members of the UHD Community do their part to maintain a safe environment for learning and working. Many of our students have not been on campus since Fall 2020, so please prepare to offer gentle reminders if you observe them not following any of our campus safety requirements.
I would also encourage everyone to continue to practice self-care habits such as washing hands regularly and staying at home if you are sick or have been in contact with someone who is sick, appropriately notifying your immediate supervisor.
This month marks one year since the pandemic began to affect every aspect of our lives. It has been challenging, but the determination of the entire UHD Community has made the difference for our institution.
Thank you for your flexibility and professionalism this Spring and for doing your part to keep our campus safe.
Antonio D. Tillis, Ph.D.
University of Houston-Downtown