11:06 AM

Message to Students from UHD President Loren J. Blanchard: COVID-19 Update and Approach to Fall 2021

Dear Students,

I hope this note finds everyone in good health and preparing for the start of Fall 2021. While this is an exciting time for you, it also presents concerns as COVID-19 cases in our community are on the rise.

Please know that the University of Houston-Downtown is working to support your safety and success this semester, and the first two weeks of class (August 23 – September 11) will be a little different than the rest of the semester. The information below reflects some changes to how classes will be conducted.

I recognize this start to the semester plan arrives just more than a week prior to the first day of classes, and I encourage everyone to contact your professors with any questions. These changes were made with your well-being in mind, and I am confident that these moves will not impact the quality instruction you so richly deserve.

Please know that we will continue to monitor the pandemic's effects on our community and may make additional changes to the semester or classes should the need arise. We will communicate with you as quickly as possible should UHD need to once again pivot in the face of COVID-19.

Fall Classes:

  • The University is implementing a "soft opening" to Fall 2021. For those students enrolled in face-to-face or hybrid courses, you should expect to meet at least once each week between August 23 and September 11. Your professors will contact you with details on when you are expected in the classroom and how other lectures or learning experiences are conducted. Again, please reach out to your academic departments or professors if you have questions.

    Students taking online courses should expect classes to be conducted as regularly scheduled.

    Students who lack the technology tools needed to participate in hybrid courses may complete the Student Tech Needs Request Application.

On-Campus Operations

  • Student-facing offices such as Admissions, Financial Aid, Student Affairs and Advising continue to be open both in person and virtually. Links and instructions for making virtual appointments are available on each department's web page. When you arrive to UHD, our staff is here to support you and ensure a smooth start and completion of to the semester.


  • If you have not received the vaccination, now is the time to do so. More and more establishments have walk-in opportunities to receive the vaccination. Grocery stores, pharmacies, churches, and community centers offer the vaccine. As another reminder, UHD will offer vaccinations on August 26 (first dose) and September 17 (second dose) in the Welcome Center. This event is open for you and your families who are eligible within the age requirement. Also, this Harris County Public Health site has details on the vaccination and a map of locations offering it.

    UHD will roll out the Gator Vaccination Incentive Program with some outstanding benefits for students who are vaccinated. Additional details will be available soon.

    If you have questions about vaccinations, consult your physicians. As you may recall, UHD hosted forums with the following medical experts: Peter Hotez, Dr. David Persse and Dr. Stephen Spann. All of these conversations are available at the links provided.

Face Coverings

  • Face coverings also can make a difference in reducing the transmission of this virus. Do what's right for our fellow Gators and consider masking up whether you are vaccinated or not. This is highly recommended by the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control.

COVID-19 Testing

Self-Health Checks

  • Lastly, the easiest thing you can do each day is to conduct a daily health check. If you are feeling under the weather, stay home. Consult with a physician and communicate with your professor or supervisor and advise them of your situation.

This is indeed a complicated time for all of us. Bearing this in mind, let's work together, as a community to practice caution, courtesy and trust that we will get through this current wave as we make personal commitments to taking the necessary actions in protecting ourselves from the pandemic … and ultimately, protecting others as well.

I look forward to welcoming you to campus very soon,


Loren J. Blanchard, Ph.D.
President, University of Houston-Downtown


About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.