12:39 PM

President's Message: UHD's Soft Opening Ending Oct. 11

UHD President Loren J. Blanchard

Dear UHD Community, 

To say Fall 2021 has been a busy semester is indeed an understatement. 

Since August, the University has hosted a State of the University Address, virtual Faculty and Staff Retreats, GatorServe (supporting our neighbors in the Fifth Ward), and recently, Gatorchella, which welcomed our newest students to UHD. 

Most importantly, we have safely welcomed both Gators and distinguished visitors (including Mayor Sylvester Turner who joined us this week) to campus for the start of the academic year. 

I must, however, give credit where it is due. Your efforts have allowed the University to continue its mission despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19. 

I’ve stated this previously, but I must again commend everyone for doing the right things. You’re getting vaccinated and taking advantage of the voluntary Gator Vaccination Incentive Program. You are also getting tested at our Curative testing kiosk, which is now open seven days a week. Lastly, I continue to see people wearing masks and exercising courtesy and caution in hallways, offices and classrooms. 

All of these measures are conducive to mitigating the spread of this virus. Thank you for your diligent efforts in ensuring our campus remains a safe place to learn and work. 

As you’re aware, the University started Fall 2021 with a soft opening, which is designed to reduce the number of people on campus and within our classrooms. On October 11, 2021, the soft opening will come to a close. Classes will be conducted as originally scheduled, and staff members will return to their pre-pandemic work schedules effective Monday, October 11, 2021. 

The University, its COVID-19 Taskforce and Department of Emergency Management will continue to monitor local COVID cases and follow guidance from health officials to support your safety. 

The conclusion of the soft opening doesn’t signal the end of the pandemic, but it does require the full cooperation of everyone here at the University of Houston-Downtown. If anything, we must be even more vigilant in adhering to those practices that have proven helpful during the past year and a half. 

As mentioned, Fall 2021 is off to an outstanding start, but as a University Community, we must work together to ensure UHD stays the course on campus health and safety measures this semester and beyond. 



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