26
June
2020
|
11:12 PM
America/Chicago

Provost's Message: Fall 2020 Courses & Campus Update

Dear UHD Students,

I hope this message finds you and your families in good health.

As you’re well aware, our city and university remain affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Every day, we are confronted with new predictions about what the future may bring and new advice about how best to protect ourselves and our communities. This is truly an unprecedented time in Houston and around the world. Even as I write this letter, the number of COVID-19 cases in the Houston area is growing, and the Governor and local officials are issuing new directives designed to prevent infection rates from going higher.

In the midst of this, however, I want to assure each of you that we are committed to making sure that you will be able to continue your academic journey this fall. It will be a fall semester unlike any other, but we will join together to keep each other safe during this global pandemic. Be assured that all of the faculty and staff at the University of Houston-Downtown are working hard to prepare for a great fall semester and making sure that you can remain focused and stay on track for a successful graduation.

The fall semester, which starts on August 24, will reopen UHD’s campus with protocols in place to ensure both safety and social distancing. Below is an overview of what to expect with regards to classes, campus operations, and most importantly, safety precautions.

Fall 2020 Classes

To ensure your safety, based on our campus spaces and resources, we will be making changes in the fall schedule in the coming couple of weeks, offering courses in an updated variety of options. Please watch your Gatormail and UHD social media for information on these changes and how to make your choices. We want to make sure students have options, so courses will be offered in one or more of the following formats:

Online: You will complete the entire course online through virtual platforms such as Blackboard; some of these may have required, scheduled meeting times that will be stated in the course schedule.

Online Interactive: You can register to attend class on campus or register to participate in the same class via Zoom.

Face to Face: You will attend classes in person in classrooms designed with strict social distancing and face mask protocols in place.

Hybrid: You will attend part of the class in person on campus and complete the other parts of the class in an online environment.

If you attend class on campus, please know that UHD will do everything possible to maximize recommended safety practices with social distancing in the classrooms and use of face masks for employees and students. For students who may need accommodations for course formats or classroom participation, we encourage you to talk to advisors or the Office of Disability Services.

Advisors and registration specialists at UHD will be in touch with you—by phone or email or video conference—in the coming days and weeks to go over details about the fall schedule and make sure that you have a schedule that will help you achieve your academic goals and stay on track for graduation.

Following the Thanksgiving holiday, all classes will be conducted fully online for the rest of the semester. Instructors will explain specific plans as part of the syllabus.

Financial Aid

During these unpredictable times, UHD wants to make certain that each and every Gator has the financial means to achieve his or her academic goals. Our Financial Aid team is here for you to navigate grants, scholarships and other options that may be available to you. Contact

UHD Financial Aid for further details. Additionally, make sure your 2020 – 2021 FAFSA or TAFSA is complete, to help determine your eligibility for Financial Aid.

Safety & Social Distancing

Your health and safety are the top priority. Just as we are creating an environment for learning, UHD is committed to providing a safe and clean campus. We’ve developed a number of measures aimed at keeping our Gators safe, but we’re also counting on your participation in following appropriate protocols and etiquette. Keeping our campus safe for everyone will be a team effort:

Masks will be required in public spaces on campus, including classrooms.

Social distancing should be practiced at all times. UHD is implementing a 6-foot social distancing rule on campus.

Elevator Etiquette requires four persons (max) to an elevator with passengers standing at each corner.

Stairwells/Hallway Etiquette requires UHD community members to follow any signage that may direct traffic in common areas and be aware of others to allow maximum space when passing someone or vice versa.

Cleaning processes include enhanced treatments involving fogging areas with a proprietary blend of disinfectants and cleaners proven to kill 99.99% of harmful microbes and inhibit microbial growth, and are designed to last approximately 60 days.

Plexiglas shields will be present in high traffic spaces such as the W.I. Dykes Library, Writing & Reading Center, Testing Center and the Welcome Center among other spaces on campus.

Hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the campus.

Student Services

Students, although we are implementing a number of safety protocols and precautions, our service to you will not change. Resources such as the W.I. Dykes Library, Student Health Services and Student Counseling Center will be available. And, our Student Life Center will continue to provide opportunities for fitness and exercise, albeit in a way that is conducive to proper distancing. Offices such as the Registrar, Admissions, and Financial Aid will continue to conduct both in-person and online office hours to support your needs, and we will have a variety of enhanced tutoring and advising services across the university to make sure that each of you, regardless of whether you are taking online classes, hybrid classes, or face to face classes, has the support you need to be successful.

More details are forthcoming regarding the upcoming semester. If you have questions, please feel free to forward them to the following sources:

Financial Aid

Registrar

Student Affairs

UHD Coronavirus General Questions

This is a unique time for UHD and for all universities across the nation. Let’s use this occasion to become stronger as a university, and to remain focused on our studies, our campus, and each other. The fall semester will be different from what any of us imagined, but let’s band together as a community, make smart and healthy decisions, study hard, and stay on track for graduation.

I look forward to a great fall semester.

Sincerely,

Dr. Eric Carl Link

UHD Senior Vice President for Academic & Student Affairs and Provost