Staff Member Creating COVID-19 Masks for Workers on Campus
By Mike Emery
The majority of the University of Houston-Downtown’s community continues to work remotely during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Many Gators, however, remain on campus working to maintain its day-to-day operations.
These staff members (including those in the UHD Police Department, Information Technology, Parking & Transportation, Facilities Management and Mail & Delivery Services) are challenged by the many protocols set in place during the pandemic, which include effective social distancing and Harris County’s recent mandatory order to wear masks in public.
Thanks to the energy and ingenuity of staff member Debora Evans, several UHD employees now have masks to help protect them from the virus and abide by the county’s mask order.
Evans, manager of Shipping & Receiving and UHD’s Mail Room, has been working diligently in her spare time to make masks for her fellow Gators.
The longtime employee and alumna saw reports of COVID-19 supplies running low for first-responders, so she took up the challenge of creating masks. Working with her friend Doris Brown (a former UHD student), they first furnished UHD’s Police Department (UHDPD) with 32 blue masks for officers and security guards. Additionally, Evans had shared UHDPD's need for masks through social media, which caught the attention of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT). CLEAT then provided UHD with a few boxes of masks.
“I learned that masks were on back order and kept hearing reports that there were delays in delivering items to those who needed them,” she said. “I wanted to do something to help.”
Evans has certainly helped. Using a range of materials, she and Brown have made nearly 90 masks that have been shared with staff members working on campus. That number is impressive considering the process involved in making them (cutting the fabric, sewing seams and adding ties or elastic). Several of these handmade masks bear UHD’s logo or the Gator image.
Staff members who need a mask can email Evans to put in a request.
While the masks have kept her time occupied at home, she’s been busy on campus. For Evans and her staff in the UHD Mail Room, it’s business as usual. There’s just one thing missing, Evans said
“It can get lonely. I miss all of the excited people on campus.”
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) – the second-largest university in Houston – 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 more than 15,000 students; boasts more than 61,000 alumni and offers 45 bachelor’s, nine master’s degree programs and 16 fully online programs within five colleges (Marilyn Davies College of Business; Humanities & Social Sciences; Public Service; Sciences & Technology; and University College).
For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranks UHD among universities across the nation for Best Online Criminal Justice Programs (No. 27 and No. 15 for Veterans) and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.
UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. U.S. News ranked the University among Top Performers on Social Mobility and awarded UHD a No. 1 ranking as the most diverse institution of higher education in the southern region of the U.S. The University is noted nationally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution and Military Friendly School. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.