15:59 PM

UHD COVID-19 Response Task Force Charge


Date: June 24, 2020

To: UHD COVID-19 Response Taskforce

From: Dr. Juan Muñoz, UHD President

Subject: UHD COVID-19 Response Taskforce Charge

As the institution moves closer to the reintegration of employees and students, the University of Houston-Downtown COVID-19 Response Taskforce will carefully assess the institution’s climate and ability to address the challenges presented by the novel coronavirus. The Taskforce will work across the institution to gauge the effectiveness of implemented policies and procedures, respond decisively to emerging threats, and provide well-informed guidance for future decision-making.

The short term goal of the COVID-19 Taskforce is to conduct a careful review of the draft Safe Return to Campus plan that has been developed, the phased strategy, its underlying rationale and its associated communications, and Ivonne Montalbano and Elisa Olsen can assist. A complete examination of the physical modifications to the campus in light of COVID-19 should be undertaken, and David Bradley and his staff would be helpful here. Finally, a representative from the Provost’s Office should weigh-in with its initial thinking regarding the fall academic course schedule, proposed delivery modalities, and anticipated impacts to the overall calendar because of COVID-19, and the possibility of a significant resurgence of the virus and rates of infection.

Having completed a thorough review of these salient considerations informing the current draft plan, an introduction of additionally meaningfully considerations – including a revised return to campus timetable- can be engaged by the Taskforce at length. Said discussion should certainly consider the issues presented in the recent joint resolution of the Faculty Senate and Staff Council.

The Taskforce will then develop a set of recommendations that enhances the return to campus plan, and can offer a basic architecture for an improved plan of action that can be approved by the leadership, shared with the campus community, and subsequently implemented in July and beyond.

Subsequently, the UHD COVID-19 Response Taskforce will provide on-going recommendations to the university’s senior administrative and academic leadership, interface with emergency management units, serve as the university’s liaison to local health policy leaders, and continuously review institutional strategies to insure a public health informed academic environment that prioritizes the health and welfare of the university community. Initial members include:

Ron Beebe, Professor, Urban Education and Faculty Senate President-Elect

Pamela Hurley, Associate Professor, Mgmt & Insurance Risk Mgmt and Faculty Senate Senator

Jerry Johnson, Associate Vice President, Faculty, Research and Sponsored Programs

Jimmy Jung, Vice President, Enrollment Management

Alan Modrow, President, Student Government Association

Ivonne Montalbano, Vice President, Employment Services and Operations

Michelle Moosally, Associate Vice President, Programming and Curriculum

Elisa Olsen, Executive Director, University Relations

Rebecca Quander, Associate Professor & Assistant Chair, Math & Statistics

Vanessa Rojas, CHSS Academic Advisor III & Staff Council Communications Officer

Rhonda Scherer , Associate Director, Sports & Fitness and Staff Council President

Meritza Tamez, Interim Dean of Students

Liza Alonzo, Director, Events & Alumni Relations, Taskforce Facilitator (ex-officio)

Jennifer Bloom, Senior Assistant General Counsel (ex-officio)

Pat Ensor, Executive Director, Library, Taskforce Secretary (ex-officio)

The term of appointment is immediate and will expire at the conclusion of academic year 20-21. However, the Taskforce term may be extended at the discretion of the President should the threat of the virus extend beyond this timeframe.

The Taskforce will meet biweekly, or as needed, to address the conditions and emerging threats associated with COVID-19. To ensure that the work of the Taskforce substantively informed the decisions of the university’s leadership structure, the Chair will also advise the Cabinet on a biweekly basis, or as needed, based on the evolving circumstances of the virus.

The Taskforce will be responsible for COVID-19 messaging and communications, maintaining an ongoing SWOT analysis for decision makers, develop an end of semester assessment and finally submit an end of year report that carefully examines the efficacies and failures of the measures taken by the university to mitigate the destructive effects of COVID-19.