07
May
2020
|
11:06 PM
America/Chicago

UHD Shares Plans for Summer & Fall Semesters

Dear Students, Faculty & Staff,

This week, the University of Houston-Downtown concludes perhaps one of the most trying semesters in its history. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic significantly altered the scope and temperament of this academic session, but the UHD Community was able to adapt and respond with immense skill and success. As a result, we are completing Spring 2020 and welcoming over 1,200 new alumni into the UHD family.

Now, UHD looks to the future. Just as the university swiftly altered its course delivery, student services and business operations, the University must continue to make modifications as the state, city, and eventually, the campus moves toward a phased reopening.

Campus Safety

Emphasis will be placed on ensuring that plans for returning to campus are thoughtful, deliberate and developed through an inclusive process that considers many perspectives and contingencies. The safety and well-being of UHD’s students, faculty and staff are of paramount importance.

Policies and procedures are being developed for how members of the campus will report having been diagnosed with, or exposed to, the virus. These steps will also address contact tracing and subsequent notifications. UHD Community members will soon receive an email from the Office of Emergency Management which will provide greater detail on these plans and procedures.To further enhance campus safety, restrictions on university-sponsored travel have been extended through the end of July.

Safe Summer Return

UHD’s summer classes will remain online and staff members will continue to telecommute through the month of May. The month of May will serve as a critical time for ensuring the campus is clean and safe, that processes for social distancing practices are fully developed, appropriate signage and floor markings are installed and that procedures for distributing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are in place as employees return.

As previously announced, UHD’s campus reopening will be conducted in a phased approach. The University has identified Phase 1 as beginning in early June, with approximately one-third of staff members returning to campus in some capacity. All departments will be afforded flexibility to determine how to best accomplish this, with the emphasis on safety, equality, empathy and business continuity. The additional two-thirds of staff will return to campus in July and August, respectively.

While faculty are expected to be on campus less frequently over the summer, they can come to campus on a limited basis through May and begin re-engaging with the campus more fully as needed once the June start date is announced. Faculty will be expected to follow the same guidelines for social distancing, safe hygiene and appropriately accessing campus.

Supervisors will soon receive an email from Employment Services & Operations (ESO) soliciting feedback on how best to accomplish these objectives for their individual departments.With the exception of a limited number of pre-approved student workers, students will not be permitted on campus during the summer months.

Fall Semester Planning

Regarding plans for the fall semester, President Muñoz has designated a taskforce comprised of three workgroups to examine and evaluate COVID-19’s impact on UHD’s overall operations. Those workgroups will focus on Academic & Student Affairs, Financial Impact & Budget, and Reintegration/Safe Return to Campus.

Given the disruptions related to the COVID-19 Pandemic, these groups will evaluate various scenarios for the fall. Their work will help inform institutional decision-making as final plans are developed for resuming operations and classes in August. Of course, UHD leadership will continue to follow guidance from health officials, the UH System, and state and local leaders.

Thank You for Your Commitment

Further updates related to the reopening of campus are forthcoming. Until then, please know that your efforts to support UHD during this pandemic are profoundly appreciated by our students. Students, faculty and staff have been able to overcome incredible challenges during the spring semester, thanks to the flexibility, hard work, and dedication of UHD faculty and staff.

For questions related to UHD’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, please email coronavirus@uhd.edu.

Thank you for your ongoing support of UHD, and continue to stay healthy.

About the University of Houston-Downtown

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 Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz. Annually, UHD educates more than 14,000 students; boasts more than 51,000 alumni and offers 44 bachelor’s and eight master’s degree programs within five colleges (Marilyn Davies College of Business; Humanities & Social Sciences; Public Service, Sciences & Technology; and University College).

UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. 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.