What to Expect During the Safe Return to Campus
By Mark Kramer
As University of Houston-Downtown staff members prepare to return to campus, many are wondering what to expect when they arrive on their first day back.
UHD is implementing a phased approach to returning staff to campus. In Phase 1, which begins on June 15, the goal is to ensure that no more than 1/3 of staff members are on campus at any one time. For Phase 2, starting July 6, UHD will move to 2/3 of staff. As we move to Phase 3 on August 6, the plan is to have all staff, with some limited exceptions, back on campus preparing for the Fall semester. This schedule is designed to gradually reintroduce staff back to campus while limiting contact and ensuring social distancing requirements can be followed.
“We are looking forward to beginning the slow, steady process of reopening campus,” said Dr. Eric Carl Link, Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and Provost. “The object now is to bring that dynamic campus experience back in a way that is responsible, gradual, thoughtful, and focuses first and foremost on the health and wellbeing of all students, faculty, and staff.”
Here is what the first week of the Safe Return to Campus will look like at a glance for UHD faculty and staff.
In addition to the Girard and Academic staff parking levels, staff holding garage permits may park in the interior parking spaces of the faculty-nested area on Parking Level 3 of the Girard Street Garage, as well as the Shea Garage. Employees with surface lot permits will continue to park in the Washington, Wood, Naylor, and Bayou lots.
Employees may access campus buildings at the following entry points, from 6:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. Monday – Friday:
- One Main Building (OMB) – Access will be limited to three locations:
- Front Entry - 3rd floor entrance near light rail stop
- 3rd floor of the Girard Street Garage (connects to the second floor of OMB)
- North Lobby (located next to the UHD Police Department)
- The Shea Street, Commerce Street, and College of Sciences & Technology buildings will be limited to their main entrances.
Upon arrival to UHD, employees will be provided with University-issued safety bags containing personal protective equipment (PPE, to include masks and hand sanitizer), identification badges and lanyards, and other helpful items.
Security officers will be located at the main entrances of every university building to provide assistance or direction and the three main entrances of the One Main Building. Visitors will not be allowed on campus during Phases 1 and 2 of the return to campus.
In accordance with University protocols, masks should be worn during in situations when appropriate social distancing is not possible.
In leading up to the opening of campus, all UHD buildings have been disinfected through a treatment process that involves fogging areas with a proprietary blend of disinfectants and cleaners, combined with an antimicrobial coating for porous and non-porous surfaces.
“We’re counting on faculty, staff and students to do their part to ensure a safe campus environment,” said David Bradley, Vice President for Administration and Finance. “Please respect social distancing protocols, wear face covering, wash hands regularly and use hand sanitizer, and please take some responsibility for maintaining the cleanliness of your own space.”
Other measures that have been taken include the installation of clear, Plexiglas shields in public-facing/front desk areas of the W.I. Dykes Library, Writing & Reading Center, Testing Center and the Welcome Center, among other spaces on campus.
Elevators and Stairs
Employees are asked to ride no more than four persons per car. Those inside should keep their masks on and stand in each corner of the elevator. Stairwells will be open and staff should allow proper space when passing someone.
Dining on Campus / Break Rooms
Meals must be brought to campus. Food service will be unavailable on campus. Employees are encouraged to bring their lunch to campus each day or pick up a meal from a list of open restaurants on UHD’s COVID-19 FAQ webpage. Staff are encouraged to take their food back to their office area or eat outside. It is at the discretion of each office whether to open respective break rooms.
“The UHD campus has served as a landmark representing the educational aspirations and opportunities of all Houstonians for nearly 50 years, and we all look forward to recapturing some of the vibrancy that has served UHD, and the downtown Houston area, so well over the years,” Link said.
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.