President's Message: Regular Classes Resume Feb. 7
Greetings UHD Community,
Thank you for your collective efforts in making the soft opening of Spring 2022 a success. As always, the University of Houston-Downtown Community has risen to the challenge by taking the necessary steps to protect our campus as well as the health of our families and friends.
Now that our soft opening is reaching a conclusion, I want to remind you all that we will return to our regular class schedule on Monday, February 7.
Local sources indicate that the Omicron surge in Harris County is declining, yet we understand that the full return to in-person classes and operations could pose challenges for some. If you are concerned, please reach out to your department chair, supervisor or professor to discuss accommodations under the University’s COVID-19 policies. The University and the Department of Emergency Management will continue to monitor local COVID cases and follow guidance from health officials to support your safety.
We have relied on best practices in the past as our guiding principles and will continue to do so in the coming weeks. For everyone’s safety, we stock masks and offer hand-sanitization areas throughout campus. We also encourage you to receive your vaccination and booster shots at one of the many easy-to-access locations around the city, as well as here on campus when offered.
The University of Houston-Downtown also hosts a COVID-19 testing kiosk, thanks to our partner Curative. The kiosk’s free testing services are open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. beside the Jesse H. Jones Student Life Center. We encourage frequent testing to maintain a healthy, safe campus.
In fact, UHD is deepening its commitment to campus health and safety. Beginning Monday, February 7, the UHD Community will receive a new incentive to test more frequently: UHD faculty, staff and students can earn $5 a week in GatorCash simply by getting a COVID-19 test at the UHD testing kiosk. Look for more information in the coming week in UHD News and Gator Update.
To summarize, we have the public health tools that we know work well in mitigating the spread of the virus. Vaccination remains the leading prevention strategy, including a booster immunization. Please follow CDC and University guidelines, including hand hygiene, face coverings and routine COVID-19 testing, especially if you are not vaccinated. If you are exposed or test positive, it is important that you follow the UHD guidelines for quarantine or isolation.
The conclusion of the soft opening doesn’t signal the end of the pandemic, but it does require the full cooperation of everyone here at UHD. The power is in our hands collectively to make this transition back to our regular class schedule a successful one. Please take advantage of the tools and services available on campus and at your fingertips.
Spring 2022 is off to a wonderful start, and as a University Community, we must work together to ensure UHD stays the course regarding campus health and safety measures. Thank you for doing your part.
Loren J. Blanchard, Ph.D.
President, University of Houston-Downtown