New Health Policy and Change in Campus Recovery Level
Wednesday, August 05, 2020
Today, we are transitioning to the “Limited Campus Operations” phase of the Campus Recovery Matrix. After three weeks with an overall downward trend in new positive COVID-19 cases in El Paso, UTEP is taking the next step toward preparing to execute our fall course schedule that has been designed to provide high-quality education while limiting the number of people on campus.
This move to Limited Campus Operations reflects our four-part strategy to continue our teaching and research mission while remaining vigilant to public health conditions.
- We are encouraging students and employees to work and study remotely when they can. Only 25% of our fall classes have a face-to-face component, with only 5% fully face-to-face. The majority of our staff and faculty will work remotely this semester.
- We will use best health practices all the time. If you are sick, stay home. Cover your face. Stay 6 feet apart. Wash your hands frequently.
- We are making efforts to keep the campus safe for those who cannot work or study remotely. Classrooms have been reconfigured. Cleaning is enhanced. It will be easy to wash your hands and clean your desk before class.
- We will have a proactive UTEP testing program. We want to identify those who have coronavirus but do not have any symptoms so that they can stay home until they are well.
Transition to Limited Campus Operations
For most of us, this transition will have no effect on our day-to-day operations. Most members of the faculty and staff will continue to work remotely, classrooms and most facilities will remain closed, and work groups will be limited to 10 people.
The move to “Limited Campus Operations” provides an opportunity for a small group of faculty and staff to prepare and get all our processes right to help and support the approximately 7,000 students we expect to be on campus this fall.
Temporary Health and Safety Policy
To help us ensure that our campus is safe for those who cannot work or study remotely, we are also establishing a Temporary Health and Safety Policy. This temporary policy is effective immediately and will end when the University determines the threat of COVID-19 has subsided.
This new temporary policy requires all faculty, staff and students to stay at home and report if they are ill, have COVID-19 symptoms, or have had recent contact with a person who has received a positive coronavirus test. It also requires that everyone complete a few brief screening questions before coming to campus. Read the full policy at this link.
New Health Screening Tool
One important part of the temporary health policy is a new health screening tool that is now available to all students, faculty, staff and visitors at screening.utep.edu.
The new health policy requires all faculty, staff and students to use this link each day before coming to the UTEP campus. Upon completion of the daily screening questions, the page will indicate whether the individual is clear to proceed to campus or not. For added convenience, this page can be saved to a home screen on Apple or Android devices.
Coronavirus remains an urgent public health concern in our region and beyond, and we will continue to monitor conditions daily. But with these new efforts and others like the revised fall schedule we announced last month, which will substantially reduce on-campus presence, and the proactive coronavirus testing program we announced yesterday, we believe we will be able to continue our teaching and research mission while keeping the safety of our campus community at the forefront.Heather Wilson