I am writing today to provide an update on the progress on our Return to Learn restart initiative. I encourage you to attend tomorrow’s Academic Affairs Restart Town Hall, June 23 from 2 to 4 p.m., to learn more about the preparations and progress for the fall semester.
June marked Phase 2 of our reopening plans allowing for the limited use of approved academic facilities to support individualized learning, along with Phase 2 of our Research Reopen Plan.
Phase 3 of our reopening begins on July 6. In preparation for this next phase, our Academic Affairs Advisory Restart Group has been actively reviewing each individual unit’s plans for returning to campus. This committee is considering questions such as: How can we support the success of our students through this activity? What is the right time for this activity to resume on campus? Are the appropriate safety protocols in place?
I know that many in our community are concerned about the rise in cases in our county. Some may be wondering whether we are ready for the next phase of reopening. Be assured that our entire team is watching public health indicators closely. Phase 3 represents a limited reopening and includes the following:
Continuity of Teaching
- The majority of 5W2 courses will be taught remotely or online. A total of 13 course sections will be taught in person across three buildings including Life Sciences, RTVF, and Speech and Hearing. All with social distancing in place and limits on the number of students in each classroom space. All classes have fewer than 25 students.
Continuity of Student Services
- Our student services are preparing to begin offering in-person services starting July 6, as well as continuing virtual services. Days and hours of in-person operation will be posted on the website for each student service, with every office open on Thursdays allowing students the opportunity to visit multiple offices if needed.
- Willis Library is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to support the needs of our students, staff and faculty. The libraries have added inter-library loan services and pulled books from remote facilities to serve students in a central location.
Continuity of Clinical Operations
- Our clinics are submitting reopening plans that would allow seeing patients as early as July 6. The psychology clinic has an approved plan, with other clinics having plans currently under review. Each of these plans is being reviewed to ensure we are providing for a safe environment for our patients, students, staff and faculty.
Continuity of Research
- Plans for reopening field research are underway, with an expected reopening in July. Further details will be forthcoming.
Continuity of Operations
- Faculty may work from their office beginning July 6.
- For buildings hosting classes in 5W2, sanitizer stands will be located at the main entrances and disinfectant kits will be located in each classroom. Hand sanitizer bottles will be distributed in many locations. Custodial staff will sanitize classrooms nightly and have a crew on hand during the day for special cleaning requirements, and bathroom restocking and touch-up disinfecting. If you have facility-related questions, please contact Facilities work control at email@example.com or 940-565-2700.
- All students, staff and faculty are required to complete COVID-19 Safety Training. The first module is available through UNT’s Bridge System. Employees are to complete the first module before returning to work or by the July 31 deadline. Additional training modules will be added to prepare for the fall semester.
- As a reminder, you are asked to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days prior to returning to work and take your temperature prior to each visit to campus. Self-monitoring information and a tracking form will be distributed by your supervisor to help track symptoms.
- While on campus you are asked to wear a mask, and we are asking that everyone be mindful of social distancing. To help keep our community as safe as possible, our university is using the UNT System Guidelines.
- For all buildings, deep cleaning has been occurring since March. Custodians are cleaning nightly and will be checking during the day on bathrooms in larger facilities and high volume customer locations, like student services areas. Air conditioning systems have had filters changed and outside air increased on many systems. Building water systems have been flushed periodically. You will find many water fountains turned off and Facilities is still accomplishing this task. Sanitizer stands are already installed in dozens of facilities and many more will be placed throughout the rest of June and July. Over 100 Plexiglas dividers have been placed in customer service locations and many more are in production at Facilities. If you believe you need any specialized items, such as dividers, contact your college PPE officer or unit head to determine if a request has already been made. Patience is appreciated as we process requests.
- A COVID Hotline is available to help UNT community members report and understand COVID-19 symptoms, testing information and/or results; receive guidance on actions they may need to take following potential exposure; and with questions related to COVID-19’s impact on university operations. The hotline number is 844-366-5892 and the email address is COVID@unt.edu.
- As a reminder, university-sponsored and work-related international or domestic travel is currently not allowed for students, faculty or staff, due to the CDC Level 3 Global Travel Advisory. To learn more, visit the UNT System’s travel guidelines. Exceptions are only for essential business purposes, such as traveling to support state or federal COVID-19 recovery efforts. To request an exception, please complete the Request to Travel to High-risk Destinations form. Exception requests are only being reviewed for travel commencing prior to September 1.
- We want you to be safe this summer if you’re planning to take a vacation. To prepare for your vacation, review COVID information from the state or local health department in your location, along your travel route, and at your planned destination. Tips can also be found on the CDC’s travel webpage and on the Travel Texas website. Depending on the COVID activity in the areas where you travel, you may have to self-isolate off-campus for 14 days upon your return. If you have traveled to a hot spot, we ask that you report this information through our COVID Travel Form. As a reminder, we are asking all faculty and staff to avoid travel for the two weeks prior to the start of the fall semester.
I greatly appreciate your patience while our teams work through many difficult questions to create the best learning environment possible under these new circumstances. At tomorrow’s Academic Affairs Restart Town Hall I will be sharing information about where we are with fall planning. I know that you may have ideas about how we can best return to campus. Ideas can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. I also invite you to participate in a small group discussion on June 29 from 2 to 3 p.m. or July 8 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. as we talk about how we can foster our students’ learning on a socially distanced campus. Please contact Joanna.Hussey@unt.edu to sign up for one of these small group discussions.