June Update on COVID-19

Thursday, June 18, 2020

UNT System Faculty & Staff:

As the State of Texas continues to re-open in phases, our COVID-19 action team is working diligently on planning and implementing phased campus and office re-openings across UNT World.  Each institution, as well as UNT System Administration, is committed to keeping students, faculty and staff safe with safety precautions such as additional sanitization measures, reallocation of spaces to enable social distancing, the continued use of remote learning/working when possible and the installation of signage to encourage social distancing, sanitization and other safety measures.

Currently most faculty and staff across UNT World are working remotely and that will remain the case for many this summer. If you are currently working remotely, you should continue to do so until instructed otherwise by your supervisor. Each UNT System campus and office is different, so it’s important to continue reading campus and/or location-specific announcements. Please visit with your supervisor for any questions on if/when you should be returning to the office.

While this situation remains fluid as coronavirus circumstances evolve, below is an update of what we know and where we are headed as a unified UNT System.

COVID-19 and Unt World: Where Are We Today

As our campuses and offices begin to open in phases, we are following COVID-19 safety guidelines provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). All relevant UNT System risk management guidelines can be found on the UNT System web site and each UNTS institution also has its own coronavirus web site with updates specific to that campus.

Below is a short status update for each UNTS institution and a link to each coronavirus web site that includes specific details by location.

UNT System Administration: https://www.untsystem.edu/covid-19

  • Unless otherwise instructed by your supervisor, all UNT System Administration employees will continue to work remotely throughout the summer.
  • Return-to-office plans are under review and will be announced in August. This will include return-to-work training.
  • UNT System Administration employees that work as part of a campus team will generally adhere to guidelines specific to their campus location and should bring any questions to their supervisor.
  • The August Board of Regents Meeting will be moved from UNT Health Science Center to a virtual format in order to maximize space usage on campus for students.

UNT: https://healthalerts.unt.edu/

  • The UNT Union is open but operating with reduced hours until later this summer.
  • The university has begun to phase in intercollegiate athletics activities with the return of football players for workouts.
  • Research activity at the university began ramping up again a few weeks ago.
  • For fall, UNT’s primary focus is offering as many in-person classes as possible while still providing a safe environment during COVID-19. Final plans for more than 12,000 courses will be announced by mid-July and this will impact how/when faculty and staff return to work.
  • UNT students will not return to campus for classes after the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday. The end of the semester and final exams will be conducted remotely. This will not change UNT’s fall start date of Aug. 24.
  • UNT Faculty and Staff are required to take online return-to-work training. A link to the course was recently distributed.

UNTHSC: https://www.unthsc.edu/coronavirus/

  • HSC began a phased return to campus on June 8 for supervisors and June 15 for other team members as approved by their supervisors.
  • All team members are required to complete a Campus Reentry Education module before returning to campus and remote work arrangements are encouraged where appropriate.
  • A hybrid model of instruction will occur in the summer and fall.
  • Campus-based, in-person learning will only occur for courses with academic outcomes that cannot be measured or achieved virtually, such as performance, laboratory, and clinical experiences.

UNT Dallas: https://www.untdallas.edu/covid-19-knowledge-center

  • UNT Dallas will continue to offer all summer sessions in a completely virtual learning format and campus is largely closed.
  • UNTD leadership is reviewing a proposed plan for Fall 2020 and will announce details to students, faculty and staff by July 1.
  • The UNT Dallas College of Law Library in downtown Dallas is open to law school students who are preparing for the Bar exam.

COVID-19 and Unt World: What’s Next?

As circumstance continue to change, the UNT System’s overall strategy for physical return to the workplace will remain gradual and driven by our business needs, with utmost consideration taken for the safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors. At all times the strategy will be focused on minimizing risk, while simultaneously optimizing our performance and the services we provide to our institutions. With this in mind, physical interaction will be minimized and the safety of the physical environment will be maximized.

As part of our long-term planning, we have formed a cross-institutional team to analyze business processes, organizational structures and strategic sourcing efforts to help us find sustainable ways to thrive over the long-term. From an economic standpoint we are planning responsibly based on the latest estimates of financial impact by COVID-19 and creating budget plans based on multiple scenarios. While enrollment for the fall remains positive, we continue to run financial models to understand negative impacts from potential losses in enrollment of both domestic and international students, student housing/dining fees, intercollegiate athletics revenue, summer camps and state funding.

Thank you for continued adaptability. We appreciate your support of these plans to ensure safety at our campuses and office facilities.

Lesa B. Roe