Texas Tech updates faculty and staff on COVID-19 response for spring semester

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 5:09 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec and Ron Hendrick, Senior Vice President and Provost, issued a statement to faculty and staff on the campus’ COVID-19 response for the Spring 2022 semester.

Students are due to return to campus starting January 12.

Deans will be authorized to make modality changes as requested by instructors for up to three weeks no later than February 4. COVID-19 testing locations will reopen on January 4, with a vaccination clinic on January 7. Weekly clinics hosted by the Texas Department of Emergency Management will take place starting Friday, January 14.

All testing and vaccination sites are open to students, faculty and staff.

Anyone with a COVID-19 exposure is urged to wear a mask for 10 days, with a test five days after exposure. Anyone who tests positive is required to self-isolate for five days, and should wear a mask for five days after.

Read the full statement below:

As we begin 2022, we continue to navigate the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last week, we’ve seen a rapid increase in positive cases in Lubbock driven by the Omicron variant, and we anticipate these increases to continue through mid-January. The CDC-approved vaccinations and the wearing of masks while indoors continue to be our best measures to prevent the spread of the virus and keep our community safe and healthy.

As scheduled, we look forward to welcoming students back to campus for the spring semester on January 12. We have learned much about navigating the pandemic while ensuring we continue to offer a traditional college experience for our students. As we did last fall, to provide greater flexibility in our response to COVID-19, college Deans, in consultation with Chairs, are authorized to make temporary changes in course modalities in response to local case criteria beginning today. These criteria include but are not limited to case prevalence and trajectories in individual course sections. Requests for a temporary change in course modality for up to three weeks ending no later than February 4 can be submitted by instructors of record to department chairs via email for recommendation to their college Deans, who will, in turn, notify the Office of the Provost of any changes (Read more about Teaching & Classroom Guidance and Communicating with Students who Test Positive).

Our on-campus COVID-19 testing locations re-opened on January 4. We will have a vaccination clinic hosted by United Supermarkets on January 7, and beginning January 14, we will have vaccination clinics hosted by TDEM on Fridays. All testing and vaccination sites are open to students, faculty and staff. We have also updated the COVID-19 website and resumed daily reporting on our COVID-19 dashboard of all new cases and recoveries.

Consistent with the latest CDC recommendations, we have revised our guidance for students, faculty and staff who have a known exposure or tested positive. Anyone with a known exposure should wear a mask for 10 days and should seek a COVID-19 test on day five after exposure. If you test positive or develop symptoms, you should immediately self-isolate and seek a COVID-19 test. Anyone who tests positive is required to self-isolate for five days. Following the five-day isolation period, if you are asymptomatic or your symptoms are resolving, you may return to work but should wear a mask for five additional days. All positive tests should be reported through our campus reporting system.

Operations will continue to provide sanitization stations across campus and eMist classrooms regularly. They will continue to increase outdoor air in all facilities and install Plexiglass barriers. Additionally, some drinking fountains may be closed through February 4.

It is also cold and flu season; you should stay home and use sick leave if you do not feel well. Employees that do not have adequate sick leave accumulated should contact Human Resources to request Emergency Leave.

Supervisors should work with their employees to determine appropriate remote work options. A change of duty point form is not necessary for changes through February 4, specific to these short-term pandemic-related situations.

Additionally, we encourage you to consider postponing in-person events through February 4. We will continue to closely monitor this ongoing situation and make additional adjustments as necessary. 

Again, we appreciate your feedback and collaboration as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic; your ongoing flexibility and commitment to our students are vital. We will send additional messaging to students, faculty and staff before the beginning of classes.

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