How do we track departmental expenses related to the coronavirus?
Department admins should track any expenditures incurred as a result of UTSA’s effort to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Download the weekly report form and instructions. See your financial area lead for more information.
When can payments be expected to be processed by Disbursements and Travel Services (DTS)?
Direct deposit (ACH) payments are processed Monday through Friday with a two-business day turnaround for transactions. Check runs now occur on Tuesdays and Fridays. Student and vendor checks will be mailed through the U.S. Postal Service. Ensure you have a current address on file. No check pick-ups are available.
No. Based on the recommendation of the UTSA Chief Medical Officer, the Child Development Center is now closed to protect the health and safety of children and their families and the university community.
Can I still make purchases for my department while we are telecommuting?
Staff and faculty are asked to thoughtfully consider purchases and reduce spending on materials and supplies wherever possible. Numerous technology resources are available to support paperless processes. The university will carefully monitor purchase order requests and Procard reports during this time. When purchases are necessary, please note that the university does not allow home delivery of items. Deliveries will continue to route through Central Receiving to facilitate required inventory, asset and purchasing policies. Learn more about current Central Receiving operations.
Will Central Receiving and Mail Services be available?
Central Receiving and Mail Services will continue to operate Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until otherwise notified.
Central Receiving will not make deliveries. Instead, recipients will receive an email when merchandise is received and will then schedule a pick-up time. The Main Campus Central Receiving pick-up location is CRW 1.01.02 (call 210-458-4591). The Downtown Campus pick-up location is DB 0.104 (call 210-458-2781). Pick-up hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Mail Services will not deliver mail to offices. Departments that need to pick up or drop off mail must do so within the posted business hours. The Main Campus mailroom is located in MS 1.01.22 (call 210-458-5948), and the Downtown Campus mailroom is located in DB 0.104 (call 210-458-2781).
Will I be reimbursed if I used personal funds to book university travel?
Faculty who used personal funds to book travel for research, academic or professional activities that have been cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19 can still be reimbursed from their UTSA funds. They must complete an Expense Report with only the amounts that were paid, documenting cancellation for COVID19 reasons, and including any relevant receipts. If the travel was booked using sponsored project funds, they should check with their Research Service Center or visit REDKE’s COVID-19 Federal Guidance to ensure that reimbursement is allowable on these funds.
What type of remote work can I give my student employee(s), so they can continue to fulfill their hours and get paid?
The health and well-being of our Roadrunner community and the academic progress of our students are our top concerns, and we recognize that financial stability is an important element of student success.
With UTSA’s transition to a temporary remote workforce, we want to provide our student workers as much flexibility as possible to continue working. To that end, both student employees and supervisors should follow these guidelines:
Supervisors should enable student workers to work remotely, exercising their full ability to flexibly identify activities, tasks and mechanisms that allow student workers to work remotely.
Check out these resources to consider and develop various alternatives that are suitable for work assignments during the remote working period:
Do student employees need to have a signed telecommuting agreement?
Yes. When working remotely, the student must have a signed telecommuting agreement on file with their supervisor. The signed agreement must be on file before submitting timesheets for the week of March 16-22 and all following weeks.
What happens if my student employee has chosen not to work remotely?
If a student chooses not to work remotely, the student cannot be paid.
If a student is unable to work remotely because they don’t have access to a device or internet, please work with them to find a solution since this problem will also affect their ability to complete their courses. Free internet access is being offered by several companies. Visit the Tech Resources page to learn more or contact UTS at firstname.lastname@example.org or 210-458-5555.
Am I allowed to hire additional student workers during the telecommuting period?
No. All additional student worker hiring has been suspended during the temporary telecommuting period. If you have unmet needs, please let your supervisor know as some areas with a large student workforce (e.g. Campus Rec, Student Union, etc.) may be looking for meaningful work to give their student employees.
How can I help my students who have accommodations due to a disability?
UTSA Student Disability Services has proactively reached out to students who are blind or have low vision and those who are deaf or hard of hearing as well as to their instructors to assist with the transition to online learning. A disability-related FAQ is also posted online to help students and faculty respond to the COVID-19 situation. Instructors who need to discuss other scenarios should contact email@example.com or call 210-458-4157 and the student’s assigned Disability Specialist will help provide recommendations and/or appropriate referrals.
Additionally, faculty and staff are encouraged to review Academic Innovation’s Digital Accommodation Resources page. It provides answers to many common questions, including instructions for extending time on tests, assignments and assessments, and how to close caption videos using Medial. If more assistance is needed to make your course accessible (e.g.: Blackboard accessibility, adding captioning, etc.), please consult with the Academic Innovation Accessibility Team.
Instructors are responsible for extending test times for student who qualify on Blackboard for quizzes/exams. If your exams are moving online or already are online and you need information on how to provide exam extension accommodations, please consult with Blackboard Learn Video Resources or consult with Academic Innovations on how to extend time on an exam.Permalink
What about faculty evaluations?
Academic Affairs is developing guidance to address faculty concerns about coronavirus-related disruption to teaching and research activities that are included in evaluations such as promotion/tenure, Annual Reviews, CPE and 3rd year reviews, etc. Watch your inbox for details in the coming weeks.
Some institutions are stopping the tenure clock for TT faculty. Is UTSA considering this option?
UTSA is aware that faculty members are concerned about how COVID-19-related disruptions in teaching and research activities might impact their future evaluations. These concerns extend to include promotion and tenure, comprehensive periodic review, teaching/learning ratings, etc.
The university is working on mitigation plans that will explicitly recognize the anticipated impact. Watch for more detailed information in the next few weeks about any changes to timelines, peer observations, etc.
Is there a way to create an online equivalent of the UTSA Faculty Center?
Several tools are available to create virtual meeting spaces and collaborative environments.
WebEx Meetings, a video conferencing and screensharing solution, is available to all UTSA employees. Visit utsa.webex.com and sign in with your UTSA credentials in the upper-right corner. Employees will use firstname.lastname@example.org to log in. Additionally, Microsoft Teams, an application used for collaboration in Office 365, integrates people, content and tools to promote engagement.
How can I help my students access their textbooks electronically if they relied on library reserves?
UTSA's librarians can assist faculty in locating comparable Open Educational Resources. They can also identify potential e-book matches for current courses in the library's e-book collections. Faculty are encouraged to work with their subject librarian to provide necessary reading materials to their students.Permalink
Will UTSA switch to a Pass/Fail grading system for this semester?
In accordance with the UT System Board of Regents’ Rules and Regulations and upon recommendation by the UTSA Faculty Senate and the UTSA Academic Council, UTSA will adopt an optional Credit/No Credit (“pass/fail”) grading system for undergraduate and graduate courses for the Spring 2020 semester. This same temporary adjustment is being implemented at many other universities across the country that, like UTSA, have had to transition to online instruction in response to the pandemic. Other UT System institutions also are adopting similar temporary grading adjustments.
Each instructor will determine if his or her course is suitable for a credit/noncredit grade (i.e., “pass/fail”). Students should be notified the week of April 6–10 whether their course has been designated as eligible for this grading option. For those designated courses, the student will decide whether she or he wants to receive a letter grade or credit/noncredit for the course; the tentative deadline is May 8, the last day of classes. If the student does not respond, the default will be the traditional grading scale. More details on this process is forthcoming.
Are research operations continuing? Are research facilities open?
Essential and critical research operations will continue, and designated research facilities will remain accessible. Researchers may contact Associate Vice President for Research Integrity Michelle Stevenson at 210-668-3313 or email@example.com with any questions.
What type of research with human subjects can continue?
All research conducted remotely can continue.
Any face-to-face research with human subject must be temporarily suspended, effective immediately. Where possible, transition in-person interactions for all studies to remote interactions to limit potential exposure. All other studies must cease.
You should especially consider altering methods to continue to support trainees and students whose academic credit and progress is dependent upon carrying out research activities. As the current situation returns to safe status, the Office of Research Integrity will work with you to make sure that your protocols are ready for re-activation.
How can I transfer my study to be conducted remotely?
Specific options for conducting your study remotely include:
Study interactions such as interviews or simple study follow-up visits may be completed by phone or video.
If your study requires signed informed consent, consider whether you can modify study procedures by requesting a waiver of documentation of consent so that consent may be obtained without requiring a signature. To be approved to waive documentation of consent, the study must present no more than minimal risk of harm to participants and involve no procedures for which written consent is normally required outside the research context. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to ask about this potential modification.
If you have a multi-site study, contact study sponsors to ask about procedures for modifying protocol schedules. Be sure all changes are implemented consistently across all sites.
Any planned modifications to study procedures, such as a shift from in-person to remote interactions, should be submitted to the IRB using the Modification Application (HRP-203), unless the study is approved as exempt. Indicate on the modification form that the change is being implemented as a COVID-19 safety precaution to help the IRB prioritize the submission.
Any changes to study procedures made to eliminate apparent immediate hazards to research participants, including those to reduce potential exposure to SARS-CoV-2, or to continue to provide medically necessary study care to participants who have been placed in isolation do not need prior approval by the IRB. All such changes should be reported to the IRB using the Promptly Reportable Information (HRP-204) within 5 days as an unanticipated event involving risk to subjects or others.
If you need to change your consent procedures to waive the requirement for a signature so that consent can be done remotely, submit a study Modification Application (HRP-203) requesting to waive documentation of consent if your study is: (1) no greater than minimal risk and (2) meets the criteria for qualifying for a waiver of documentation of consent. Guidance can be found here.
How can I minimize exposure among my research team?
Consider the following measures to minimize exposure if you must gather in person to access equipment, analyses, etc.
Ensure that hand sanitizer and hand washing facilities are readily available and encouraged.
Implement research team member screening to minimize exposure risk. See below for possible screening questions.
Establish rigorous disinfecting protocols for any equipment, manipulatives, or other study equipment that were used with participants. Contact the Lab Safety Division if you need guidance on appropriate disinfection.
How might I conduct a pre-screen of my research team as it relates to COVID-19?
All team members should be vigilant in self-monitoring of potential exposure and symptoms. Implement extra precautions or only meet remotely especially if any team members fall into a high-risk category:
Underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes
Weakened immune system
Over 60 years of age
Team member screening questions might include the following:
1. Have you had any of the following symptoms in the past 2 weeks, even if they were mild?
Shortness of breath
2.Have you had close contact with a person who is under investigation for possible COVID-19?
Close contact is defined by the CDC as:
(a) being within approximately 6 feet of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time. Close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting area or room or being close in an enclosed area with a COVID-10 case or
(b) having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed or sneezed on).
3. In the past 3 weeks, have you visited a country with sustained (ongoing) occurrence of COVID-19, such as:
What resources are available to me during the current Stay Home, Work safe orders?
Our Lab Safety team has prepared a set of resource documents to provide general guidance on running and preparing a lab should there be any future interruption based on illness or overall university closure.
In the event of a closure, the door signage template should be used to indicate to Public Safety how the lab has been left, who the lab point of contact is, and which ongoing checks will be done to maintain research activities, if any.
I’m concerned about the welfare of my animals, particularly if the university closes in the future. What is being done?
Laboratory Animal Resources Center (LARC) has been preparing to minimize impacts to ongoing research activities if the situation escalates, including closure. LARC has stored additional feed, water, bedding, PPE, disinfectant, chemicals, wipes, spray bottles, and more. LARC staff will stay in communication with researchers throughout this process and, where possible, partner with teams to maintain continuity. Please let us know if you have specific needs and suggestions.
In the event of a closure, LARC will continue to support the health and well-being of the animals.
Public awareness of the coronavirus has led to a shortage of surgical masks. In the animal facilities, these masks are only required in the BSL-2 rooms. Staff and students are asked to refrain from using them in other areas of the animal facility unless instructed otherwise by LARC staff, based on evolving updates from the OHP nurse.
Where can I check the status of my proposals and awards in real-time?
Research Computing and Business Intelligence (REDKE) will remain available to help with all REDKE applications located on the Research Portal, which includes links to the Research Dashboard, CayUse, Academic Analytics, Payroll Certification Reporting and more.
Research Support is transferring faculty development trainings and workshops to virtual platforms wherever feasible. Access details will be sent to all registered participants and will be updated on the REDKE events page and other applicable calendars.
Following UTSA guidelines, meetings and external partnership engagements will move to virtual platforms wherever possible or have been cancelled or postponed.
First, follow and adhere to all current UTSA travel guidelines. Second, any face-to-face research with human subjects must be temporarily suspended, effective immediately. Where possible, transition in-person meetings for all studies to remote interactions to limit potential exposure. Studies that cannot transition to remote methods must cease, with notification to the IRB. Follow the IRB Guidance outlined here.
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