MAY 27, 2020 — UTSA announced today that it will reopen its campuses to researchers and graduate students beginning Monday, June 1, so that they can resume research and doctoral training opportunities that cannot be completed remotely.
The researchers’ return to campus is the first step in a carefully planned strategy guided by UTSA’s Public Health Task Force and its Research Excellence and Doctoral Education Recovery tactical team, appointed earlier this month by President Taylor Eighmy.
Researchers and graduate students will be given the option of returning to campus this summer or fully continuing their work remotely. Those who return will still be encouraged by the university to continue with remote work as much as possible.
Additionally, they will be required to continue to hold virtual meetings and to keep the density of people in laboratories and on campus to a minimum.
Procedures for the researchers’ return to campus are outlined in the university’s Research Excellence and Graduate Education report, issued today by the Research Excellence and Doctoral Education Recovery tactical team. The team was led by Vice President for Research, Economic Development, and Knowledge Enterprise Bernard Arulanandam and Vice Provost and Dean of The Graduate School Ambika Mathur.
“As an urban-serving university, UTSA is committed to advancing research discoveries and scholarly works that define our institution and transform our societies,” said Arulanandam. “During the COVID-19 pandemic these efforts must take place within safe boundaries that protect the UTSA and San Antonio communities.”
Individuals will be required to take safety training before they return to campus. The training will equip employees with information to support the safety and well-being of themselves and others around them by providing information about how the novel coronavirus spreads and a refresher about the virus’s symptoms, social distancing best practices and good hygiene.
Researchers and graduate students who return to campus in the summer will be required to conduct daily health checks and to stay home if they experience symptoms, if someone in their household experiences symptoms or if they or someone they know tests positive for COVID-19.
To promote social distancing, they will be required to stay at least 6 feet from other people and stagger their work schedules to limit the density of people in any given room. Additionally, while on campus they will be required to wear face coverings.
UTSA Facilities staff will continue proactive sanitization and hygiene protocols recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Researchers are encouraged to supplement those efforts by frequently cleaning and disinfecting common areas, individual labs, workstations and personal items after use.
“We recognize that the vitality and productivity of our research enterprise and the advancement of the doctoral education opportunities we offer depend, in large part, on the ability to conduct specialized research in the laboratory and in the field,” said Mathur. “The plan we have developed will help keep our researchers safe while protecting the health and safety of the communities where they live.”
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The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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