Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

Who may return to campus now?

  • HSC Supervisors return to campus on June 8 to:
    • Review work areas for social distancing plans.
    • Communicate with their teams who will be expected to return to campus on June 15.
  • HSC Campus is reopened to employees on June 15.
  • Until further notice, HSC expects supervisors to provide direction to employees about their return to campus schedules after assessing the ability to provide social distancing, other measures for safety, and making sure training has been completed.
  • Researchers returning to campus may do so with the approval of their respective Chair or Dean of their school, and the Vice President of Research.
  • We expect the HSC Campus Reopening Plan to continue to evolve in order to allow more employees to return to campus safely

Does this plan include student workers?

Yes, any student workers working on-site are expected to follow the same requirements.

When will all employees return to campus and who will make that decision?

  • Employees will return to campus as guided by their supervisor. The HSC’s plan to return to normal operations will closely rely on our judgment and assessment of changing public health conditions, CDC guidelines, and local, state and federal guidelines, and university health professionals.
  • In the meantime, individual colleges, divisions and departments will develop plans to have employees return that align with the HSC Reopening Plan.
  • If you have any questions about when you will return to your worksite, contact your supervisor.

Why is the HSC moving gradually to return employees to the campus?

  • Our people are the HSC’s most important assets, and the health and safety of all members of our community continue to be a top priority in our COVID-19 response.
  • HSC will approach our return to campus in a reasonable way to prevent unnecessary health risks.
  • HSC will continue to use our values to guide our plans for returning to campus.

Will there be training provided about what to expect when I return to campus?

  • Yes, all employees must complete an online training program via LearnHSC before returning to campus as part of the HSC phased reopening. Returning to campus also requires the approval of your supervisor.
  • Employees must provide a copy of their certificate of training to their supervisor before returning to campus for work. If you have issues saving a copy or need a copy, please contact compliance@unthsc.edu.
  • Students must provide a copy of their certificate of training to the following:
  • The course can be found at https://learnhsc.bridgeapp.com/learner/courses/2df8194b/enroll and will include the following content:
    • General overview of COVID-19 including infection prevention and control measures, signs and symptoms, testing, transmission, and credible resources.
    • Campus specific policies and practices regarding infection prevention and control, campus health and safety resources, use of PPE including face coverings, ID badge requirement for building entry, and actions to take if sick.
    • Personal responsibility strategies while on campus related to sanitizing personal space office equipment.
    • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) resources to assist with emotional, social and uncertainty surrounding this pandemic.
  • Optional: Additional training is available from CITI Program and the Association of American Medical Colleges. This course provides an overview of COVID-19, prevention strategies, recommended laboratory practices, and points to consider as students, staff, and faculty move forward to a return to activities and operations within medical school and research institution settings. Learn more: COVID-19: Back to Campus (Fall 2020)

What must each college, division and department do to prepare for employees to work on campus?

  • Leaders and supervisors of the colleges, divisions and departments will consider if their employees’ work can continue in a remote working environment. If that is the case, those employees should continue to work from home.
  • Leaders and supervisors are encouraged to develop localized plans that are unique and specific to the needs and safety of their employees, and align with the HSC Campus Reopening Plan.
  • These steps will allow the HSC team to return to our important work on campus in a safe way.
  • HSC Campus Reopening Plan: Supervisor and Employee Checklists

What does phased staffing look like?

  • Increase staffing and operations via a coordinated process to ensure appropriate social distancing, availability of PPE, and guidance from the CDC, state and local guidelines, and university public health professionals.
  • Staffing decisions by supervisors will be communicated via your respective Dean, Vice President, or Vice Provost.
  • Staffing levels will be controlled and coordinated to mitigate potential risks and ensure the safety of employees and students, as well as the communities we serve.

I am a caregiver whose children attend schools and/or daycares that are closed. What guidance can HSC provide?

  • HSC leaders are aware of the daycare and K-12 school closures and the challenges they may present for employees who are also parenting and homeschooling children.
  • HSC will continue to monitor closures in our area of the state and will consider them as future plans are developed.

Is the on-campus Lena Pope Early Learning Center open?

Yes, the facility re-opened May 26 with slightly modified operating hours and increased safety measures. For the most up to date information about the facility, please visit https://www.lenapope.org/lena-pope/about-us/latest-news/latest-news-update-covid-19

I am a caregiver of someone who has COVID-19, or I have COVID-19 symptoms myself. Do I return to campus to work?

  • No. According to the CDC, if you are sick or have been exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19, do not return to campus until you have been asymptomatic for 14 days after exposure. You should consult with a medical professional before determining you are ready to return to campus.
  • HSC has leave policies in place to allow employees to stay home when they are sick, when household members are sick, or when required by a healthcare provider to isolate or quarantine themselves or a member of their household because of COVID-19. Contact Campus HR for additional questions regarding leave policies.

Is the State of Texas’ extended disaster declaration status tied to the HSC reopening plan to continue operations?

No, these are separate. HSC will consider CDC guidelines and state, local and university health care professionals’ guidance.

Are visitors allowed back on campus?

  • Visitors are allowed on campus if they meet the following criteria: essential to the safety of a patient or research subject; essential to preserving the results of a research activity; a visitor that supports an essential business function; or the visitor is needed on campus to perform function that meets a graduation requirement for students.
  • All visitors are expected to adhere to HSC Campus Reopening Plan guidelines regarding health and safety.

What will happen if Texas or my community experiences another spike in COVID-19 cases?

HSC will respond appropriately to additional guidance from the CDC, state and local governments, and university health care professionals.

Have building hours and access changed?

  • The Gibson D. Lewis Health Science Library and HSC Fitness Center will remain closed through December 31, 2020.

    If you have any questions and/or need additional information regarding the closure of the Library, please contact AskALibrarian@unthsc.edu.
    If you have any questions and/or need additional information regarding the closure of the Fitness Center, please contact FitnessCenter@unthsc.edu.

  • Food Services: Java Lab and Four Star Café will remain closed until further notice. The Torched Apron will operate with a limited menu for breakfast and lunch with delivery options. 
  • The Health Pavilion will have limited access and will require screening prior to entering the building. In addition, all personnel will be required to wear face coverings in patient care areas. Virtual patient visits are available Monday – Friday and in-person visits are available Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  

Will campus events be allowed this fall?

  • Outside events will not be permitted on-campus without prior approval from the Cabinet.
  • Guidance regarding student organization events can be found at: Events
  • On-campus events will not be permitted unless for academic purposes with prior approval of the Office of the Provost
  • The Scheduling Office may deny a facility use request if it does not comply with UNTHSC’s policies and Facility Use Guidelines for External Groups.
  • UNTHSC’s Free Speech and Public Assembly Policy outlines the university’s policy and responsibilities on expressive activity.

Are HSC funded/sponsored events allowed to be held off-campus?

  • Updated guidelines regarding student organization events can be found at: Events
  • The health and safety of our students and employees is of the utmost importance. A significant step in reducing the spread of COVID-19 is meticulous adherence to public health practices, including physical distancing and limiting exposure. Off-campus events cannot be monitored effectively similar to on-campus events.

How does COVID-19 affect research at HSC?

  • At HSC, we are committed to creating and maintaining a safe environment for students, faculty and staff to conduct research. Students, faculty and staff involved in research will be required to complete all COVID-19-related training and monitoring before coming to campus. All researchers should follow HSC guidelines regarding the use of personal protective equipment, social distancing and work place safety, whether their research is conducted off-campus or on-campus. Projects that require access to laboratories and/or human subjects will be restarted as directed and approved by the Office of Vice President for Research and the Dean of the appropriate school involved. Specific guidelines for laboratory-based research, research involving human subjects and clinical trials can be found here here

What should students expect when returning to campus for in-class activities?

  • Campus-based, in-person instruction will be prioritized first to those courses with academic outcomes that cannot be measured or achieved virtually, such as performance, laboratory and clinical experiences. Intensive procedures will be followed to ensure safety including additional screening and cleaning procedures as needed (more information to be provided by academic departments).
  • All in-person course-related gatherings will be limited to fewer than 30 participants, unless approved by the respective Dean. The Office of the Provost will approve all assigned spaces for in-person learning in order to monitor space utilization and assist in de-densifying buildings. Occupancy guidance will be provided for educational rooms in order to control flow and monitor maximum occupancy.
  • Student or faculty gatherings (such as meetings) with more than 10 participants will be conducted electronically. Those with fewer than 10 participants will utilize existing procedures to schedule spaces and be required to use appropriate public health practices.
  • All course-related student testing will be delivered remotely via online modalities unless otherwise approved by the Dean and coordinated with the Office of the Provost. Courses approved for in-person activities are expected to need in-person practicals or OSCE-like activities. These will be organized and supported as needed.
  • A significant step in reducing the spread of COVID-19 is meticulous adherence to public health practices including hand hygiene, physical distancing, proper cough/sneeze etiquette, frequent disinfection of common and high traffic learning spaces, symptom assessment, temperature checks, and face coverings in public. Such adherence is required for campus learning activities. Practice good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette; social distance at least 6 feet away from other individuals; wear a face covering when social distancing is not possible; and screen for potential COVID-19 symptoms before coming to campus every day. The most effective method includes practicing all of these measures. Personal protective equipment (PPE) “bundles” will be provided to students based on the types of courses registered for during the semester.

Safety and Wellbeing

What role can I play to ensure the health and safety of our HSC community?

  • Do not come to campus if you are sick, are waiting for COVID-19 test results, or have potential COVID-19 symptoms, or have been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19. 
  • The health and wellbeing of our HSC community is a responsibility we all share. 
  • A significant step in reducing the spread of COVID-19 is meticulous adherence to public health practices including hand hygiene, physical distancing, proper cough/sneeze etiquette, frequent disinfection of common and high traffic learning spaces, symptom assessment, temperature checks, and face coverings in public (required on campus). Practice good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette; physical distance at least 6 feet away from other individuals; wear a face covering as required; and screen for potential COVID-19 symptoms before coming to campus every day. The most effective method includes practicing all of these measures. 

Am I required to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms before leaving my home and coming to campus?

Yes, all employees and students are required to perform a self-assessment for symptoms before coming to campus every day.

Potential COVID-19 symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Repeated shaking with chills, difficulty breathing
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Fever of greater than or equal to 100.4
  • Diarrhea or vomiting

I’m waiting on my COVID test results. Can I still come to campus?

If you’ve been exposed to someone who is a known COVID positive or has symptoms of COVID and are waiting on a COVID test result, you should isolate and not return to campus until your result is back and negative and/or are symptom free.

What do I do if I am experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19?

If you are waiting for COVID-19 test results due to symptoms or exposure:

  • Do not return to campus until you have been cleared.
  • Even if you test negative for COVID-19, you must report that you were tested to HSCCOVID@unthsc.edu.
  • You should not return to on-campus work until 24 hours have passed since last fever (without use of fever reducing medications), improvement in your symptoms, and at least 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms.
  • You should practice self-isolation during this time. Self-isolation means that people with symptoms of COVID-19, with or without a positive test, separate from others, stay home and away from others who share a residence to prevent the spread of the virus.

If you test positive for COVID-19 or have a presumed positive diagnosis:

  • You must report your diagnosis to your supervisor (for employees) or your academic department (for students) and HSCCOVID@unthsc.edu. HSC values your privacy and is following privacy guidelines that allow HSC to keep our workplace and your coworkers safe while still protecting individual privacy as much as possible.
  • We will also attempt to identify any HSC community members who may have come into close contact with you and will reach out to them directly with guidance on how to self-quarantine, self-isolate, or self-monitor, as applicable.

If you test negative for COVID-19 and have symptoms:

  • Even if you test negative for COVID-19, you must report that you were tested to HSCCOVID@unthsc.edu.
  • You should not return to on-campus work until 24 hours have passed since last fever (without use of fever reducing medications), improvement in your symptoms,  and at least 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms.
  • You should practice self-isolation during this time. Self-isolation means that people with symptoms of COVID-19, with or without a positive test, separate from others, stay home and away from others who share a residence to prevent the spread of the virus.

If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 but have not been tested:

  • If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you should report your symptoms to your supervisor/academic department regardless whether you have been tested or not.

Use encrypted email when reporting to HSCCOVID@unthsc.edu 

HSC COVID-19 Response Algorithm

Where do I report if I’m told by an employee or student that they tested positive for COVID-19?

Report to HSCCOVID@unthsc.edu and include the following information: supervisor name; employee or student name; employee office # and building; employee or student contact information; and date last on campus.

Pursuant to the Clery Act, HSC will assess each report of a positive case to determine whether a notification to the campus or a segment of campus is needed to protect the health and safety of student and employees. Any notification would protect the privacy of the reporting individual as much as possible. 

Will there be enhanced cleaning of workspaces to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19?

  • Yes, regular housekeeping practices are being enhanced, including frequent cleaning and sanitization of high-touch areas such as door handles, railings, and elevator panels, among others.
  • This is a shared responsibility. Please do your part to keep your personal workspaces clean and avoid sharing workspaces and/or equipment.
  • If possible, and your schedule allows for it, please leave your workspace by 5 p.m. daily to allow the housekeeping staff to begin services to limit additional contact between employees and students.

Will additional cleaning supplies be available on campus for use?

  • Yes, additional cleaning stations will be available near passenger elevators on each floor of every building with instructions for sanitizing work spaces.
  • These communal supplies will be available to everyone so please be mindful of returning the supplies when finished, and contact facilities@unthsc.edu or x2181 if supplies are running low.

Can offices or workspaces be modified for increased safety?

  • Minor modifications such as moving furniture to allow for social distancing are appropriate without approval. If assistance is needed to move furniture, please contact facilities@unthsc.edu or X2181.
  • Renovations to individual offices or workspaces are not permitted unless an assessment from the Environmental Health & Safety Office deems health habits and other measures described in the HSC Campus Reopening Plan are insufficient to promote a safe work environment.

Will in-person meetings be allowed?

  • Based on CDC guidance, in-person meetings are discouraged. If a meeting must be in person to accomplish the purpose of the meeting, it must be in a large room with attendees six feet away from each other, no more than 10 people, and face coverings are required. 
  • Continue to use alternative methods of meeting and interacting with colleagues that became integral during the state’s “Stay at Home” order. 
  • While working on campus, you are encouraged to communicate with your colleagues and supervisors as needed by email, instant message, telephone, or other available technology rather than face-to-face. 

Will other spaces in my work area be closed, such as breakrooms, kitchens or other facilities?

  • Yes, if it is impossible in those spaces to maintain safe social distancing and regular cleaning. Breakrooms/kitchens will be limited to food preparation only.
  • Eliminate reusable kitchen and cleaning tools and replace with single-use options in common kitchens and break rooms.
  • Remove high-touch items such as magazines and common pens.

Is it required that I wear a face covering on campus?

Yes, all HSC employees, students and visitors are required to wear a face covering on the HSC campus effective June 25, 2020.

On June 26, 2020 at 6:00pm, a Tarrant County Executive Order went into effect until August 3, 2020, requiring face coverings in the following conditions. This Executive Order has been extended until November 30, 2020.:

  1. Indoor public areas on campus (non-private office spaces, lobbies, restrooms, classrooms, teaching laboratories, research laboratories, common spaces, conference rooms and break rooms)
  2. Outdoor spaces where six feet of physical distance is difficult to maintain

HSC will adhere to all federal and local initiatives to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, employees, students and visitors should follow these guidelines to ensure a safe work and learning environment for all:

  • Respect for others is a core HSC value. Face coverings, in conjunction with other public health practices such as proper hand hygiene and physical distancing, can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 into the environment and to others.
  • Wearing a face covering demonstrates respect and an effort to protect others. This personal responsibility practice assists in limiting the spread of the virus on campus and allows the HSC to resume some normal operations. This is important for limited face-to-face classes and activities that cannot be held virtually, such as performance, laboratory, and clinical experiences.
  • Individuals may bring their own face coverings or use the provided HSC face covering upon return to campus.
  • All team members, including those in the Clinical Practice Groups, are required to wear face coverings in all HSC clinical settings.
  • As a health science center, the appropriate use of PPE is an important part of the learning experience for our students and essential for the safety and welfare of our team members.
  • Some students and employees may not be able to wear a face covering due to a pre-existing medical condition or disability (i.e. asthma, respiratory disease, inability to remove a face covering without assistance). With the HSC core values in mind, please be respectful of your campus colleagues. For additional questions, students should contact the Center for Academic Performance, Assistant Director, Brandie Wiley @ Brandie.Wiley@unthsc.edu and employees should contact Human Resources @ HSC.HR@untsystem.edu.
  • Supervisors and faculty teaching in-person classes should notify their employees and students in advance (via email, syllabi, and Canvas) regarding the expectations for PPE requirements and safety measures based on their physical environment, ability to physically distance, and job responsibilities/course objectives.
  • Employees and students not adhering to these guidelines and choosing to work unsafely without reason may be subject to the disciplinary process.

Can I take my face covering off if my chair is physically distanced 6 feet away from others?

Face coverings are required while you are on campus in any shared or common space. The only exceptions are while eating and drinking.

What do I do if I have concerns about other employees or students not following the HSC COVID-19 Safety Guidelines?

  • Our HSC value of respect empowers you as a HSC employee and student to emphasize public health practices such as social distancing, hand hygiene, staying home when sick, use of face coverings, and proper cough/sneeze etiquette. If this concerns you, please discuss with your supervisor ways to practice additional social distancing measures.

Will I be asked to check my temperature at the office or at home before returning to campus?

All employees and students who have access to a thermometer at home are asked to check their temperature prior to leaving for campus. Please report any fever over 100.3 to your supervisor or faculty member and stay home. Call your physician if symptoms worsen.

Will employees and students be tested for COVID-19?

  • At this time, HSC does not intend to test employees or students for COVID-19 as a requirement to return to campus.
  • If you have any questions about whether you should be tested for COVID-19, consult your healthcare provider or the Priority Care Clinic at 817-735-CARE (2273). If it is determined that you should be tested, your clinician will recommend a testing facility.
  • HSC’s approach to testing may evolve over time, based on the availability of testing in Texas and the changing situation related to the pandemic.

What do I do, as a student, if I’m told I must be tested before going on a clinical rotation?

Contact your school/program directly to determine next steps.

Is there mental health support for employees and students returning to campus?

  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to offer support during this stressful period. This free service helps employees with family, legal or financial issues, substance abuse or other stressful events. EAP programs are available to retirement-eligible employees, retirees, household members and dependents.
  • Student Support Program is available to offer support as well. This free service provides students with unlimited telehealth mental health support.

What if I notice unsafe working conditions?

If you observe or experience unsafe working conditions, please contact your supervisor to help address issues and concerns.

Are there still travel restrictions in place?

  • HSC will follow travel guidelines as outlined by the UNT System at https://www.untsystem.edu/covid-response-guidelines#toc-2.
  • Until further notice, no university-sponsored or work-related international or domestic travel will be allowed.
  • For questions about international travel and visiting scholars, contact Monte Cason, Deputy and International Compliance Officer, @ monte.cason@unthsc.edu or 817-735-0145.

Additional Resources

This page was last modified on October 8, 2020