Campus Update from UHV President Bob Glenn
Dear UHV Students, Faculty and Staff:
As we approach the end of the spring semester, I wanted to update the campus community on just a few items. To start, I want to answer the questions I get most often.
Will there be an in-person commencement ceremony? As you already know, we have a virtual commencement ceremony scheduled for May 15. But this will not be our only ceremony. We are actively negotiating with our regular venues in Victoria and Katy to find dates for in-person ceremonies. These venues are not yet fully open to the public, and that means we will have to make changes from our regular procedures. Graduates will be able to select the venue that works best for them. Since the venues will have limits on capacity, we will have several ceremonies at each venue. Any graduate from 2020 and 2021 will be able to participate, regardless of whether the graduate chose to participate in the virtual ceremony. Detailed instructions about how to register for commencement will be sent out as soon as we are able. I appreciate your patience to this point and your ongoing patience as we continue to work on your behalf. Any specific questions you may have about commencement may be directed to Dr. Jay Lambert, vice president for student affairs.
Will we have face-to-face classes in the fall? The short answer is YES. We will offer face-to-face classes this summer and will be back to our regular number of face-to-face class offerings in the fall semester. We expect to be at either Phase 4 or Phase 5 (fully operational) of our UHV Phased Reopening Plan by the fall semester. Again, the Reopening Task Force, which includes members of our nursing faculty, continues to meet regularly to evaluate current conditions and make recommendations about how to proceed. Conditions in our region and the state are improving, and so we are optimistic that while there may still be some restrictions such as masking and physical distancing, we will be able to get back into the swing of things this fall. Residence halls will be open and dining services available. There will be online options available, as there always have been. To answer any questions about your specific options, I encourage you to contact your academic advisor or the dean of your school.
Will campus life be back to normal? With more of our students back on campus for face-to-face classes, we expect that activities and life on campus will more closely resemble life before COVID-19. With students on campus, you can expect to see offices operational. Depending on the phase we are in, this may mean staff are either working on campus or working in a hybrid model where they spend some days in the office and some days working remotely but still are available virtually. The good news is that students will have the opportunity to meet with advisors and staff face to face. Taking care of students will continue to be our utmost priority.
Will I be required to get vaccinated before I come back in the fall? The short answer is no. The governor already has issued an executive order that prevents public schools and universities from requiring the COVID-19 vaccination. That executive order has the force of state law. While you will not be required to have been vaccinated, I do encourage you to do so. Clearly, the safest path forward involves as many people being vaccinated as quickly as possible. While I personally believe in vaccination and am fully vaccinated myself, there are many reasons people choose to not be vaccinated, and it is important to know that your choices are your business. You will not be identified or discriminated against based upon that choice. Regardless of your vaccination status, you will be welcome on our campus. I encourage you to read the Vaccine FAQ on the UHV COVID-19 website for more information. The university also has started a campaign called “IT’S UP TO UHV” to encourage faculty, staff and students to get vaccinated and to learn more about the vaccines available to fight COVID-19. They’ll see the campaign on social media, digital signage, and posters and cards around campus.
Please continue to be patient with us. As I have said on other occasions, we are in uncharted waters because of the pandemic. We are having to make the best decisions we can as we become aware of the ever-changing conditions. We are committed to acting in your best interests. We are not always able to choose the answers that are most popular. You have shown great patience up to this point, and I am asking that you continue to do so.
There will be more information to come. We are committed to sharing all information with you as it becomes available. Feel free to contact me directly with any questions you may have.