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Safe and Healthy Rams

Safe and Healthy Rams

 

Learn what Huston-Tillotson University is doing as we work to reactivate campus for the Fall 2021 semester, and how you can help keep yourself, and your family and friends, safe and healthy.

We are taking a proactive, science-based approach to reactivating campus and curbing the spread of COVID-19. Together, we resolve to protect ourselves, our community, and the greater good.

The resumption of full operations at Huston-Tillotson facilities includes a combination of the use of appropriate face masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene, limited density in indoor spaces, improved indoor air quality, vaccination requirements and encouragement, testing, symptoms tracking, and contact tracing.

This information is evolving as we follow the science. Please check regularly for updates.

 

Fall 2021 Campus Reactivation

Find our full Reactivation document here, and check regularly for updates. Notifications and updates are also sent regularly through the HT Ram Check app and email.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

#HTVaxUp – Information on COVID-19 vaccination and the Safe & Healthy Rams Vaccination Incentive Program.

HT Ram Check

Mobile app required for campus entry and participation in campus activities.

Download the app:
Apple Store
Google Play Store

Webform if unable to access mobile app

Guiding Principles

  • Given the current trends and projections, Huston-Tillotson University has resumed on campus operations for the Fall 2021 semester.
  • While the Austin, Travis County area remains in Stage 4 or 5, masks are required for everyone in public indoor environments and outdoors when unable to physically distance. For more information on masking requirements and other expectations, please review the full Reactivation document.
  • Routine COVID-19 testing will be required throughout the fall semester for any student, faculty, or staff member who is not fully vaccinated.
  • Daily Health Screening required for campus entry and participation in campus activities. Students faculty and staff will complete the screening using the HT Ram Check mobile application.
  • Vaccination or an approved exemption is required for all residential students and student athletes. Vaccination is highly encouraged for all students, faculty, and staff. We will have on-campus COVID-19 vaccination clinics that will be open to all HT faculty, staff, students, alumni and their family members. More information on vaccine availability in the Austin area can be found here.
  • We regularly update our Reactivation document. Please check regularly for updates.
  • Please contact our Safe & Healthy Rams office at safehealthyrams@htu.edu with any questions.

Safe and Healthy Rams Standards

Teaching & Learning

In addition to utilizing classroom spaces that allow for physical distancing, instructors will employ hybrid and/or blended models of instruction as needed to reduce the number of people meeting in-person at any one time. This means that courses may combine face-to-face instruction time and both synchronous and asynchronous online components.

During instruction time, some students will be present in person while others are connected remotely via classroom technology that allows for teleconferencing. Students will alternate between in-person and remote attendance, but all sessions will take place in real time (synchronous). Classes may be split into smaller groups for in-person portions, which reduces exposure by allowing for appropriate spacing in the classroom and effective air handling. This model will also accommodate students who are isolated or in quarantine, or those who for health reasons may need to engage online.

In keeping with overall campus policy, only students, faculty, and staff who have passed a daily health screening will be allowed into instructional buildings and spaces. 

 

Masks

Mask use requirements for classrooms and all learning spaces (e.g. gymnasium, science labs, etc.) will be determined by the individual faculty member in charge of each class according to the guidelines below. Masks are always strongly recommended for unvaccinated individuals or those with conditions such as immunosuppression that may make vaccination less protective. Mask use in corridors and common areas in academic buildings will be consistent with posted campus requirements.

Faculty may decide to make mask use in classrooms and learning spaces optional when the following conditions being met:

  • All individuals in the class (faculty and students and guests) must show green checkmark status on the daily health screening mobile app. Green checkmark status means that the individual does not have new COVID-19 symptoms and is either vaccinated or has had a negative COVID-19 test within a week.
  • Social distancing in used in classrooms so that individuals are a minimum of 6 feet apart.
  • HEPA air purifiers are operating on the high setting in all occupied classrooms.
  • HVAC in all academic buildings has been upgraded to MERV13 and is operational.
  • The Austin/Travis County MSA remains at Stage 3 or lower (based on the 7-day rolling average of hospitalizations remaining at or below 29). This information is available on the City of Austin’s Staging Indicators Dashboard.
    • If Austin/Travis County enters stage 4 or 5, masks will be required in all indoor spaces. This overrides individual instructor policy.
    • If the Austin/Travis County test positivity rate exceeds 10% for the Delta or other highly transmissible variants, masks may be required regardless of stage.

Faculty office mask use policy will be determined by individual faculty members. Students may request faculty masking during office hour meetings. Faculty should inquire proactively.

Non-classroom academic spaces (e.g. Library, CAE, open computer labs) will have posted requirements.

  • If individuals have green checkmark status on daily health screening app and social distance and HEPA filtration is in use as described above – masks are optional.
  • If individuals do not have green checkmark status on daily health screening app or social distance and HEPA filtration is not in use – masks are required

Everyone is advised to carry on their person a mask at all times to avoid not being able to attend class and other conflicts among campus constituents. Faculty will have back-up masks to supply students if needed.


 

Daily Health Check

A daily health check to report health status and will be required for all students, faculty and staff each day they come to campus via the HT Ram Check mobile app. Requiring a daily check of all on-campus individuals helps the university to quickly identify any possible outbreaks from those exhibiting symptoms and move quickly to prevent transmission.

More information on the HT Ram Check app including links to download can be found here.


 

Mental Health and Wellness

Due to the rise in self-reported mental health issues including anxiety, sleeplessness, and difficulty focusing during the pandemic’s isolation and forced inactivity, HT campus mental health services will proactively implement programs to support our campus community.


 

Campus Entry

Campus entry will be limited to the main entrance gate at 900 Chicon St and the west gate on Chalmers Ave. These will be the only gates used to enter and exit the campus until further notice. The north campus gate at 11th St will be closed until further notice.

All visitors must register and obtain a visitor’s pass and adhere to on-campus safety guidelines, especially the requirement to wear masks while on the main campus ground. This will allow an officer to identify visitors who have checked in with officers quickly.

All visitors/vendors entering the gates will be required to complete a screening to include any or all of the following: a health questionnaire, temperature screening, and/or evidence of recent negative COVID-19 test before proceeding to their destination.


 

Living on Campus

I. Residential Housing Application
Residential housing will be open with limited capacity. Students who desire to live on campus are encouraged to apply now. Housing applications will close on June 30, 2021 for continuing students, and July 31, 2021 for incoming freshman and transfer students.

In order to secure a room assignment, students must ensure the following steps are completed:

  1. Pay $150 housing deposit if you are a new or transfer student.
  2. Register for Fall 2021 classes.
  3. Submit your FAFSA for the 2021 – 2022 academic year.
  4. Meet requirements for financial clearance (80% paid and a payment plan for the remaining balance). Once your FAFSA is completed, contact studentaccounts@htu.edu for a status on your account and next steps.
  5. Submit any missing or expired vaccination records. To review HT’s vaccination requirements, visit our website or email vaccinations@htu.edu. COVID-19 vaccination or an approved notarized exemption will be required for all residential students (i.e., students that live on campus).
Students who do not complete these steps will not be assigned a room and, therefore, could risk missing out on the residential experience as our capacity is limited. Do not delay!

 

II. Move-In

Move-in for the Fall 2021 semester is by appointment only for students that have received a confirmed housing assignment. Students will receive an email from ResLife@htu.edu once they have completed all steps to confirm their housing providing a link to set their move-in appointment time.

If a student arrives to campus outside of their appointment time or without a confirmed housing assignment, they will be unable to move-in. 

Below are some expectations to help make the move-in experience as smooth as possible.

  • Please make any stops (ex. HEB for groceries), prior to coming to campus in order to allow space for a steady flow of traffic during scheduled move-ins.
  • In order to minimize the number of people on campus, students will be allowed to bring one family member to help during move-in. During that time, students must completely move into their room within a limited time slot.
  • In accordance with University guidelines, students who are not fully vaccinated, defined as two weeks past the final shot in their vaccination sequence, will be required to complete a screening questionnaire and bring a negative COVID-19 test with them to move-in.
    • Fully vaccinated students, i.e., two weeks past the final shot in their vaccination sequence, do not need to bring a negative COVID-19 test result to move-in. Send vaccination records to vaccinations@htu.edu and bring the vaccination record to move-in.
    • Partially vaccinated students, i.e. those having obtained one shot of a two-shot vaccination sequence, or not 14 days past the final shot in their vaccination sequence, must bring either a negative PCR test result or a negative antigen (“rapid”) test result to move-in.
      • The PCR test should be from 48 to 72 hours prior to move-in.
      • The antigen/rapid test should be from the day prior or day of move-in.
      • Send vaccination records to vaccinations@htu.edu and bring the vaccination record to move-in.
    • Unvaccinated students must bring a negative PCR test result from a PCR test obtained 48-72 hours prior to move-in.

If you have any questions, please contact our Residence Life team directly at ResLife@htu.edu.


 

Contract Tracing, Isolation, and Quarantine
When a member of our campus community (student, faculty, staff member) tests positive for the virus, it is critical that the university trace the contacts they have had with others to limit the spread of the virus.

If you or someone you are in contact with becomes symptomatic or concerned about COVID-19 exposure:

  • Stay home. Do not visit the campus or public places.
  • Get Screened: Call (do not visit) your healthcare provider to get screened:
  • Follow the instructions of campus or local health care provider.

Source: “Symptoms of COVID-19” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Students, faculty and staff who are exposed to or have a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be required to be in isolation or quarantine as appropriate for the recommended number of days or until symptoms subside.

Isolation separates and restricts the movement of those with a contagious disease from those who are not sick.
Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of those who have been exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

 


Hygiene Practices, Cleaning/Disinfecting Protocols 

Your safety and building cleanliness are very important at HT. Custodial staff will follow enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols as directed for all areas of the HT campus. Custodial staff will clean classrooms, core areas, and common spaces on a daily basis. During hours when classes and other events are being held, housekeeping staff will perform additional cleaning and disinfection as needed. Cleaning and disinfecting supplies will be provided throughout campus, and faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to disinfect their personal space within classrooms and teaching laboratories before and after use. Disinfection includes wiping down commonly touched surfaces with a disinfectant while wearing personal protective equipment recommended for the type of disinfectant used.


 

Athletics
Intercollegiate Athletics will resume in Fall 2021. As with all reactivating university operations, athletics will follow the university’s guiding principles. Athletics strategies will address student-athletes returning to campus, navigating campus life, and best practices and required protocols for maintaining successful athletics seasons – including team travel and fan attendance. In addition to all campus policies and procedures, student-athletes may be subject to additional Red River Athletic Conference and NAIA policies.


 

Campus Dining

Campus dining will operate with modified service, including limited seating to facilitate physical distancing in the dining room, providing meals to-go, and extended hours to allow for service to accommodate the dining hall modifications. In addition to main service in the dining hall, the Ram’s Café will take online orders for pick-up in addition to walk in to-go orders.


 

Events

Huston-Tillotson University is following the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, State of Texas, Travis County, and City of Austin mandates and guidelines for on campus gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The University safety protocols include, but are not limited, to health checks, social distancing, masks, and hand sanitizing in indoor and outdoor spaces. Outside groups wishing to reserve space on campus for events will be required to submit documentation demonstrating compliance with university protocols.

Please contact events@htu.edu for more information.


 

Testing

Testing will be required throughout the fall semester. This testing will help us identify COVID-19 cases early, quickly activate contract tracing, and isolate and quarantine individuals as needed to help prevent spread. Weekly routine testing will be required for any student, faculty, or staff member who is not fully vaccinated. A negative PCR test will be required to access campus.


 

Travel

University policy will mirror current CDC guidelines on domestic and international travel. The CDC recommends the following basic COVID-19 safety guidelines even for travelers who are fully vaccinated while they are traveling:

  • Wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation as well as airports traveling in or out of the United States.
  • Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet from anyone who is not traveling with you.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.

Visit the following CDC site for domestic travel policies for up-to-date recommendations regarding the various aspects of traveling.

The CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated, because travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow CDC’s recommendations for unvaccinated people. HT discourages travel for students, faculty, and staff for academic and extracurricular activities. However, as more people are fully vaccinated, there is the expectation that increased opportunities for safe travel will become available.


 

Vaccination

Vaccines are highly encouraged. We will have on-campus COVID-19 vaccination clinics that will be open to all HT faculty, staff, students, alumni and their family members. More information on vaccine availability in the Austin area can be found here.

View the recorded panel discussion on the pandemic vaccine rollout from February 2021.

 

Answering Questions Dispelling Myths Telling Truths Pandemic Vaccine Roll Out in the African American Community Monday, February 1, 2021 | 6 p.m.