As UTHealth reopens the campus in a phased approach, SBMI will do so as well. As most of our activities can be conducted online, SBMI will continue with remote efforts for most of our activities. Our community will continue to conduct research, provide education and training, and complete service and other operations in the same productive manner in which we have operated for the last six weeks.
SBMI faculty and staff will continue remote work on May 4th, except for activities that require onsite presence. Notifications will be sent as plans develop. We appreciate your support during these rapidly changing times. As always, employees should speak with their supervisor for unique, individual needs.
On March 31, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order requiring Texans to follow the Coronavirus Guidelines issued by the White House. These guidelines emphasize continued social distancing practices and limiting business activities to essential operations only, through April 30.
In response, UTHealth President Guiseppe Colasurdo, MD provided a COVID-19 update to the entire university community to discuss how the order impacts UTHealth. The message also includes important information on travel updates, donations of personal protective equipment (PPE), and more. Visit Inside UTHealth to read his message: https://inside.uth.edu/inside/story.htm?id=52a80452-63ba-44f6-bbdf-f4fac8f475d5
Because UTHealth is an essential operation, it will remain open under the current modified operating model, until further notice. This means that students and employees who are learning and working from home should maintain that practice. Employees working on campus should contact their supervisor directly regarding potential changes to their work status.
A new Stay Home, Work Safe Order will take effect at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24. It was announced by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Tuesday, March 24. The order will be in effect until 11:59 p.m. on April 3, 2020. This means that all people who live in Harris County and the city of Houston have been ordered to stay home in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.
We thank each of you for your continued work and support of SBMI. With this ever-evolving situation, your patience and cooperation are critical and truly appreciated. We will provide updated information as the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak emerge and decisions are made.
While SBMI is currently open for business, employees whose job duties can be performed remotely will be encouraged to telework until further notice. UTHealth has a webpage with resources to support this effort (https://www.uth.edu/it/working-remotely)
Our highest priority at the School of Biomedical Informatics (SBMI) is the safety of our students, faculty, and staff. As we learn more about COVID-19, we are taking necessary steps to keep everyone healthy and safe. As such, SBMI will only teach courses online when our students return from Spring Break beginning Monday, March 23. All SBMI practicum students should continue working on their practicum projects as needed, until further notice. If you advise a student that is working on-site at a hospital or healthcare organization and she or he is no longer permitted on-site because of COVID-19 restrictions, please contact Chelsea.E.Overstreet@uth.tmc.edu as soon as feasible. Individualized plans will be made for graduating students with practicum concerns, as needed.
With the transition to online courses, this also means all meetings and events should be postponed or cancelled, if they cannot be hosted virtually. We ask each of you to assess the necessity of your upcoming meetings and determine the best way to proceed. For example, all upcoming dissertation defenses or oral presentations can be conducted using Webex or GoToMeeting. The objectives of a department/research lab meeting can often be communicated over email or via virtual conferencing software if a vote or discussion is needed. The key is to exercise caution and take all measures necessary to help us maintain social distancing while still conducting necessary business.