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Alert! SBMI Information on COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)

Effective August 25, fall 2020 classes at the UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics will be taught both in-person and online, as previously planned. Students registered for in-person SBMI courses are expected to attend the classes during the scheduled time and day each week. These live sessions will be delivered using web-conferencing (GoToMeeting or Webex). Additionally, once per month, these in-person classes will have a pre-scheduled, required on-campus session. In-person classes on-campus will occur one time in September, October, November, and December per course. The in-person attendance schedule will be available in Canvas.

Students enrolled in web-based classes will complete all coursework 100% online. There is no requirement to visit campus during the fall semester for any SBMI web-based course.

Students with questions or concerns should contact the Office of Academic Affairs at SBMIAcademics@uth.tmc.edu.


As the novel coronavirus COVID-19 continues to spread in Houston and around the world, UTHealth is taking additional steps to protect our students, employees and community. Please continue to check the SBMI COVID-19 website, the UTHealth COVID-19 websiteInside UTHealth, and UTPConnect daily for the latest news and information.

Student Counseling Services Resources

UTHealth Student Health & Counseling Services has numerous resources available for UTHealth Students. Here are three different PDFs that we encourage our students to utilize.

  • General information on Student Counseling Services - (pdf)
  • Wellness presentations available on Panopto - (pdf)
  • Various resources that can be helpful in coping with the pandemic - (pdf)

Coping with Stress in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Drs. Jennifer Bahrman and Marion Zahn from the UTHealth Student Counseling Services offered a session focused on Coping with Stress during the COVID-19 Pandemic. A recording is now available for students via UTHealth Panopto: UTHealth Student Counseling Services Wellness Presentations.

SBMI Continues Online/Remote Operations

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.

COVID-19 Restrictions to Continue in Texas through April 30

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.

TMC Library scheduled to reopen April 6

The TMC Library will remain closed until 7 a.m. on April 6. March 30 was previously scheduled to be the library's date to reopen. In the interim, all services will be offered virtually. If students want to request a virtual meeting, use the chat service, or search for information, students should visit the TMC Library website: http://www.library.tmc.edu.

New “Stay Home, Work Safe” Order

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.

President Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, M.D. released a message regarding the order on Tuesday, March 24. The full text of the order can be found at this website: https://www.readyharris.org/Stay-Home.

Supporting SBMI Students

SBMI is aware that all of our students have unique circumstances they are handling during this time of COVID-19. We are doing everything in our power to ensure that it does not impede your academic progression. Should you encounter difficulties personally, professionally, or with an illness, please contact your course faculty as soon as you are aware of challenges. SBMI is committed to your success and faculty are aware of the possible options.

If students are in need of counseling services during these unprecedented times, know that Student Counseling Services is offering telemedicine. Please visit the Student Counseling website for more information: https://www.uth.edu/studenthealth/student-counseling-services/about.htm.

University Housing Remains Open

Our student residences are apartment buildings, where residents do not have the same degree of exposure intrinsic to the communal living and dining as in undergraduate colleges. Please follow health and safety guidelines. Classes resume March 23rd.

Transition to online learning

Effective Monday, March 16, the School of Biomedical Informatics and UTHealth’s five other schools will shift to online and virtual classes until further notice. This preventive measure will allow us to continue our educational mission, while doing our part to safeguard our community, especially our students. All testing also will be conducted online. Please check Canvas for course specific information.

Practicums

Effective March 16, all SBMI practicum students, should continue working on their practicum projects as needed, until further notice.  For students working on virtual/remote projects, this directive should cause no disruption in your project progress. For students working on-site at various hospitals or healthcare organizations, please work with your on-site preceptor immediately to determine the status of your project. If you are no longer permitted on-site because of COVID-19 restrictions, please contact Chelsea Overstreet (Chelsea.E.Overstreet@uth.tmc.edu) as soon as feasible. Individualized plans will be made for graduating students.

Travel

As a reminder, all travel must be registered with the university. If you have traveled internationally or to a U.S. destination with high levels of COVID-19, you must contact Student Health Services prior to your return to campus. Call 713-500-5171 for an assessment.

Personal Safety

If you have exposure to COVID-19 or experience symptoms please contact Student Health Services at 713-500-5171. Please practice all of the safety precautions that are recommended including social distancing and handwashing. Our goal is that all of our SBMI community returns well as soon as this event is over.

Graduate Student Assistantships

Students are encouraged to telework until further notice. Please consult with your supervisor about these changes.

Additional updates and schedule changes for students and employees.

The transition to online learning is one of many proactive measures we are instituting in response to COVID-19 to protect faculty, staff, students, trainees, and patients. Those include conducting virtual grand rounds, lectures, and meetings, and canceling or postponing large events. Discussions are ongoing about future events, including commencement ceremonies.

Each of you play an important role in our coordinated response, and we thank you for your support, patience, and cooperation. We will continue to provide additional information as it becomes available. Please check the UTHealth COVID-19 website daily for updates.