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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

Last updated 3/4/2021 10:40 a.m.

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Important Updates

For the most current information on number of cases of COVID-19 for UHD, please visit the COVID-19 cases web page.

General Operations

  • On March 2, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-34 lifting the state’s mask mandate and allowing businesses to reopen at 100 percent capacity starting March 10. UHD will continue to keep current mask and distancing protocols in place. Likewise, the University will continue to require faculty, staff, students and visitors to sign in at designated entrances when entering campus. They will remain in place for the time being, and classes are to remain 100 percent online until March 14.​ Read more in UHD News​.
  • Based on COVID-19 Response Task Force recommendations, the status of UHD operations and classes for spring 2021 will be guided by UHD’s Response Matrix and other guidance from state officials and health professionals. 
  • As a state institution, UHD follows the directives of the Office of the Texas Governor. By executive order, the Governor has moved Texas into Phase Three of his reopening plan, in order to safely and strategically restart and revitalize all aspects of the State of Texas, including schools and universities.
  • Consistent with the Governor’s directives and the opening guidelines ​from the UH System Board of Regents, UHD is currently operating in Step 2- Orange as it did during the Fall, 2020 semester. However, classes at UHD will be 100% online through at least March 14, 2021. UHD will continue to monitor pandemic levels during the Spring 2021 semester. Updates will be shared with the UHD Community and posted here.​
  • UHD will communicate updates via the website and other campus communication mechanisms.

Spring 2021 Semester

Health & Safety

  • The following safety protocols have been implemented at UHD to ensure a safe return to campus:
    • Online COVID-19 training module and certification required of students, faculty and staff before return to campus.
    • Public awareness campaign, COVID-19 website, and signage throughout campuses to provide education and communicate messaging.
    • Face coverings while on campuses unless the individual has an approved accommodation.
    • Physical distancing implemented – reduced capacity in classrooms, campus spaces, auxiliaries, rearranging of classroom seating and workspaces; assess installation of barriers; flexible work schedules; online learning options; and encouragement of virtual meetings.
    • Enhanced cleaning protocols employed throughout campuses, including frequent cleaning of instructional spaces and high-touch points, and cleaning response protocol for disinfection of areas impacted by positive COVID-19 cases.
    • Hygiene enhancements throughout campuses, including availability of hand sanitizer, cleaning products, and assessing HVAC systems.
    • A range of academic options available to provide for multi-modality of instruction.
    • Faculty, staff, and students required to perform daily self-health assessment to screen for symptoms before coming to campus; visitors and vendors required to perform self health assessment to screen for symptoms before coming to campus.
    • Protocols in place for students, faculty, and staff for reporting of COVID-19 symptoms, positive case or diagnosis, or potential exposure including:
      • Self-quarantine if exposed
      • Self-isolation upon positive case or diagnosis
      • Contact tracing to identify exposed UHS community members
      • Handling of return to campuses following self-quarantine/self-isolation
  • Establishment of a COVID-19 Response Coordinator as point of contact for handling of positive case/exposure issues
  • If you are a student who is experiencing anxiety or stress because of COVID-19, please consider contacting Counseling Services by phone or video at 713-500-3852.
  • Student Health Services will answer health-related questions by phone – 713-221-8137
  • Students, Faculty and Staff must report COVID-19 diagnosis and possible exposure. In addition, individuals who have been quarantined must request permission to return to campus. 

Emergency Assistance

  • Since March 2020, UHD has awarded nearly $5 million in financial assistance to qualified students. These funds include private donations, state, and federal assistance from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (authorized by the CARES Act). While applications for Emergency Funding are now closed, students are encouraged to complete their FAFSA as soon as possible, to ensure maximum financial aid for fall. 
  • If you are a student, and have needs related to the technology required for online classes, please complete the Technology Needs Survey.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

The University of Houston-Downtown is committed to the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff. To that end, we want to provide our campus community with helpful resources and information regarding the availability of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Vaccine Availability
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) makes decisions regarding the allocation of vaccines on a weekly basis and make distributions accordingly. As of right now, two groups are receiving the vaccines for the COVID-19 virus:

Group 1A
Front-line healthcare workers and residents at long-term care facilities

Group 1B

  • People 65 years of age and older
  • People 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19
  • Teachers (Head Start, Pre-K, K-12, staff, and bus drivers) are now included
Where You Can Receive the Vaccine
Our UHD Community is urged to seek the vaccine from their primary healthcare provider or sign up to receive it at one of the Houston area's vaccine hubs.

Houston Area Vaccine Hubs

Harris County Public Health has also provided a list of additional local vaccine providers. You may also search for locations on the Texas Department of State Health Services vaccine map.

Types of Vaccines Offered
Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines both require two doses. It's best if you get your second dose from the same brand as your first dose. For example, if you got a Moderna first dose, it's best to get Moderna for your second dose. According to DSHS, the timing between your first and second dose depends on which vaccine you received. In addition, Johnson and Johnson is a single dose vaccine and is now available in the Houston area.

Possible Vaccine Side Effects
It is normal to experience minor side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Some of the common side effects include pain or swelling on the arm where you received the shot. You may also experience fever, chills, fatigue or a headache. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also provides a detailed explanation of other possible side effects.

Safety of COVID Vaccines
The new COVID-19 vaccines have been evaluated in tens of thousands of volunteers during clinical trials. The vaccines are only authorized for use if they are found to be safe. For the detailed information, see the Vaccine Safety section of the CDC website.

Differences Between COVID Vaccines and Others
COVID-19 vaccines do not use the live virus and cannot give you COVID-19. The vaccine does not alter your DNA. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an immune response without having to experience sickness. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work on the Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work section of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Protecting Yourself While Waiting for the Vaccine
Practice the same safety habits you've been doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Take precautions such as washing your hands, wearing face masks in public and staying 6-feet apart, along with other measures.

The Importance of Vaccines and Stopping the Spread
According to the CDC, stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools we have available. As experts learn more about how COVID-19 vaccination may help reduce spread of the disease in communities, CDC will continue to update the recommendations to protect communities using the latest science.

Additional Vaccine Resources
Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines in development and vaccination planning in the United States and in Texas.

Travel & Prevention Statement


The prohibition on university-sanctioned domestic travel for business or study is extended through May 31, 2021. Decisions about the policy after May 31, 2021 will be announced on or before March 15, 2021.

For international travel, the prohibition on university-sanctioned travel for business or study has been extended through July 31, 2021. Decisions about the policy will after July 31, 2021 will be announced on or before April 15, 2021.

Exceptions for domestic and international travel will be processed by vice presidents, and are subject to applicable state and federal travel guidance.

Return from International Travel
Faculty, staff and students returning from international travel, university-sanctioned or personal, are required to complete an International Travel Registration Form​ and one of the following upon return to the United States:

  • Self-quarantine for 10 days OR
  • Get tested 3-5 days after travel AND stay home for 7 days after travel.
    • ​Even if you test negative, stay home for the full seven days.
    • If your test is positive, stay home and follow the COVID-19 diagnosis protocols.​
After your self-quarantine period, you must submit a Request to Return to Campus Form​, and be released before coming back to campus.

Update Contact Information to Receive Updates

UHD faculty, students and staff are encouraged to update their contact information online to ensure they receive timely notices regarding the University's responses to COVID-19.​

Last updated 3/4/2021 4:40 AM