HOUSTON – Texas colleges and universities are finalizing their COVID-19 protection and prevention plans as students and staff get ready to return to campus in the next few weeks.
“The students are worried about their safety and that is our number one concern as well,” said Courtney Crappell, Music Director at the University of Houston. He’s just one of hundreds of faculty members preparing for a new semester under extraordinary circumstances.
With the populations of some of Texas’ largest universities approaching 70,000, it’s a massive undertaking to protect everyone.
The University of Texas, for starters, is asking all students to self-quarantine at home for 14 days before returning to campus. Baylor University is requiring all students to provide a negative COVID test before they are allowed back on campus and Texas A&M says all returning students and faculty must complete COVID-19 certification and training by Tuesday, Aug. 11.
“All students signed an agreement for them to be able to come back to campus saying they were fully aware of our provisions and were willing to follow them,” said Anna Margaret Clyburn, the President of the Student Association at Rice University.
At the University of Houston, only 17% of all registered students are enrolled in a face-to-face class, so no more than 4,500 students will be on campus at any given time, compared to nearly 30,000 last fall.
Dr. Stephen Spann, Dean of the UH Medical School, said student integrity is the core of their return.
“There is an honor system,” he said. “People signed an agreement that if they have an elevated temperature or any of those symptoms, they will not come to campus.”