Fall 2020 Update

Thursday, June 25, 2020

As HBU leadership has taken into account guidelines at the national, state and local levels, we remain confident that we can offer an on-campus learning experience for our student body.

Plans to return to campus this fall are progressing as the Husky Strong Task Force has been working diligently to address academic delivery, distancing policies and procedures, student support services, athletics, and multiple scenarios to restore critical functions at HBU. We are committed to minimizing disruptions to the Fall 2020 calendar while following the guidance of experts and authorities.

The following updates represent the main aspects the task force is working on.

Academic Delivery

We look forward to resuming classes on campus this fall! Based upon your feedback and comments, we know that students are ready to resume their studies on campus.

Therefore, the academic subcommittee continues to work through and refine scenarios for the fall semester. The most likely delivery option will involve a hybrid model requiring classroom attendance with half of the class’s students each scheduled class day. The remaining half will watch the recorded classroom lecture, which will be posted within hours of the live, in-person class. Students who watched the recorded lecture during the first class of the week would then attend the class on campus later that week, while the other group of students watch the recorded lecture. When necessary, once-a-week graduate classes will meet in larger spaces that allow better distancing of students. In all cases, students attending class in-person will wear masks to ensure a safe environment for their peers and faculty.

University officials are also considering ending in-person class attendance on the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving, and then finishing the semester remotely. This would not reduce the length of the semester; rather, it would extend the period of distancing for several weeks prior to the Christmas break. Campus would remain open, however, including student housing and dining. More information will be made available as we approach the fall semester.

Student Housing

Residence Life staff members have been working through plans to open the residence halls under regular occupancy parameters, including placing roommates in rooms that have two beds per room. However, there will be additional safety precautions in place, as well as professional cleaning services of all bathrooms. Service will be provided by Aramark’s housekeeping staff once per week in the Freshman Village and in the Hodo Residence College buildings. Students living in Husky Village have the option to purchase a cleaning package

through Aramark Custodial Services for an additional fee. HBU is committed to providing the best experience possible for our students this academic year in the residence halls, allowing for outstanding opportunities for friendship, spiritual growth, academic success and lifelong memories that are unique to the residence hall experience.

Current and new students who are taking Summer II classes at HBU, and who requested on-campus housing, will be moving into the residence halls on July 5. Masks and physical distancing, as required by Harris County, are required when students are outside of their residence hall. For safety reasons, off-campus visitors will not be allowed on campus during Summer II, and visitation between apartments/suites will be restricted. We look forward to providing an enriching and successful experience in the residence halls for students to grow socially and academically. Those with questions about housing should contact ResLife@HBU.edu.

Summer Xcursions

Summer Xcursions are designed to give incoming students an opportunity to form community with other incoming students, ask questions of current student leaders, as well as interact and engage with HBU faculty and staff who will also attend. These events, sponsored by HBU’s First-Year Experience department for first-year students coming to HBU for the first time, will be held at various locations across the Houston metro area. Students will be responsible for their own transportation to these events. For those who are interested in attending, please fill out the HBU Excursions Interest Form online or reach out via email to FYE@HBU.edu.

Welcome Days

HBU’s annual orientation weekend for incoming students is designed to engage them in the HBU community while also providing resources for success and involvement; it will be held this year. The HBU Student Involvement office is currently working through options to allow for the greatest student and family engagement, and the safest experience possible, for this meaningful and tradition-rich experience. New incoming students are encouraged to sign up online and learn more details about Welcome Days on August 21-23.

Additionally, we hope that students — as well as faculty and staff — will be excited to hear that we have a new option for dining at The Pillars retail center next to campus. As of June, Wingstop is officially open for business next door to Firehouse Subs!

Making the Campus Safer

The University’s plans to keep faculty, staff and students safe will be based upon the following three principles:

    • Density: The first effort must always focus on reducing the number of people in a space, proximate to each other. Lower attendance in classrooms, physical (social) distancing, virtual meetings and limiting outside visitors to campus are ways to accomplish this.
    • Defend: Once the lowest number of people has been achieved, then we have to protect them from possible contamination. Handwashing is the single most important action one can take to reduce the spread of any virus. Finally, considerations about barriers such as masks, face shields, acrylic business barriers and closed office doors are all possible actions.
    • Disinfect: Finally, the activity spaces must be deep-cleaned and disinfected. Aramark custodians will be using enhanced versions of existing high-touch cleaning methods and special chemicals to maintain public spaces. Employees should be ready to disinfect their own work areas such as office phones and cell phones, keyboards and desks.

Scheduled Events on Campus

As always, all of the University’s plans revolve around the well-being of students, faculty, staff and visitors. Our priority is preparing students for the future, and we will continue to serve our learners with care and excellence.

Visit HBU.edu/HuskyStrong for the latest information about the HBU’s plans to reopen.

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