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General:

Why are we making these changes? Why now?

While there is still a lot we don’t know about the coronavirus, it’s expected to spread more broadly in Texas. We know that universities have a greater risk for transmission because of the large numbers of people often in close proximity. Our best chance of slowing the spread of coronavirus is to make these changes now before we begin to see cases on our campus. You will find valuable information about “flattening the curve” here.

Why are you discontinuing face-to-face classes and large gatherings?

We know that most people, and particularly young and otherwise healthy, will be able to manage the virus if contracted with few complications. We also know from pandemic experts that our healthcare systems can be overwhelmed if there is a spike in transmissions all at once as opposed to a more gradual spread. These strategies can help to ensure that critically ill can get care. If we can decrease the need for Falcons to spend extended periods of time in close proximity to one another it can help to spread out the instances over a longer period of time. To achieve this goal, the colleges are developing academic continuity plans to continue instruction virtually by utilizing digital tools to the fullest extent possible. Research, and other campus life activities requiring a physical presence will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Students, faculty, and staff will receive additional information about academic support, impact, and adjustments as well as campus operations.

Will the University still be open to the public?

The University is now closed to the public until further notice. The services will still be available through remote access.  All essential operations will continue and essential personnel will still be on campus as needed.

March 23-26 will be a transition week for moving as many functions as possible to remote only access. We will have limited office hours next week: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. After next week all university offices will move to virtual hours and remote working until further notice.

Will University employees be required to work on campus? 

The State and the University of Texas System does require that all University functions continue. There will not be a complete shutdown of the University and essential personnel, needed to maintain University operations, will be coming to work and/or completing these functions remotely.  Most of our work will transition to remote access on or before March 26, 2020 until further notice.  However, to maintain essential services some staff will be on campus but this will be minimized as much as possible.

University has provided multiple options to minimize risk to employees and their families.  

  • Flexible work hours provide the ability to isolate at work with fewer than 10 people at various hours of the day; staggered work sessions 
  • Telecommuting is already implemented to allow as much work as possible to take place remotely
  • The University has closed public access to the University.  
  • We will always follow state and local orders, University of Texas System directives and CDC guidelines to minimize risk to our employees and to preserve hospital capacity for those who need it most. 

What about campus events?

We care about our campus community and we’re looking for ways to engage online and through social media.  Please connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.  At this time, most UTPB events are canceled until further notice.

Will the University still be hosting summer camps?  

It isn’t possible to predict at this point in the global health crisis whether this will even be possible, although we are hopeful that some camps might be allowed to proceed.  We will announce as soon as possible which camps, if any, can be offered. 

Will the Testing Center remain open?  

The Testing Center will remain open, by appointment only, and used only for University testing. 

Will the Childcare Center be open?

The University Daycare will be open 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 pm March 23-26. It will be closed beginning Friday, March 27. 

Will the Human Resources Department remain open?  

The operations of our HR department are essential functions and as such will continue uninterrupted.  Like other essential servicesit will transition to remote access (as much as possible) as soon as possible.   

Will students and parents be allowed to make payments on campus?  

Accounting will transition these essential services to remote access only. The university will waive late fees and allow payments to be made electronically and online. Accounting staff will be available by phone and by email to answer any questions.  

Will employees continue be paid if they work remotely?  

Yes, employees will continue to be paid through this COVID-19 response period.

What can I do to stay healthy and what if I am feeling sick?

It is critical that we all practice good hygiene and social distancing. Most importantly, please follow CDC guidelines that outlines the steps you should take if you are feeling sick.

Students:

ANSWERS FOR STEM FAMILIES

Will payment plan options continue?  

Yes. The University will continue to work with students and we are waiving late fees on payment plans.  

Will student workers continue to be paid?  

It is our plan to expedite one disbursement for the entire amount on April 7th, 2020 to cover all remaining pay periods in the semester. For the period March 16th through May 9th, student workers will be paid for fifteen (15) hours of work per week (3 hours per workday).

In order to process the payment we have four easy steps:

  1. Students obtain work assignment from supervisor - There will be maximum flexibility for supervisors to assign work that can be completed remotely. We have provided some useful resources to help supervisors consider and develop various alternatives that are suitable for work assignments during the remote working period.
  2. Students sign and return Telecommuting Agreement - This document is already filled out for you. Please just sign and date and send back to your supervisor. The supervisor will provide a copy to Human Resources.
  3. Students sign and return one timesheet - This timesheet only needs to be signed once as it documents the time for all remaining pay periods in the semester. Just sign and return to your supervisor. The supervisor will provide a copy to Human Resources.
  4. Confirm address on file or set up direct deposit – It is important to verify your address on file if you do not have direct deposit. Students who wish to change to direct deposit can do so via the PeopleSoft Employee Self Service Portal.   The “Direct Deposit” option can be found under “Payroll and Compensation” in the menu on the left. If you don’t have access to PeopleSoft, you can complete the attached Direct Deposit Form. With either PeopleSoft or paper Direct Deposit Form, we will need either a voided check or bank letter with complete routing and account numbers, which can be scanned with your phone and emailed to hr@utpb.edu. You’ll find these step-by-step instructions for student access to PeopleSoft helpful as well.

How will classes work in an online environment?  

I know many of you are worried how your classes will work in an online environment. Your faculty are working hard on new and innovative ways to help you finish your semester.  As a reminder, all classes will be online. You will not need to remain local in order to finish a practicum, clinical, or any other requirement. Your faculty will be providing updates on how you can meet these requirements in new ways.   

The deadline to drop or withdraw from spring classes is being extended to April 10 in order to assist students as they work to rearrange their family, work, and school lives.  The university and the faculty remain committed to assisting students in navigating the challenges that everyone is facing in light of recent events.    

However, should you still need to drop a course, please contact the Office of Academic Advising (advising@utpb.edu or 432-552-2661) to begin this process; they will review your degree plan with you, then send you to your professor for final approval to drop.  Once you have those two approvals, the Registrar’s Office (registrar@utpb.educan process your request. 

If there are any challenges with academic progress, contact your professor; or you can contact the Chief Academic Officer-- Dr. Dan Heimmermann  at heimmermann_d@utpb.edu. The phone number for the Office of Academic Affairs is 432-552-2111. 

Will tutoring still be available for students?  

Tutoring will be available! We now have extended hours online and on weekends. We are excited to continue serving students by appointment.  

How will students test at home?  

We will be announcing online proctoring services for those classes that may require it.  The University will pay for these services if needed.

Are we having spring commencement?

In accordance with the guidance from The University of Texas System, UT Permian Basin’s spring commencement ceremonies have been postponed. Graduating students will receive their degrees as scheduled, but the ceremonies will be held at a later date. This is disappointing for all of us, but we have to make responsible decisions that affect community health. We are working on a creative way to honor our graduates and also plan for a big celebration sometime in the future so family and friends will have a chance to celebrate them too. Details to come. For the full announcement from UT System: https://www.utpb.edu/announcements/system-commencement

What about our class rings? 

Unfortunately due to concerns with the COVID-19 outbreak globally the 2020 UT Permian Basin class ring ceremony has been cancelled. Since the unveiling of the official class ring in 2018 and our first class ring ceremony in 2019 we were very proud of the tradition we are starting to build and look forward to continuing this tradition in 2021!

Students who bought their ring from the Balfour rep on campus or online before March will have their rings shipped directly to the address provided the week of May 1st. Due to the overwhelming number of orders please allow four to six weeks for the ring to arrive.

Class rings are still available to order online at www.balfour.com/UTPB. These orders will also ship direct to the recipient.

For questions regarding your ring order, shipment information, or to talk with someone please call Balfour at 1-866-225-3687 or email the Alumni Relations Office at alumni@utpb.edu.

Will the semester be extended?

The semester will not be extended.  All academic learning will take place within the previously scheduled dates. 

As our instruction moves online, how can I get help with the technology that is required to do my work? 

To access the necessary online systems, you will need a computer and Wi-Fi.  A tablet, Chromebook, or phone will not run all the necessary software. If you believe you will have difficulty accessing a computer and/or Wi-Fi, please fill out this short survey so we can learn more.

I’m nervous about taking online classes.  Where can I find help?

Students who are new to remote learning are strongly encouraged to take the one hour training called Orientation to Online Learning. Your professors are your best resource, they are here to help.

I am being asked to use Microsoft Teams, is there help available?  

Many of you will use Microsoft Teams in the coming days. There is a mobile app you can download, which is helpful.  Here are some links to helpful videos.  

Introducing Microsoft Teams  

Microsoft Teams Tasks  

Teams Document  

What about the books we have rented?

When you are ready to return your rental textbooks, you can get a free label online to send them back. Bookstore Information

What if I can’t afford to manage the changes brought on by the COVID-19 reality?

We recognize that these changes may cause financial challenges for you.  Students who find themselves in emergency circumstances due to this specific reason, should complete a “Special Circumstances Emergency Grant” request.

If a student living on campus moves out, will there be a refund? 

Yes, the University will refund for unused days of housing and dining and parking. It will take a few weeks to finalize this. More updates soon. Latest Housing Updates

Is there a particular day for getting your belongings from campus, if you choose to return home?  

Please view our Latest Housing Updates for all check out information.

Will housing remain open for international students that are concerned about traveling home? 

The Division of Student Affairs will be determining which students are allowed to remain in housing. There will be a narrow list of exceptions which will include things like international students who are unable to return due to travel restrictions and other situations in which there is no other alternative. Students can apply for an Emergency Grant to get assistance with changes related to this global pandemic such as travel, storage, moving expensesand more. 

Will dining still be available for students on campus? 

Effective Monday, March 30-Meals will be selected online and picked-up at Falcon Cafe. Please make your selection 24 hours before the day you would like your meal. Please select either Option A or Option B for each meal. You can list dietary restrictions and also add comments about you daily orders. You may also call 432-614-6609 if you have any questions or concerns. Meal pick-up times are as follows: Breakfast 8:30 am - 9:30 am, Lunch 11:30 am - 12:30 pm, Dinner 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm. All meals will come with a bottle of water. You may also view our menu and nutritional information on Dineoncampus/utpb.

Will we ship items to students? 

We are focused on the immediate needs of our students. If you need something urgently that is in your room but you aren’t returning to campus right now, please contact Residence Life at (432) 552-2743 or housing@utpb.edu.

Are Counseling Services available?

We have counseling services available. If you need support but cannot make it to a face to face appointment, we can facilitate a session using a secure online platform.  To schedule an appointment, contact Counseling Services at carrillo_v@utpb.edu or by calling 432-552-3365. Counseling Services are available via phone call 24-hours a day by calling 432-552-4600.

Will the SAC be open?

The SAC will remain open the following hours:  

 

Monday-Friday 

Saturday-Sunday 

Building 

7:30am – 5:30pm 

12:00pm – 5:30pm 

The Fitness Center and the Game Room in the SAC are closed.

 The food pantry will be accessible by request. Please contact Student Life at (432) 552-2651 or studentlife@utpb.edu if you need access. 

Will the Gym be open?

The Gym Complex will remain open, but the weight room be closed.

Will the mail center remain open? 

Residence Life and Dining Services recommends that students change their address with each individual company or entity that is sending mail. Mail received after April 10, 2020 will be returned to sender. 

Faculty and Staff:

If we move to remote work, is there a plan in place to have technology access?

All faculty and staff will have access to the technology needed to work remotely. IRD is working with each department to identify and test technology. We will provide what is needed for the work to continue remotely. More training and information will be available soon. All departments should test those capabilities now and compile one list for each department of technology deficiencies. Please send an email to Brad Shook with the technology deficiencies. 

If it is not safe for students to return to campus, why is it ok for staff and faculty?

The safety of our entire Falcon family is of utmost importance to us. The University extended the spring break and moved classes online to promote a strategy that could “flatten the curve”. We also made this decision so students, particularly out of state and international students, could move home to be with their support system. In a pandemic, it isn’t possible to entirely prevent the spread of the virus, and most who get the virus will manage without major health implications. Instead, we have implemented CDC recommended policies that could spread out the infections so that we don’t overwhelm our health care system all at once. 

Most employees will be transitioning to remote work plans on or before March  27th; after that only essential personnel will be required to work on site and  even those hours will be minimized as much as possible to maintain university operations.

Can faculty/staff who may be at higher risk request accommodations to work remotely?

Yes, the new COVID-19 policy that goes into effect on Monday, March 23 will have telecommuting provisions. Employees should work with their supervisors to request a flexible working arrangement that meets their specific needs. The work of the offices will have to proceed uninterrupted, but managers are given the flexibility to consider each request that in consistent with our new policies.

Since local schools have closed I need to take care of my children.  What is the process for time reporting?

The University’s COVID relief plan has been implemented to address these issues. Please discuss COVID-19 related challenges with your supervisor.

What type of protocols are in place for individuals who come to work sick?

All employees are required to follow CDC guidelines. Those who are sick should not come to work. Supervisors will send employees home who are sick. For all COVID-19 related illnesses or self-isolation issues, 14 days of COVID-19 leave will be granted. After 14 days the employee will use their sick leave. If sick leave is exhausted, additional COVID-19 leave can be requested.

What type of protocols are in place for individuals who are sick/become sick and have exhausted their sick and/or vacation time?

COVID-19 leave will be used to supplement COVID-19 related illness. The first 14 days of any sick leave needed for COVID-19 related illnesses will be granted. Personal sick leave will be used after that until sick leave balances are exhausted. Employees can request additional COVID-19 sick leave if their sick leave balances are exhausted.

If our devices prompt an IT administrative username and password, how do I get help from home?  

You can email help@utpb.edu or you can use the IT hotline 552-HELP(4357) to receive assistance.  

I am a Faculty/Staff employee and I don’t have internet access. Can I receive assistance?  

Yes, contact your dean or department head and share your technology needs. They will work with IT to provide options.  

I need to record my lecture. How do I get started?  

Our IT department can help you with your technology needs. Please sign up for a scheduled time to receive assistance with this. 

If we have live animals and research on campus, will someone be permitted to maintain our labs?  

Yes, this person would be considered essential personnel.  

Do all classes/lectures have to provide ADA accommodations?  

Yes, all academic instruction must be presented with ADA accommodations.  

Should we plan to prepare fall courses both Face-to-face and online in the event that online teaching continues?  

Although we do not know what the future holds for the fall, we believe being prepared is always the best idea.   

How will proctoring affect dual credit?  

We are exploring new options that support proctoring. 

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