Letter from President Ken Evans

Coronavirus Update

Issued: Friday, March 22, 2020
Time: 2:15 p.m.

 

 

LU Community:

 

The campus community continues to rise above adversity and carry out the mission of Lamar University. The celebration of our May graduates is an indicator of our campus community’s resiliency as well as our creativity, passion and grit. Commencement and the events surrounding the ceremony were as meaningful as the current situation allowed. Thank you for your efforts and continued hard work to retain some semblance of normalcy, albeit virtually, for our time-honored traditions, through this global pandemic. 

We have continued to follow advice from the CDC, the 
Guidelines – Opening Up America Again and Open Texas (Guidelines) through Phase I of a reopening strategy as published in the Campus Announcement May 5. Since that time Governor Abbott has moved Texas to Phase II and expanded opening orders across the state with occupancy limits and health and safety protocols. Lamar University will follow suit with the next phase of reopening as we progress toward the university’s strategic return to face-to-face classes in August. 


With the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students as our first priority, effective June 1 we will move into Phase II, mindful that if the virus reemerges, efforts to re-socialize may be slowed or halted for a time until the situation improves.

 

 

Phase II 


Partial On-Campus Operations Resume (effective June 1) 

 

Elements of Phase II include:

  • Employees without approved extension of alternative work configurations (i.e. telecommuting, flexible work options, rotations, etc.) will return to normal work schedules and places of work;

 

  • Gatherings of 10 or more people should be avoided unless precautionary measures of physical distancing and sanitization are in place;  

 

  • Virtual meetings will be encouraged whenever possible and feasible; 
     
  • Vulnerable individuals should continue to shelter in place, where feasible, or be aware that by returning to work or other environments where distancing is not practical, they could carry the virus back home and appropriate isolating precautions should be taken; 
     
  • Buildings will be open or will have restricted access based on needs and occupancy rate; 
     
  • Continue to increase staffing/work configurations to normal while practicing distancing; 

  • Non-essential travel should be minimized and CDC guidelines regarding isolation following travel should be implemented; 
     
  • Gyms and common areas where student-athletes and staff are likely to congregate and interact should remain closed unless strict distancing and sanitization protocols can be implemented; 
     
  • Return to 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. office hours; and
     
  • Campus will remain closed to outside persons (only faculty, staff, students or contractors permitted).

 

With the campus-wide effort to do everything we can to mitigate risks of the virus, we will continue:

  • Adhering to social distancing protocols; 
  • Encouraging enhanced personal hygiene practices, including regular handwashing; 

  • Making hand sanitizer available, especially in areas where soap and water for handwashing are not readily available;
     
  • Requesting employees, students, and visitors self-screen for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 before coming to campus; 
     
  • Allowing cloth facemasks or other protective equipment items to be worn at the discretion of individuals; 
     
  • Providing safety equipment to employees based on job responsibilities and OSHA risk levels; 

  • Checking temperatures where 6-foot social distancing cannot be maintained in groups of 10 or more; 

  • Sanitizing and disinfecting common and high-traffic areas; 

  • Encouraging self-monitoring; 

  • Requiring isolation, if positive cases of COVID-19 are confirmed, and following up with contact tracing; 

  • Limiting university-related business travel; and

  • Preventing symptomatic people from returning to work physically until cleared by a medical provider.
  • Taking extra precautions to protect the most vulnerable among us, especially those with conditions we know heighten the risks of the most severe COVID-19 cases

 

Considering what we have already overcome in our recent history, pandemic aside, these seem like minor inconveniences toward the goal of being on our campus providing face-to-face learning again. 
 
I am hopeful our summer sessions will be the last to be offered exclusively online. It goes without saying that Lamar University’s competencies in the online space have lessened the impact of the pandemic to our students, and, as a result we should all be proud of the product we have been able to offer the second half of the spring semester.  


As with Phase I, Phase II will continue to be in development and dependent on what happens with the novel coronavirus over the next months. Until it can be managed through widely available treatment – prevention and/or vaccination - this strategic, yet nimble, phased approach will be implemented, but monitored, and adjustments made to protect the health of the Lamar University community. The move from Phase II to Phase III will be communicated to you in advance once a final determination has been made.

Please stay connected to your campus communications for the most-up-to date information and visit the frequently asked questions located at lamar.edu/coronavirus. Questions may also be submitted through the “Have a Question” form located on the coronavirus web page and will be forwarded to the appropriate department or person to respond.


Again, thank you for your efforts. I look forward to seeing you as we return safely to campus.

 

Sincerely

Ken Evans