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THECB Recommendations for COVID-19 Safety from Thanksgiving to New Years

THECB Holiday Recommendations

TO: 

Presidents and Chancellors
Texas Institutions of Higher Education

FROM:

Harrison Keller, Ph.D.
Commissioner of Higher Education

SUBJECT: 

Recommendations for COVID-19 Safety from Thanksgiving to New Years

As we approach the holiday season, it is important we remain committed to the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff. I appreciate the measures each of you have already taken to protect your campuses from the spread of COVID-19 and maintain safe learning and working environments. I am reaching out today to request your assistance in sending clear communications to students across the state to promote COVID-19 safety.

With coronavirus cases now increasing across the state, it is a critical time to urge students to continue following important safety measures to prevent further spread during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, including:

  • Continuing to wear masks to protect themselves and those around them and follow basic safety protocols. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) refers to these practices as the 3 W’s: wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance.
  • Avoiding large gatherings. The CDC has provided information about how to celebrate safely this year. Note: The CDC has updated its guidelines to recommend people: (1) always wear a mask in public settings, when using public transportation, and when around anyone who does not live with them, and (2) stay at least six feet apart from anyone who does not live with them. Students should practice the 3 W’s when they return home and visit with family.
  • Getting tested prior to returning home for the Thanksgiving holiday, especially if their plans include travel. Please consider advising students to schedule testing ahead of time so that, if possible, they may get results before they leave campus. Also please consider advising students to get tested before returning to campus after Thanksgiving, especially if they have traveled off campus. To find the nearest testing location, students, faculty, and staff can visit the online interactive COVID-19 testing location map developed by the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
  • Developing safe travel plans for the holidays, including getting a flu shot. The Texas Departmentt of State Health Services recommends every Texan get a flu shot so the normal flu season does not additionally burden hospital capacity.

While following these recommended safety protocols is important, I also encourage you to remind students of various safety accommodations you have made, such as having testing sites available the weekend before Thanksgiving or allowing those who test positive to remain in quarantine on campus during the holiday.

Finally, as we look forward to the coming months and the end of the fall semester, I encourage you to consider registering your institution to serve as a COVID-19 vaccination site. Institutions of higher education could be very important points of vaccination service for combating COVID-19 in the next year.

Thank you all for the important roles you play in helping keep our students, faculty, and staff safe. I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday.

Respectfully,

Harrison Keller, Ph.D.

Posted Date:
12/1/2020 10:12:56 AM