Dear UH Faculty and Instructors of Record:
I hope you and your families are safe and warm as we continue to experience a historic winter weather event. The challenges related to power and water shortages, along with damage from frozen pipes, has impacted all of us and our campus. In preparation for return to operations, we are fortunate that the impact on campus infrastructure has not been as disruptive as it could have been.
The University is scheduled to reopen on Monday, February 22, 2021. In an effort to make our reopening as safe and supportive of you and your students as possible, I have the following important guidance for you:
- First, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has communicated that readjusting semester end dates is not required if campus closures resulted in the cancellation of three or fewer contact hours. Consequently, UH will not extend the spring 2021 semester, nor will it require that cancelled classes and class assignments due during the time the University was officially closed be made up.
- Second, given the challenges faced by you and your students due to the winter weather and COVID-19 pandemic, please continue to utilize a flexible and compassionate approach in making decisions about adjusting your curriculum given the shortened semester. This includes making adjustments for exams and assignments missed during the closure as well as accounting for time lost by students in preparing for exams and assignments due this coming week. You should not feel compelled to "force" class material into less class time. Although this may be challenging, I have every confidence that you will make judicious choices on the material you decide to include or exclude in your class given the time available.
- Please notify your students of any changes to your syllabus, class schedule, assignments, exams, and other course requirements as soon as possible. With many continuing to face power and connectivity challenges, I ask that both faculty members and students be patient and understanding with delays in communication that may occur.
- Fortunately, very few classrooms used for instruction with a face-to-face component sustained damage due to the winter storm. Deans and Department Chairs will be in contact with faculty members whose classrooms are affected.
My office stands ready to support all aspects of the reopening effort. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me or any of my senior staff if you have any questions or concerns. I will continue to update you as new information becomes available. I am deeply grateful to each of you for your commitment and dedication to our teaching, research, and engagement enterprise even as we all face yet another immense challenge.