COVID-19 Protocols Changing for UT Health San Antonio

COVID-19 protocols are changing for UT Health San Antonio to remain consistent with new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and to align with Texas Governor Abbott’s executive order dated May 18, 2021.

Based on updated CDC guidelines, fully vaccinated individuals who are learning and working on our campuses may resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing. Governor Abbott’s executive order provides guidelines for governmental entities in Texas including institutions of higher education to follow the Texas Education Agency’s school guidance that follows current mask-wearing guidelines through June 4.

UT Health San Antonio’s revised COVID protocol guidance takes effect June 1, 2021, except where otherwise noted. Below are specific changes for our university along with recommendations from infectious disease experts to remain diligent and minimize risk.

Masking

  • UT Health San Antonio will maintain a masking mandate for all UT Health clinical areas based on the recommendation of Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner, John Hellerstedt, MD.
  • Masks will not be required in non-clinical settings but remain strongly encouraged especially for those who have not been fully vaccinated and for those who are immunocompromised.
  • Faculty, trainees, students and staff who have not yet been fully vaccinated or who are immunocompromised are strongly encouraged to continue wearing masks in all UT Health facilities.

Social Distancing

  • Social distancing is no longer required, however in patient care settings, we will continue with social distancing at 3 feet.
  • Seat spacing in outpatient waiting rooms will remain in place with every other seat available.
  • Classroom and cubicle occupancy can resume at 100%.
  • There is no occupancy limit in elevators.
  • Patients can now bring a visitor to any appointment.

Environmental Cleaning

  • Return to normal daily environmental cleaning practices.

Screening/COVID Testing

  • Temperature and symptom screening will continue for patients and visitors at our health care locations.
  • Temperature and symptom screening will continue for employees working at locations providing patient care.
  • Temperature and symptom screening will discontinue for employees working in non-patient care locations.
  • Drive-up Covid testing facilities are decommissioned
  • Faculty, staff and students strongly encouraged to self-screen for symptoms. Mandatory reporting of symptoms is no longer required to Wellness 360 (Employee/Student Health).
  • Testing is available as needed during normal hours of operation.
  • Contact tracing and reporting of positive COVID cases to Employee Health/Student Health continues unchanged.

Operations

  • Research labs can now operate at full capacity.
  • Vendors may return to campus and follow standard procedures for working at various UT Health locations.
  • Keycard access is now open at additional building entrances.
  • On campus dining facilities will work to return to normal operations, no social distancing required, all dining tables and chairs will be open.
  • Communal food settings are still not recommended, but buffet service can be provided by designated persons and individual meals can be served.
  • Cafeteria-style and plated meals served by food service workers to include events can resume.
  • Recreational areas on campus including athletic activities will reopen.
  • Gold’s Gym including indoor team sports are returning to normal operations.

Events

  • In-person continuing medical/dental/nursing education events will resume.
  • In-person general public events will resume.
  • Off-campus university events including in-person continuing education will resume.

Travel

  • Domestic and International business travel will resume July 1 following any State Department restrictions.
  • Follow CDC guidelines post-international travel, which currently includes a negative COVID test prior to return to campus for fully vaccinated travelers. For unvaccinated travelers 7 days of quarantine is required, which is subject to change especially for countries of concern.
  • The Office of International Services has robust guidance for travelers on their website located on the MyUTHealth intranet site.

COVID-19 Hotline/Website

  • Decommissioning of the COVID-19 on-campus hotline. Calls Employee Health & Wellness 360 at 210-567-2788 with occupational health questions
  • COVID-19 website will be updated
  • COVID-19 email address remains unchanged

Additional Guidance

  • Symptom screening stations at clinical facilities will continue for patients and visitors
  • Temporary signage for public events will be used to strongly encourage unvaccinated individuals to wear a mask

These updated policies will be modified as necessary following State, Federal and Local guidelines and will be predicated on local rates of COVID-19 infection, community-based transmission, and COVID-19 infections at UT Health San Antonio.

Additional information will be published on issues related to COVID when more information is available including the durability of neutralizing antibodies; understanding if there could be a future need for COVID boosters; what is the impact or transmission of SARS-COV-2 variants of concern and the impact of new variants on vaccine efficacy.