Dear TCU Employees,
Happy New Year! We look forward to your return next week as well as the return of our students in less than two weeks. Spring 2021 will look very much like fall 2020. We continue to improve our COVID-19 protocols and precautions, which keep our colleagues and campus as healthy and safe as possible. Please join us by recommitting to Protect the Purple as we start a new academic semester and a new year. Our dedication to an exceptional academic experience while maintaining health and safety remains our top priority. The Connected Campus experience is our guide for ensuring an enriching academic experience while maintaining CDC recommended safety and health protocols.
Reminder: Spring 2021 Health & Safety Guidance for Employees Released
On Dec. 11, all employees received via email the updated Health & Safety Guidance for Employees for Spring 2021. You can review the email and document links here, and navigate to it by viewing the Connected Campus website’s COVID-19 Communications section.
Change to Quarantine Duration in Updated Spring 2021 Public Health Guidance
In addition to the Health & Safety Guidance for Employees, we reissued the Public Health Guidance for Spring 2021, which outlines our public health strategies for students and employees. You’ll note that the duration of quarantine is reduced to 10 days (previously 14 days). This new change is based on recommendations from the CDC, our local health authorities and our public health policy group.
Testing Made Easy
While we don’t require testing, we do ask that you test if you have symptoms, so we can protect our colleagues and students. If you are sick, STAY HOME until you’re well enough to rejoin the community. We have extended the free, contactless testing on campus through Curative. The current location in Parking Lot 6 will remain open through the spring. An additional TCU-only Curative testing site will open Jan. 12 in the BLUU (more information on this site coming soon).
Protect the Purple
As you prepare for your return to campus, we want to reiterate our plan and community expectations. Be mindful that COVID-19 symptoms vary among those testing positive for the virus; be vigilant and do not take any chances if you experience symptoms or just aren’t feeling well. A successful semester requires that all community members assist with prevention and self-monitoring strategies outlined by the CDC and endorsed by the university to Protect the Purple. These include regular hand-washing, daily monitoring for symptoms, wearing a face mask, physical distancing and avoiding large gatherings. Note that our testing and tracing process found no instances of in-classroom transmission.
Last week, TCU received and distributed its first allotment of 100 COVID-19 vaccines to priority health care, first-responders, and front-line employee groups. All doses of the initial allotment of the vaccine have been distributed. The university expects additional shipments but has no timeline on delivery. As the vaccines are delivered, and in compliance with the Texas Department of State Health Services’ protocols for distribution, the university plans to offer vaccination to all TCU students and employees who choose to receive it. If you have the opportunity to receive the vaccine from the public health department, your pharmacy or physician, we encourage you to do so, given the uncertainty of our delivery dates. Visit the Connected Campus microsite for vaccine-related FAQs.
You will also receive a text message notification today with a link to this letter. We will utilize text messaging in the new year to help communicate important COVID-19-related protocols to our campus. This is a team effort to keep our workplace safe and reduce the spread of COVID-19 within our campus community. We strongly believe in our Horned Frogs’ commitment to Protect the Purple!
Stay safe, healthy, and well –
Yohna J. Chambers
Vice Chancellor and Chief Human Resources Officer
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and
Chair, Chancellor’s Campus Readiness Task Force
Frequently Asked Questions
Do employees still have access to COVID Leave?
The use of COVID-19 Leave for covered situations is extended and will be reviewed periodically in conjunction with state, local and university community spread. COVID-19 Leave will be approved in accordance with standard university practices.
Are we allowed to have visitors or host on-campus events this spring?
Restrictions for on-campus events and outside groups continue until May 15, 2021. All campus events must be approved by the appropriate vice chancellor or cabinet leader. Visitors and vendors on campus continue to be restricted. During the normal course of business, some campus guests are required for critical tasks. Please work with your vice chancellor to discuss and determine activities that support ongoing business continuity.
Have TCU travel restrictions been lifted yet?
TCU-sponsored travel remains suspended until May 15, 2021. Necessary exceptions to this travel guidance can be made by the appropriate vice chancellor.
How should employees prepare to return to campus and stay healthy?
We ask all employees to regularly practice self-monitoring and prevention strategies.
If you have engaged in large gatherings or traveled during the break, we recommend getting a COVID-19 test prior to returning to work. The combination of a negative COVID-19 test and following prevention strategies will provide greater confidence that you are not ill.
If you are exhibiting symptoms at home or have tested positive, please STAY HOME. Instead, quarantine or isolate at home and report your symptoms or positive test using the preferred online self-report forms. Someone from the university will be in touch with you to assist with your return to work. Employees who have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 will be cleared to return to campus based on Tarrant County Public Health and CDC Guidelines for isolation. If you have further questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the TCU COVID Report Line at 817-257-2684.
Where can I get a COVID-19 test on or near campus?
There are two options for employees to get tested on or near campus:
Free on-campus PCR testing through Curative, a site that came to campus in November 2020 and will continue in spring 2021. Check the Curative testing website for site open dates and to schedule an appointment in advance. The TCU location in Parking Lot 6, 2820 Stadium Drive, is typically available from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, but hours may vary. Walk-ups are welcome, and the site is open to the public. The site is a partnership with Curative and funded by the Texas Division of Emergency Management. *An additional TCU-only Curative site will open Jan. 12 in the Brown-Lupton University Union (BLUU). More information on this location is coming soon.
TCU has partnered with the University Urgent Care Center at 3107 Greene Ave. to provide testing after hours. University Urgent Care will share medical findings with the TCU Health Center (assuming that the proper permission was granted).
Will TCU continue contact tracing?
Yes. TCU will complete a thorough contact tracing effort when we receive notification that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19. When we identify a COVID-positive employee, a Case Investigator will call to issue guidance about isolating and gather information about those with whom the employee was in close contact. A Care Coordinator will guide employees about whom to notify (supervisor) and provide information to Human Resources. A contact tracer then will contact those people who were in close contact with the COVID-positive employee to notify them to quarantine/isolate and be tested.
It is very important to answer the contact tracer’s call or return messages so that we can help reduce the spread of the virus. Since this becomes a public health issue, your cooperation is imperative. If employees choose not to engage in this effort, they may be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the University’s Policy 2.070 Code of Conduct.
Please report your positive test result to the TCU (24/7) by using the preferred online self-report forms. This will trigger the university’s support and guidance for you. You should isolate immediately following the CDC guidance for isolation. You will be contacted by a Care Coordinator to finalize arrangements and begin 10 days of isolation.
Can you define TCU’s terms for daily self-monitoring and quarantine?
- Daily Self-Monitoring
Every TCU community member (students and employees) is expected to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 daily, including taking your temperature (Daily Self-Monitoring).
If you have symptoms, please submit a report using the online self-report form.
TCU employees identified as a close contact to a COVID-positive person, will receive a call from a contact tracer to discuss quarantine, which means you will be required to STAY HOME even if you do not have symptoms. For employees whose jobs may be accomplished remotely, you may be eligible to transition to remote work – if you are able. Otherwise, you may be eligible to use COVID leave.
You will receive a call from a Care Coordinator to follow up with you and communicate when you are eligible to return to campus. Quarantine and/or isolation ends 10 days after the onset of symptoms AND 24 hours after fever without the use of a fever reducing medication) AND symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved.