Office of the Provost
1201 West University Dr.
ESSBL - Executive Tower 5.101
Edinburg, TX 78539
Phone: (956) 665-2111
Message from the Interim Provost - March 5, 2021
Dear UTRGV Family,
Nearly one year has elapsed since the majority of us were last on campus. For many, that’s almost one year without seeing our colleagues, students, or friends. But however difficult the past 50 weeks have been, the COVID-19 vaccine is giving us all hope to believe that normalcy is on the horizon. That's why the time has come to begin planning our post-vaccine return to campus.
On Tuesday, Governor Abbott announced an executive order which rescinds most of the earlier executive orders related to COVID-19, including the state-wide face covering mandate. As a Texas public institution, we have a responsibility to uphold the standards put forth by our government. However, this executive order does not diminish our ability to continue promoting your safety and success — and that’s what we intend to do going forward.
Per this new executive order, UTRGV will reserve its right to continue implementing all recommended health and safety protocols in the interest of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors. These protocols, including the proper use of face-coverings on our campuses and in our facilities, are still considered best practices and will be followed at UTRGV.
While we cannot definitively say what will happen in the coming months, here’s what you can expect from us:
- We will consult our public health and medical experts every step of the way.
- We will adapt our protocols according to the CDC guidelines currently being developed to fit the unique needs of our campus community.
- Health and safety protocols will be published and in place before the Fall 2021 semester so that faculty, staff, and students are aware of how to stay safe on campus.
- We will provide regular, fact-based updates on coronavirus variants and the vaccine's efficacy against each strain.
Returning to Campus
That said, decisions concerning course modalities will be based on academic discipline and learning objectives of each degree program and courses. This methodology differs from the previous four semesters as decisions concerning course modalities were based solely on COVID-19. Rest assured, everyone will need to be ready to pivot should the health conditions not allow for a safe return.
Our goal is to vaccinate every student (including new students), faculty, and staff member who want the vaccine before Fall 2021. ALL faculty, staff, and students can now create a profile in the UTRGV Vaccine Portal.
Even if you are vaccinated, are unsure about receiving the vaccine, or do not want the vaccine, please complete your profile in the Vaccine Portal. Doing so not only helps us measure vaccine demand — it also helps us track our progress toward achieving community immunity, a critical step in our return to campus this Fall.
In closing, we continue to receive praise for our proactive approach throughout this pandemic, and we will always make decisions rooted in facts. Come Fall, if our medical experts deem in-person operations too risky, we will not hesitate to adjust. Rest assured, we will follow science because science will ultimately get us through this pandemic.
Thank you for continuing to trust UTRGV with your safety and success. I look forward to seeing you on campus soon.
Janna Arney, Ph.D.
Deputy President and Interim Provost