Message from the President

Friday, April 10, 2020 :: Office of the President

Dear Colleagues:

Thank you again for your hard work and dedication during these uncertain and difficult times. We had another productive week and continue to move forward, making steady progress that wouldn’t be possible without your steadfast commitment to our students.

Student Success has been UTRGV’s top priority since Day 1, and that focus will not and cannot change during this crisis. Our commitment to Student Success is more critical now than ever, and we need everyone’s help to ensure that our students continue to advance through this crisis.

Summer Semester

Based on the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic and modeling of its future progress, it will be necessary to move our Summer Semester online. I know many of us, especially our students, desire a return to normalcy, but staying home this summer is the best way to continue to ensure the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff.

To assist our students who have been financially challenged by the pandemic, we have created a Summer Relief Package that will help students continue making progress toward their degrees. The package will include up to $1,000 in tuition relief and other incentives.

We also need your help to make this a successful summer for our students. No one is sure when we will be allowed to return to a normal work setting, but even if we’re working remotely, we must continue providing adequate services to our students. The pandemic forced us to hastily transition to remote work this spring, but we should have more time before the summer semester to plan accordingly to improve our remote operations.

Another area in which you can help us assist our students this summer is by employing them. There’s a good chance many of our students have lost jobs during this crisis, so we want to hire as many of them as possible this summer. We have instituted a new policy that all students who work this summer will be required to complete at least six hours. These students will also be eligible for the Summer Relief Package.

Our message to students is simple: You take care of your education, and we’ll take care of you through employment!

To ensure that we hire as many students as possible this summer, we are changing our student-hiring process. Be on the lookout for an email from Human Resources for detailed guidance on the summer hiring process.

COVID-19 Testing Sites

Please join me in thanking all of our faculty and staff involved in conducting our COVID-19 testing sites in Brownsville and Edinburg. Every day, these medical and security personnel put their health and safety on the line in order to serve others in our community. This also includes many of our scientists and graduate students, who are actually conducting COVID-19 tests in our UT Health RGV Clinical Lab as part of a collaboration with the UTRGV Center for Vector-Borne Disease.

During the first week of operations, our UT Health RGV team conducted almost 17,000 phone screenings and 338 total COVID-19 tests. They continue their work this week and will continue doing so until tests are no longer needed.

For more information on our testing sites, click here.

Census 2020 Update

I’d like to remind everyone that Census 2020 is still being conducted during this crisis, and it is critical that we participate in this once-in-a-decade count of Rio Grande Valley residents.

The information received from the census impacts every aspect of our day-to-day lives, from Pell grant awards and money for Higher Education to infrastructure for our community and the number of elected officials representing us in Washington, D.C.

Ten years ago, the Rio Grande Valley was one of the most undercounted regions in the USA. We need to do better this census.

If you haven’t had the chance to fill out a census form, please visit www.2020census.gov. The form takes less than 10 minutes and is completely confidential.

Rio Bank Office Space

Earlier this week, Rio Bank announced that UTRGV would be leasing 27,000 square feet in Rio Bank’s new six-story building along Expressway 83 in McAllen. Although the project has taken a back seat in light of the COVID-19 crisis, it was approved by the UT System Board of Regents in February and will allow us to vacate much-needed space on the Edinburg campus for the expansion of student-support services such as Academic Advising, Career Counseling, and other student services.

The new space will house Institutional Advancement, Governmental and Community Relations and other administrative offices that don’t directly interface with students. The President’s Office will also have space in this building. I will continue to rotate among our various campuses and facilities as I have since the opening of the institution.

Again, thank you for your hard work, dedication and resiliency. What you are doing now will have a permanent, positive effect on our students.

We will get through this current crisis together and come out as a better and stronger university.

Sincerely,

Guy Bailey

President

Source: Message was sent via email from the Office of the President on April 10, 2020.