University urges campus community to get vaccinated or boosted before resuming on campus Jan. 31

  Friday, January 7, 2022
  Around Campus, Announcements

By News and Internal Communications

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – The emergence and rapid spread of the Omicron variant is once again forcing many institutions to adjust operations.  

UTRGV, in an effort to promote the health and safety of the university community, has decided to conduct teaching and instruction via remote/online platforms temporarily, starting Tuesday, Jan. 18, through Friday, Jan. 28.  

All courses will resume according to their assigned modality on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022. 

In an internal message to the campus community, President Guy Bailey said the health and safety of the university and Valley communities is a priority and clarified that this change only affects the way courses will be taught over the first two weeks of the Spring 2022 semester.  

“While this is not the way we wanted to start the semester,” Bailey said, “our leadership team determined that pivoting to remote course delivery in the short term not only protects our community during this latest surge, but also ensures that there are no further interruptions to students’ financial aid distribution and academic progress – all of which we cannot compromise as part of our commitment to safety and success.” 



During these two weeks of remote instruction:  

  • All campuses, facilities and services will remain open. 
  • UTRGV is not shutting down. 
  • Courses will begin as scheduled from remote/online platforms on Tuesday, Jan. 18. 
  • All courses will resume according to their currently assigned modality on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022. 

Classes with certain clinical, field and/or research components, labs, art studios, performance and ensemble classes are required to meet in person and will continue to do so during this temporary shift. Instructors of these courses will contact their students to notify them of such requirements. 



The Omicron wave in the United States is expected to be “sharp and fast,” according to analysis by the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub. Most models on the hub project cases and hospitalizations from the current Omicron wave in Texas to peak this month. 

By shifting courses to remote platforms through Jan. 28, UTRGV leaders hope to minimize Omicron’s impact on the community by lowering campus density and following current health protocols during the projected peak to help decrease the likelihood of new infections. 

Additionally, the temporary move to remote learning proactively provides students an opportunity to get vaccinated or boosted to protect themselves before rejoining in-person activities. 



This adjustment only affects in-person (Traditional) and Hybrid/Reduced Seating courses. All other university services and facilities (i.e., dining services, libraries, computer labs, etc.) will follow current operations. 

Accelerated Online Programs (AOP) in the Graduate College will continue fully online as normal and will follow their own academic calendar, which can be found here. 



This operational adjustment only affects the way courses will be taught at the start of Spring 2022 and does not affect non-faculty employees.  

Those who may have unique needs are encouraged to discuss the circumstances with their supervisor.  

All remote working arrangements must follow the Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP) guidelines for working remotely.  



Get Fully Vaccinated or Boosted 

Omicron’s highly contagious nature is reemphasizing the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19. The CDC says the current vaccines are expected to safeguard against severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths caused by the Omicron variant, and people who are recently fully vaccinated or boosted are highly protected from the virus and may only experience mild illness or be asymptomatic should a breakthrough infection occur. Getting fully vaccinated and getting a booster remains the best defense going forward.

Active UTRGV students and employees can get vaccinated free by calling and scheduling an appointment at UT Health RGV Student Health and Employee Health locations, or by calling 1-833-888-2268. The university is urging members of the university community to update their UTRGV Vaccine Portal Profile after each dose, including boosters, so the university can continue to measure the overall protection of the campus community. 



The CDC recently expanded booster eligibility for ages 12 and up who completed their primary vaccine series at least five months ago. CDC also updated its booster recommendations for Pfizer and Moderna recipients, stating those who initially received either of these vaccines should now get a third dose at least five months after the second.  

The new guidance comes at a critical time in the fight against the Omicron variant.  

UTRGV is offering vaccines at various UTRGV locations over the coming days and weeks. 



The Omicron surge has increased the demand for testing and has strained testing resources across the Valley and the country.  

UTRGV students and employees should continue to review the Daily Self-Screening questions before leaving their homes and especially before going to campus. If you answer “Yes” to any of the questions, it is best to stay home and Complete the Preliminary COVID-19 Screening Form. 

Filling out the form is the first step toward determining if you need to get tested. All UTRGV students and employees should complete the form if they:

  • Experience symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, headache, shortness of breath. 
  • Tested positive for COVID-19, or 
  • Were in close contact with someone who tested positive.

If you need to get tested, a member of the UTRGV COVID Response Team will contact and refer you to a UT Health RGV testing site to help expedite your testing process.  



These evidence-based practices are proven to be effective at preventing and mitigating the spread of COVID-19: 

  • Wear a face covering: Regardless of vaccination status, the use of face coverings continues to be strongly recommended in university buildings and local establishments throughout our community.  
  • Avoid large gatherings, especially indoors: Whenever possible, opt for smaller or outdoor gatherings, where it’s easier to keep your distance from others (at least 6 feet).  
  • Recommend Online or Outdoor Events: Events should be held online or outdoors whenever possible until Jan. 31. If an event must stay indoors, be mindful of masking recommendations and consider a larger space to allow for social distancing. Decisions about whether to go forward with university events will be made by college, school, or departmental leadership.  

All university protocols and procedures, along with the latest updates on campus operations related to Spring 2022, can be found on UTRGV’s Commitment resource website

“Despite this slight change in direction, we are still very excited and optimistic about the spring term and all that our students will accomplish in the months ahead,” Bailey said. “We remain committed to continuously monitoring infection rates and variants, and to using the most current guidance from infectious disease and public health experts to make decisions in the best interest of our campus community.” 


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.