Public Health Task Force Report 2.0
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As of early 2020, humanity is confronting a pandemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes coronavirus disease, hereafter referred to as COVID-19. This virus appears to be a new human pathogen, which emerged in 2019 and rapidly spread around the globe. COVID-19 has affected millions of people, triggering unexpected changes within social systems, healthcare, and the global economy. Several countermeasures have been implemented to control the spread of COVID-19, from campaigns aimed to improve personal hygiene practices to community approaches like social distancing and quarantines. In late May 2020, UTSA President Taylor Eighmy established a Public Health Task Force, composed of experts and stakeholders from across the university, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This group was charged with gathering input from an external Expert Advisory Group on appropriate best practices for a number of relevant topic areas, including protection and prevention policies associated with health considerations, facilities, and student life. A copy of the Task Force Charge is available in Appendix A. Based on this exchange, the Task Force has developed this overarching guidance document of recommendations for the campus community as we moved into planning and implementation phases of reopening. The results of this report served as guidance for several Tactical Teams, who presented their reports to leadership in early July 2020. Based on their findings, a Recovery Operations Committee (ROC) was formed to operationalize the recommendations from the Public Health Task Force and Tactical Teams (see Appendix D). This UTSA Public Health Task Force reflects one of several groups working together to take public health best practices into account as we plan to move forward with the highest level of safety and consideration of our campus community. The University and the Public Health Task Force expect to continue integrating input from many organizations, including but not limited to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), The University of Texas System (UT System), the Governor’s Office, the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA), the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (Metro Health), and others as relevant to this topic. All of this input is being woven into recommendations guiding our campus reopening efforts for the 2020-2021 Academic Year. We will continue to update this report as additional guidance is made public and more is learned about this novel virus’ spread and impact to San Antonio, including direct risk to our campus community.