Public Health Task Force Report 5.0
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OVERVIEW As of early 2020, humanity has been 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 that 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, to advise on our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This group was charged with gathering input from an external Expert Advisory Group on appropriate best practices for relevant topic areas, including protection and prevention policies associated with health considerations, facilities, and student life. A copy of the original Task Force Charge is available in Appendix A. An updated charge, issued in March 2021, is available in Appendix E. Based on an exchange with experts as well as research conducted by members, the Task Force has developed this overarching guidance document with recommendations for the campus community as we move through planning and implementation for a phased reopening. This is the fifth report of the Task Force, primarily focused on operations for Fall 2021. The results of this report serve as guidance for the Recovery Operations Committee (ROC) that was formed to implement the recommendations of 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 have continuously integrated 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 input has been woven into recommendations here to guide our campus reopening and operational efforts for Fall 2021 and beyond. We will continue to update this report as additional guidance is made public and more is learned about this novel virus’s spread and impact to San Antonio, including direct risk to our campus community.