COVID-19 Update: Information and resources can be found here.

Campus Messages

Friday, March 27

Wellness Resources Available to All

The Office of Faculty Wellness, Office of Women’s Careers and Office of Faculty Diversity and Development have built a robust online toolkit to provide everyone across UTSW a wealth of resources to support wellness. To help support our faculty, staff, and learners during this period of high stress and uncertainty, this new wellness hub offers a variety of tips for coping, self-care, and other ways to help you navigate through this time. Check back as new content will be added periodically.

Reminder: The Dallas Mavericks Want to Help You with Child Care Costs

Employees working on the front lines who have incurred child care costs due to COVID-19 related school or day care closures may submit a request for funds made possible by Mark Cuban, Luka Doncic, Dwight Powell, and the Dallas Mavericks Foundation. The deadline for submission is Sunday, March 29.

Educational Resources for Kids at Home

With schools closed and classwork online, many employees working from home are learning how to juggle multiple roles during the day. There are a growing number of educational programs available online for free that can help keep kids engaged and learning. Please see the new educational resources page within the new COVID-19 wellness site.

Donations Welcome!

We welcome donations of respirators, gowns, gloves, and other PPE. Such donations are being coordinated through our Office of Development and Alumni Relations. They can be reached by email at Giving@UTSouthwestern.edu or by phone at 214-648-8988. Drop-offs of donated items can be made by appointment, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. An online donation form also has been created for community members wishing to make a financial contribution to support our front-line care providers, patient care efforts, and research.

Social Distancing Saves Lives

Please remember to practice consistent and vigilant social distancing at all times and encourage others you encounter to prevent the spread of infection and protect the well-being of our community.

Thursday, March 26

Reminder: Child Care Cost Help Available

Employees working on the front lines who have incurred child care costs due to COVID-19 related school or daycare closures may submit a request for funds made possible by Mark Cuban, Luka Doncic, Dwight Powell, and the Dallas Mavericks Foundation. The deadline for submission is March 29.

What Should I Do If I’m Exposed?

If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, we want to ensure you take the appropriate steps for your safety and our community. Please see Occupational Health’s exposure concern grid for details on whom you need to contact. If you work on a campus other than the one where you are employed, you must notify the Occupational Health Department at each campus. Please note:

  1. If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 while on the job, please reach out to Occupational Health.
  2. If you think you may have had community exposure, contact your primary care provider. If you are subsequently tested with a positive result, notify Occupational Health. Once cleared to return to work, you must send your primary care provider’s documented clearance notification to occupationalhealth-utsw@utsouthwestern.edu.

Campus Food Service Changes

Due to the reduction of staff on campus and COVID-19 policies of social distancing and safety, the North Campus 3rd Floor Food Court will be closed starting Monday, March 30. Hunan will remain open in the South Campus and Bass Food Courts from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday–Friday. Please note that the North Campus NG3 and South Campus D Plaza Mini-Markets will remain open 24/7. Additionally, the Zale Lipshy Pavilion and Clements University Hospital Cafeterias are open and available for all campus staff.

Need a Computer to Work Remotely?

Your work desktop computer may be taken home with your manager’s permission and completion of this attestation form. Peripherals (keyboards, mice, monitors, headsets, power strips) may also be taken home at the manager’s discretion. Or, you may request a UT Southwestern laptop or desktop to use at home by filling out the Remote Equipment Request Form. Remote equipment distribution is being prioritized across the missions of UT Southwestern. If you have requested equipment, you will be contacted directly when the machine is ready.

Having Trouble with Your Home Internet Connection?

Here are some ideas to improve your home internet service: (1) Conserve bandwidth – Is your family streaming Netflix while you work? Use standard instead of high-definition video wherever possible and limit streaming services. (2) Get the apps – Skype, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and GoToMeeting have meeting apps you can use on your phone to tap into your wireless service and give your home internet a rest. (3) Get a backup – If your home internet is unreliable, consider setting up a backup internet service provider. Satellite internet providers have been hit with less congestion than local providers. For more guidance, visit the working remotely page on the COVID-19 site.

Donations Welcome!

We welcome donations of respirators, gowns, gloves, and other PPE. Such donations are being coordinated through our Office of Development and Alumni Relations. They can be reached by email at Giving@UTSouthwestern.edu or by phone at 214-648-8988. Drop-offs of donated items can be made by appointment, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. An online donation form also has been created for community members wishing to make a financial contribution to support our front-line care providers, patient care efforts, and research.

Social Distancing Saves Lives

Please remember to practice consistent and vigilant social distancing at all times and encourage others you encounter to prevent the spread of infection and protect the well-being of our community.

Wednesday, March 25

Work From Home Extended to April 30

We recognize and deeply appreciate your flexibility in quickly adapting to the rapidly changing environment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For those working from home, we know this has been a significant adjustment – both professionally and personally – requiring different routines, new technology, and additional investment of time, energy, and effort. In order to continue to minimize the number of staff on campus and to maximize social distancing to help flatten the curve, we are extending campus telework beyond the original end date of March 28 to April 30. Tools and resources for working remotely can be found on the COVID-19 website. Unit managers and department administrators are asked to continue assessing on-site personnel needs to keep the required number of people on campus to a minimum. Managers will receive additional guidance for how to handle employees on emergency leave.

Parking/DART Payroll Deductions Temporarily Halted

We greatly appreciate the outstanding service everyone continues to provide, whether on campus or at home. In recognition of those contributions, UT Southwestern is temporarily halting payroll deductions for all on-campus parking fees and DART passes, regardless of your current work location. This reprieve takes effect with the next pay period – April 1 for monthly paid employees and April 3 for bi-weekly paid employees – and will continue for three months. This suspension will require no action on your part. Parking Services will also provide a three month refund to those who have pre-paid for parking and this refund will appear within the next 45 days. For additional questions, please contact Parking Services by email at parkingservices@utsouthwestern.edu.

Please also be aware that patients and visitors to Clements University Hospital are being asked to self-park, so standard enforcement of parking regulations remain in effect for those lots, along with faculty and reserved spaces. Employees still required to come to campus and not assigned to the hospital are otherwise able to access and park in garages and the parking team will continue to service garages and lots.

Additional Mental Health Support Available

We recognize that many may experience some degree of normal, time-limited stress reactions as a result of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the disruptions associated with it. Your mental health well-being is of utmost importance to us, and we are pleased to help you with additional resources. The Department of Psychiatry is offering mental health support to any member of the UT Southwestern community through a new program designed by our faculty experts. UT Southwestern faculty and staff may access mental health support by calling 214-645-5686 or emailing behavioralhealthresponseteam@UTSouthwestern.edu. Calls and emails will be answered daily between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Power Utility Improvements on South Campus

Over the next several weeks, Facilities Utilities staff will be working on the new South Campus substation. While disruptions are not anticipated, there is the very slight possibility that a power blink may affect South Campus buildings. Employees on South Campus are encouraged to monitor any sensitive equipment. Work is expected to be performed between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. March 26–27 and April 2–3. If you have questions, please contact Thomas.Negusse@UTSouthwestern.edu in Facilities Management at 214-648-5428, or Facilities Management dispatch at 214-648-3375.

Donations Welcome!

We welcome donations of respirators, gowns, gloves, and other personal protective equipment (PPE). Such donations are being coordinated through our Office of Development and Alumni Relations, which can be reached by email at Giving@UTSouthwestern.edu or by phone at 214-648-8988. Drop-offs of donated items can be made by appointment, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. An online donation form also has been created for community members wishing to make a financial contribution to support our front-line care providers, patient care efforts, and research.

Social Distancing Saves Lives

Please remember to practice consistent and vigilant social distancing at all times and encourage others you encounter to prevent the spread of infection and protect the well-being of our community.

Tuesday, March 24

Self-Parking Encouraged for All Patients

To minimize risk of transmission and protect both our patients and staff, valet parking attendants are now directing all patient arrivals to self-park whenever possible. Exceptions to this rule include handicapped individuals and others requiring assistance. And patients who self-park at Zale Lipshy Pavilion will be given a ride to the clinic entry via golf cart.

Reminder: Campus Restricted to Badge Access

As the population on campus has been greatly reduced, all nonclinical building entrances and doors are on badge access only. Help maintain a safe campus environment by wearing your badge at all times and do not let anyone without a badge follow you in. Clinical buildings are open during the day and on badge access after-hours. Additionally, if you see anyone on campus who appears to be lost, in need of care, or out of place or who is not wearing a badge, please contact University Police (on-campus emergency – 911, off-campus emergency – 214-648-8911, nonemergency – 214-648-8311) for assistance.

Donations Welcome!

We welcome donations of respirators, gowns, gloves, and other personal protective equipment (PPE). Such donations are being coordinated through our Office of Development and Alumni Relations. They can be reached by email at Giving@UTSouthwestern.edu, or by phone at 214-648-8988. Drop-offs of donated items can be made by appointment, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. An online donation form also has been created for community members wishing to make a financial contribution to support our front-line care providers, patient care efforts, and research.

Reminder About Working Remotely

To effectively and efficiently work from home, be sure to follow guidance on the working remotely webpage and leverage Office 365 and OneDrive for file storage and sharing. Remote desktop access to computers located on campus is strongly discouraged and should be used very sparingly in order to conserve network bandwidth and reduce on-site tech support needs. Academic and Administrative Information Resources (AAIR) is currently working with Campus Police to get a tech into office locations to restart computers only in extraordinary cases. Please note that this is a one-time only service to help employees get what they need off their desktops and onto OneDrive.

Social Distancing Saves Lives

Please remember to practice consistent and vigilant social distancing at all times and encourage others you encounter to prevent the spread of infection and protect the well-being of our community.

Monday, March 23

Dallas County Shelters in Place, What Does This Mean for Me?

As was announced yesterday by Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, effective at 11:59 tonight, March 23, through April 3, Dallas County is under a shelter-in-place order. As an essential provider of health care, this order does not change current operations at UTSW, which will continue with measures already implemented to minimize staff on campus and maximize social distancing to help slow the spread of infection. Unit managers and department administrators must continually assess on-site personnel needs to keep the required number of people on campus to a minimum.

Rescheduling All Elective Surgeries, Clinic Visits Through May 8

Starting today, we will begin to reschedule all elective surgeries and clinic appointments currently on the books through May 8, four weeks beyond the previously announced date of April 10. This and other measures underway will help the institution prepare for surge activity due to COVID-19 spread.

Thank you, Dallas Mavericks

Employees working on the front lines without the option to work from home who have incurred child care costs due to school closures can submit a request for access to the Mavericks’ donation. The deadline for submission is March 29.

  • Only those employees who work in patient care or on-site support roles who are required to report to campus will be considered.
  • Individual reimbursement will be determined based on availability of donations, salary level, and proof of payment for child care services.
  • Application does not guarantee that you will receive any funds.
  • We will review applications, determine reimbursement amount, and distribute funds through your next paycheck.
  • This program does not create a new UT benefit or obligation of UTSW to provide reimbursement or payment of child care services incurred by employees.

We thank Mark Cuban, Luka Doncic, Dwight Powell, and the Dallas Mavericks Foundation for their generosity.

Additional Child Care Option

UT Southwestern has secured a three-month Corporate Flex Membership with Trusting Connections, a full-service nanny agency that offers a wide variety of services. This membership waives the usual $120 enrollment fee and offers hourly rates starting at $24 per household, which covers caregiver salary, taxes, insurance, and agency fees. To access this option, please go to our We CARE platform and request child care help.

Payroll Guidance Available

The Office of Payroll has developed guidance for timekeepers and managers to manage specific pay situations such as recording emergency leave and remote work to ensure completion of the current biweekly pay period ending March 28, 2020, and monthly pay period ending March 31, 2020. Additionally, daily webinars have been set up for timekeepers and managers to get questions answered.

Please check the COVID-19 site often as our guidance will evolve to meet changing federal, state, and local mandates and regulations. 

Donations Welcome!

We welcome donations of personal protective equipment (PPE). Such donations are being coordinated through our Office of Development and Alumni Relations. They can be reached by email at Giving@UTSouthwestern.edu, or by phone at 214-648-8988. Drop-offs of donated items can be made by appointment, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. An online donation form also has been created for community members wishing to make a financial contribution to support our front-line care providers, patient care efforts, and research.

Social Distancing Saves Lives

Please remember to practice consistent and vigilant social distancing at all times and encourage others you encounter to prevent the spread of infection and protect the well-being of our community.

  • Meet via phone or virtual means whenever possible.
  • Limit all in-person meetings and gatherings to five people or less.
  • Maintain a safe distance from others at all times, especially in public areas.

Sunday, March 22

Research Labs Scaled Down

Effective Monday, March 23, research laboratory staff should be reduced to only those performing critical maintenance of the laboratory. These roles are restricted to the care of research animals and maintaining liquid nitrogen tanks. Individual departments, centers, and divisions should each designate one individual to receive all deliveries. These designated individuals should work with their respective building managers to ensure deliveries are received, distributed, and/or stored appropriately.

The only exceptions are the very few laboratories that have received written permission from the Provost’s Office to carry out research directly related to COVID-19. 

Telehealth Platform Training and Tips

UT Southwestern has expedited the rollout of a virtual care platform in Epic that allows providers to complete video visits in lieu of in-person office visits. All clinicians will have access to complete visits by end of day Tuesday, March 24, with most of the organization already having access and training this week. Video training; tip sheets for patients, providers, and staff; the process for completing a telephone-only visit; and regulatory information are available on the COVID-19 site to assist clinicians as they learn the technology and have questions about workflows and billing. Additional trainings will be offered next week.

Donations Welcome!

We welcome donations of personal protective equipment (PPE). Such donations are being coordinated through our Office of Development and Alumni Relations. They can be reached by email at Giving@UTSouthwestern.edu, or by phone at 214-648-8988. Drop-offs of donated items can be made by appointment Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

An online donation form also has been created for community members wishing to make a financial contribution to support our frontline care providers, patient care efforts, and research. 

Spammers Target Health System Employees

A sophisticated phishing email was sent to our employees yesterday appearing to come from the Health System and asking recipients to log in or provide personal information. Information Security continues to defend UT Southwestern’s network against a sharp increase in phishing emails, malicious websites, and phone calls from cybercriminals actively targeting health organizations. Please remember to follow these important steps to help keep our systems safe:

  1. Examine all external email sender addresses.
  2. Ask, were you expecting the email?
  3. Before clicking, hover over all email URL links to view the true website domain.
  4. When in doubt, delete the email.

Social Distancing Saves Lives

Please remember to practice consistent and vigilant social distancing at all times and encourage others you encounter to prevent the spread of infection and protect the well-being of our community.

  • Meet via phone or virtual means whenever possible.
  • Limit all in-person meetings and gatherings to five people or less.
  • Maintain a safe distance from others at all times, especially in public areas.

Process for Media Requests

If you receive a request from the media, please remember to send it directly to news@utsouthwestern.edu without responding. The Office of Communications, Marketing, and Public Affairs (CMPA) will contact the media representative to determine how best to respond.

Saturday, March 21

Reminder: Major network upgrade happening tonight

On Sunday, March 22, from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. the UT Southwestern network will be upgraded to provide additional capacity for remote working and to improve the overall reliability of the network. During this time, access to many systems that are available from the internet will be unavailable. Access to services such as UT Southwestern email, the utsouthwestern.edu and .net websites, Skype for Business, Mediasite, Office 365 login, Jaggaer’s Procurement Portal, Citrix from home, and some PeopleSoft features will be periodically unavailable during this time frame. Access to Epic on campus or via VPN will not be impacted in most cases.

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Friday, March 20, 5:26 p.m.

ADDITIONAL EXPOSURE EVENTS

Two additional COVID-19 exposure events have occurred at UT Southwestern Medical Center, resulting in additional members of the workforce being quarantined. We are in the process of notifying and making testing available to those who may have had contact with these individuals and are doing everything we can to continue to ensure the health and safety of our entire campus community. Per policy, positive test results are reported to Dallas County Health and Human Services.

Please respect the privacy of those involved so they can focus on getting healthy. This is a reminder to practice consistent social distancing and vigilant hand-washing to prevent the spread of infection and protect the well-being of our entire community.

LIMITED DRIVE-UP TESTING FOR PATIENTS

In response to the needs of our UTSW patient and provider community, we have expanded our capabilities for COVID-19 testing, and we are pleased to announce that this morning we opened a COVID-19 Drive-Up Specimen Collection Site at Visitor Parking Lot No. 18 in the Bass Center Complex.

Patients with a scheduled appointment for testing should be instructed to enter the parking lot via Harry Hines Boulevard and drive along the most northern driveway until they are in the north parking lot. Signage guides traffic into and out of the drive-up site. In addition, Campus Police and Public Safety Officers are present to direct traffic.

Please note that at this time, the drive-up site will be a resource only to UTSW providers for referral of UTSW patients 12 years old and above.

MAJOR NETWORK UPGRADE

On Sunday, March 22, from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. the UT Southwestern network will be upgraded to provide additional capacity for remote working and to improve the overall reliability of the network. During this time, access to many systems that are available from the internet will be unavailable. Access to services such as UT Southwestern email, the utsouthwestern.edu and .net websites, Skype for Business, Mediasite, Office 365 login, Jagaer’s Procurement Portal, Citrix from home, and some PeopleSoft features will be periodically unavailable during this time frame. Access to Epic on campus or via VPN will not be impacted in most cases.

MATCH DAY 2020 GOES VIRTUAL

Carrying on tradition despite the COVID-19 precautions, Match Day at UT Southwestern Medical Center went entirely virtual this year as 225 medical students learned Friday where they would train as residents through eagerly awaited emails. Replacing the traditional in-person reveal, Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, UT Southwestern President; Dr. W. P. Andrew Lee, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Provost, and Dean of the Medical School; and Dr. Charles Ginsburg, Vice Provost and Senior Associate Dean for Education, joined students virtually along with other faculty to watch the countdown clock and hear the drum roll leading up to the moment of the reveal. Students joined virtual celebrations, others chose private gatherings, and even more shared their announcements utilizing online technology and social media. See where our students matched here. More stories to come.

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Friday, March 20, 9:12 a.m.

DALLAS MAVERICKS HELP WITH CHILD CARE COSTS

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, guard Luka Doncic, and center Dwight Powell have teamed up with the Dallas Mavericks Foundation to donate $500,000 to UT Southwestern and Parkland Memorial Hospital to support child care for our frontline health care workers. This will help alleviate an increasing burden faced by nurses, physicians, lab technicians, and other care team members working nonstop on the COVID-19 response. Planning is underway to develop a process to allocate the funds to individual staff in need, and more information will be posted on the COVID-19 website.

“We can’t thank our health care workers enough for putting their patients’ well-being before their own,” Mr. Cuban said. “I am thankful to Luka and Dwight as we partner up to support health care workers who are doing everything they can to keep our community healthy.”

MAJOR NETWORK UPGRADE

On Sunday, March 22, from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. the UT Southwestern network will be upgraded to provide additional capacity for remote working and to improve the overall reliability of the network. During this time, access to many systems that are available from the internet will be unavailable. Access to services such as UT Southwestern email, the utsouthwestern.edu and .net websites, Skype for Business, Mediasite, Office 365 login, Jagaer’s Procurement Portal, Citrix from home, and some PeopleSoft features will be periodically unavailable during this time frame. Access to Epic on campus or via VPN will not be impacted in most cases.

BEWARE OF PHISHING SCAMS

Information Resources reports increased attempts to breach our network and access patient data. Cybercriminals are using coronavirus-related phishing emails and fake websites to target health care organizations. Remain vigilant at all times and report any suspicious activity to InformationSecurity@UTSouthwestern.edu.

PARKING OPTIONS FOR UTSW DART AND TRE RIDERS

Due to social distancing requirements, Parking Services is allowing all UTSW DART and TRE riders to park on campus without having to purchase a permit during the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. Parking lots and garages will be open for your use with the only restriction being that you do not park in faculty, faculty reserved, or name reserved spaces. Please also refrain from parking in visitor/patient parking areas to make these available to our patients.

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Thursday, March 19

ADDITIONAL CHILD CARE OPTIONS

As schools in the region have announced closings, we understand this is putting additional strain on our employees who are required to work on-site. At the same time, many of our own students and faculty have spoken up and offered to help with child care during this trying time.

To help alleviate some of the strain and connect those in need of child care with those offering to help, we have launched We Communicate Available Resources for Employees, or We CARE. We CARE is an experiment modeled after programs that have launched at other institutions experiencing similar strain.

For UT Southwestern faculty, staff, residents, and fellows who are required to report to work on-site and are seeking child care, please visit this page to request child care help. Once registered, you will receive a list of willing providers that you can contact directly. Registering via this link requires a UT Southwestern email address. For those residents and fellows who wish to request child care and do not have a UT Southwestern email address, please contact FacultyWellness@UTSouthwestern.edu to be added to We CARE.

For UT Southwestern students and faculty who are available to provide child care, please visit this page to register as a potential provider.

Please note that this is simply a matching program and those seeking child care must reach out directly to those available to connect and negotiate availability, duration, location, and fees. While we at UTSW are providing this matching service, UTSW is not liable nor responsible for its outcome.

We are extremely grateful for all who have stepped forward with offers to help support colleagues across UTSW who must continue working on-site. We will add additional child care resources as we vet them to the COVID-19 site.

HIGH RISK HEALTH CARE WORKERS

As we learn more about how severe COVD-19 illness can be, it has become clear that certain groups are at higher risk for severe, life-threatening disease. We are very concerned with ensuring the health and safety of our workforce.

To that end, those who are in the highest risk groups – over the age of 65 or immunocompromised – must refrain from further patient contact and be reassigned to other critical roles. Exceptions to this require approval from the EVP for Academic Affairs and the EVP for Health System Affairs.

Other high-risk groups include those who have severe heart and lung disease or diabetes. If these apply to you, please discuss with your supervisor the option of switching from direct patient contact to filling other critical roles.

LIMITS ON PERSONNEL IN RESEARCH LABS

The University has implemented new guidelines to safeguard those working in research laboratories. Effective immediately, only one person designated by the Principal Investigator (PI) is to work in each laboratory at any given time. Lab personnel may work in shifts to complete urgent ongoing experiments. No new experiments are to be started in the laboratory. Research directly related to COVID-19 is considered critical and therefore exempt from the above requirements. Please contact your PI or department chair if you have questions about implementing these recommendations.

PATIENT SELF-PARKING ENCOURAGED

Parking valets are currently using hand sanitizer between each transaction; they will switch to a two-step method of using hand sanitizer and changing gloves between each transaction later today. Parking Services is also promoting self-parking for patients. In most outpatient buildings and on West Campus, self-parking is easy. Planning is underway to roll out self-parking for other clinical areas.

AUXILIARY SERVICES

In response to COVID-19, changes have been made to Auxiliary Enterprises’ service levels. For new details on cafeteria hours and availability, parking changes, mail delivery, printing support, and other services, please visit the COVID-19 site.

SAVE LIVES THROUGH PROPER HAND WASHING AND SOCIAL DISTANCING

It has becoming increasingly important to practice consistent and vigilant hand washing and social distancing practices to prevent the spread of infection and protect the well-being of our community.

  • The CDC website details the powerful science behind hand washing, and best practices on the five steps for effective hand washing: Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry.
  • Remember to limit all meetings and gatherings to five people or less.
  • Maintain a safe distance from others at all times, especially in common areas such as dining or break areas.

PRESERVING PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE) AND SUPPLIES

As the presence of COVID-19 spreads, significant strains will be placed on our supplies of critical equipment, including N95 respirators, respiratory equipment, ventilators, and other PPE. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), based on local and regional situational analysis of PPE supplies, surgical face masks are an acceptable alternative when the supply chain of N95 respirators cannot meet the demand, except when a patient is in airborne isolation.

During this time, available N95 respirators must be prioritized for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients who are likely to generate respiratory aerosols during certain procedures, which would pose the highest exposure risk to health care personnel.

In order to best preserve our supply of N95 respirators, ambulatory clinics and hospital units should substitute a procedure mask in combination with a face shield visor or full face shield, except when a patient is in airborne isolation.

Please help preserve PPE and supplies by:

  • Not stockpiling or removing PPE equipment from the hospital.
  • During rounds, limiting the number of personnel entering rooms who need PPE.
  • In caring for suspected or proven COVID-19 cases, limit the number of personnel entering the room to those essential for patient care. Visitors will not be allowed in this setting.

Please visit the COVID-19 page for clinicians for more details and guidelines on conserving PPE, discarding N95 respirators, and extending use and reuse.

RETURNING FROM TRAVEL? FEELING UNWELL?

To help control the number of people congregated in the waiting room, please remember to CALLOccupational Health Services BEFORE just showing up.

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Wednesday, March 18

BADGES REQUIRED FOR BUILDING ACCESS

As we continue to implement safeguards to minimize the risk of infection and reduce the number of people on campus, starting Wednesday, March 18, building access for nonclinical facilities around campus will move to restricted access. Badges should be worn by UTSW employees at all times.

You will need to use your badge to gain access to academic and other nonclinical buildings. Badges also will be needed to access the Danciger Building (H) passage between UTSW and Parkland Memorial Hospital, and the Sprague/Zale Lipshy Pavilion connecting doors. The breezeway doors will be locked. Brookriver will remain on card access only. The Bryan Williams, M.D. Student Center, including the gymnasium and recreational and exercise facilities, are closed. The library requires card access, but congregating in groups, group study, and meetings are not permitted. Social distancing practices should be followed in all instances.

CLINICAL ENTRY ACCESS POINTS RESTRICTED/LIMITED

Changes have also been made to restrict the number of entry access points at Clements University Hospital (CUH), Zale Lipshy Pavilion, and the Outpatient Building (WA).

  • CUH: Patients and guests must enter through the main entrance or Emergency Department.
  • Zale Lipshy Pavilion: Patients and visitors must enter through the main entrance.
  • Charles Cameron Sprague Clinical Science Building: The building remains open, but the entrance to the Sprague Building located in the breezeway is now closed.
  • WA/Outpatient Building: The main entrance is open.

Patients will be able to access the James W. Aston Ambulatory Care Center, Professional Office Buildings I and 2, Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, School of Health Professions, and Radiation Oncology facilities as usual. The west entrance of the Paul M. Bass Administrative and Clinical Center will allow patient access to the Bass Towers. Construction workers are coordinating access through the Facilities Project Managers. For more information on building access, please see the COVID-19 site.

ONE VISITOR PER PATIENT; NO VISITORS UNDER AGE 12

The number of visitors per patient has been reduced to one, beginning Wednesday, March 18. In order to protect the health of our children, those under age 12 will not be allowed inside Clements University Hospital or the Outpatient Building – the same policy followed during flu season.

SCREENING PROCEDURES FOR VISITORS

All visitors, patients, and guests will be screened at designated entry points, including the Emergency Department. All visitors must meet screening criteria. The brief screening will ask if you have experienced any respiratory symptoms – fever, shortness of breath, or a cough – or traveled outside of Texas within the last 14 days. Individuals cleared through the screening process will receive an orange wristband, which must be worn throughout their visit to CUH or the Outpatient Building.

Visitors who do not meet screening criteria will not be allowed to enter the facility. Anyone who does not pass the screening is encouraged to contact their primary care provider. Patients who are being screened for COVID-19 or who have already tested positive are not allowed any visitors.

PRESERVING PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE) AND SUPPLIES

As the presence of COVID-19 spreads, significant strains will be placed on our supplies of critical equipment, including N95 respirators, respiratory equipment, ventilators, and other PPE. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), based on local and regional situational analysis of PPE supplies, surgical face masks are an acceptable alternative when the supply chain of N95 respirators cannot meet the demand.

During this time, available N95 respirators must be prioritized for procedures that are likely to generate respiratory aerosols, which would pose the highest exposure risk to health care personnel.

In order to best preserve the stock of N95 respirators, ambulatory clinics and hospital units should substitute a procedure mask in combination with a face shield visor or full face shield.

Please help preserve PPE and supplies by:

  • Not hoarding or removing PPE equipment from the hospital.
  • During rounds, limiting the number of personnel entering rooms who need PPE.
  • In caring for suspected or proven COVID-19 cases, limit the number of personnel entering the room to those essential for patient care. Visitors will not be allowed in this setting.

Please visit the COVID-19 page for clinicians for more details and guidelines on conserving PPE, discarding N95 respirators, and extending use and reuse.

The following information was provided in yesterday’s update sent at 6:02 p.m. but is included below in case some employees did not receive it.

SERVICEDESK PRIORITIZING CLINICAL NEEDS

Average hold times at the ServiceDesk are well over an hour. We would like to reduce the stress on the team handling the calls and prioritize calls that directly impact patient health. To accomplish this, please do not call the helpline unless your call is patient care critical. For noncritical issues, Email or visit the ServiceNow Electronic Self Service page.

In reviewing recent service tickets, most answers to the questions received can be found on the new COVID-19 Working Remotely or Social Distancing pages. These sites and their content are brand-new. All of the guides, videos, and information are up to date and tailored to current conditions.

There has been excellent cooperation among people and departments in the organization since the expansion of remote working. Please continue to help us by:

  • Practicing patience. It will take time to get everyone up and working remotely.
  • Holding off on requesting help on secondary monitors, headsets, or other nice-to-haves.
  • Reaching out to colleagues in your areas who have already established remote work or to your IT/IR departmental person to see if they can help you before opening a ticket.
  • Knowing that your regular means of remoting to campus may have been changed. Go through the COVID-19 Working Remotely or Social Distancing pages closely before opening a ticket.

THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK

Information Security is seeing an uptick in malicious coronavirus (COVID-19) phishing emails and websites as cybercriminals are actively targeting organizations like UT Southwestern. Please remember to follow these important steps before clicking any links:

  1. Examine all external email sender addresses.
  2. Ask, were you expecting the email?
  3. Before clicking, hover over all email URL links to view the true website domain.

CHANGES IN ACCOUNTING AND FISCAL SERVICES (AFS)

Please note changes in Accounting and Fiscal Services (AFS) in response to COVID-19 are available on the COVID-19 site.

  • Payroll distributions will continue unchanged in accordance with the payroll calendar.
  • The cashier’s window will be open to accept deposits from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays. Email regarding significant deposits.

CAMPUS UPDATE AND LIFE@UTSW NEWSLETTERS ON PAUSE

In order to prioritize EOC and leadership communications about UT Southwestern’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Communications, Marketing, and Public Affairs (CMPA) team has decided to temporarily halt sending our regular all-campus newsletters; specifically, Tuesday’s “Campus Update” and Thursday’s “Life@UTSW.”

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Tuesday, March 17

SCREENING VISITORS, REDUCING ACCESS POINTS AT MEDICAL FACILITIES

To protect the health of our patients, our workforce, and our community, new screening measures were put in place last night for all visitors. Visitors will be asked if they have experienced any respiratory symptoms – fever, shortness of breath, or a cough – or traveled outside of Texas within the last 14 days. Individuals cleared will receive an orange wristband to wear during their visit to William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital or the Outpatient Building (WA). Visitors who do not meet pass the screening criteria will not be allowed to entrance.

Changes have also been made to restrict the number of entry access points at Clements University Hospital (CUH), Zale Lipshy Pavilion, and the Outpatient Building (WA).

  • CUH: Patients and guests must enter through the main entrance or Emergency Department.
  • Zale Lipshy Pavilion: Patients and visitors must enter through the main entrance.
  • Charles Cameron Sprague Clinical Science Building: The entrance to the Sprague Building located in the breezeway is now closed.
  • WA: The main entrance is open to all.

Please see the attached maps showing the entrances employees can continue using and remember to wear you badge at all times.

Starting Wednesday, Mar. 18, only one visitor will be allowed per patient. No visitors under age 12 will be allowed inside CUH or WA – our standard policy during flu season.

NEW TO REMOTE WORKING?

Answers to many questions are now available on the working remotely section of UT Southwestern’s COVID-19 website. If you have additional questions or need assistance please consider joining one IR’s Remote Work Q&A Sessions, held Tuesday through Friday, March 17-20, at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Registration links are provided below and all questions must be submitted through this form.

CAMPUS MOVING TO WEEKEND/HOLIDAY BUILDING ACCESS

As we continue to implement safeguards to minimize the risk of infection and reduce the number of people on campus, starting tomorrow, Wed. March 18, building access around campus will move to regular weekend/holiday access. You will need to use your badge to gain access.

RETURNING FROM TRAVEL? FEELING UNWELL?

To help control the number of people congregated in the waiting room, please remember to CALLOccupational Health Services BEFORE just showing up.

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Monday, March 16, 5:42 p.m.

NO GATHERINGS OF MORE THAN 5 PEOPLE

All on-campus events (grand rounds, seminars, conferences, lectures, classes, etc.) must be limited to five or fewer people in order to reduce potential exposure and transmission of COVID-19. Please also consider the importance of convening in-person meetings of any size. More information on social distancing and tools for hosting virtual meetings is available on the COVID-19 website.

CAMPUS SHUTTLES RESTRICTED TO 5 RIDERS, LIMIT ELEVATOR USE

Effective immediately, all shuttles on UT Southwestern’s campuses will carry no more than five passengers at a time to encourage social distancing. Shuttle drivers will remind passengers of the new restriction. Please also avoid over-crowding on-campus elevators and take the stairs whenever possible. We understand this may require longer-than-usual wait times at shuttle stops and elevator banks. Thank you for your patience and adherence to these precautions.

CLINICAL RESEARCH SUSPENDED EXCEPT IN TREATMENT CASES

Effective March 16, 2020, UT Southwestern is suspending all in-person, nonessential research participant visits. Participants enrolled in treatment studies must continue to be treated, with the Principal Investigator of the IRB-approved protocol on which the research participant is enrolled determining whether a visit is treatment related. Study teams should review the study protocol and try to minimize the number of visits to campus or try to make alternate arrangements to complete the visits without meeting in person (Skype, phone call, etc.). We understand that some research visits may not be able to be canceled; however researchers should work to cancel or make alternate arrangements for all scheduled visits as soon as possible. More information on changes to clinical research programs will be posted on the COVID-19 website.

ELECTIVE SURGERIES BEING RESCHEDULED

As part of our preparations for the spread of COVID-19 in North Texas, and to help focus UT Southwestern’s health care workforce, equipment, and resources on patients with urgent care needs, elective surgeries, interventional and invasive procedures, and endoscopy procedures are being rescheduled through April 10. Nonurgent office visits, such as routine checkups or elective procedures or tests, are being postponed or rescheduled for after June 1. Older adults and/or those who suffer from chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease, are advised to avoid coming to campus for any medical service that is not critical. Further communications will be sent out to patients via MyChart messaging.

RETURNING FROM TRAVEL? FEELING UNWELL?

To help control the number of people congregated in the waiting room, please remember to CALL Occupational Health Services BEFORE just showing up. Given the growing number of COVID-19 cases in North Texas, Occupational Health Services has extended its Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. business hours to seven days a week.

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Monday, March 16, 1:14 p.m.

EXPANDING TELEWORK

As COVID-19 continues to spread through North Texas, we are taking additional steps to help slow its spread and to ensure everyone’s health and safety.

UT Southwestern remains open, but we are implementing a telework plan for designated employees so that the University can maintain operations while taking every precaution to reduce the spread of infection. Starting this week, employees designated by their managers who have UTSW-issued computers and already are able to connect remotely to the UTSW network should work from home effective immediately, provided it does not interfere with continued vital University operations. Managers must ensure this departure occurs in a nondisruptive manner.

Designated employees are those whose duties can be completely or substantially performed off-site or from home, as determined by their manager. Employees who need to return to the office to retrieve equipment they need to work should do so as soon as possible. We will coordinate with managers and employees designated to work remotely but who currently do not have the necessary equipment to do their jobs. Those employees whose personal home computers meet minimum requirements can work with IR to configure remote connectivity to the UTSW network.

Employees whose work cannot be done at home and are not in positions critical to ongoing operations of the Medical Center will be placed into emergency paid leave status and should not report back to work until notified by their supervisors.

These measures are not only intended to protect the health of those working off-site. Reducing the number of employees in the workplace helps with social distancing and protects the health of our colleagues whose jobs must be performed on campus.

There is substantial work at UT Southwestern that simply cannot be performed off-site. To minimize the spread of infection and protect the well-being of our entire community, including those employees who must continue to work on campus, managers should establish flexible work environments to reduce the number of people working near each another at one time. Any meetings or gatherings must be limited to 5 or fewer people. Additionally, managers should implement social distancing practices to reduce close contact between employees while at work and transition meetings to phone or virtual platforms.

We appreciate your understanding and flexibility. For now, we are implementing work from home through March 28. Please continue to check the UTSW COVID-19 information page for daily updates.

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Sunday, March 15

HEALTH SERVICES UPDATE

The protection of our campus community – including faculty, staff, and learners – is essential in the response to COVID-19.

Below are some important updates for those who need to reach our infection prevention experts, as well as instructions for how and when to seek care from Occupational Health Services >and Student Health Services.

Call Before Coming

If you are symptomatic or think you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, it is imperative that you exercise good judgment and call Occupational Health for next steps. Given the growing number of COVID-19 cases in North Texas, Occupational Health Services is now extending its Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. business hours to seven days a week. You will receive a response from Occupational Health Services or Student Health Services within four business hours. Other contact methods are provided below for urgent needs.

Residents and fellows returning to the UT Southwestern campus must be cleared by UT Southwestern Occupational Health, in addition to Parkland Memorial Hospital and Children’s Health, if those locations also apply.

Listen to Your Body

The most common symptoms reported by people with COVID-19 are fever and lower respiratory symptoms that include cough and shortness of breath. If you are an older adult and/or suffer from chronic medical conditions that could make you more susceptible to COVID-19, such as heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease – or if you suspect or know you have a possible exposure to COVID-19 – it is strongly advised that you avoid coming to campus for anything noncritical.

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Saturday, March 14

HUMAN SUBJECT RESEARCH LIMITED TO TREATMENT-BASED VISITS ONLY

Effective March 16, 2020, UT Southwestern is suspending all in-person, non-essential research participant visits. Treatment-related visits should continue; the Principal Investigator of the IRB-approved protocol on which the research participant is enrolled will determine whether a visit is treatment-related.

REMINDER: NEW VISITOR POLICY

Our hospital and campus visitor policies changed yesterday, March 13.
https://www.utsouthwestern.edu/covid-19/travel-visitors/visitors.html

CALL BEFORE COMING TO CAMPUS

If you are symptomatic or think you may have been exposed to someone who is, please call Occupational Health Services (214-645-5300) or Student Health Services (214-645-8690) before showing up in person and putting others at risk of infection. You will receive a response within four hours.

The clinic in POB is open 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
https://utswmed.org/locations/pob1/occupational-health-clinic/

SANITATION EXPANDED

UTSW has ordered 90 additional hand sanitizer stations to be placed across campus. The stations will be placed as deliveries occur. To ensure availability for everyone, please do not move the sanitizer stations or utilize the stations to fill individual bottles. UT Southwestern also is shifting two dozen custodial crews to perform twice daily cleaning of high touch surfaces, such as door handles and push bars, elevator call buttons, stair rails and handrails, flat surfaces in common spaces, tables, and chairs in common spaces, light switch plates, etc.

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Friday, March 13

Last night we learned that there has been a potential exposure of some of our faculty, residents, and staff to COVID-19 at a regularly scheduled head and neck tumor board meeting this week. A visiting community physician, who regularly attends this conference, notified us a day after the conference that he had subsequent to the conference tested positive for COVID-19. The visiting physician was asymptomatic at the time he attended the conference and we immediately notified all conference participants upon learning this information. Those individuals exposed have all self-quarantined. The Dallas County Health Department has been informed of the exposure, per protocol.

We want to assure everyone that should any of them develop evidence of coronavirus symptoms, we are fully prepared to provide care and other follow-up actions as needed.

As noted at Wednesday’s Virtual Town Hall, a leadership team has been meeting on a daily basis for the past several weeks to ensure we are prepared to care for patients who seek our help and to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone on campus. Please be assured that we will continue meeting daily and share developments and actions to be taken with our campus.

The Emergency Operations Center has been working around the clock to monitor all risks, possible events, and proactively plan for what might come. As we discussed at the Virtual Town Hall earlier this week, we are ready for COVID-19 and are certainly ready for all who come to us for care. Please be assured that we have increased cleaning and sanitizing frequency, ordered more supplies, and have other guidelines under consideration. We will continue meeting daily and alerting you.

LIMIT VISITORS

Our hospital and campus visitor policies have changed.

CHANGES IN FOOD SERVICE

Cafeterias remain open, but self-service food has been discontinued. Maintain safe distances and limit large gatherings at meals.

VISIT U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE FOR LATEST TRAVEL GUIDELINES

Please refer to the U.S. Department of State for latest travel advisories.

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