May 26, 2021, Briefing - Answers to Commonly Asked Questions

Questions submitted for this briefing include these topics:

Campus Safety & Operations

  • The recently updated CDC guidelines, which have relaxed certain personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements, such as masking for those who are vaccinated, are not intended to apply to health care settings, which  include both hospital and ambulatory clinical settings.
  • The guidance for health care settings, last updated April 27, 2021, states that “recommendations for use of PPE for healthcare providers remain unchanged” at this time.
  • Specific to eye protection, it is stated that eye protection should be worn during patient care encounters to ensure the eyes are also protected from exposure to respiratory secretions.
  • Our infection prevention and control teams continue to review our guidelines and the evidence to inform when it will be appropriate to modify our policy related to eye protection.

Temperature Checks

  • Our infectious diseases and infection prevention and control experts are reviewing our policies related to temperature screening in conjunction with our Health System to ensure that we are in compliance with both the latest regulatory requirements for screening visitors to a healthcare facility as well as doing what is best for the safety of our patients and staff.
  • We want to ensure that they feel confident in coming to work or seeking care at UT Southwestern.
  • We anticipate that there will be more updates to these processes in the coming weeks.

Flu Predictions

  • Influenza is predictably unpredictable and so we do not know what to expect.
  • According to the CDC, a little more than 2,000 flu cases were reported during the 2020-2021 flu season compared with 38 million during the 2019-2020 flu season.
  • As mask mandates have lifted, we have begun to see a few cases of influenza B in children—reminding us of the importance of getting your flu shot; masking, physical distancing, and hand hygiene are also effective ways to reduce flu transmission.
  • For the 2021-2022 Influenza season, the quadrivalent vaccine will carry the same two influenza B viruses; the influenza A viruses have been updated.

Group Gatherings

  • Central Room Scheduling may schedule meetings of up to 10 people between now and the end of this month (May 31, 2021).
  • Beginning next month, we will expand reservations to 50% capacity.
  • Due to COVID restrictions and the need for modifications to room occupancies, Central Room Scheduling may be reassigning prior standing meetings.
  • Meetings that can continue on a virtual platform should do so, as rooms will hold only one-half their previous number due to the requirement for social distancing.
  • Many mandatory classes across campus will no longer fit in the same space as before.
  • If you know that you are going to continue meeting virtually as opposed to in-person, please let us know now, so we can prioritize and accommodate student educational activities under the current COVID restriction rules.
  • We will provide additional availability for FY22 based on direction from Safety and Business Continuity.

Healthy Lifestyle

  • Eating healthy, exercise, getting plenty of sleep, and reducing stress are always good strategies that help with general physical and mental wellbeing and are an important part of keeping individuals healthy at all times including the pandemic.
  • However, given the abundance of emerging information during COVID-19, medical professionals were trying to also emphasize the importance of masking, physical distancing, and other non-pharmacologic interventions, which were new concepts for the North American audience.

Parking

  • Employees coded as Level 5 – Majority Remote are eligible for a discounted parking permit.
  • All other remote categories are required to purchase parking at standard rates.
  • For more information, please visit the Remote Worker Parking Permit FAQ (VPN required) page.

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