Operational Phases | Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
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Operational Phases

In conjunction with Pres. Trump’s Opening Up America Again, Gov. Abbott’s Report to Open Texas, and Chancellor Mitchell’s four-phase operations plan, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) developed this phased approach to safely return our operations back to campuses. The phased plan serves as our guideline as we respond to the impact of COVID-19 on our campuses, and will be implemented as we both progress in response to the outbreak and by which we will return to normal operations.

Our priority is to protect TTUHSC students and team members (faculty, staff and residents) by maintaining a safe working environment, allowing for the return to campus for operations, academics, clinics and managed care units.

As TTUHSC operates in very diverse geographic areas across Texas, our vice presidents and deans, in coordination with the regional deans on our campuses, will determine the specific timing for reopening their respective campuses and individual departments based on the COVID-19 situation at each campus, clinic, and managed care unit.

Please contact your respective vice president or dean for the operational phase status of your division.

 

Closed Campuses

Intent: On-campus operations restricted to critical functions only and preparation for Phase III.

Personnel Status: During closed-campus operations, all team members are working remotely with an approved Remote Work Agreement with the exception of those positions designated as mission-critical1, who will continue to work fully or partially on campus, and those who have been approved for Non-Work Pandemic Leave.

  • Vulnerable individuals2 may request accommodation from supervisors when their presence is required on campus, to ensure their safety at work.
  • All team members and students must wear protective facial coverings when on campus and adhere to strict protocols regarding hand hygiene
  • Every team member and students will complete self-screening prior to arrival on campus.  
  • Campus entry points will be limited and restricted by badge-access.
  • All team members and students, when in public areas, should maximize physical distance from others.
  • All team members and students are prohibited from gathering in groups of more than 10 people while ensuring appropriate physical distancing of at least 6 feet.  

Nonclinical Operations:

  • All university-sponsored travel and events are to be cancelled, including outdoor events.
  • Implement mission-critical hiring process.
  • Conduct all operations remotely, except for mission-critical1 workforce needed and approved by the president, including:

    • Critical clinics, as identified by respective vice president and deans.
    • Animal Resource Centers.
    • Buildings and equipment.
    • Police Department and Security Guards.

Clinical Operations:

  • Noncritical and routine clinical care can and will be conducted via telehealth visits when appropriate, as determined by the Department Chair and clinic supervisor.
  • Only the patient will be allowed to attend in-person clinical appointments, unless the patient is a minor or an individual with assistance needs in which case they can be accompanied by one adult caregiver.
  • Patients and accompanying guests will be screened upon entry to TTUHSC buildings. Appropriate screening methods will be determined by the President’s COVID-19 Clinical Task Force.
  • All patients and accompanying guests will be required to wear protective face coverings when on campus.

Managed Care Unit Operations:

  • Clinical care will be conducted via telehealth visits as appropriate, as determined by managed care leadership.
  • Additional clinical operations at Managed Care units will follow Texas Department of Criminal Justice timeline for resuming offender movement/transports.

Academic Operations:

  • All academic coursework will be offered online.
  • Student participation in clinical rotations may continue as clinical sites allow if adequate personal protective equipment is available from clinical locations, unless otherwise directed by the respective department chair or dean.

Research Operations:

  • Research faculty, staff and students will work remotely.
  • On-campus research activity is restricted to mission-critical functions only (i.e., ongoing animal experiments, experiments using time-sensitive materials and reagents, maintenance of clones of cells that cannot be frozen).
  • No new animal experiments are permitted.
  • Principal investigators will determine critical functions for labs. Faculty, graduate students and lab personnel required to be on campus should minimize time spent in the laboratory, utilize appropriate personal protective equipment, wear protective facial coverings and maintain physical distancing guidelines. 

Restricted Operations

Intent: Continue operations remotely with limited on-campus presence and prepare for Phase II. Transition to Phase II will be based on specific conditions at each campus location and department.

Personnel Status: During restricted operations, team members identified in Phase IV as mission-critical are “on duty, working remotely” or “on-duty, working on campus.” Individuals not in mission-critical1 positions may be on campus if approved by their respective dean, vice president or provost.

  • Vulnerable individuals2 may request accommodation from supervisors when their presence is required on campus, to ensure their safety at work.
  • All team members and students must wear protective face coverings when on campus.
  • Every team member and student will complete self-screening prior to arrival on campus.
  • All individuals, when in public areas, should maximize physical distance from others.
  • All team members and students are prohibited from gathering in groups of more than 10 people while ensuring appropriate physical distancing of at least 6 feet. 
  • Continue Remote Work Agreements and Non-Work Pandemic Leave procedures.

Nonclinical Operations:

  • Continue university mission-critical operations unless otherwise directed by the president, vice president, provost or dean.
  • Only mission essential travel may be allowed, in adherence with CDC, U.S. Department of State and Texas state guidelines regarding isolation following travel.
  • Continue employee recruitment for mission-critical1 positions only.
  • University-sponsored conferences and events, including outdoor events, may resume with maximal attendance at 25% of room space capacity OR no more than 10 people, whichever is less, while ensuring appropriate physical distancing of at least 6 feet. All attendees will be required to wear appropriate facial coverings.  

Clinical Operations:

  • Resume elective surgeries and procedures, as clinically appropriate, on an outpatient basis at facilities that adhere to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidelines.
  • Clinical team members, and others with regular patient contact, will wear appropriate personal protective equipment, as designated by their supervisor.
  • Telehealth will be utilized for noncritical, routine office visits when possible, as determined by the department chair and clinical supervisor.
  • Only the patient will be allowed to attend in-person clinical appointments, unless the patient is a minor or an individual with assistance needs in which case they can be accompanied by one adult caregiver.
  • Patients and accompanying guests will be screened upon entry to TTUHSC buildings. Appropriate screening methods will be determined by the President’s COVID-19 Clinical Task Force.
  • All patients and accompanying guests must wear protective face coverings when on campus.

Managed Care Unit Operations:

  • Clinical care will be provided via telehealth visits as appropriate, as determined by managed care leadership.
  • Additional clinical operations at Managed Care units will follow Texas Department of Criminal Justice timeline for resuming offender movement/transports.

Academic Operations:

  • Offer all academic coursework online, unless otherwise directed by the respective dean.
  • Student participation in clinical rotations may continue as clinical sites allow if adequate personal protective equipment is available, unless otherwise directed by the respective department chair or dean. 

Research Operations:

  • New animal experiments considered essential can resume.
  • Essential research personnel may return to their laboratory spaces in order to resume important experiments, defined by the principal investigator, and provided appropriate personal protective equipment is worn, facial coverings are worn, and physical distancing of at least 6 feet is followed.
  • Principal investigators will determine the number of lab personnel who can be present at the same time in the same space.

Limited Operations

Intent: Resume university campus-based operations with modifications and prepare for Phase I.

Personnel Status: Team members (faculty, staff and residents) begin returning to their designated work locations with adequate protection. During Phase II, the place of work for most team members is on campus.

  • At the supervisor’s discretion, evaluate individual positions that may qualify for remote work. Submit end dates for Emergency Remote Work Agreements or convert to the standard Remote Work Agreements.
  • Team members who cannot work from home will return to work on campus.
  • Vulnerable individuals2 may request accommodation from supervisors when their presence is required on campus. This is the final group who will return to campuses to ensure their safety and that of others.
  • Every team member and student will complete daily self-screenings before arriving to campus.
  • All team members and students must wear protective face coverings when on campus.
  • All individuals, when in public areas, should maximize physical distance from others.
  • All team members and students should avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people (unless during academic instruction as provided below) while ensuring appropriate physical distancing of at least 6 feet. 
  • Normal recruiting procedures resume based on operational needs and available budget.

Nonclinical Operations:

  • Return employee online training to in-person, where appropriate.
  • University-sponsored conferences and events, including outdoor events, may resume with maximal attendance at 25% of room space capacity OR no more than 10 people, whichever is less, while ensuring appropriate physical distancing of at least 6 feet. All attendees will be required to wear appropriate facial coverings.  
  • Discourage the presence of visitors and nonessential volunteers on campus.
  • Use discretion to minimize all nonessential in-person meetings.
  • Use discretion to minimize the presence of third-party vendors to only those essential to ongoing university operations.
  • Minimize nonessential travel and adhere to CDC, U.S. Department of State and Texas state guidelines regarding isolation following travel.

Clinical Operations:

  • Resume normal clinical operations and routine clinic visits for patients of all ages, unless otherwise directed by the dean, department chair and clinic supervisor.
  • Resume elective surgeries, as clinically appropriate, on both an outpatient and inpatient basis at facilities that adhere to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services guidelines.
  • All team members with patient contact, will wear appropriate personal protective equipment, as designated by their supervisor.
  • Patients and any accompanying guests will be screened upon entry as directed by clinic supervisors.
  • All patients and accompanying guests must wear protective face coverings when on campus.
  • Follow ambulatory clinic policies, direction from health authorities, and guidance from the CDC in addressing any rebound COVID-19 related cases.

Managed Care Unit Operations:

  • Continue clinical care via telehealth visits as appropriate, as determined by managed care leadership.
  • Additional clinical operations at Managed Care Units will follow Texas Department of Criminal Justice timeline for resuming offender movement/transports. 

Academic Operations:

  • Resume didactic and laboratory academic coursework on-campus, as appropriate, adhering to facial covering requirements and physical distancing guidelines outlined above. Room capacity for academic instruction is limited to no more than 50% of room capacity, so long as physical distancing of at least 6 feet can be maintained between individuals in a classroom.  
  • Schools/programs additional guidance on academic instruction will be provided by the president’s COVID-19 Academic Task Force.

Research Operations:

  • Laboratory staff, graduate students and other trainees return to normal full-time duties, provided appropriate personal protective equipment is worn, facial coverings are worn and physical distancing of at least 6 feet is followed.

Normal Operations 

Intent: Return to daily operations in all areas with no restrictions. Normal work location for some team members (i.e., on campus versus remote working) may change following successes observed during Phase IV-Phase II operations. Vice Presidents and deans are approving authority for determining new work locations. 

Personnel Status:

  • Vulnerable individuals2 can resume public interactions but should continue practicing physical distancing, minimizing exposure to social settings where distancing may not be practical, unless precautionary measures are observed.
  • All team members and students should consider minimizing time spent in crowded environments.
  • Face coverings are no longer required except as may be required in patient care and research activities, as designated by a supervisor or program director.
  • Continue to avoid physical contact including handshakes, hugs and typical greetings.

Nonclinical Operations:

  • Events and meetings may resume without the need for physical distancing.

Clinical Operations:

  • Lift visitor restrictions in clinics.
  • Team members who interact with patients must be diligent regarding hand hygiene. 

Managed Care Unit Operations:

  • On-site clinic visits, procedures, therapies and group activities resume without the need for physical distancing.
  • Team members who interact with patients must be diligent regarding hand hygiene.

Academic Operations:

  • Resume academic coursework on-campus without the need for physical distancing.

Research Operations:

  • Resume laboratory processes without the need for physical distancing. 

1 Mission-critical core functions, President’s Executive Council, Security, Managing Director of Employee Assistance Program, direct patient care providers, clinical department chairs, facilities, operations, budget accounting (emergency purchasing and processing authority), Human Resources (selected staff)

2 Current federal guidelines define vulnerable individuals (previously termed at-risk by the CDC) as those over 65 years of age and those with serious underlying health conditions, including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity (body mass index >40), asthma, and those whose immune system is compromised such as by chemotherapy for cancer and other conditions requiring such therapy.