Texas Tech Regents discuss COVID plans as students prepare for return

Texas Tech Regents discuss COVID plans as students prepare for return
Dr. Tedd Mitchell, Texas Tech University System chancellor, speaks during a Board of Regents meeting on Aug. 6. (Source: Texas Tech University System)

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Texas Tech Board of Regents met in a hybrid in-person and virtual meeting on Thursday to discuss details for the upcoming fall semester at their four institutions.

They focused on the way each institution has made changes to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

A 26-member response team has been assembled to address any coronavirus problems that may come up at Texas Tech. All were trained at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Even with that response team in place, they’re still expecting infections to come from within the system.

“Somebody is going to get sick. Very end of story,” Dr. Tedd Mitchell, Texas Tech System chancellor, said during the meeting. “We have these rapid response teams on all of our campuses made up of the experts that know the answers, so that the student, the staff member, faculty member, has an issue in real time, there’s somebody they can talk to about right then and there.”

School administrators said there have been no student-to-student cases of COVID transmission at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center this summer.

Since Texas Tech began its free testing at the flagship campus for students, faculty and staff, they’ve found a 2 percent infection rate, Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec said.

Anticipating infections, deals have been made in case students have to isolate themselves from others.

“We have reserved 20 apartments on campus that can provide a place for students to go if they need to be isolated. We’ve made arrangements with 20 apartment units in the city,” Schovanec said. “And we’ve also negotiated 40 hotel rooms we can place students if we need to provide that kind of space.”

There’s also been an increase in messages to the student body since the start of the pandemic, intended to ease the minds of parents, Schovanec said.

Schovanec believes this outreach to parents has helped keep Texas Tech’s enrollment numbers at a satisfactory rate.

“As of Monday, our report showed we were up by 5 percent overall. But for freshmen it was up 9 percent,” Schovanec said. “Now I hasten to add that we have two weeks to go, those numbers may not hold.”

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