While the University of Houston operates under applicable guidance related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the following guidelines will apply to the scheduling and hosting of Events on campus.
- “Event” is a one-time or periodic, free or ticketed, cultural, charitable, athletic, or cause-related activity conducted for the purpose of attracting revenue, support, awareness, and/or for entertainment purposes.
- “Managed Venues” are campus spaces that have dedicated Event staff. These venues are expected to develop and adhere to university-approved plans tailored to each specific venue.
- “Group” is defined as no more than 10 persons including the members of the household and those persons who traveled together to the facility or on the same reservation.
These guidelines will be reviewed by the screening committee on a periodic basis (at least monthly) in conjunction with applicable guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These guidelines prioritize the health and safety of the UH community.
In addition to all applicable guidelines found in the Texas Department of State Health Services web page, the following guidelines are applicable for all University of Houston indoor and outdoor Events:
In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the potential risk of exposure to our campus community, no events with more than 10 participants may be held unless they are held in Managed Venues with university-approved operating plans. University-approved operating plans for Managed Venues must be submitted and on file with the screening committee. Managed Venues include: Athletics, Alumni Center, Hilton University Hotel, Student Center, A.D. Bruce Religion Center, Cullen Performance Hall, Campus Recreation and Wellness Center, Dudley Recital Hall, Wortham Theatre, Quintero Theatre, Moores Opera House, and Blaffer Museum. To develop seating capacities in university-approved operating plans, the Managed Venue should use the lesser of the number of attendees calculated using Exhibit A - Guidelines for Creating New Six Foot (6’) Social Distancing Seating Capacities for Assembly and Meeting Spaces or the Governor’s current orders. However, when calculating the six feet social distancing, a Managed Venue may follow the Governor’s protocols for group seating, i.e., groups must maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other groups at all times.
- Registered student organizations will still be able to host Events on campus but will need to follow the University’s capacity and distancing guidelines (See Exhibit A to these Event Guidelines) which will continue to be reviewed as city/state protocols are adjusted.
- Events should be requested to take place in indoor/outdoor spaces designed for Events and follow proper cleaning and sanitation protocols.
- Events that are non-SCH bearing that are scheduled using academic classrooms and laboratories are required to be scheduled using the Events functionality in Ad Astra, working with the Office of the University Registrar. Student groups should continue to work with/through the Student Center to request General Purpose Classroom space.
- Building coordinators, Event staff, or departmental designees must be identified in the exception request as the individual(s) who will monitor the Events to ensure compliance with all applicable protocols.
- Expressive Activities (Texas Education Code, Sec. 51.9315) must comply with these Event guidelines. Any Events falling into this category are encouraged to contact the Dean of Students Office and review UH MAPP 13.01.01 – Freedom of Expression.
- External Events require review and approval of the COVID-19 Agreement (External Events). Internal Events require review and approval of the COVID-19 Event Checklist (University Sponsored Events).
- Outdoor Events will follow the Governor’s Executive Order GA-28 and GA-28 (amended).
- Any in-person Event will be considered on a case-by-case basis with plans in place to maintain appropriate health and safety protocols.
- All in-person meetings are recommended to be held online utilizing technology, if possible, rather than meeting face to face.
- Criteria: The health and safety of our campus community is a top priority for our University. To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the potential risk of exposure to our campus community, all Event organizers interested in hosting an Event with more than 10 participants in a non-managed venue must submit an exception request to the Event screening committee before moving forward with any planning. It is vital that all Event organizers participate in this process to take precautionary measures to protect the campus community. In order to effectively plan for a large Event, it is important to utilize the CDC Events and Gatherings: General Readiness Assessment & Planning Tool for planning for mitigation elements. All protective measures outlined by University of Houston’s COVID-19 Event Guidelines will be required as part of this Event exception request process.
The following information must be included in the exception request (Event organizer/venue operator to ensure completion):
- Is there a pre-existing agreement for this event? (please include contract)
- Why must it occur in-person?
- How will the UH COVID-19 Event Guidelines be followed and who will be in attendance to ensure compliance with all applicable protocols?
- Are you planning to offer food, beverages, giveaways or activities during your Event?
- What items will be included in your Event risk mitigation plan to ensure adherence to the COVID-19 Agreement (External Events) or COVID-19 Event Checklist (University Sponsored Events)?
- How will you track attendance?
- Provide a copy of your Risk Management Plan and Set-Up Diagram.
Once reviewed by the screening committee, a requested exception will be submitted to the appropriate divisional vice president for their review. All exceptions require divisional vice presidential written approval prior to moving forward with any planning.
- Approval/Denials: Once an Event exception request is submitted, the screening committee will review and recommend approval, denial or additional mitigation measures to the appropriate divisional vice president who will make the ultimate decision. The scheduling office over your space request will inform Event organizers.
- If the University makes a decision to move back to a previous phase in its reopening plan, then it is possible that previously approved Events will be canceled due to the new circumstances. The screening committee may also inform requesters of additional steps that they will need to take for their Event.
- Compliance Checks: Members of the screening committee or other designees may conduct random checks to ensure that all Event participants are following the UH COVID-19 Event Guidelines during Events. Failure to follow the guidelines could affect the status of future Events.
- Event Exception Request Form
Event organizers must use the following guidelines in all pre-event planning for all on-campus Events of 10 individuals or less:
- Limit the duration of the Event and number of participants. Do not meet any longer than needed to complete the task.
- Create an Event diagram with your Event scheduler. Please reference the UH Facilities Guidelines for Creating Social Distancing (EXHIBIT A).
- All in-person Events require that a risk management plan be developed and a set-up diagram regarding COVID-19 mitigation measures be submitted to the building coordinator/Event staff or designee along with the COVID-19 Agreement (External Events) or COVID-19 Event Checklist (University Sponsored Events) at a minimum of two weeks prior to the Event. For a Managed Venue, the above items will be covered in the operating plan and license agreement.
- Review additional policies and procedures applicable to the space for compliance during your Event. It is up to building coordinator to approve and review all Events in the space.
- Submit questions about mitigation strategies to your Event scheduler. We want you to ensure safeguards are in place to protect the health and safety of our University community. Other questions should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Send communication to all Event participants in advance with the guidelines below, requiring individuals to use the Daily Self-Assessment, and not to attend if they are sick or high risk. Clearly explain expected hygiene practices during the Event and expectations for social distancing.
- Plan and discuss cleaning procedures before and after the Event using the CDC’s Cleaning and Disinfection Guidelines.
- Any individuals who are sick or experiencing symptoms of illness should not participate. Immunocompromised and high-risk individuals should consider virtual attendance or other adjustment or accommodation.
Event organizers must follow the guidelines below during all on-campus Events of 10 or less:
- Event check-in is required at all Events. Event schedulers managing space will enforce Event registration.
- Conduct a safety briefing before each Event. “As a reminder...”
- Ensure access to hand-washing stations or hand sanitizer.
- Limit barriers and touchpoints at your Event.
- Consideration should be given for use of electronic ticketing and programs.
- Seating arrangements, queueing, activities and check-in must accommodate appropriate physical distancing of six (6) feet separation, including ADA and fire code requirements; and be maintained throughout the Event.
- If the Event is to be catered, use the University’s recommended caterer, Fresh Fork Catering (excluding Athletic Events) or host the Event at the University owned Hilton hotel. If using an external caterer, ensure a plan has been developed for distribution of food that complies with the guidelines in this document, and is following all University rules for external catering (appropriate food permits, etc.). Please reference the UH Dining - Path to Open plan as an example. Please note that homemade food is not allowed to be served or sold to the public at this time.
- Post signs in highly visible locations (e.g. building entrances, restrooms, and dining areas) that promote protection measures, communicate entrance/exit locations, and describe in clear language how to stop the spread of infection. See UH Branding approved COVID-19 Signage.
Event organizers must use the following guidelines following all on-campus Events of 10 or less:
- After an Event, perform or ensure cleaning of all Event items. Read the CDC’s Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations.
- Document notes for Event best practices, in preparation for future Events.