COMMITTEE:    Higher Education 

Monday, August 3, 2020 

PLACE:       N/A 
CHAIR:       Rep. Chris Turner 


Request for Information, COVID-19 Pandemic


Due to the ongoing pandemic and the uncertainty as to scheduling interim hearings, the Committee is conducting necessary oversight functions through an information-gathering process under Section 301.014, Government Code.


For this topic, the Committee requests written submissions from public university systems; public colleges, universities and health-related institutions; public community, technical and state colleges; and relevant associations, such as those representing independent and private institutions, faculty associations and student groups in regards to the topic and questions as outlined below. All submissions are due on September 1, 2020, by 5 pm (CST).


Submissions should be delivered via email to the committee clerk, Julie Young, at Julie.Young_hc@house.texas.gov and shall be in Word format. Submissions should be no longer than five (5) pages of text in length. The page limit is not inclusive of any photos, graphs, spreadsheets, charts, etc. the submitter chooses to include. Submissions shall include the submitter name, organization or entity (if applicable and an authorized representative), mailing address, email, and telephone number.


All submissions will be circulated to each Member of the Committee after the September 1, 2020 deadline. A copy of all received comments will be made available to the public by the Committee and the public will have the opportunity to submit comments to the Committee in response to information received from designated parties.


The Committee seeks the following information related to the COVID-19 pandemic:


1.  Are institutions of higher education ensuring the health and safety of students, faculty and staff during the 2020 Fall Semester?  When applicable, please speak directly to classroom and lab settings, dormitories and dining halls. 


2. What plans are in place for on-campus COVID-19 testing? Do institutions have the capacity to provide testing on campus, both in terms of available supplies and labs to process tests? 


3. If applicable, what are plans for collegiate athletics this Fall?  How will student athletes be kept safe? If fans will be permitted to attend events, how will fans be kept safe? 


4. What do projected enrollment figures and formula funding look like to institutions for this school year?


5. Has there been a noticeable impact on staff or faculty retention with regard to concerns about the pandemic?


6. Health Related Institutions were exempt from the 5% budget cuts earlier this year, due to their important role in resolving the public health crisis. What are some of the programs, research, and responses to the pandemic that our Health Related Institutions have contributed?


7. How have state and federal COVID-related funds already impacted budgets?


8. How has the pandemic affected the overall financial status of small     and rural community colleges?


The following question has been added:

9. Does your institution have a public, online dashboard for the reporting of positive COVID-19 cases which is updated daily? If so, what is the link to the dashboard?