If a UHCL student or employee should be diagnosed with COVID-19, develop symptoms, or be exposed within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more to a positive COVID-19 person, they must stay home, or go home immediately. See the daily checklist for COVID symptoms.
Also, they must submit an online notification report (links below) within 24 hours, quarantine, isolate, test as appropriate, and comply with (reply to) contact tracing so that any additional potentially affected persons may be contacted as well for quarantine and monitoring.
Do not notify COVID exposures, symptoms, or diagnoses by email, or email any personal or medical information for you or others, as this is not allowed per the HIPA Act and Texas Medical Privacy Act. The online report form is approved by UCT as secure for this purpose. Go home, submit a report, then wait for a contact tracer to get in touch with you to guide with the next steps. If you have a question, do not email any identifying information or personal details.
COVID Protocols, including Return-to-Work information are listed below the following reporting links.
Student Report Links, to UHCL Health Services
Employee Report Links, to EHS and Contact Tracers
Reporting links, protocols, communications, and statistics may also be found on the UHCL Health Alert webpage, which is linked on the top yellow bar of the UHCL website.
The following protocols list instructions should you need to quarantine due to exposure, development of symptoms, or positive diagnosis. Return to work criteria are also listed for each category.
COVID-19 Positive Case, Tracing and Quarantine Protocol - Contact tracer's and department's responsibilities.
Important Things to Know
If you should be in "close contact", within 6 feet of a COVID-19 positive person for 15 minutes or more (cumulative within 24 hours), you will need to quarantine for 14 days. Even if you were both wearing a mask, or if the exposure was 15 minutes total within 24 hours.
- The incubation period for COVID-19 ranges from 2-14 days.
- About 50% of people notice symptoms within 5 days after exposure, and 90-95% by day 10.
- Going out and getting tested right after exposure is not advised. You are more likely to get a negative result before sign(s) or symptom(s) are noticeable.
- It is recommended to test after symptoms develop, or at the end of the 14 day quarantine, when the virus has incubated to a large enough quantity to be detected.
- The potentially infectious period starts 2 days before symptoms are noticed.
- Anyone in "close contact" with a COVID-19 positive person, starting 2 days before symptoms were noticed, will be asked to quarantine for 14 days after close contact per the CDC. And possibly also those that work near that person will be asked to quarantine.
- Some people that contract COVID-19 may at first feel that their symptoms are things they've already experienced before, such as allergies, sinus infection, or the flu. If you have any possible sign or symptom, get tested to be sure. Some results come back positive, some negative.
- Isolate yourself from others, even in your own household, if you contract COVID-19.
- Special leave may be available for full time employees. Contact HR by emailing Erika DeLeon or Kristyn Dalmolin.
- Areas that the COVID-19 positive person has been for 15 minutes or more will also be closed off if possible, and deep cleaned after at least a day has passed for the safety of employees cleaning.
- Following COVID protocols: wearing masks, social distancing, staying home if sick, reporting and cooperating with contact tracing does help prevent the spread of the virus, and helps keep community and family members safe.
Testing Locations and Information
Event Submission Form
Submit the Events Form to EHS@uhcl.edu along with facilities request communication to indicate the protective measures that will be put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
UHCL removed asbestos-containing rock specimens from the Geology Department's former lab prep-specimen storage room (B3311), located in the Bayou Building.
University of Houston-Clear Lake administrators informed the university community that natural asbestos rock specimens – which were under containment by the Geology Department – were in the process of being removed, in accordance with government-approved protocols for the proper disposal of asbestos-containing materials. In tests where air samples were taken in the Bayou Building, no airborne asbestos was detected.
Where were these asbestos-containing rocks located?
In early June, in preparation for the Geology Department’s move from the Bayou Building to the new STEM and Classroom Building, the College of Science and Engineering made university administrators aware that asbestos-containing rock specimens were stored in the former lab prep-specimen storage room (B3311) on the third floor of UH-Clear Lake’s Bayou Building.
How long have these rocks been there?
Administrators and faculty are currently investigating when the rocks arrived. The rocks have not been used in any current or recent geological instruction or research experiments.
How did the university respond?
When any exposed asbestos is discovered in public buildings, there are government guidelines that regulate its removal. Following those guidelines and UH System policy for removal of asbestos-containing materials, UHCL’s Department of Environmental, Health and Safety engaged an independent asbestos consulting company to conduct air and surface-wipe sampling in and above the specimen storage room (B3311), and in the adjoining laboratory classroom (B3313).
The company – licensed by the Texas Department of State Health Services – described the hazard assessment as “low” risk in a work statement. Sampling was conducted in accordance to TDSHS Texas asbestos health protection rules.
The air and surface-wipe samples were sent to an independent testing facility certified by the American Industrial Hygiene Association. The facility used transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to inspect the samples. A series of sampling and testing was conducted from mid-June to late August. The two rooms were locked for testing and cleaning from early June to mid-October.
Are there safety issues?
When asbestos-containing materials are disturbed, microscopic asbestos fibers are released into the air, like dust. Airborne asbestos fibers may be harmful if inhaled or ingested. The National Cancer Institute offers this perspective:
“Everyone is exposed to asbestos at some time during their life. Low levels of asbestos are present in the air, water, and soil. However, most people do not become ill from their exposure. People who become ill from asbestos are usually those who are exposed to it on a regular basis, most often in a job where they work directly with the material or through substantial environmental contact.”
No airborne asbestos was found in the specimen storage room (B3311), nor in the adjacent laboratory-classroom (B3313), nor in the building’s circulated air system.
The university also had surfaces tested for asbestos in settled dust in and above B3311 and B3313.
Were any settled asbestos fibers found?
Surface-wipe samples found a total of 37 microscopic asbestos “structures” – a definition that includes asbestos fibers, fiber fragments and fiber bundles – on the walls, shelves, tables and other surfaces of the specimen storage room (B3311). A total of 45 asbestos structures were found on the storage room’s floor.
Also, three asbestos structures were found on the floor of the laboratory classroom (B3313), just beyond the doorway that connects it with the storage room. One asbestos structure was found on a table in B3313.
Further testing detected 49 asbestos structures above the specimen storage room’s ceiling grid (B3311). One asbestos structure was found on the grid above the laboratory classroom (B3313). Importantly, no airborne asbestos was detected in the air handlers that circulate cool and heated air through the building.
Is asbestos in settled dust a concern?
While there are government thresholds for exposure to airborne asbestos, no such thresholds have been established for asbestos in settled dust. Disturbance of settled particles may result in accidental inhalation or ingestion, the Environmental Protection Agency says. Asbestos cannot be absorbed through the skin, the American Cancer Society reports.
In this instance, the university’s state-licensed asbestos consultant recommended the rooms and its contents be professionally cleaned, rather than remediated.
The university had the specimen storage room (B3311) and the laboratory classroom (B3313) professionally cleaned by a licensed asbestos removal company. Although no airborne asbestos was detected in the instrumentation laboratory (B3134), which is across the hall from B3311 and B3313, this room was also cleaned as a precaution.
Cleaning started in September and was completed in early October. The asbestos-containing rock specimens were disposed in the process. The rooms passed TEM clearance requirements and were released for use on Oct. 15.
I was in one of these rooms. Whom should I contact?
UHCL is notifying current and former employees, students and contractors who may have had recurring access to the specimen storage room (B3311) or the laboratory classroom (B3313) in order to advise them of the discovery.
The university engaged a consulting pulmonologist whose practice encompasses occupational medicine and asbestos-related health issues. Anyone with health questions may seek a free, confidential medical consultation. For contact information, call UHCL Health Services at 281-283-2626.