College Announcements

Dear Friends,

I want to assure you that the college staff, faculty and administration are responding vigorously to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is first and foremost a public health concern. Nevertheless, it is having an impact on every facet of our operations including patient services, teaching and learning, research, and engagement with our community. This page provides the most current information on the status of these operations as well as resources for those who may need quick access to common information.

--Michael Twa, OD, PhD
Dean and Professor

We are aware that you may have many questions and concerns regarding your academic progress, please be patient as we work through this situation with you. Circumstances are very fluid and continually evolving. Our first priority at this time is your well-being and the health of our community.

Know that College Administrators are working closely with other institutions around the country to coordinate our plans for academic continuity. We ask that you continue to check the UH and UHCO website, Blackboard, and your email for the most current information.

We are here to assist you as needed during this time of great uncertainty. Feel free to reach out via email, phone calls and text. Stay safe & well!

Office of Optometry Relations
University of Houston College of Optometry
 
Melissa Mares, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs & Executive Director
mamares@central.uh.edu
713-743-1284
 
Distance Learning
In accordance with the University of Houston’s direction related to COVID-19, the UH College of Optometry administration has prepared resources to help students learn through online courses.
For tips and best practices for online learning, click this link.

Externships/Clinics/Labs
There will be NO face-to-face LAB instruction, no Clinics/ Externships until further notice.

National Board Exams
The National Board of Examiners in Optometry is closely monitoring the situation and cancelled several examinations. For NBEO updates, please visit: https://www.optometry.org/
 
Admissions & Current Student Services
Lyle Tate, Director of Admissions, Recruiting & Advising
dltate@uh.edu
713-743-2044
 
Jewel Elliott, Coordinator of First Impressions
jcellio2@central.uh.edu
713-743-1567
 
Michele Luman, Current Student Services & Immunizations
kmstaffo@central.uh.edu
713-743-2045
 
Scott Parker, Financial Aid
sparke2@central.uh.edu
832-842-9024
 
Liz Mauzy, Foundation for Education & Research in Vision
emauzy@central.uh.edu
713-743-1795
 
Alumni Relations & Development
Sarat Pratapchandran, Director of Development
spratapc@central.uh.edu
713-743-4212

Health Sciences Library Update
Beginning Monday, May 18, the Health Sciences Library is closed, but staff are on site from 9 am – 5 pm Monday through Friday.
 
For assistance, contact Rachel Helbing via email at rrhelbin@central.uh.edu or phone at 713-743-5462.
 
Those who have received permission to return to campus may request physical materials and/or printing.
 
Physical materials (books, models, etc.):

  • Send requests to rrhelbin@central.uh.edu. Once a pick-up time has been arranged, materials will be checked out and placed on top of the book drop in the hallway outside the library.
  • Materials can be returned in the book drop.

Printing:

  • Send files to be printed as attachments to rrhelbin@central.uh.edu. Once a pick-up time has been arranged, prints will be placed on top of the book drop in the hallway outside the library.

All remaining library services will continue to be provided remotely, both on and off campus.

  • Reference/access questions
  • Research consultations
  • Instruction
  • Literature search assistance

You can contact Rachel Helbing, Director of Library Services for the Health Sciences directly with any questions.
 
Rachel Helbing                                                      
rrhelbin@central.uh.edu                                    
713-743-5462     
 
If you need assistance earlier in the morning, you can contact our general email address. It will be monitored from 7 am – 6 pm Monday through Friday - hslib@central.uh.edu

 


GRE & TOEFL Testing
ETS is proud to introduce a solution for students who have been impacted by the coronavirus to take the TOEFL iBT® test and the GRE® General Test at home until test centers can reopen. TOEFL® testing is scheduled to begin on March 26, and GRE testing will begin on March 27.

Find more details about security measures and answers to other questions you may have on the TOEFL and GRE web pages dedicated to this purpose.

 

Thank you for your interest in the University of Houston College of Optometry. Please be aware of the following updates to the admissions process. Reach out to us if you have additional questions!

Lyle Tate, Director of Admissions, Recruiting & Advising
dltate@uh.edu
713-743-2044 (office)
 
Admissions
UHCO’s 20/21 application cycle for our Professional Doctor of Optometry program will open July 1, 2020, and close on March 31, 2021. Mindful of the cautious reopening of testing centers across the country, UHCO’s Admissions team recognizes the challenges applicants may face when scheduling entrance exam dates. Date availability for limited spots is unpredictable, so applicants should make every effort to be proactive and plan ahead to secure a test date. Please know that Admissions will be somewhat flexible and will be understanding of this aspect of the application process. For current test center updates, please see the OAT/Prometric Testing Center information in the blue box below.

Interim Guidance on Admission Standards
The College of Optometry is adapting to the unique challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including adjustments to our admissions review process in response to changes to grading policies at educational institutions around the world.

The following principles and practices are part of how we are responding:

  • A thorough understanding of subject matter from each prerequisite course is still required and remains integral to a student’s success in the optometry program.
  • Grades assigned as Pass/Fail, Credit/No Credit, etc. during this period will be thoughtfully considered as a component of the overall application.
  • Applicants should provide context or rationale in their personal statement regarding any exceptions to our standard prerequisite grading policies and expectations.

Update on OAT/Prometric Testing Center availability: 
The following information was shared from Prometric on May 1, 2020.
 
Prometric is resuming OAT administration beginning May 2020 and, as of now, is reducing test center capacity by 50 percent in May and June to allow for more distance among test takers. To schedule an OAT appointment, please visit Prometric’s website here: https://www.prometric.com/test-takers/search/oat
 
The most up-to-date information will be posted in the COVID update document at the top of each test’s respective page. For OAT-related COVID information, please see: www.ada.org/oat
 
General COVID-related Prometric posts – including notices such PPE requirements for test takers – are here: https://www.prometric.com/corona-virus-update
 
Specific Prometric site availability can be found here: https://www.prometric.com/site-openings


Our goal is to bring together supportive, committed and diverse individuals who will challenge one another to excel academically, clinically and personally.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Office of Optometry Relations staff at 713-743-1567.

Optometry Admission Test Update: https://www.ada.org/en/oat.
Prometric: https://www.prometric.com/corona-virus-update
Pearson VUE: https://home.pearsonvue.com/coronavirus-update
College of Optometry Academic Programs: https://www.opt.uh.edu/future-students-residents/programs/doctor-of-optometry/
Association for Schools and Colleges of Optometry: https://optometriceducation.org/

Due to COVID-19 concerns, the University Eye Institute and all University of Houston College of Optometry affiliated clinics will be open for essential care only.

If you need essential services or experience symptoms that need urgent attention, such as sudden vision loss, flashes or floaters in your vision, eye pain or redness, please call the University Eye Institute or the clinics. You can reach our staff 24/7 by calling 713-743-2020.

Additional clinic contact information by location:

  • The University Eye Institute (Houston, TX) – 713-743-2020
  • The UH Eye Center in the Heights (Houston, TX) – (713) 527-8480
  • Cedar Springs Eye Clinic (Dallas, TX) – (214) 528-7354
  • Community Eye Clinic (Fort Worth, TX) – (817) 289-6800

Our doctors will determine how to help you get the care you need. 

Patients asked to come in will be screened on entry with a questionnaire and a temperature check. Only one additional person can accompany you to the appointment.

Prescriptions, Orders & Refills
If you need to refill prescription medications, please call 713-743-2020. 
Contact lenses and glasses on order will be mailed to patients at no cost.
To order a new supply of contact lenses, please call 713-743-2015. 
To replace lost or broken glasses from a prescription on-file call: 713-743-2030. 

The UH College of Optometry Surgical Center
The Ambulatory Surgical Center is closed from March 23 until May 4th. Re-opening depends on the local public health guidelines.

The health, wellbeing and safety of our patients, faculty, staff and students is of primary concern to us at the University Eye Institute and the UH College of Optometry.

To read the University of Houston coronavirus advisory, click this link: https://www.uh.edu/internal-alerts/coronavirus/

The college embarked on remote instructions on March 23, and we will finish out the 2020 spring semester online as per the University of Houston’s direction related to COVID-19.

Here are some resources to assist you:

Distance Learning Resources for Faculty:
https://www.opt.uh.edu/distance-learning/resources-for-faculty/

Campus Resources
 
“Working and Learning Off Campus”- link to the UHIT resource page: https://uh.edu/infotech/about/planning/off-campus/index.php#tools;
 
UH Knowledge Basehttp://www.instruction.uh.edu/knowledgebase/
 

Many staff began working remotely the week of March 16 and will continue to do so until further notice. This decision aligns with the University of Houston’s direction related to COVID-19.

We also recognize certain critical staff must be on campus to sustain research and labs and essential services. Each of you should be communicating regularly with your supervisor regarding assignments and your availability to help.

We understand the unique challenges of adjusting to remote work during this public health crisis and here are some resources to assist you:

Information for UH employees and student workers:
https://uh.edu/covid-19/faq/#info-for-employees-student-workers

The UHIT resource page:
https://uh.edu/infotech/about/planning/off-campus/

UH International Travel Restrictions & Forms:
https://uh.edu/covid-19/travel/

COVID-19 Telecommuting Form:
https://uh.edu/human-resources/forms/uhs-telecommuting_form.pdf

Delivery Updates
As the University continues to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak, the University of Houston postal operations will continue to operate, on a pick up only protocol beginning 3/25/2020 and will remain through April 3. This is for USPS packages only.   
 
The postal services, which handles USPS (United States Postal Service) mail will not be delivering to the Colleges. If you have a package that you ordered that needs to be picked up or dropped off you will need to schedule an appointment. You will need your Cougar card and tracking information. Please see the link below for scheduling appointments and for more details.
 
Link for USPS package pick up - https://uh.edu/af-university-services/copy-print-and-delivery-services/delivery-services/package-pickup-appointment/
 
USP and FedEx deliveries will maintain normal operations until further notice. The College of Optometry will move to morning-only deliveries and pick up for the USP and FedEx packages. Please pick up or drop off your packages, if they are using UPS or FedEx, to the optometry business office by 11am. This will be in effect until April 3.
 

We value the health and well-being of our students, faculty, alumni, and friends. Your safety is our number one priority. Current guidelines to slow the spread of Coronavirus recommend:

  • Avoiding gatherings of 10 or more people
  • Avoiding discretionary travel
  • Avoiding social interactions if you are an older person or someone with an underlying health condition.
  • To read the University of Houston coronavirus advisory, click this link: https://www.uh.edu/internal-alerts/coronavirus/

The College of Optometry has postponed, rescheduled or cancelled the following events::

Event Date Status
Donor Appreciation Brunch March 28 postponed
Dining in the Dark (NOSA) March 31 cancelled
Quiz Bowl (AOSA) March 31 cancelled
SOPMA April meetings cancelled
STAPLES Workshop April 2 cancelled/ postponed
Deck Party (OSA) April 3 cancelled
Softball Tournament (STOA) April 4 cancelled/ postponed
Contact Lens Clinic Orientation April 9 cancelled/ postponed
Spring Conference (UH POPS) April 18 cancelled
UHCO Open House April 19 postponed
UHCO Faculty Retreat April 24 postponed
Out the Door May 7 to be determined
Graduation Banquet May 7 postponed
Golden Alumni Society Dinner May 8 postponed
2020 Commencement May 9 postponed

UH College of Optometry Continuing Education Events
For complete program details and latest updates, visit our website at:  https://ce.opt.uh.edu/
 

Event Date Status
CE in the Southwest April 4-5 rescheduled Aug. 21-23
Aging America: Clinical Care Symposium April 25 postponed
Everything Therapeutic Houston June 12-14 rescheduled Oct. 2-4
CE in the Rockies July 16-19 As scheduled
University of Houston’s Myopia Symposium September 11 As scheduled
FERV 2020 For Life September 12 As scheduled
 
Community Engagement
  • Community health vision screenings: suspended
  • Mobile Eye Institute services: suspended

 

Building Access Status Information

CLOSED (keycard access to essential personnel only)

Update on OAT/Prometric Testing Center availability: 
The following information was shared from Prometric on May 1, 2020.
 
Prometric is resuming OAT administration beginning May 2020 and, as of now, is reducing test center capacity by 50 percent in May and June to allow for more distance among test takers. To schedule an OAT appointment, please visit Prometric’s website here: https://www.prometric.com/test-takers/search/oat
 
The most up-to-date information will be posted in the COVID update document at the top of each test’s respective page. For OAT-related COVID information, please see: www.ada.org/oat
 
General COVID-related Prometric posts – including notices such PPE requirements for test takers – are here: https://www.prometric.com/corona-virus-update
 
Specific Prometric site availability can be found here: https://www.prometric.com/site-openings


National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO)
NBEO has been continuing to monitor the changing nature of the COVID-19 “Coronavirus” situation nationally and within North Carolina.  The safety of our candidates and staff is our first priority.  With this in mind, NBEO will be extending the temporary closure of the National Center of Clinical Testing in Optometry through May 3, 2020.  We hope to reopen for testing on Monday May 4, 2020, however, given the nature of the situation, this date is subject to change. 
 
We understand the frustration you and your students feel during this time.  We have opened testing dates in May and are actively working to reschedule affected candidates throughout the month of May.  We are doing everything we can to assist candidates during this unprecedented time.
 
Please let me know if you are receiving questions that NBEO can provide assistance in answering.  As always, feel free to reach out directly.

For NBEO updates, visit: https://www.optometry.org/