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Hurricane Update

Hurricane Update

This is an update on Hurricane Harvey Resources and Emergency Leave Timekeeping for UTMSI as of September 1st, 9:30 p.m.

To:  All UTMSI Employees

From:  Human Resources

Subject: Hurricane Harvey Resources and Emergency Leave Timekeeping for UTMSI

Our thoughts continue to be with you, your family and friends impacted by Hurricane Harvey. If you need assistance in locating counseling resources, we encourage you to contact our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at 512-471-3366, Monday-Friday, 8a-5p. After hours crisis counseling support is available 24/7 by calling 512-471-3399. Our licensed counselors can speak with you over the phone, help assess your needs and assist you in identifying local resources. Additionally, we have attached materials you may find helpful, including a list of free or low-cost local counseling resources, a guide for helping children cope with traumatic events and a coping guide for you.  

If you need assistance with basic needs, the university has a Staff Emergency Fund. Our EAP counselors are available to assist staff in reviewing and applying for this option. Additionally, Texas 211, FEMA and the American Red Cross offer help in finding food and housing options.

Due to the extensive damage to the UTMSI facility, Dr. Dickey has closed the UTMSI facility through September 8th. However, as conditions may change for the better and if full utility services are restored, be prepared for recall at any time. UTMSI administration will continuously assess recovery progress and conditions in Port Aransas and at UTMSI and will remain in touch with all employees. The use of Emergency Leave is authorized for leave-eligible employees directly impacted by this closure through September 8th and will be reassessed based on the operations status of UTMSI. Essential personnel will be involved in the UTMSI recovery efforts. Employees should be in contact with their supervisor to determine their essential personnel status and their involvement in the immediate recovery efforts.

The intent of Emergency Leave is to prevent a loss of income or a requirement to use accrued paid leave (e.g. vacation) due to a closure event. It should not generate additional compensatory time unless your position is designated as essential and you are required to work in the facility during the closure. The timekeeping guidelines for this closure event are as follows:

Record Emergency Leave instead of regular “Hours Worked” for the hours of your scheduled work time that is impacted by the closure of UTMSI. 

If your position is identified as essential and you are required to work in the facility during the hours of closure, you should record both “Hours Worked” and “Emergency Leave” on your timesheet.  Essential positions are determined at the college or business unit level and are vital to the business continuity of university operations (e.g. life/safety positions, position responsible for the security of buildings, data or property, etc.).

If you were on prior approved annual or sick leave during the hours of closure, in lieu of utilizing annual or sick leave on your timesheet, you may record Emergency Leave.

If you were on Leave without Pay (LWOP) during the hours of closure, you may not substitute Emergency Leave for the duration of time not at work.

If your work location is not directly impacted by the UTMSI closure and you are able to continue working, including those approved to telecommute on an intermittent basis for events such as this, Emergency Leave does not apply. Regular work hours should be recorded. 

Non-state benefits eligible employees and/or students employed in positions that require student status as a condition of employment are not eligible for Emergency Leave.  Supervisors of these employees are encouraged to consider the use of flexible work schedules to make up any missed work time during the same pay period for these employees, if business conditions permit. Additionally, while the UTMSI facility remains closed, supervisors may utilize alternate and remote work arrangements for student employees.

If you have questions about time entry, please contact the Human Resource Service Center (HRSC) at 512-471-4772 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 If you have questions about the Staff Emergency Fund, please contact the EAP at 512-471-3366 during normal office hours, closed holidays.  




The following is an update on UTMSI operations as of August 30th, 8:30 p.m.

Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) has inspected almost all buildings. They are all cleared for hazardous materials. Cotton Logistics, will have 50-75 people cleaning up debris outside and inside. They will also be sealing the roof temporarily and bringing generators and temporary ac units.

We are working as fast as we can to locate alternative housing for those displaced by the storm. If you have not already done so, send your housing needs to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For the time being, working remotely is okay if you have your materials to do so. Our faculty are assessing their spaces and we will draft a plan to determine timelines for transfers and operations at UTMSI.

We have submitted a blanket request for all UTMSI personnel for an extension of emergency leave until September 8th. We will notify you if it is approved.


The following is an update on UTMSI operations as of Tuesday, August 29, 2017 8 a.m.

The Port Aransas South Jetty newspaper reports that residents, property owners and those helping with cleanup and rebuilding may come in from 6:30 a.m., but must leave by 8 p.m. Also, no one under 18 is allowed.

Electricity and water services in PA have not been restored yet.  We are working as quickly as possible to restore MSI Channel View and Port Street campuses to operational status. Emergency generators on both campuses are operating and additional generator power will soon be supplied to 3rd floor of ERC and administration wing.  Please do not attempt to enter lab or office spaces unless authorized for specific urgent needs by the director. Wilson cottages and Beach street apartments can be visited until 6:30 p.m. but our Channel View main campus and FAML Port Street campus remain closed until safety hazards are mitigated and clean-up teams have completed their work. FAML will likely be reopened sooner than Channel View labs and offices. We have flood water, chemical, mold and carbon monoxide (FAML) hazards to mitigate before re-entry and your safety is our top priority. We will notify you as soon as it is safe to return to labs and offices.

We’ve recently learned this morning that a unmoored rig took out our pier on the Channel View portion of the campus.

We have received enormous support from the UT-System Risk Management Office, UT Austin Environmental Health and Safety and Police Department.

Chancellor McRaven and President Fenves are informed and supporting our recovery efforts. Today, claims officials walked through the entire campus to collect information for insurance. We have a recovery/clean-up firm working to make the campus operational again including temporary roofing for the Estuarine Research Center and FAML complex buildings. The disaster response contractors will bring in a large crew (about 50) to begin the cleanup process this week.

We are responding to this disaster with strength; are on the path to recovery and will exceed expectations in meeting this challenge. My thoughts are with each of you as you assess the impacts to your homes and lives. Please know that we will do everything we can to support you.

We will keep you updated on a daily basis. Those with immediate concerns please call Sally Palmer at (361)728-1025 to coordinate responses.

Sent on behalf of Director Dr. Robert Dickey

Port Aransas Pigfish Take a Ride to San Luis
Hurricane Update and UTMSI Resources