MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Travel advisory information that resided at the bottom of this page can be found on the new GSBS Alerts Travel Advisories page

CDC updates guidelines for quarantine
On December 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their quarantine guidelines and now recommend two additional options for how long quarantine should last. Based on local availability of viral testing, for people without symptoms quarantine can end:

Read more here.

*Students and faculty working in MD Anderson labs: Please note that this update does not impact or change the quarantine guidelines at the cancer center. Click here for more information (Requires MD Anderson credentials to access).

CDC updates guidelines about community spread

On October 21, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) redefined what counts as close contact with someone who has COVID-19, which includes brief but repeated encounters. This science-driven finding indicates that shorter but repeated contacts that add up to 15 minutes over a 24-hour period are enough for COVID-19 infection to spread from one person to another. Read more about the guidelines here.

Harris County mask order extended

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo has extended the mandatory mask order that was scheduled to expire on August 26. The new order is set to end 14 days after Gov. Greg Abbott declares an end to Texas' public health state of disaster. Read order here.

Texas executive order establishes statewide face covering requirement; proclamation places limitations on gatherings

On July 2, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order requiring all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions. The governor also issued a proclamation giving mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings. Read more here.

Harris County issues advisory as county goes to COVID-19 Threat Level 1

On June 26, the Harris County COVID-19 Threat Level System increased the current threat of the pandemic to Level 1, which signifies a severe and uncontrolled level of COVID-19 in Harris County. This means that outbreaks are present and worsening, and that testing and contact tracing capacity is strained or exceeded. Under this advisory from Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, all county residents should minimize contact with others wherever possible and avoid leaving home except for the most essential needs like going to the grocery store for food and medicine. Click here to see the current level and for more information.


If you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, please seek medical assistance immediately. Do not come to work or lab. Students can utilize these resources:

You can also make a doctor visit remotely if needed by activating your MDLive account.

Ombuds Office at MD Anderson and UTHealth available to all graduate students:

For MD Anderson: Call to make an appointment, 713-792-4896 or email

For UTHealth: Call 713-500-3457 or confidential mobile: 731-705-5005, or email

If you need counseling services, UTHealth Student Counseling services via telecounseling and telepsychiatry. Click here for complete details. There is also a 24-hour hotline for crisis assistance: 713-500-4688. Financial constraints should not deter students from speaking to a counselor, please call 713-500-5171 to find out more information.

UTHealth EAP also offers a variety of services, including free and confidential counseling and consultation services with a licensed mental health professional, legal and financial resources, and work-life referrals. During COVID-19, even more resources are being offered at no cost, and tele-health services are available. To find out more, visit UTHealth EAP's dedicated resource page or call 713-500-3327 to speak with an EAP representative. These services are accessible to all GSBS students. (Use your UTHealth credentials to access the links above.)

Prescription information: If you have student or employee insurance, Express Scripts has lifted the refill-too-soon policy.  They can accommodate early refills and can provide up to a 90-day supply.

Child care: GSBS GRAs at MD Anderson can utilize Bright Horizons Houston for child care needs. This is currently the only option for any GSBS students. See link for complete details (requires MD Anderson credentials to access.) 

Essential personnel in need of child care can also find available options here:

Family Meals to Go from MD Anderson Café Anderson
MD Anderson Dining Services wants to make meal decisions a little easier by offering Family Meals to Go for personnel still working in the TMC. Designed to feed a family of four, family meals come cold and include heating instructions, plus all condiments and paper goods. Meals are sold at cost and are available for pick up from Café Anderson in the Main Building, Floor 1, near Elevator C. Click here for complete details and instructions on how to order.


MD Anderson is hosting Live Your Best Life Fair for the month of January

With 2020 behind us and with hope for a brighter 2021, the MD Anderson Wellness and Recognition and Leadership Institute teams are once again hosting the Live Your Best Life Fair, but this time in a virtual format. There will be a series of short virtual sessions and live events throughout January. All sessions will be recorded and made available online. Click here to learn more about upcoming events (requires MD Anderson credentials to access).

The Graduate School held several wellness webinars for students during the month of April. Below are the resources from those sessions:

Resources from previous GSBS COVID-19 student wellness seminars can be downloaded by clicking on the links below:

April 9: Transitioning from Bench To Home: Best Practices for Working Remotely: Presentation (PPT file)

April 15: Communicating During COVID-19: Skills for Conflict Resolution and Difficult Discussions: Presentation (PPT file), pre-assessment tool/interpretation of results

April 22: Managing Stress and Anxiety During COVID-19: Presentation (PPT file)

April 29: COVID-19 Wellness Check-in: Presentation (PPT file)


Coping with holiday stress during the pandemic (CDC)

Pandemic Fatigue Q & A: Mental Health, Processing The News, And Staying Occupied (NPR)

CDC tips on managing stress

Take care of you: Mental health tips during a pandemic

Creating a new normal for kids during the uncertainties of COVID-19


One-minute videos: Coping with Covid-19 , Stress Management/ Coping with Change, Children in Crisis and Organizational Change.

Five- minute videos: Coping with Covid-19, Stress Management/ Coping with Change, Children in Crisis and Organizational Change.

One Sheet PDF's:Coping with Covid-19, Stress Management/ Coping with Change, Children in Crisis and Organizational Change.

Series: Mindful Resilience: Managing & Thriving During COVID-19 and Beyond

Documents & presentation:

MD Anderson COVID-19 Wellness PDF Please note that some links in the document require an MD Anderson login, but these links can also be accessed via an internet search.

Coping With Coronavirus: How faculty members can support students in traumatic times (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

UTHealth EAP & Student Counseling Services recorded wellness presentations can be viewed here (requires UTHealth credentials to access).

Social media and additional links:

UTHealth's Student Counseling Services Wellness blog

MD Anderson COVID-19 Self-Care Resources (requires MD Anderson credentials to access)

BeWell@MDAnderon Facebook page

UTHealth EAP Emotional Health Resources