MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

GSBS Update for Feb. 21

Researchers in the Houston area should be prepared to return to their labs as well. The Smithville campus remains under Level 4 operational status. Students should check with faculty advisors to see when it is safe to return to labs. Please remember to follow all COVID-19 institutional protocols when you return to campus.

As you and your loved ones recover from the impact of the historic winter weather that rocked the Houston area and Texas last week, the Graduate School wants to remind you of services that are here to help: 
Please note that some of the links above may require institutional credentials to access.
GSBS reopens application for need-based student assistance scholarships!
The Graduate School has also decided to reopen this scholarship opportunity, originally offered to help those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, to also include those that have been impacted by the winter storm. Deadline to apply for a scholarship is Friday, March 12. Click here to apply.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Update from MD Anderson regarding operations for Monday, Feb. 22

On Sunday (Feb. 21) afternoon, the city of Houston lifted its boil water notice and MD Anderson's water recovery protocols are underway. MD Anderson facilities teams are working quickly to activate chlorine testing and flushing procedures in all facilities in preparation to return to normal COVID-19 operations Monday (Feb. 22) morning. This must be done building-by-building.

The winter weather and water pressure event has ended. MD Anderson anticipates moving back to a Level 2 operational status for COVID-19 on Monday. Today (Feb. 21), and until such time as a building has been deemed safe by MD Anderson facilities, only workforce members with a critical need for patient care, research or facilities activities should be there in-person.

The goal is to have all locations up and running on Monday, Feb. 22.
Once a building has been cleared by the facilities team, building managers will notify occupants. If you are on campus and notice a water leak, please promptly report the issue by calling 713-563-5000.

Unless you hear otherwise, you should plan to arrive for your scheduled shift on Monday.
Entry screening and all COVID-19 protocols still are in place.

Please continue to monitor MD Anderson's email messages and intranet for the latest information.


GSBS Winter Weather Update for Feb. 17-19

As icy weather conditions continue to affect the Houston area and the state of Texas, emergency management teams at MD Anderson and UTHealth continue to vigilantly monitor the situation and evaluate operational statuses on a daily basis. With rolling blackouts and power outrages still impacting a majority of our community members, the following decisions have been made by our parent institutions: 

  • UTHealth will remain on controlled access* for the rest of the week (Thursday, Feb. 18, and Friday, Feb. 19) and plans to resume regular COVID-19 campus operations on Monday, Feb. 22. 
  • MD Anderson will remain at Level 4* operational status at this time until further notice. 
    • Houston researchers working at MD Anderson labs should not come to campus from Wednesday through Friday at any time unless it is absolutely necessary due to the water issues. Those who do come should just stay for the minimum amount of time needed to handle their urgent needs. Bring drinking water with you; do not drink from water fountains. Smithville and Bastrop campuses remain at Level 4 and no one should come to those locations at this time.

*Links provided are updated frequently so please bookmark them and check them often.

Under this guidance, no GSBS in-person or online courses will be held on Thursday, Feb 18, or Friday, Feb. 19. Classes are scheduled to resume on Monday, Feb. 22.  
Current GSBS students working in labs at MD Anderson and UTHealth should consult with their advisors/PIs to determine if they are essential personnel and should be allowed admittance to research facilities during this time of controlled access. 
The UTHealth Vaccine Hub at the Cooley Center will open on Thursday, Feb. 18. Anyone scheduled for first or second doses will be contacted to reschedule. MD Anderson employees who have scheduled their vaccinations with the cancer center's clinic should check their appointment status on the registration app.
As always, your safety is our highest priority at the Graduate School, and we hope you and loved ones are staying safe and warm during this severe winter weather event. Please note that several cities in Harris and surrounding counties have issued boil water notices so please check your municipalities' resources for further guidance.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Need tips to prepare for the winter storm? Click here to review Harris County's Winter Weather Resources.

Transit alert


 Inclement weather conditions or natural disasters severe enough to cause closure are very rare, but when they do occur, GSBS policy is as follows:

Personal Refuge:  UTHealth and MD Anderson are not equipped to serve as a shelter during a hurricane or other emergency situation. Only ride-out team members (whose job responsibilities require their presence on a 24-hour basis) will be permitted access to facilities. Family members and pets will not be permitted to shelter at any UTHealth or MD Anderson facility during a hurricane or other emergency situation.

Students should check the following websites:

For students working at MD Anderson:

For students working at UTHealth:

Faculty, staff and students can also log onto for a complete list of area closings, including UTHealth schools.

Click here to view and download the GSBS Hurricane Preparedness Guide

Click here to view the NWS Hurricane Guide.

Click here for hurricane preparedness info from UTHealth (requires UTHealth login to access off campus).

Click here for hurricane prepardness info from MD Anderson (may require MD Anderson credentials to access).

Other sources of information:

Traffic Incidents and Road Closures

Houston Transtar

Television Channels

Radio Stations

Telephone Numbers

Institutional Text Alert Systems