SAN ANTONIO – UPDATE 7/2/20: Texas State University is switching gears as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to soar in the state.
The university had originally planned to have some students return to face-to-face learning on Monday. However, it is now planning to stick with remote learning until the fall semester.
“The only courses that will remain face-to-face are those that require a face-to-face component for licensure or degree requirements,” university officials said.
Students at Texas State University in San Marcos are gearing up to return to face-to-face learning starting next Monday.
The university has detailed its Roadmap to Return plan online, saying it’s a slow, methodical, phased-in approach to ensuring students return and safety precautions are met.
The Summer II phase, which begins next week, will bring in a limited number of students to the classroom with hybrid and online lessons also continuing, according to the university’s website.
Given the current rise in COVID-19 cases in Texas, some professors worry the university is moving too quickly.
Carol Delaney, an associate professor, said there will be students coming into Hays County from other counties, and “we don’t know what they’re bringing.”
She said she worries there will be a spike in cases as soon as students are back, even with all the precautions.
“I just feel like it’s the same thing that’s going to happen as when they opened bars and restaurants. People didn’t follow all the guidelines. Or maybe even if they did, the numbers in Texas have soared,” she said.
A university spokesperson said the plan was put together with extensive input from faculty and staff members. They said Texas State is in constant communication with local and state health officials.
In San Antonio, Our Lady of the Lake University plans to begin its phased return to in-person learning starting next Tuesday. All staff and faculty will be expected to be on campus in preparation for the fall semester by July 21.
Glenn James, vice provost of UIW, said the optimistic goal is to have face-to-face learning. A blue-ribbon committee of staff and faculty has suggested guidelines to follow. The guidelines were presented to the school president Tuesday.
“I think families and students can have a lot of confidence because the institutions in town have taken the virus very seriously, and we’re very well informed,” James said.
Both James and Delaney say online course teaching takes a whole lot more preparation than in-person instruction.
James said professors at UIW are ready to pivot to online learning if the situation changes.
“Many faculty are preparing their courses both in an online format and optimistically if we can do it face to face. That’s a lot of work for every individual faculty person,” he said.