Texas teachers group wants colleges, universities to delay in-person instruction

Texas Faculty Association urges online learning only until at least Sept. 8

A Texas teachers group is urging the delay of opening college and university campuses to in-person instruction and pressuring for online-only learning until at least Sept. 8.

In a press release, the Texas Faculty Association on Tuesday urged Gov. Greg Abbott to instruct the governing boards of all state-supported universities to take such action. The association also wants community colleges and private universities to do the same.

“Universities are coming up with different plans to reopen their campuses while the virus is still raging through Texas. Thousands of new cases are being reported daily, and deaths are increasing,” said Pat Heintzelman, president of the association and an instructor at Lamar State University in Beaumont. “Faculty at some universities are being allowed to choose how they will teach – face-to-face, online only or a hybrid version – but faculty at other universities are being required to return to their classrooms before it is safe for them or their students to do so. Many faculty members are scared and feel like they are being forced to put their lives at risk or lose their jobs.”

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Heintzelman said campus openings can be reassessed as Sept. 8 approaches, but the association doesn’t believe it will be safe to reopen any earlier.

“We are talking about the lives and health of our students and their families, as well as faculty members and our families,” she said. “It is dangerous and potentially deadly to have face-to-face instruction during this pandemic.”

The Texas Faculty Association is an affiliate of the Texas State Teachers Association.

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David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.