As omicron cases soar, these Texas colleges are changing how (and when) students return to campus
Several colleges and universities in Texas are rethinking their spring semester plans as coronavirus cases surge, amplified by the omicron variant. Institutions announced they’ll host classes online through January or allow faculty to decide whether to meet in person.
Colleges across Texas have announced changes to plans for the first few weeks of school, as cases and deaths are expected to rise across the country. Several schools plan to resume in-person classes in early February.
The Texas Department of State Health Services reported nearly 45,000 new confirmed cases in the state Friday morning.
Most University of Texas at Arlington classes will be online only from Jan. 18 to at least Feb. 4, according to a university-wide email. A small number of courses that require in-person instruction will meet on campus or switch to a hybrid in-person and online schedule.
UTA campus services will remain open during the online period, including Maverick Activities Center, dining, libraries and health services.
Students and employees who test positive for COVID must isolate themselves for seven days before returning to campus. People in close contact with someone who has tested positive must quarantine for seven days unless they have been fully immunized and received a booster.
All students and employees returning to campus must provide proof of a COVID test by Feb. 4.
Texas Woman’s University
Texas Woman’s University faculty can modify courses during the first three weeks of classes to allow for online instruction with an in-person format if possible. Campuses and offices will remain open.
Most in-person classes will be offered online only at the University of Texas at Dallas from Jan. 18 through Feb. 4, according to a university email. Instructors will notify students if their course has an in-person option, and students may choose their preferred attendance method.
UT-Dallas on-campus services will remain available during the virtual-only period, but students and staff should monitor the university website or call ahead as hours may change due to public health or staffing changes.
The University of Texas at Austin asked faculty and staff to teach remotely between Jan. 18 and Jan. 28, with the hope to return to in-person classes Jan. 31. All students returning to campus must test negative for COVID within three days before returning to campus.
In-person spring classes at Texas A&M will start Jan. 18. The university has added more free testing opportunities for students and personnel around campus through Curative.
Texas Tech University
Classes at Texas Tech University will resume in-person as planned Jan. 12, but faculty may make temporary changes to the way classes are conducted through Feb. 4. The university asked faculty and staff to consider postponing in-person events through early February.
University of Houston
The University of Houston is implementing a “soft opening” of classes Jan. 18, meaning the university will offer some traditionally in-person classes online for the first two weeks of school. Campus, residence halls and student services will remain open
Texas State University
Texas State University will move classes online Jan. 18 through Jan. 30. Campuses and offices will stay open for business. Recreation centers, transportation service, residence halls, dining services and Alkek Library will remain open, as well.
UT San Antonio
Most classes at the University of Texas at San Antonio will begin the spring semester virtually, from Jan. 18 to Feb. 6. Instructional labs such as studios, ROTC and internships will remain in-person. UT San Antonio will require COVID tests for all students and personnel.
Rice University classes begin online only Monday, Jan. 10 for classes with more than 50 students. Faculty with fewer than 50 students may opt to teach classes in-person, but must make accommodations for students unable to attend. In-person classes will resume Jan. 24 “unless the situation in Houston deteriorates substantially,” according to the university website.
Vaccinations are required for all students and faculty who are not granted a waiver.
KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.