Texas colleges and universities' fall 2020 plans

As the start of school approaches, colleges and universities across the state are releasing their plans for back-to-school amid the coronavirus pandemic.

After most schools closed this past spring when COVID-19 first began to spread in Texas, the question arose whether students would be back on campus come fall.

While some are reopening campuses, others are sticking to online learning for the time being. Here's a breakdown of Texas college and university plans:

Alvin Community College:
  • Classes offered in four formats
  • Face-to-Face: Instruction will be on campus or at an off-site location
  • Hybrid: The majority of class instruction will be online with limited face-to-face instruction for hands-on skills and competency testing
  • Remote: Instruction will be online with lectures and virtual instruction occurring on specific days/times as listed in the course schedule
  • Online: Instruction will be the traditional online delivery with classes being taken at any time with virtual student/faculty interactions


Baylor University:
  • Negative COVID-19 test required of all students coming to campus for the fall semester
  • Face coverings required to be worn by all individuals (faculty, staff, students and visitors) in all buildings on campus
  • Phase 4 of a five-phase strategic return to on-campus work is underway with staggered returns through Aug. 19, 2020
  • Majority of course instruction on-campus will be completed before the Thanksgiving holiday with final exams conducted online in early December


College of the Mainland:
  • All possible instruction moved to an online format
  • Limited number of skills-based, hands-on courses may require on-campus instruction
  • Any person on campus must wear a mask or face covering
  • All students, employees, and contractors are asked to complete a brief e-learning about COVID-19 prior to coming to campus


Houston Community College:
  • Fall semester will still begin on August 24, but all classes will meet remotely for the first six weeks
  • Flex Campus and Lab-based courses will meet at the times and dates students enroll, but class will be held online
  • In-person instruction for Lab-based and Flex Campus courses will begin on October 5, facilities will re-open to students, faculty and staff participating in these courses
  • In-person class sizes will be restricted to no more than nine students per class
  • Everyone will be required to follow safety protocols while on campus, including wearing face coverings and passing individual screenings


Houston Baptist University:
  • Beginning Nov. 30, all classes will be held remotely, including final exams, extending the period of physical distancing for several weeks prior to the Christmas break
  • With the exception of classes that meet one day per week, classes will be offered in a hybrid model
  • Each class roster will be divided into two groups of students for Monday-Wednesday-Friday courses and Tuesday-Thursday courses, enabling classes to use only 50% of the capacity of the assigned classroom
  • The groups of students will take turns attending in-person instruction
  • All students enrolled for on-campus classes will have the option of remote attendance
  • Students attending class in person will wear masks


University of Houston:
  • Offering three different class types
  • Face-to-face/Hyflex: Safe number of students in socially distanced classrooms, with live streamed lectures to allow more students to participate remotely
  • Synchronous Online: No face-to-face classes but do meet at a particular time in a virtual classroom
  • Asynchronous Online: No face-to-face classes or regular meeting times, most class material available online at any time


University of Houston - Clear Lake:
  • Offering four class types
  • Bimodal: A class or laboratory that has a safe number of students in a socially distanced face-to-face room with lectures/lab content provided in another format to allow participation in the class remotely
  • Online: Asynchronous: A class that has no face-to-face interactions or required virtual meeting times, completed fully online
  • Online - Synchronous: A class that has no face-to-face interactions but does meet at a particular day and time in a virtual classroom as indicated on the class schedule, completed fully online and lectures may be recorded to view them at a later time
  • Online - Synchronous/Asynchronous: A class that has no face-to-face interactions but does occasionally meet on a particular day and time in a virtual classroom as indicated on the class schedule and lectures may be recorded to view them at a later time


University of Houston - Downtown:
  • The majority of fall classes (approximately 80-85 percent) are currently being offered completely online, while the remaining classes have been scheduled in other formats
  • The 15-20 percent of fall classes conducted on campus will be in classrooms that are strategically arranged for social distancing and will contain a limited number of students
  • Students enrolled in on-campus classes will be required to wear face masks, and faculty in these classes will also wear masks, and in some cases face shields
  • All courses will transition to an online environment following the Thanksgiving break and finals will be delivered online


University of Houston - Victoria:
  • Fall semester classes will be offered three different ways: Hybrid (online/hybrid - traditional), Real-Time Online (online - virtual) and Traditional Online


Lone Star College:
  • Online classes and hybrid classes (a combination of online and face to face) will begin Aug. 24 as originally planned (the face to face portion of hybrid classes will begin Sept. 8)
  • Face to face classes are now scheduled to begin no sooner than Sept. 8
  • LSC will provide 5,000 free laptops to students for the entire fall semester
  • Students and instructors will be required to wear a mask when entering an LSC building
  • Temperature checks will be conducted at entry points


University of North Texas:
  • To safely accommodate some in-person classes, social distancing will be enforced, which will limit the number of students in each classroom space
  • Additional classroom space has been identified, and UNT may extend the academic week to allow for weekend courses to teach more students face-to-face
  • Students will not return to campus for classes after the Thanksgiving holiday and the end of the semester and final exams will be conducted remotely


Prairie View A&M University:
  • Mixture of face-to-face, online, and hybrid learning
  • Start fall semester coursework as scheduled on August 24 but end face-to-face instruction at the end of the day on November 24
  • To ensure social distancing, classroom capacity will be reduced by as much as 65 percent in some cases
  • Students can expect some coursework to be offered in the Hybrid/HyFlex mode, where part of a class will meet face-to-face while the other part will participate remotely via Zoom at the same time


Rice University
  • Nine temporary outdoor spaces, four 50 by 90 foot temporary structures and five 40 by 60 foot open-sided tents, for outdoor learning
  • Students must select one of five choices for enrollment and residence decisions for the fall semester
  • Option 1: Enroll at Rice, and live on campus in a residential college
  • Option 2: Enroll at Rice and live off campus, but close enough so you can come to campus for classes and other activities
  • Option 3: Enroll at Rice, but take all classes remotely and not come to campus at all during the Fall semester
  • Option 4: Not enroll at Rice and instead take a gap year (an option for new students)
  • Option 5: Not enroll at Rice and take a leave of absence (an option for returning and continuing students)


Sam Houston State University:
  • Majority of fall 2020 classes will be blended
  • Blended courses allow students to learn as much as possible and spend time with their classmates and instructors while also maintaining a safe distance from each other, more than half (but not all) of the instruction is done from a social distance
  • A T-Th course might split the class into two groups, each group attends in-person either Tuesday or Thursday (while the other group participate via Zoom)
  • A large MWF course might split the class into three groups, each group attends face-to-face in the classroom one day each week while the other two groups participate with Zoom
  • Face coverings are required indoors and outdoors on Sam Houston State campuses unless you are in a private space or are engaged an activity for which wearing a covering is impractical (such as eating)
  • Social distancing measures are being taken to reduce density on campus by 50%


San Jacinto College:
  • Students must complete the Student Daily Pre-Screening Questionnaire for each day before coming to campus
  • Face coverings are required at ALL times on College property
  • Offering four class types
  • Online Anytime: Traditional online-style course
  • Online on a Schedule: All coursework completed online with lectures scheduled for certain times and days
  • Hands-On Hybrid: Most instruction delivered online, students will come to campus to complete hands-on learning and practical testing
  • Flex Campus: Small groups of students attend in-person class on a rotation while the remainder of students will access coursework online


Southern Methodist University:
  • High-quality SMUFlex and Remote-Only options
  • Staggered course schedules
  • Evening and Saturday classes to allow students additional flexibility
  • Facilities temporarily refitted for classroom use
  • Classroom capacity limited and marked to promote safe social distancing measures
  • Extensive use of SMU's Canvas learning management system


University of St. Thomas:
  • In-person and online options
  • In the classrooms, UST is measuring, spacing, adding loads of technology, and determining alternating occupancy schedules
  • Reduced tuition in some programs and provided all undergraduates with additional scholarships
  • Ventilation systems, temperature taking, symptom checks, and contact tracing protocols are in progress


Texas A&M University:
  • More than 50% of course sections are now offered face to face and 63% of students have two or more courses face to face (with a remote option)
  • Attempting to get all students at least one face to face course and most with two face to face courses (with a remote option)
  • To attend a face-to-face class, students must wear a face covering (or a face shield if they have an exemption letter)


University of Texas at Austin:
  • The fall 2020 semester will start August 26. In-person instruction will end November 25, the day before Thanksgiving
  • Students may choose to experience the full fall semester online
  • Classes will be more evenly distributed throughout the day, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • No more than 40% of seats in each classroom will be occupied
  • There will be three modes of classes
  • Online: A class designed from the ground up so all students can attend the main class experience online
  • Hybrid: A class that has both in-person and remote learning elements, with the frequency of in-person learning based on instructional needs
  • In-person: A class for which there is at least some essential material that can be acquired only through in-person attendance


Texas Christian University:
  • TCU requires all community members to wear a face covering that covers both the nose and the mouth of the wearer anytime they are in a public indoor space (including classrooms) or when outdoors if wearer cannot maintain physical distancing of 6-feet or more
  • The semester will begin Aug. 17, a week earlier than originally planned, and end the on-campus portion of the semester Nov. 24
  • Before leaving their rooms or homes each day, students should take a quick assessment of their health
  • TCU will offer online and on-campus courses, and whether or not a course is online depends on several factors including class size, faculty teaching preference and the course material
  • Students may choose a fully online learning experience, where applicable


University of Texas at Dallas:
  • Face coverings will be required in all public areas
  • Each classroom has been reconfigured to encourage social distancing by reducing the rooms' seating capacities
  • Classrooms will be fully sanitized daily upon the conclusion of each day's class scheduling
  • Five class types being offered
  • Traditional: The course will be taught face-to-face, and instructors and students meet according to the schedule
  • Blended (Hybrid): This option will be a combination of online and face-to-face meetings, students will meet all together one or two days per week face-to-face; the rest of the meetings will be online
  • Flexible (Hyflex): This option will be a combination of online activity mixed with face-to-face meetings, on the days when not in class, students will attend class online with synchronous (i.e., in real time) transmission
  • Remote: Synchronous online learning at the day and time of the class
  • Online: All instruction and testing will be online


Texas Southern University:
  • Texas Southern University will move to a modified 13-week schedule for the upcoming fall semester, which has students completing the term prior to the traditional break
  • Offering three class types
  • Face to Face: A course in which the instruction is provided with the instructors and students are in the same place on campus
  • Hybrid: A course in which a majority (more than 50 percent but less than 85 percent), of the planned instruction occurs when the students and instructor(s) are not in the same place
  • Online: A course that is offered fully online. A student receives instruction, assignments, and completes all work online through a computer or device, some online courses may require virtual class meetings
  • Social distancing enforced on-campus
  • Everyone must have temperatures checked when entering campus buildings
  • Face masks are required


Texas State University:
  • Students are asked to quarantine for 14 days before arriving on Texas State campuses
  • Face covering required
  • Classrooms will be limited to no more than 50 percent of the room's rated maximum occupancy
  • Cameras and microphones will be installed in classrooms to allow for online instructional delivery, recording of lectures, and other features as selected by the instructor
  • Assigned seats will be used in all classrooms that are holding face-to-face classes


Texas Tech University:
  • New outdoor classroom and outdoor study spaces available for the fall term
  • More than two-thirds of courses being taught using some degree of face-to face instruction
  • For first-year students, 80 percent of 1000-level courses will be offered using a mixture of face-to-face and hybrid instruction
  • Limited classroom capacity and face coverings will be required in all campus buildings, including classrooms
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