When students return to class at Texas A&M University-San Antonio this fall, the majority of the university’s classes will be online.

The San Antonio Southside university announced Friday that about 70 percent of classes would be offered virtually so students who might be reluctant to return to campus could continue progress toward their degrees.

“We believe that setting the right interactions and tone from the start for these students will have a positive impact on the rest of their college experience,” Provost Mike O’Brien stated in a press release. “We also understand that we need to be both flexible and creative in how we deliver our curriculum in light of this new environment.”

The school will also implement a block system that keeps the same groups of students together and limits mixing between groups.

Incoming freshmen, many of whom will live together on campus, will choose courses from two four-course blocks. There will be 50-minute classes offered to freshmen on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and 75-minute classes offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The school will also limit the class sizes of the block courses and all others to 10 to 24 students, so social distancing can be followed. Faculty can take training or workshops to learn how best to use new technology for the new course configuration and maintain student engagement.

Universities and colleges around San Antonio are preparing for next fall, although few have offered details about what the 2020-21 academic year will look like for faculty or students. Many universities indicated those details will be available in early summer.

Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.