Both Texas A&M University-San Antonio and Alamo Colleges will conduct most classes online this fall while campuses open in a limited capacity, according to the two institutions’ reopening plans.

TAMU-SA released its plan Wednesday. About 30 percent of classroom capacity will be available for face-to-face instruction, with special considerations taken to make sure first-year students participate in most of the face-to-face classes. The remaining 70 percent of classes will be available via distance learning platforms.

The university will schedule classes in blocks to minimize contact from students moving among classes and conduct temperature scans of students before they enter a classroom. Furniture will be spaced apart to ensure social distancing. All faculty teaching on campus volunteered to do so, according to TAMU-SA’s planning document.

TAMU-SA will provide face shields for all faculty teaching in-person classes and make Plexiglas shields available if faculty want to use them. Students must wear face coverings while on campus unless they’re alone studying or in a testing room.

The university system also will require all students to complete training on COVID-19 and safety protocols before the semester begins. Students returning to campus for class who do not complete the training will have a hold placed on their records until the training is completed. Read TAMU-SA’s full plan here.

Alamo Colleges also recently released its plan, announcing that the fall semester will be similar to classes over the summer. Most classes will be conducted online, with students in designated career and technical courses, such as dental assistant instruction or mortuary science, participating in face-to-face classes. In addition, select arts and sciences classes will be taught in person. A list of the courses that will be offered in person has not been published.

The community college system will require face coverings, health screenings, and temperature checks for anyone on campus or in district facilities. No on-campus events will take place in the fall and all meetings and training will be virtual.

While Alamo Colleges will open the fall semester with up to 10 percent of staff and students allowed on campus, the community college system will return to enforcing its strictest safety protocols after Thanksgiving. After the holiday and through the end of the fall semester, all students and staff will learn and work remotely except for a few essential workers who will continue their work on campuses.

Each college will have a one-stop office for student services that are available by appointment only. Read the Alamo Colleges plan here.

Many of San Antonio’s other institutions of higher education have already indicated how they will conduct classes during the fall semester and what safety precautions will be taken. Several schools decided to shorten their in-person semester or allow students to complete their schoolwork remotely after Thanksgiving.

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Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.