While Bexar County’s public school systems grapple with how and when to bring students back to campus, the area’s higher education institutions are planning for the majority of their students to take classes online.

Approximately 95 percent of fall classes at the University of Texas at San Antonio will be offered online, officials announced Tuesday. UTSA officials will finalize the schedule of courses by July 31 to reflect the updated learning models. The classes offered on campus will be held in person because of a need for specialized course material or facilities.

Students enrolled in the limited number of in-person classes must wear masks in all indoor settings. The university will reduce classroom capacity to between 20 and 25 percent in classrooms with fixed seating and between 40 and 45 percent in classrooms with mobile tables and chairs. No in-person class will have more than 40 students enrolled.

After Thanksgiving break, all fall semester instruction will move online. This is an attempt to mitigate risks posed by the holiday travel season.

The university plans to waive its transportation and international education fee for the fall. UTSA will still ask students to pay a library, campus recreation, athletics, medical services, and student union fee. The school has not announced changes to its tuition.

UTSA staff with existing agreements to telecommute can continue to work from home through Aug. 14. At that time, supervisors will let staff know if they will be required to report in-person for the new school year.

In a letter to UTSA staff and students, President Taylor Eighmy, Provost Kimberly Andrews Espy, and Chief Financial Officer Veronica Salazar Mendez noted that details in UTSA’s fall plan could change based on the public health crisis.

Other San Antonio universities have announced similar plans to keep the majority of classes online and bring a select few students to campus. At Texas A&M University–San Antonio, university leaders announced they would deliver 70 percent of instruction remotely. Alamo Colleges will keep all classes online except for a few select career and technology courses and arts and science classes.

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Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.