Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo
TXST to begin spring semester virtually amid COVID-19 spread
Texas State University will begin its spring semester virtually as COVID-19 cases increase across the state spurred by the omicron variant.
University President Denise Trauth announced the decision in an email to students, faculty and staff on Monday, stating that classes will temporarily move to online/remote learning beginning Jan. 18-30.
“Our top priority continues to be the safety and health of our students, faculty and staff,” Trauth wrote, highlighting Texas State’s efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus, including testing, negative test requirements for residence hall residents and contact tracing.
The Texas Department of State Health Services reported a record 33.9% molecular test positivity rate and an additional 51,481 COVID-19 cases statewide on Monday. Coronavirus cases in Hays County have seen a rapid increase with 2,527 new cases reported between Dec. 22-31. Texas State reported 66 currently active COVID-19 cases as of Monday. The university has reported 2,126 total cases since Aug. 1, 2021 — 1,920 among students and 206 among faculty and staff.
With Texas State’s announcement, Trauth stated that the university’s spring semester will start on schedule on Jan. 18 and classes are not being canceled. Additionally, Texas State campuses and offices will remain open with services offered in-person and/or virtually. Trauth added that Alkek Library, transportation services, residence halls, dining services and access to recreation centers, the LBJ Student Center and Student Health Center will be available to students.
“I cannot stress this enough — it is critical that we all follow these steps we know protect us from COVID-19,” Trauth wrote. “While the university cannot mandate actions, I strongly encourage you to be vigilant about wearing a mask, social distancing as much as possible, test regularly, and get vaccinated and boosted. Continue to watch your university email for other important updates and information.
“I know this is not the start of the semester we were looking forward to,” Trauth added. “We are taking these actions out of an abundance of caution and are hopeful the surge will peak quickly.”
Trauth stated that deans, chairs/directors and faculty will consult on and communicate to students about which courses will need to remain face-to-face during the two-week virtual period because of licensure requirements or specific academic imperative.
In-person instruction is set to resume at Texas State on Jan. 31.