Central Texas colleges, universities plan for fall instruction

Colleges and universities across the country have had to make significant changes to their operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some in Central Texas are planning to return to in-person instruction soon, while some are choosing to remain online while COVID-19 case numbers remain high.


Below is the current status of each college and university in Central Texas:


ACC campuses remain closed to the public at this time, and non-essential faculty and staff are encouraged to stay home and work remotely through the summer. Beginning July 6, campuses and centers will open only to students attending a limited number of courses that require face-to-face instruction — primarily in health sciences and applied technologies — and essential faculty and staff.

The college continues to plan for the upcoming fall semester. ACC says the transfer back will be gradual and require new safety protocols. Most classes will remain online and most employees will continue to work remotely. 


Baylor University will begin Phase 4 of its five-phase plan to return to campus on July 7. Staggered attendance of faculty and staff will be allowed, along with certain students for identified programs that begin in July such as clinical. Baylor says all returns to campus will be based on on-site needs and communicated from Divisional/School leadership. 

Phase 5 is set to begin on August 14, where remaining faculty and staff needed for operations for the beginning of the academic year will be allowed to return to campus.


Currently, Concordia plans to reopen the campus for Fall 2020 on August 24 while maintaining the flexibility to shift to virtual classes if needed. The University is also not allowing study abroad for Fall 2020.

All CTX offices and services are open virtually, but essential services include residence hall staffing, dining services (for residential students only), security, and certain maintenance, IT and mail functions are available in person.


All summer term classes at Huston-Tillotson University are taught online. The university president also reported in a letter June 18 to students, faculty and staff that all instruction will remain online for the 2020 Fall Semester.


Southwestern University will be reopening its campus for the fall semester, and had put in place several health and safety policies to help keep students, faculty, and staff from getting sick. Classes are scheduled to start on Monday, August 24. 

The university says most classes will meet in person on a regular basis but will have remote components due to health accommodations or classroom capacity constraints. In order to adapt to student and faculty circumstances, a few classes will be conducted remotely.


St. Edward's will be reopening its campus for the fall semester, with employees to return in phases starting on July 20. New students will arrive on campus for Anchors from August 16-20 and the semester is set to begin on August 24.

The university says leadership remains committed to working with local health officials and their medical advisory team to plan for a safe and healthy return to campus in July and August. 


In-person August commencement ceremonies have been postponed, so Texas A&M will proceed with virtual graduation celebrations, including a virtual conferral of degrees. The university is on track to be open and operate in-person in the fall with online options.

Texas A&M plans to offer face-to-face classes, with remote options for every course, likely meaning there will be hybrid classes where some students attend in-person while others participate remotely at the same time. The university is also redesigning scheduled to hold classes throughout extended days, with the potential for Monday through Saturday classes if necessary for social distancing.

The fall semester is set to begin on August 19, and Texas A&M says they are seeking to stagger the move-in process, orientations and other activities.


The number of Summer B face-to-face classes has been reduced from 8 to 4, along with a small number of labs and Nursing clinicals in face-to-face format. Emergency housing will continue to be provided for students who have qualified for it, and a small number of students doing research or internship work and/or taking face-to-face classes will be housed.

Starting Monday, July 6, the Alumni Student Center and the TLU Bookstore will be available to students registered for Summer B classes. The Tschoepe 103 computer lab also will be available for Summer B students. Library access and IT sessions will be available via appointment only.

All housing assignments for the 2020-21 academic year will be singles with residence hall rooms being assigned one resident and apartments being assigned two residents, one in each bedroom. At this time, the university is planning for the fall academic calendar to remain as originally set, with classes beginning on August 25 and ending on December 9. 

The university anticipates face-to-face offerings, along with some online and synchronous learning for fall. Students will hear from their instructors in advance of the beginning of the semester regarding the format for their classes.


Nearly all summer II classes will be online only, with the only courses remaining face-to-face being those that require a face-to-face component for licensure or degree requirements. Offices able to operate with minimal staff physically present should continue to do so until the university begins to ramp up for the fall semester in early August.

All units that normally provide face-to-face student services in the summer must continue to do so with appropriate modifications to enhance public health. Texas State says it is planning for a return of face-to-face instruction and services in fall 2020.


UT Austin plans to begin the fall semester on August 26. In-person instruction will end November 25, the day before Thanksgiving. Most students will remain away from campus for the remainder of the semester, taking final exams online from December 7 to 16.

Students may choose to do their semester online, with exceptions for some courses. Many classes, including the 400 largest unique classes, will meet online only. Online and on-campus courses will have the same tuition rates.

Classes will be more evenly distributed through an expanded class day running from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Passing periods between classes will not be changed, so scheduled course times are staying as they were when students registered except for those classes moved for density reasons.


FOX 7 Austin is working to keep you up to date with coronavirus, with both local and national developments. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news from around the country at coronavirusnow.com.