Sierra Martin | Managing Editor
SAN MARCOS – Texas State University announced during a press conference that they plan to operate at 100% capacity in the upcoming Fall 2021 semester. Proof of having a COVID-19 vaccination will not be required, and masks will no longer be mandated on campus.
The transition to full capacity will occur during the summer semesters, with 50% classroom capacity on campus and 75% of classes remaining online. Research facilities will be ramping up to 100% capacity during the summer, although safety protocols such as wearing masks and social distancing will be required.
University Provost Gene Bourgeois spoke about how he is excited to resume on-campus classes and give the college students more of the experience they are looking for at Texas State.
“We’re excited because it means we’re back to full capacity and allowing for those not only in-class experiences, but all of the sometimes accidental or unplanned kind of encounters that happen,” said Bourgeois. “You know, students waiting for classes, faculty talking to students directly after classes, groups of students meeting on their way to classes or from classes,” said Bourgeois.
Professors will have the option to teach in-person, online or hybrid classes in the Fall semester.
University Chief Medical Officer Emilio Carranco said that their trained contact-tracing teams have failed to see any evidence of COVID-19 transmission in the classroom. He thinks that the improved COVID-19 numbers in Texas and the wide availability of vaccines will allow for a safe learning environment.
“The University at this point is not going to be requiring vaccinations,” said Carranco. “However, the university will be strongly encouraging everyone who can to be vaccinated. There’s no question that vaccination is the best way to protect yourself. And the best way to bring this pandemic to an end.”
Carranco advises anyone that does not have the vaccine during the Fall semester to continue COVID-19 safety measures such as wearing a mask, social distancing and avoiding large crowds. The university will continue to provide easily accessible COVID-19 testing to students and contact trace when necessary.
Additionally, the university will provide isolation and quarantine spaces for students living on campus for any close exposure or positive cases of COVID-19.
Vice President of Student Affairs Cynthia Hernandez spoke about returning to campus and how students are excited to take advantage of the student services on campus that they could not access virtually over the past year.
“We know that we are a unique institution in the state of Texas that offers not only excellent academics but wonderful co-curricular and extracurricular spaces that allow our students to flourish,” said Hernandez.
Conference rooms, meeting rooms, and the student recreation center will be open to 100% capacity in the Fall semester to allow students and organizations to get the maximum use out of the campus facilities.
Student activities such as intramurals, sports clubs, performance groups and Sewell Park will also be available at full capacity.
The university anticipates having the majority of its student population vaccinated before the Fall 2021 semester and will continue to monitor COVID-19 on their campus.