UT-Austin professors can teach at reduced capacity for first several weeks, provost says

Kaushiki Roy, News Reporter

UT professors can choose to teach classes at reduced capacity from Aug. 25 to Sept. 17, according to a message from Sharon Wood, the University’s executive vice president and provost.

Wood said in the message that all faculty have the option to conduct limited-capacity classes until Sept. 17, while aiming to have every student come in person at least once per week. If faculty members want to conduct fully in-person classes past the first three weeks, they can submit requests to their respective deans.

Wood said the University plans on re-opening at full capacity on Monday, Sept. 20.

The provost’s office, Wood said, is in the process of communicating with faculty on masking regulations inside the classroom. Wood said the University is also planning to create incentives for students to get vaccinated.

“The COVID-19 situation across Texas, and particularly in Austin, remains serious,” Wood said in the message. “We will continue to assess the situation in Austin, and should further adjustments to our fall semester be warranted, we will communicate those to you directly.”

Government senior Hector Mendez said he appreciates the decision to allow professors to reduce class sizes.

“I think this will affect students and faculty in a somewhat positive way because it reduces the fears that many have about returning to a large classroom setting that previously would have at least 100+ students,” Mendez told the Texan.

Mendez said he thinks the University should be taking more precautions, like requiring proof of vaccination from students.

“The incentives to be vaccinated that the administration also announced is a good first step, but they should be going further to protect students’ health,” Mendez said. “Until levels are reduced in the amount of COVID cases, I think these reduced class-sizes should be kept past the given date.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story stated that Wood said faculty members can submit requests to their deans to conduct limited-capacity classes. The story has since been corrected to say that all faculty have the option to conduct limited-capacity classes until Sept. 17 and that they can submit requests to their respective deans if they want to conduct fully in-person classes past the first three weeks. The Texan regrets this error.