University of Texas at San Antonio Moves Online Due to Delta Variant

University of Texas at San Antonio Moves Online Due to Delta Variant
portrait of Dean Golembeski
By Dean Golembeski

Published on August 13, 2021

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While many colleges were hoping for a return to normal this fall, the raging pandemic has forced some to change plans. Among them is the University of Texas at San Antonio, which announced on Aug. 11 that almost all of its courses will be held online for the first three weeks of the fall semester.

University President Taylor Eighmy cited a surge in Delta variant cases in San Antonio as the reason.

As a public university with 30,000 students, UTSA cannot force students or staff to get vaccines or even wear masks. Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas issued an executive order on July 29, 2021, that banned vaccine and mask mandates. The state is one about 20 Republican-led states that forbid vaccine mandates.

Classes are set to begin online at the university on Aug. 23. The university also announced it was instituting a strict testing protocol for students living in campus housing.

At the University of Texas at Austin, administrators are urging students to get vaccines. The university says that students living in its residence halls also must show proof of a negative coronavirus test before getting keys to their rooms.

In addition, Sharon L. Wood, the university's executive vice president and provost, said that faculty teaching in-person or hybrid classes during the fall semester can reduce the number of students participating during in-person portions for the first two weeks of the fall semester.

"Due to the broad range of classroom environments, this approach provides faculty members flexibility to make the best decision based on the needs of each individual class and allow for greater social distancing, while maintaining the crucial in-person component of instruction," Wood said in a statement posted on the university's website.

Feature Image: Barry Winiker / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Colleges across the U.S. are increasingly requiring COVID-19 vaccination for on-campus learning. Check out the full list of colleges that require the vaccine. Many colleges are requiring COVID-19 vaccination this fall, but global vaccine access continues to vary. Where does this leave international students? With a federal court weighing in on a university's authority to require COVID-19 vaccines, students argue the mandate violates Fourteenth Amendment rights.