92% of fall 2021 UT-Austin classes will be held in person

Originally published April 13, 2021, in The Daily Texan
By Tori Duff
Graphic by Megan Fletcher

More than 91% of classes will be held face to face in the fall, Kathleen Harrison, the communications manager for the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, said in an email.

Approximately 4% of class sections will be held in a hybrid format and 3% will be held exclusively online, Harrison said. Students can view class modality on the fall 2021 course schedule, which was released by the University on April 6.

Harrison said this distribution is similar to the fall 2019 schedule, before COVID-19 caused the University to move instruction online. However, Harrison said the number of in-person versus online classes may change as the University receives more guidance on public health conditions.

“The University’s decisions are based on the latest data and information available,” Harrison said in an email. “If conditions change, we will continue to keep the safety of our community a top priority and adjust as needed.”

The University did not provide information regarding face-to-face, hybrid and online class distributions by college for the fall.

“As we are still very much in the midst of a pandemic — and dealing with additional concerns about new variants of the virus — the safety of our faculty, staff and students must come first, and we will continue to take appropriate precautions,” Harrison said. “Those precautions may include how we ultimately deliver instruction in the fall.”

This semester, nearly 60% of classes have been entirely remote, according to previous reporting by The Daily Texan. Of the remaining classes, approximately 16% are in person and 26% are in a hybrid or blended format.

In a March 11 message to the UT community, UT President Jay Hartzell said the UT community should plan on coming to campus regularly in the fall, with some aspects of hybrid and remote learning still in place.

“In general, we expect the fall 2021 semester to look more like the fall 2019 semester than the fall 2020 semester,” Hartzell said in the message.

Some students are looking forward to the opportunity to go back to in-person classes, but are stressed about reacclimating to the face-to-face environment.

Kate Springer, a youth and community studies junior, said being online has given her the opportunity to be a full-time nanny and navigate classes, and she is worried about adjusting to being in person.

“I’m nervous about feeling like I have enough time, because if I walk to campus once or twice a day, that’s a full hour or two that (I’m traveling to) campus, … whereas if I’m waiting for a class to start online on Zoom, I can be answering emails or doing work,” Springer said.

Despite her fears, Springer said she hopes the semester will look close to her first year and a half at UT.

“Not having a genuine space to learn from people or see their body language or have a real conversation … really takes away from learning,” Springer said.

Marketing junior Claudia Wu said the unknown of whether or not classes will be face to face can cause stress. Wu said she is still excited to return to some level of normalcy if she can attend classes in person.

“Any time there’s a major shift in the structure of something that we’re used to, it will always create a transition period,” Wu said. “But I think that in itself should not deter people from going to in-person classes.”

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