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Baylor Board of Regents outlines plans for fall semester

Baylor University
Posted at 10:42 PM, Jul 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-17 23:51:51-04

WACO, Texas — The Baylor University Board of Regents laid out the framework for its back-to-school plans after a meeting Friday.

According to a release, the university plans to hold 76 percent of its classes with some form of face-to-face learning. That learning will come in the form of both in-person and hybrid classes.

University leaders say the goal is to offer as much face-to-face learning as possible while still protecting the health and safety of students and faculty.

The first day of classes for the fall semester is August 24, but leaders say they still are working out the finer details of returning to campus.

"They are trying to solve a Rubik's cube and just when they get it almost solved, someone comes in and changes all the panels," Baylor Board of Regents Chairman Mark Rountree said.

Baylor has already begun making contingency plans in case faculty are infected with the virus. Professors have been asked to find replacements who can fill in if they get sick, according to Baylor President Linda Livingstone.

If a student falls ill with COVID-19, they will be isolated in special rooms on campus with private bathrooms while their condition is monitored. The school will then use contact-tracing to determine what other students may be at risk.

"That is an issue that takes a lot of manpower, and we will supplement and work with the county on that," Livingstone said.

The university plans to record lectures and use other forms of technology to allow students in isolation the chance to stay up to speed.

In addition, classes will take place in modified spaces this year in order to follow stricter social distancing protocols. They will use "tent-like structures" to allow for outdoor dining and classes.

For incoming freshmen and returning students, the promise of returning to campus is a welcome relief after finishing the spring semester entirely online.

"Going from in-person classes everyday and not knowing anything different to straight up all online," Baylor freshman Jaxin Arnold said. "I'm really looking forward to being able to step onto the campus and be with everyone."

Baylor plans to give health kits to students, faculty and staff when they arrive on campus complete with thermometers and other supplies.

In-person classes will conclude at the beginning of Thanksgiving break. Students will finish the remainder of the semester online.