WACO, TX — Baylor University plans to have 76% of their classes to have an in-person instructional component, either through face-to-face or hybrid delivery, while 24% of classes will be delivered online.
A scholarship program has also been designed to recognize "the importance of fostering diversity and mutual respect at Baylor."
The Baylor University Board of Regents gathered virtually Thursday and Friday for its quarterly regular meeting to discuss and receive updates on numerous items, including the University's plans for the fall semester in light of COVID-19 and the launch of the Commission on Historic Campus Representations.
The meeting was held during a busy week as the University continued to enact plans to safely welcome thousands of students, faculty and staff back to campus for the fall semester beginning Aug. 24 and launch new initiatives related to racial healing and justice.
On Monday, during a virtual Town Hall event hosted by the Baylor Black Alumni Alliance and the Baylor Alumni Latino Group, President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., announced the creation of the Trailblazer Scholars Program, a scholarship program designed to recognize the importance of fostering diversity and mutual respect at Baylor.
The University committed $5 million to launch the program, with additional fundraising efforts to follow.
On Tuesday, President Livingstone and Kevin Jackson, Ph.D., vice president for Student Life, hosted a Q&A session on Facebook Live to speak with students and families about Baylor’s fall reopening, particularly relating to health and wellness, housing, move-in and student activities.
The University’s response to and mitigation efforts relating to COVID-19 for the fall semester were the focus of extended Thursday meetings by a combined Academic Affairs/Student Life Committees and the Finance and Facilities Committee.
The Regents heard reports on several key areas designed to keep students, faculty and staff healthy and well during the fall semester, including public health educational campaigns; COVID-19 screening, testing and tracing; caring for ill members of the campus community; face coverings, social distancing and self-monitoring; facility use and cleaning; and teaching and learning in multiple forms of course delivery.
Additionally, the Regents received demonstrations of the investments the University is making in classroom technology and faculty professional development in preparation for the fall semester.
At this time, 76% of Baylor’s classes will have an in-person instructional component, either through face-to-face or hybrid delivery, while 24% of classes will be delivered online.
The University also is developing a dashboard of key COVID-19 metrics that will guide the Administration’s decision-making process prior to and during the fall semester. These metrics will include total student COVID-19 cases and positivity rates; quarantine and self-isolation rates and availability; faculty illness rates; antigen presence in sewage of residence halls; regional hospital capacities; contact tracing data; and the operational state of local schools and childcare centers.
“This is an unprecedented time for higher education, and the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff must drive our decision-making process,” President Livingstone said. “As we work through multiple potential scenarios for the fall semester, we must remain flexible and focused on delivering a Baylor-quality educational experience. We continue to plan for an on-campus start of the fall semester on Aug. 24 with the appropriate safety and social distancing protocols in place, but we are certainly prepared to shift our focus should COVID-19 conditions worsen.”