UHV students and COVID-19

Shanice Morgan, a sophomore at the University of Houston-Victoria, studies at a computer in the library at the University Commons on campus in March

The University of Houston-Victoria has delayed its phased reopening plan.

University officials announced the Victoria and Katy campuses will not move on to phase 3 of bringing staff back to campus on Aug. 3, according to a Tuesday news release.

The university is in phase 2 of a five-part reopening, which allowed 15% of staff to come back to their offices on June 15. Phase 3 would have brought back 30% of the staff.

Despite the delay and the COVID-19 pandemic, the university plans to reopen in-person and online classes in late August for the fall semester.

Classrooms would be limited to 50% occupancy with about 70% of faculty and staff on campus. Students will have the option to watch lectures online during their in-person classes to keep classroom capacities down.

“Even the in-person classes are going to be more like hybrid classes,” Lauren Emerson, university spokeswoman, said.

The classes are designed to be flexible for students and they can learn in a setting that makes them comfortable, Emerson said.

UHV’s executive committee met Monday to discuss the state of the pandemic in communities and the university’s reopening plan, according to the news release. The committee also thinks that area conditions do not support moving on Aug. 3.

“Although we are eager to work toward reopening the university and helping our students, we also understand the importance of ensuring that our employees feel safe when it comes to returning to work,” Glenn said in the release. “With that in mind, the executive committee is choosing to favor caution and delay our reopening process by at least a week. Our primary concern is always the safety and wellbeing of our faculty, staff and students.”

Housing will still be available in the fall for students, but it will be limited, Emerson said.

Dorms will be limited to one student per room and suites will be limited to two because they will each have their own bathroom and bedroom, she said.

“We’re continuing to monitor the situation like everyone else,” she said.

Samantha Douty is the education reporter at the Victoria Advocate. She grew up in Corpus Christi and graduated from UT-Arlington with a bachelor's in journalism.

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