Midwestern State University administration members announce in-person classes for Fall 2020 following an executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott, R–Texas, Monday afternoon that initiated the first phase of reopening the Texas economy.
In a post on social media from MSU Texas officials sent Monday about 4 p.m., officials stated they plan “to be fully operational this fall for in-person instruction.”
It is with great enthusiasm that I announce to you today our intent to be fully operational this fall for in-person instruction. We will follow guidelines from our governmental entities and implement protocols to safeguard the health and well-being of all members of our campus. pic.twitter.com/IBR2fBEq6R
— Midwestern State (@MSUTexas) April 27, 2020
“For now, I want to encourage you to stay the course, continue to support one another, and finish this semester strong,” MSU President Suzanne Shipley stated. “I know I speak for many of you when I say how much I miss greeting you and seeing you enjoy our lovely campus spaces. It will be wonderful to share the MSU campus with you again!”
Shipley also said leadership teams are planning for the many aspects of opening the fall semester and are anticipating the possibility of needing to alter plans at some point in the 2020-2021 academic year.
Officials will create contingency plans for possible scenarios that could require that adjustment for a course of action for the fall or spring semester.
“At this time, various leadership teams are reviewing options for our classroom and campus settings for fall and beyond. The University will continue to follow guidelines provided by our governmental agencies so that we may ensure the safest possible environment for our campus community. As stated in Dr. Shipley’s message to campus, we will notify the campus of these protocols as they are confirmed,” Julie Gaynor, Director of Marketing & Public Information, said.
Not only are classes expected to resume in-person, but facilities such as the Clark Student Center and the Wellness Center are also expected to return to normal come Fall 2020.
“The intent is that these facilities will be open with enhanced cleaning and safety protocols that ensure proper distancing. Again, while the intent is to open these facilities, we will continue to monitor state and national guidelines. For instance, the wellness center currently remains closed under Gov. Abbott’s most recent executive order,” Gaynor said.
At certain universities across the nation, safety cautious students are being given the option to have classes online even if fall classes resume in person as planned.
“We understand that some students may be hesitant to fully return to campus, and as such, a leadership team is working through options for our students concerning course delivery. Considerations include access to more online classes, a blended delivery of classroom/online delivery, or attending remotely,” Gaynor said.
Click here to read the full statement from MSU Texas.
This decision follows directly after Abbott issued his latest executive order in his 2:30 p.m. press conference where he allows the stay-at-home order to expire on April 30 to begin phase one of his method to reopen Texas.
Abbott said doctors advising state officials about health guidelines and safety procedures drove the decision to implement this plan.
“We want to make sure we were able to open as quickly as possible, but as safely as possible,” Abbott said in the conference. “These are the decisions that are the result of tremendous input by the best possible medical team. We would not be making the decision to open Texas without that advice.”
In the conference, Abbott provided a list of businesses can open May 1, and this order “allows these businesses to open, but it does not require them to do so.”
The following businesses are allowed to open May 1 with restrictions:
Business occupancy cannot be more than 25%, as well as libraries and museums. Outdoor sports are also allowed with a maximum of four players at a time, such as tennis and golf.
While Abbott did not provide a clear date on when other businesses like hair and nail salons, bars and gyms would be allowed to open, he said he looks for those reopenings about mid-May but would like to open them “ASAP.”
Abbott tweeted out a link to a live stream of KXAN coverage of the press conference. Below is the full press conference and wrap up from KXAN reports.
If COVID-19 is contained in the phase of Abbott’s economic reopening plan, then more businesses will be allowed to open with elevated occupancy to 50%..
Should a rise in COVID-19 cases increase in Texas, Abbott said restrictions will return to ensure safety for Texans.
Click here to read the entire 64-page report from Abbott.