Texas Tech announces plans to return to campus, Commitment website launches
By: George Watson
Texas Tech University officials today outlined their Texas Tech Commitment initiative, detailing procedures to ensure a safe return to campus for students, faculty and staff in the fall. In May, Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec announced plans for the campus to reopen with a mixture of online and face-to-face classes for the Summer II session and to return fully in the fall, with a blend of in-person, hybrid and online courses.
To prepare for the fall reopening, Texas Tech has developed plans to ensure the safety of all Red Raiders that includes class size and social distancing, sanitization procedures for all buildings on campus, health and safety measures and additional public health guidance for on-campus living, dining and student life activities, including use of the Robert H. Ewalt Student Recreation Center.
These procedures are outlined at the Texas Tech University Commitment Website.
"Consistent communication of our plans to returning students, incoming students and their parents, faculty and staff is critical as we move forward to opening campus in the fall," Schovanec said. "We will provide further updates through our website, which shows the full breath of our plans, and we will also be providing consistent and timely updates through social media."
Academic Instruction: The health and safety of the Texas Tech community are of utmost concern during this transition back to regular instruction. To that end, Texas Tech has instituted a plan that includes a mixture of face-to-face and online education as well as hybrid models. The university also will be reconfiguring classrooms and laboratories in compliance with state and federal guidance for social distancing.
Colleges and departments have identified which courses will be taught in person, online and in a hybrid or alternate-day modalities, and schedules have been modified to reflect these changes. More than two-thirds of courses taught this fall will involve some degree of face-to-face instruction, and 80 percent of all 1000-level classes will be a mixture of face-to-face and hybrid. To accommodate large classes, Texas Tech will utilize larger alternative learning locations, such as the Student Union Building (SUB). The university is currently examining a plan for laboratories and will release those plans at a later date.
Sanitization: Since the beginning of the pandemic, Texas Tech has undertaken extensive cleaning and sanitization measures to keep students, faculty and staff safe, applying disinfectants and an enhanced cleaning process in every building on campus. Additionally, throughout the day, the custodial staff will wipe highly touched surfaces, such as handrails and door handles. Also, out of an excess of caution, drinking fountains will not be operational on campus, so guests are encouraged to bring their own water.
Additional hand sanitizer dispensing stations will be installed throughout campus and in restrooms, and paper towels will be available in all restrooms for opening doors. Automatic hand dryers are being installed to reduce surface contact. In terms of dining, all Hospitality Services locations have undergone a deep and extensive cleaning process, including production, serving areas and high-traffic areas. The frequency of cleaning has been increased and additional sanitizing stations have been installed. Self-serve food stations, bars and condiment areas have been eliminated, and only disposable plastic ware and plates will be used. All faculty, staff and students are encouraged to adhere to the CDC's COVID-19 protection guidelines.
On-Campus Living: Residence Halls will open in the fall under new guidelines, including adherence to social distancing recommendations and an increase in sanitization processes. All triple and quadruple occupancy rooms have been reduced to double occupancy, which meets state and federal guidance for social distancing. University Housing has implemented enhanced sanitization protocols and will continually educate students on the importance of personal sanitization practices and self-care in the residence halls and rooms.
Fall semester move-in dates have been expanded to accommodate proper social distancing and to avoid crowded spaces. Students can begin moving into the residence halls Aug. 8 by making an online reservation in advance. The online reservation system will be available July 1 at the University Housing website.
Athletics: Athletics at Texas Tech University are an integral part of the educational experience for students, faculty, staff, alumni and fans of the Red Raiders around the world. The Big 12 Conference has designated June 15 as the date that football student-athletes may access campus athletics facilities and begin limited voluntary strength and conditioning.
Student-athletes in other fall sports can return to campus on July 1 followed by all other student-athletes on July 15. As far as fans being allowed into sporting events, Texas Tech will determine later this summer at what capacity and how many fans will be allowed into its various venues for games.
CONTACT: William Brown, Dean, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor's Note: A new online, video-orientated Red Raider Orientation is now available for our Fall 2020 incoming students. The microsite features a 'Meet the Deans' introduction, six CASNR department videos, three 'How To' videos, four 'Helpful Links' and a FAQ section.