By Kaleigh Cortez, News Editor-
Before commencing another uncertain semester brought by Covid, the University made the decision to postpone most face-to-face classes until February 1st.
The delayed courses were considered not essential to meet in person for the first two weeks of the spring semester and will be conducted online. Courses that were deemed face-to-face essential include most labs, along with a number of hands-on classes such as occupational therapy or spirituality of hiking. Dean of Students, Jim Hicks, made an additional announcement regarding club meetings.
“All student activities, including those sponsored or coordinated by UTC student organizations must be conducted in a virtual manner,” Hicks said.
Many campus events, including ARC group fitness classes and Welcome Week activities, have already been scheduled to meet via Zoom during this period. UTC Provost, Dr. Jerold Hale, supports the decision to made by the COVID team to delay in-person classes and meetings.
“We anticipate that there is going to be another spike in cases,” Hale said. “So for all of the decisions we have made for the academic operation for the university, our first priority is for the safety of the campus community.”
In addition to ensuring the health and safety of faculty and students, the delay also allows additional time to organize a routine testing team. Chief Health Affairs Officer, Dr. Chris Smith, has been preparing her team for the upcoming semester.
“We’ll be testing a portion of the dorms, a portion of Greek life, a portion of any kind of group,” Smith said. “This will be routine testing to identify if there are any hotspots.”
Further delays are not expected at this time, as the testing protocols will be in place and they are not anticipating another spike. Hale stressed the importance of continuing to wear masks and social distance.
“The one thing I am really hoping we can get the entire campus community behind is compliance with those policies… so we can have a safe spring.”