UTSA extends spring break and moves classes online due to coronavirus pandemic


Breahna Luera and Josh Peck

On March 11, President Taylor Eighmy announced to the UTSA community via email that the university will extend spring break through the week of March 16. As a result, the university will move classes online starting March 23 through at least April 13 in light of growing concern about the spread of COVID-19 to the community. 

“Our best chance of slowing the spread of coronavirus is to make these changes now, before we begin to see cases on our campus,” Eighmy said in his email. 

UTSA is one of over 130 universities across the country that have canceled in-person classes, including Texas A&M University-San Antonio and the Alamo Colleges District.

“These decisions have been closely coordinated with the Texas Governor’s Office, the City of San Antonio and Bexar County,” Eighmy said. 

Mario Chapa, a junior computer engineering major, expressed his support for UTSA’s decision. 

“I think this is the right move going forward not just for UTSA but for all major universities as well,” Chapa said. “While the COVID-19 outbreak may not currently have a death rate as high as the Spanish Flu or an infection rate as high as the Swine flu, these precautionary measures help us limit the severity of the pandemic before it reaches those levels.”

Joshua Lazaro, a sophomore statistics and environmental science major, expressed concern with students’ access to resources needed to take online classes.

“I’m a little upset, but I understand that UTSA is taking precautionary measurements to ensure that UTSA’s student body remains safe,” Lazaro said. “My main concern is whenever classes resume, via online, some of my peers will not have internet access which is a major issue. Hopefully this will get resolved ASAP.” 

During the extended spring break, faculty and academic departments will have the chance to utilize the necessary tools and training the university will provide in order to prepare for the transition to online classes.

“We appreciate the university for giving us as teachers time to adapt our materials, be it in writing or recorded or live messaging,” said Lesli Hicks, lecturer in the history department. “Although there is no substitute for students and instructors in the classroom, online technology is giving us the opportunity to stay in touch while we await healing. I think our most important message to students is that we are here, that learning continues, that we should all keep up with the readings and quizzes and will see one another again soon.”

Online classes will occur for three weeks, until April 13, at a minimum. 

If San Antonio experiences a significant outbreak, we may need to increase these restrictions and adopt other approaches,” said UTSA on its coronavirus FAQ webpage. “We will assess as the situation develops, but it is possible that virtual instruction will continue through the end of the spring semester.”

All UTSA facilities and offices will operate under normal business hours through the extended spring break and during the virtual instruction period. Continued services include the libraries on both the main and downtown campuses, Counseling and Mental Health services and the Recreation and Wellness Center.

The last day of classes has been extended to May 8, and finals will now be held from May 11 to May 15. Spring commencement will be held on May 16 and 17 as originally scheduled. 

This is an ongoing story. Updates will be posted on paisano-online.com.