President Eighmy Signs Plan of Action for Fall 2021 Updates

Gauri Raje, Staff Writer

Last week, UTSA officially released its plan of action for the 2021 Fall semester via an email signed by President Taylor Eighmy, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affair Kimberly Andrews Espy and Senior Vice President for Business Affairs Veronica Salazar Mendez. The email stated that, given an “increasing availability of COVID-19 vaccination,” the university is preparing for “extensive in-person classroom instruction and a fuller array of on-campus activities and services” this fall.

“The increase in availability of COVID vaccinations means we can optimistically plan for a fall semester that is much closer to the traditional UTSA experience,” the email said.

The email detailed the University’s plan for Academics, Campus Services, Work Modalities, Public Health Guidelines, and Commencements for students graduating in Spring 2021, as well as graduated students that were unable to participate in a graduation ceremony due to the pandemic.


As stated, the upcoming fall semester is set to “feature extensive in-person learning experiences for students.” The university plans on shifting towards conducting more hybrid classes, which will feature a combination of in-person and online components.

The announcement stated that this hybrid approach will “give [the university] the best of both worlds,” as students will get to experience the face-to-face classroom experience with a certain degree of flexibility. The announcement also highlighted that the hybrid structure would allow for the university to switch to an online heavy structure if there is a negative change in the trajectory of the pandemic over the course of the semester.

“These flexible modalities will allow us to pivot quickly if needed, should the public health situation change at any point prior to or during the semester,” the announcement said.

It is also notable that, while the university plans to conduct most classes in a hybrid format, there will also be some classes that will be offered in either a fully in-person or fully online format.

The announcement also mentioned the university’s plan to “upgrade classroom technology” at the Main Campus as well as the Downtown Campus to provide “consistency for faculty” and a better learning experience for students.

Campus Services:

According to the announcement, details about specific university services have not been determined. The announcement, however, stated that the university will offer “expanded housing options for students” and “increased technology services campus wide.”

The university also plans on resuming normal operations for on-campus services, including the Student Union, Campus Rec and UTSA Libraries, while ensuring that virtual campus services and office hours are still available to students.

The announcement further called on department leadership to plan out the most effective way to “offer in-person services and activities this fall.”

Work Modalities:

The announcement recognized the university’s success in implementing “innovative processes and efficiencies” all through last year and called on offices to explore if those methods can be continued.

“As we plan for the fall, we encourage offices to explore whether some or all of their employees may continue to telecommute without impacting their ability to offer a full range of services,” the announcement stated. It was noted these decisions regarding office operations will be “made by leadership on an office-by-office basis.” Supervisors and managers were encouraged to begin their planning for the fall semester and to reach out to their HR business partner for support.

Public Health Guidelines:

The announcement explained the university’s Public Health Task Force will “continue to monitor progress and local warning indicators, ensuring the University is following guidance from UT System, the State of Texas and the CDC.”

With respect to university operations in the fall, the announcement stated that the task force would “make recommendations” regarding ways to safely return to campus for the upcoming semester after considering “latest public health best practices, testing protocols, community vaccination levels, vaccine availability and the status of COVID-19 variants.”

The task force will also be hosting a town hall to get feedback and answer questions about the guidelines once they are released.


With regards to commencements, the university is working on plans to offer “modified in-person ceremonies” for students graduating in spring 2021, as well as students that graduated in May and December of 2020. More information on these ceremonies is forthcoming.

Finally, the announcement also called on members of the UTSA community to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible. “The vaccines are safe, effective and crucial to winning the fight against COVID-19,” the announcement said.

The announcement ended with an assurance that the Roadrunner community will be able to “capitalize on the creative gains over the past year” as the university works to provide an active campus and a traditional college experience for the upcoming fall semester.

“This year has been challenging and the pandemic is still deeply impacting our community—yet there is cause for hope. As we’ve said time and time again, all of you have shown remarkable resilience. Thank you for your patience and for your continued dedication to UTSA throughout our journey,” the announcement concluded.