While UH plans to reopen for Fall 2020, all ‘large’ classes will likely move online, Renu Khator says

Although not official, President Renu Khator said classes of 50 or more could move to remote formats for Fall 2020. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

Although not official, President Renu Khator said classes of 50 or more could move to remote formats for Fall 2020. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

While the University is currently anticipating in-person classes this fall, President Renu Khator said during Thursday’s Board of Regents meeting there’s a high likelihood all “large” classes will be moved online.

While the final decision hasn’t been made on what would be defined as a large class, Khator said her committees have looked at having 50 people be the cut-off, a benchmark many universities are using.

“We have classrooms sized very large where we can put 50 people with social distancing,” she said. “I think beyond 50 becomes a little bit of a different thing, it’s just a lot of people together, so I think that’s where we may end up.”

When asked about the University of Texas’ announcement to proceed with in-person classes, Khator said UH has similar plans, but she has given her committee until June 1 to evaluate logistics and to make the official decision. 

“More or less everybody is planning for fall to be on campus,” Khator said. 

In this scenario, many other classes would be offered in-person and virtually to give students and faculty more options. 

“The bottom line is the mission must continue, and we have to be very flexible (on) how we offer it,” she said.

Khator acknowledged the risk range in the UH student body and said the University has to make sure to serve both groups that aren’t high risk and the ones who are. Because of this, she doubts a plan where students are forced to come back to campus will go into effect.

In the case that students do return to the classroom in Fall 2020, Khator said, social distancing guidelines will be in place across campus. All the services currently offered online would transition to both online and in-person modes. 

“We will not have large events, for instance,” she said. “We just can’t, looking at everything right now.”

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