Fall 2020 Update

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

As the updates from HBU’s Husky Strong Task Force (HSTF) indicate, we are committed to safely reopening the University and hosting in-person classes this fall. This season of remote living, learning, and working has reminded us of the fact that God created us as social people and individuals who need community. Despite a secondary spike of COVID-19 cases this summer, we are confident that we can return to campus with aggressive protocols for density, defense and disinfection.

We are closely monitoring the TEA guidance to K-12 school districts in Texas as many of them will also be bringing students back for face-to-face instruction. Additionally, the HSTF will continue to follow federal, state and local guidelines to ensure the health and safety of all Huskies as our faculty, staff and students return to campus this fall. Thankfully, current research shows a very minimal risk to healthy college students without preexisting health conditions. However, we also acknowledge that COVID-19 could pose a threat to students’ family members, as well as others both inside and outside of the HBU community.

Because COVID-19 is spread from person to person, we would ask that members of the HBU community continue to wear masks when away from home. Therefore, we are asking all faculty, staff and students to be considerate and use wisdom over the next month leading up to the fall semester.

Plans for Academic Delivery

  • As scheduled, fall classes will begin on Monday, August 24 and conclude on Friday, December 11. Beginning Monday, November 30, all classes will be held remotely, including final exams. This will not reduce or lengthen the semester; however, it will extend the period of physical distancing for several weeks prior to the Christmas break. The campus, including student housing and dining, will remain open between Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks.
  • With the exception of classes that meet one day per week, classes will be offered in a hybrid model. The following charts represent how the hybrid model will work. Each class roster will be divided into two groups of students (Group A and Group B) for Monday-Wednesday-Friday (MWF) courses and Tuesday-Thursday (TR) courses. For the first day of a MWF class or TR class, Group A will attend class in person on campus; the lecture will be recorded and posted within hours for viewing by Group B. On the second day of a MWF or TR class, Group B will attend class in person on campus and Group A will watch the recorded lecture.
MWF Courses Monday Wednesday Friday

(Both Groups A & B)
Attending Class in Person Group A Group B Remote Instruction
Watching Class Remotely Group B Group A
TR Courses Tuesday Thursday
Attending Class in Person Group A Group B
Watching Class Remotely Group B Group A
  • Classroom layouts will be adjusted for best practices in social distancing. Students attending class in person will wear masks to ensure a safe environment for their peers and faculty. Faculty members will wear either a mask or clear face shield.
  • Once-a-week classes will meet in person on campus but will meet in larger spaces that allow for proper distancing of students.
  • Specific protocols are being established for unique courses like labs, individual music lessons, studio art courses, etc. For example, laboratory settings that require students to work in close proximity to one another will be cleaned and sanitized by instructors or lab assistants. Faculty and students will wear all other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as gowns, gloves, face shields, etc.

The faculty and administration of HBU are working diligently to ensure that the blend of in-person, hybrid, remote and online courses that will be offered in Fall 2020 does not diminish the quality and value of a degree from HBU.

The main accreditation criteria for our courses remain the same whether they are taught in person, online or remotely: our courses must involve regular and substantive instructor interaction with students. With remote and online teaching, faculty and instructors are still able to:

  • Provide regular instruction and interact regularly with their students.
  • Provide full and substantive assessments and regular feedback on students’ coursework.
  • Be proactive and available in providing information or responding to students’ questions about the content of the course.

Faculty across campus continue to incorporate best practices for teaching and learning in various teaching modalities into the design of their courses.

Tuition and fees will not be reduced for the fall semester as we prepare for all of these delivery methods. In fact, faculty members are actively preparing multiple other class delivery scenarios in order to be prepared for potential changes that we may encounter based on COVID-19 conditions. These preparations require additional financial investment on the part of the University. Regardless of the delivery method, course preparation on the part of our faculty has increased, and we anticipate that all academic resources and campus services will still be available to students.

Moreover, we are aware of special requests from students that include the possibility of attending all class sessions in person on campus. Additionally, we have received requests from students to attend courses completely remotely and/or online. An electronic process will be available soon to allow the submission of such requests.

International Travelers
The University is closely monitoring the latest travel bans and potential restrictions facing our international student population. We value and appreciate each and every international student as part of the Husky family. Therefore, we are working to advocate for and support these students in the midst of changing federal requirements.

All travelers from the Houston Baptist University community are urged to educate themselves regarding the hazards of travel during the pandemic, as well as current conditions at your destination, before embarking on nonessential travel. If you are returning to HBU from an international location, you are asked to begin the symptom self-monitoring process 14 days prior to your return, and not to come onto campus if you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19. As a reminder, there will be no University-sponsored international travel for the 2020-2021 school year.

Welcome Days
We are currently in the process of finalizing plans for Welcome Days, our annual orientation weekend for incoming students. This event is designed to help HBU students assimilate into the HBU community while also providing resources for success and involvement. The HBU Student Involvement office is working through a scenario that will provide maximum opportunities for engagement, as well as the safest experience possible, for this meaningful and tradition-rich experience. New, incoming students should mark your calendars for Welcome Days, which is scheduled for Friday, August 21, through Sunday, August 23.

We are excited about the opportunity to provide a vibrant HBU campus experience this fall. The HSTF, as well as our faculty and staff, will continue to work tirelessly to ensure a safe and healthy experience for the entire Husky community.

Visit HBU.edu/HuskyStrong for the latest information about the HBU’s plans to reopen.

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