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Angelo State University is changing protocols to allow students to return to campus in the fall

Classroom capacities are going to be decreased by 50% and the semester will start and end earlier than usual.

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Almost 75% of Angelo State University students prefer face-to-face learning over online learning, according to Dr. Don Topliff, the vice president of student affairs at ASU.

That's why Angelo State is moving forward with students living and learning on campus for the 2020 fall semester.

 "We prefer to stay face to face, and that’s what we’ve been planning to do," Topliff said.

An in-person semester isn't going to happen without some changes, however. So far, the university has reduced the classroom capacity by 50%, some classes may be taught both online and in-person.

"We may actually have to teach some classes as a hybrid. Part of the class comes on Monday, and the other part of the class comes on Wednesday. On the alternate days, they’re looking at a recorded session that all of the faculty have the ability to do," Topliff said.

He said equipment is being installed in every classroom so students who cannot come to class in-person will still be able to receive the same lecture their counterparts did. 

"For those students that can’t come, it’s not a problem. We will accommodate that. They’ll be able to see exactly what their counterparts in the classroom saw," he said.

The semester will begin Aug. 17 and end Nov. 24. Topliff said the university wants students to be able to go home before the height of the cold, flu and COVID-19 season.

The university is installing a screening tool application on its website that employees and students will fill out every day.

"It’s a screening tool that basically gives us some information as to whether or not this particular individual is showing any signs of COVID-19. If they are, we have a very detailed plan in place to deal with that. It includes them contacting the Shannon on-demand app that is available to everybody in the community, and then should they test positive, we have plans to do that as well. We think that we’re as ready as we can be," he said.

Topliff said the university has a contingency plan to go fully online if need be.