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Coronavirus Update – Changes to academic schedule and instruction


We write to follow up on the message from President Eighmy earlier today announcing that UTSA is extending spring break for students until March 23, 2020, and resuming all classes in an online format on that date. For some of you, this information is less relevant to you and your office; however, we want to make sure that all university staff are aware of these changes.

As President Eighmy explained, these actions are being taken in response to recommendations from our public health agency colleagues to avoid bringing large groups of people together in close proximity for events and gatherings. In-person classes are examples of such events, and the sizes of our classrooms do not generally allow for effective social distancing.

These are challenging circumstances, and we recognize that we are asking quite a bit of our university community in terms of flexibility, creativity and goodwill as we all strive to conclude this semester successfully for the benefit of our students. We deeply appreciate everything you are doing to ensure that our educational, research and service missions continue as we lead our students and community through this unprecedented public health challenge. 

Transitioning to Online Classes

When classes resume on Monday March 23, 2020, face-to-face classes will no longer meet in person for at least the ensuing three weeks. Faculty will conduct classes, assignments, tests, quizzes and any other classroom activities for students virtually, using online technologies and other remote strategies suitable to the learning objectives of the course. 

With this transition to online instruction, our shared goal is to mitigate the potential impacts to student success, including offering academic support services using virtual technologies suitable to their work.

During the work week of March 16, UTSA staff are expected to devote some of their efforts to preparing and implementing the steps necessary to support university academic operations virtually, including utilization of the full range of digital tools available in WebEx, Teams, Blackboard, etc. Because the campus will be open and operational, staff should anticipate having full use of their offices, and work spaces, as well as the online technologies, IT infrastructure and human resources needed to plan and implement this change. Please be sure to practice good hygiene and social distancing techniques while using campus spaces.

The leadership for each Academic Support unit will be working next week on the needed divisional planning to support our capabilities to support our faculty and students virtually.  Each unit director will be responsible for implementation. If you have not done so already, please familiarize yourself now with digital tools suitable to your work and take advantage of any upcoming training classes.

If additional IT equipment is needed for you to execute virtual services (e.g., a webcam), please alert your unit director. UTSA is reviewing its inventory to determine how its equipment can be best deployed to support these changes.

Changes to the Academic Calendar

Because of the extension of spring break, the academic calendar has been extended by three additional days.  The final day of classes will now be May 8, 2020.

In turn, the exam schedule will be compressed to 5 days. Final exams will start May 11, 2020 and end May 15, 2020. As of right now, commencement will be May 16 and 17 as planned.

More details regarding this new academic schedule will be provided to you by the Registrar when available, sometime during the week of March 16. Please refer to and the Registrar’s Faculty and Staff Resources webpage for updates. 

Student Support

In planning the adaptions to our operations, we ask that everyone take actions that consider first and foremost the best interests of their students and that provide our students with maximum flexibility as you accommodate these operational changes. Also, please seek to minimize anxieties for our students to the extent possible, especially anxieties related to how these actions might impact student progress toward their degree.

UTSA leadership will continue to work closely with public health officials to keep up to date on recent events regarding the virus, potential impacts to the UTSA, and in developing plans to mitigate those impacts. The latest information will always be made available at

Finally, we recognize that these actions may create significant challenges for faculty, staff and students. Please understand a great many decisions are being made in short order and under stressful circumstances — all with the best of intentions. As an academic community, we ask for patience, compassion, and cooperation on everybody’s part as we all work together toward resolution.

With Appreciation,

Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D.
Peter T. Flawn Distinguished Professor
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Integrity • Excellence • Inclusiveness • Respect • Collaboration • Innovation