CENTRAL TEXAS (KXAN) — The new semester will begin remotely for students at two universities in Central Texas due to the rapid spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19.

Huston-Tillotson University in Austin announced on Tuesday that classes will be held remotely starting on Jan. 10, with in-person instruction set to return on Jan. 24. In a letter to the campus, the university’s president, Colette Pierce Burnette, said residence halls will still reopen as planned on Jan. 7.

“We are continuing our close monitoring of the public health situation and following the science to put
protocols, procedures, and guidelines in place to ensure a safe and healthy campus environment,” she wrote.

A day prior, Texas State University shared it would switch classes online or remote to start the new year.

An email from the university stated remote learning will run from Jan. 18 — the first two days of classes — through the end of the month. No classes are being canceled, and all campuses and offices will stay open for business, student services and library use.

Texas State currently requests all students, faculty and staff get tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours before returning to campuses.

“I know this is not the start of the semester we were all looking forward to. We are taking these actions out of an abundance of caution and are hopeful the surge will peak quickly,” Texas State President Denise M. Trauth wrote in a statement Monday.

For more information, visit Texas State University.

Huston-Tillotson stated it will still require masks in all indoor spaces and common areas on campus and strongly encourage masking outdoors when people cannot properly distance themselves. All students must either have a COVID-19 vaccination record or an approved exemption on file. Routine testing and vaccination clinics will happen throughout the upcoming semester, the university confirmed.