ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The University of New Mexico is extending its “limited operations” policy through the end of the month while also acknowledging that the fall semester will likely look different for returning and first-time students.

In an update posted to UNM’s website Tuesday, UNM President Garnett Stokes says limited operations will last at least until June 1, 2020. The university is evaluating a plan for a phased-in return that could take place after that.

Meanwhile, Stokes wrote, “it’s looking more and more likely that event by fall, much of the state will still be operating under some type of social distancing requirements, as well as some limitations on group sizes.”

While UNM hasn’t explicitly announced any changes to its fall semester, President Stokes says the university is preparing for operational changes.

“Based on assumptions that in-person experiences will still need to be limited in number, we’re developing multiple approaches to increase social distancing, while still providing the richness of in-person education,” Stokes said in a recent video address to the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce.

UNM’s “limited operations” status has been in place since March 17. Only around 1,000 “tier one” essential workers and critical researchers are working across the university campuses. More than 15,000 university employees have managed to keep working during the pandemic though, with most working from home.

UNM has also moved its first summer session of course almost entirely to remote instruction through the internet.

With an eye toward fall, Stokes says there is a lot more to be figured out about budgets, operations and enrollment and how those factors will play into the University’s plans.

“Moving forward, we’re going to be looking at budgets and operations, enrollment, personnel, instruction, research capability, health care services, in short, everything it takes to keep a university running knowing that we must align with state government and city plans for varying levels of social distancing,” Stokes said in a recent address to the Albuquerque Chamber. “While some decisions will need to be made quickly, they won’t be made in haste.”

UNM hasn’t said yet when it’s aiming to release more about what a phased reopening will look like. The fall term is supposed to begin on August 17.

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