ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The University of New Mexico laid out its tentative plan for the fall semester and the hope is to bring students back on campus. “Students have been talking to us for quite some time about wanting more in person, we want more in person,” said James Holloway, UNM Provost & Exec. Vice President Academic Affairs. “Some faculty are in the same place and some faculty are really missing that in-person interaction with students.”  

UNM said depending on the status of the pandemic in the late summer and state health orders in place at the time, they will be holding the majority of courses in-person. Classes will most likely still involve precautions such as mask-wearing, symptom checking, and continued disinfection. UNM said any students or faculty who have medical conditions or concerns with the in-person model, can work with the university’s ADA office to make arrangements to work remotely.

Holloway wants to stress these plans are subject to change depending on how the pandemic progresses but believes it’s still better to plan for an in-person semester and make adjustments later if necessary. “It’s much easier for us to plan something with a lot more in-person courses and then switch it to something much more remote than to do the reverse,” said Holloway.  

Holloway said last year heading into the remote fall term, UNM actually had a 7.5% increase in first-year students, compared to the national average decrease of 13%. UNM officials said they should have a finalized plan in place in the coming weeks. 

A spokesperson with Western New Mexico University said according to WNMU President Dr. Joseph Shepard, they’re looking to a regular opening this fall if possible. A regular opening means that WNMU hopes to return to its pre-pandemic ratio of face-to-face and online courses. The plan is dependent on vaccine availability and will be determined in accordance with public health guidelines. 

New Mexico State University sent the following statement:

“NMSU is still working to finalize plans for our summer and fall semesters. Currently, 12% of our classes are fully face-to-face, and another 53% are hybrid with some in-person components. As vaccines continue to roll out, we believe there will be opportunities for us to offer many more in-person classes. By the time course schedules are available in April, we should have a much clearer sense of how many courses will be face to face.”

A spokesperson with New Mexico Tech sent the following statement about their plans for fall:

“The New Mexico Tech administration is taking a measured approach to its plans for course delivery for the Fall 2021 semester and plans to expand its in-person course offerings as conditions and state health orders permit. Given the size and nimble nature of NMT, our current plans for the Fall 2021 semester are to operate in a mix of face-to-face, hybrid, and distance education fashion; however, the administration is working closely with our faculty to have the ability to shift to mostly in-person format when we can do so safely. We are a hands-on STEM university, and we are keeping our options open with a strong preference to return to in-person instruction under the proper health and safety conditions.”