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Saturday, December 9, 2023


Academic soft opening is lifted after four weeks

UH started transitioning back to full capacity Monday, Sept. 20, after its four-week-long academic soft opening. | Katrina Kujawa/The Cougar

UH started transitioning back to full capacity Monday, Sept. 20, after its four-week-long academic soft opening. | Katrina Kujawa/The Cougar

After UH’s four-week-long academic soft opening, the University will be moving classes back to full capacity.

The UH COVID-19 Coordination Committee made the decision to make the transition to full density starting Monday, Sept. 20, Provost Paula Myrick Short said in an email.

“It is with deep gratitude that I thank you for your many efforts over the start of the fall semester in helping to maintain a safe learning and working environment on campus,” Short said. “Based on our health experts’ analysis of the testing and contact tracing data, we believe that the risk of spread on campus is low, but we will continue to monitor conditions closely.”

UH will have classes return to their previous form of instruction, meaning all classes that previously agreed to in-person modalities will return to fully face-to-face instruction.

Short encouraged members of the UH community to wear masks, get vaccinated, get recommended boosters and routine COVID-19 testing.

Some students were grateful for the transition, but still had concerns about how it was handled.

Psychology junior Laila Barazi said the University put a lot of thought into reopening and trusted the decision.

“I feel like it was a good transition back into school,” Barazi said. “I feel like it addressed a lot of student’s concerns regarding how some classes were online and some were in person.” 

Despite her feelings on UH’s decision, Barazi said she wishes it could’ve accommodated for her larger classes. Barazi’s larger class sizes still leave students sitting in close proximity.

“I think as long as people are being careful and hopefully are getting vaccinated and wearing a mask, I think that’s the best people can do,” Barazi said.

Political science sophomore Dima Ghazala feels safe with what the University has been doing to mitigate the spread of the virus.

“I feel pretty good about it so far everybody that I’ve been approached by has worn a mask and kept a respectful distance so I’m feeling pretty safe,” Ghazala said.

Ghazala also had concerns about class size accommodations in classrooms for social distancing as the academic soft opening ends. They said students seem to be following the unspoken rule of moving desks apart to leave space between themselves and their peers.

“Everyone’s pretty much wearing a mask and if they’re not I’m assuming and hoping that they are vaccinated,” Ghazala said. “I wish that the policies were a little more strict in terms of that but I do know that the University is taking that into consideration and they are trying their best, I’m just excited to be on campus.”

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