Opinion: TJC should cease on-campus operations for the spring semester


Now is not the time for Tyler Junior College to stand out among the rest of our community.

Amid a throng of Coronavirus-related closures and changes, TJC has yet to make a definitive decision regarding the school’s operations for the rest of the spring semester. As of March 19, in-person classes are set to resume on April 6. However, institutions across the nation are closing their doors for the rest of the semester as a precaution against COVID-19. Why won’t TJC follow suit?

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order mandating the temporary closure of schools and prohibition of social gatherings involving ten or more people until April 3, according to the Texas Tribune. Following these guidelines, TJC announced a transition to online classes for the week of March 30 and a tentative return to campus on April 6. 

Taking it one step further, local institutions such as the University of Texas at Tyler and Kilgore College have transitioned to online-only classes for the remainder of the spring semester. Given that the U.S. now leads the world in COVID-19 cases (more than 68,000 as of March 26, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), refraining from in-person classes seems to be the safest and most sensible decision for our school.

Graphic by Juan Lesser

The tentative transition to online classes has been a difficult one for students and faculty alike. Professors must reevaluate their lesson plans, students must adjust to online work and a lack of extracurricular activities. Additionally, many graduating students are uncertain about their last few months at TJC. Nevertheless, the temporary setbacks these issues present pale in comparison to the possibly devastating consequences of reopening school as COVID-19 continues to worsen. The health and safety of the TJC community is, and should be, of the utmost importance to our administration. That being considered, administrators should take these circumstances to heart when deciding TJC’s course of action for the rest of the semester. 

Allowing students to remain at home for the spring semester provides an opportunity for students to adjust to the changes of online coursework in the comfort and safety of their own homes. Additionally, student workers who rely on individual incomes to support themselves or their families will be able to apply for employment outside of TJC. TJC’s administration will also be able to divert focus from the spring semester to the summer and fall terms, allowing for admissions and extracurriculars to carry on as planned. The sooner a decision is reached, the sooner all students and staff can fully adjust and move forward with their plans and necessities. 

TJC’s administration has been diligent in its communications with our community and should be commended for its efficient decision-making process. However, the long-term direction of TJC’s spring operations must be decided upon quickly – and in a manner that best protects all students, staff and the rest of the Tyler community.


  1. I too have wondered why TJC hasn’t decided to move online for the remainder of the semester. Smith County is now under a mandatory stay at home order until April 10, but I still haven’t seen an update from the college about postponing the return to campus beyond the 6th. Also, there are students, like myself, that are also parents. With the closures of daycares along with the possibility of grade schools moving online for the remainder of the year, we may not be able to return to campus. You also mentioned students that are now out of work due to campus closure finding other jobs. While there are some places hiring, even they have cut back on workers, not to mention the unknown of how it would affect their schedule if classes were to return if the college chooses not to close for the remainder of the semester. There are a lot of unknowns, but I do think that it would be in the best interest of everyone to move all classes online and close campus for the remainder of the spring semester.

  2. The biggest issue for me so far is that I’m supposed to come to the school in two weeks to give a speech for my final project grade. This can be done online, but the professor hasn’t changed the instructions yet. The US president has even extended the isolation period. It puts us in a very difficult position where we have to choose to follow what our school/our teachers are saying and what the government is saying.

  3. I quite enjoyed reading this article. I wonder as well why TJC hasn’t switched it all to online school for the semester since many university’s surrounding us have. I know for me, it has been leaving anxiety and stress in the air. It is better to keep everyone safe than sorry.

  4. I agree with the fact that our safety should come first. Almost all schools in the area have made the decision to go fully online until the semester is over. Honestly it sounds like the most reasonable decision to make. We shouldn’t have to continuously stretch this situation out and create further confusion in our new adjustments. I believe we would all feel safer if we could move out, come home, and wait it out in the comfort of our homes.

  5. I feel TJC should think about switching to online classes, if they think about it.. no one really knows how this pandemic is going to play out. Especially for students who do not live in the state of Texas, those students and faculties should be thought of as well.

  6. I agree that TJC was always a wild card when it came to their decision to not announce that they would be moving to online classes. I assume the college had its own reasons to choose not to make a definitive choice on whether or not to close the school for the whole semester (until they were forced to).

  7. I agree that we should switch to online classes for the safety of us students. It would be so hard to keep the virus from spreading if we were all in small classrooms together, touching desks and materials.

  8. Looking at this article in retrospect TJC, even though being slow to follow suit with other campuses, has done a good job with helping students and teachers get acclimated to the online curriculum. Hopefully, with the virus on the rise, TJC will continue in its efforts to help students and teachers stay safe at home from the virus while still being able to get an education.


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