"Would we have our own children in this environment? The answer is yes, we absolutely would," Chancellor Tedd Mitchell said at Thursday's Board of Regents meeting.
After 5 months, the Texas Tech University System is preparing to welcome back more than 50,000 students across its four schools, 2 in Lubbock, the Health Sciences Center in El Paso and Angelo State University.
Each with its own safety protocols, but many shared across the system like mandatory face masks and enhanced air filtration.
"This is the strength of being a system. And being a system that has helped institutions, that has made this as functional a system for trying to determine how and when to re-open," Dr. Mitchell.
With no end in sight to the pandemic, Chancellor Dr. Tedd Mitchell says it is time to learn to live with the virus.
"We go through every single scenario we can, fully realizing that number 1 we can't cover every scenario, and number 2, somebody's going to get sick," he said.
In addition to safety protocols, there is a system wide contingency plan for when that happens. Including extra hands on deck for contact tracing.
More specifically, 26 individuals at Texas Tech, 3 full time staff in El Paso and 90 at Angelo State University. Seating charts and attendance taking will be in place, to keep track of anyone who might be exposed.
"There are very specific instructions being given to faculty on how you conduct the first day of class. We've asked faculty to communicate one week in advance to all students through email to let them know about what protocols should be observed, as to how you cue into a classroom, seating arrangements, so on and so forth," Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec said.
Each school will also have its own COVID-19 dashboard. Schovanec also reports a positivity rate of 2% with 650 tests administered as of Thursday morning at its new testing location.
He also reports that despite the unprecedented semester ahead, enrollment is up by 5% and 9.7 % for the incoming freshman class.