AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) — The University of Texas is asking its professors to teach remotely for the first two weeks of the spring semester — due to a surge in COVID cases.

In a letter sent January 4, President Jay Hartzell said the university has also seen a spike in cases among students and staff.

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“Considering the spike in cases, increased hospitalizations, and current and expected staff shortages in local hospitals and in some functional areas of campus, our university’s COVID-19 Executive Committee determined short-term changes are needed as we start the spring semester,” he said.

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Hartzell said professors will have the option to teach classes in a hybrid format — with both in-person and virtual options — between January 18 and January 28. He says he hopes classes can return to normal on January 31.

All students will be required to receive a viral test within 72 hours (three days) prior to returning to campus.

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Earlier in the week the University of Texas at Dallas announced that it was delaying the start of classes by about a week. Staff