RENO, Nev. (AP) — University of Nevada, Reno President Brian Sandoval is defending his decision to begin the spring semester with mostly in-person classes this week. His comments in an interview with KRNV-TV come after a group of faculty members called for a two-week classroom closure in the face of unprecedented growth in COVID-19 cases. The new semester began Tuesday. Sandoval points to high vaccination rates among students and faculty and the desire from students to have in-person learning. Though Nevada remains in the throes of a record-setting surge, state biostatistician Kyra Morgan said she is hopeful the growth rate of new cases had begun to slow.