Campus Life

Message From The Texas A&M Provost

Information about teaching online courses, staff telecommuting and other new guidance regarding COVID-19 as of March 13, 5:45 p.m. CDT
By Carol A. Fierke, Texas A&M Provost and Executive Vice President March 13, 2020

Dear Texas A&M Community,

In the last week, it has been heartening to see the Aggie spirit alive as we work together to prepare and respond to this extraordinary circumstance.

Below are the latest developments in Texas A&M’s response to the global outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

We will continue to update this central webpage with answers to Frequently Asked Questions, as well as other essential resources.

Below is key information announced today, as well as critical information released earlier this week, which is in line with System Guidance:

  • Faculty online training schedule
  • Staff guidance for in-person and telecommuting March 16 –April 3
  • Campus services

Classes

Classes are canceled for the full week of March 16-20. This will enable faculty, staff and student leaders to continue coordinated planning for the remainder of the semester.

Classes will resume online only March 23 – April 28 (the last day of classes).

The university will remain open to faculty, staff and students who choose to be on campus.

A determination will be made in the coming weeks about the ability to hold final exams in person, as well as commencement.

No undergraduate students will be required to be physically on campus but students are permitted to be on campus for services and facility usage in line with meetings cap numbers as outlined below. Graduate and professional students should contact their respective programs for guidance.

Students conducting clinical activities or student teaching should consult your respective program leadership for guidance.

Self-Monitoring vs. Self-Isolation Guidance and Guidance for International and Domestic Travel:

As the United States is a COVID-Level 2 country, students, faculty and staff should follow self-monitoring protocols found in the Frequently Asked Questions section of this web page and on the CDC Care Guide. The same protocols are now applied to all Level 2 countries, be it traveling to, from, or through them.

Any students, faculty or staff traveling from CDC Level 3 countries (including most of Europe) must self-isolate for 14 days before returning to campus and report travel on the travel reporting portal. Domestic travel is not required to be entered into the portal at this time. Self-isolation protocols can be found in the FAQ section and are also listed on the CDC Care Guide.

No university travel is permitted domestically or internationally unless mission- critical or health-critical as approved by leadership. The university strongly discourages out-of-state and international personal travel.

Only international travel should be recorded on the travel reporting portal.

Student Health Services:

Texas A&M University’s Student Health Services (SHS) has activated a respiratory clinic with a separate dedicated entrance at the A.P. Beutel Health Center. All students need to pre-screen regardless of health concern, to decrease the spread of respiratory illness. To arrange a pre-screening, visit the Student Patient Portal.

Faculty Guidance for Online Instruction:

To facilitate the move to online instruction beginning March 23, 2020 there are several resources and training opportunities available on campus and via ZOOM next week. If you have graduate teaching assistants who would benefit from this information, please share with them.

Log on to Keepteaching.tamu.edu which is a comprehensive resource to help move courses online. Please review this resource before you attend training sessions or seek walk-in support, as many of your questions may be answered by this resource.

Additional Information:

  • Each college is determining how to move lab classes online. Please consult with your Dean’s office.
  • Clinical care in medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy and Vet Med is authorized to continue, but please consult with your Dean’s office for additional information.
  • Synchronous courses may be converted for asynchronous delivery. No additional curricular approvals are required for this semester.
  • Any change to the course syllabus must be communicated in advance to students.

Staff Guidance:

The University will remain open to faculty, staff and students. To support University functions, the Division of Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness outlined employee expectations in continuing to fulfill normal job duties.

Department heads and managers are asked to follow the measures below:

  • Communicate work expectations and provide guidance to employees in accordance with their unit’s business continuity plan.
  • Employees unsure of their work expectations should consult with managers.
  • Employees involved in clinical activities should consult your respective leadership for guidance.
  • Maximize employee telecommuting or working from home, where feasible. Department heads can approve requests for Alternate Work Location (AWL).
  • For job duties that must be performed onsite, managers are asked to implement safety precautions for all employees including:
    • Minimizing employee contact
    • Holding virtual meetings
    • Practicing social distancing
    • Offering virtual services, where possible

Employees with risk-factors should consult with their supervisor about accommodations.

In an effort to address a variety of employee inquiries that have resulted from recent University communications, the division of HROE is updating its website regularly with employment-related information concerning the COVID-19. Visit their website at https://employees.tamu.edu/COVID-19.

All employment-related questions concerning the coronavirus, including the use of AWL duty or any type of leave, should be emailed to benefits@tamu.edu.

Housing:

While classes will move online starting March 23, the University will remain open, including all on-campus residence halls and apartments. We are open for any on- and off-campus resident who chooses to continue employment, use their dining plan, use WiFi and computing labs for completing online coursework, and otherwise have a successful semester.

Residents who have traveled to a Level 3 CDC Travel country are required to report their travel and self-isolate off-campus for 14 days prior to returning to their on-campus residence. We strongly encourage anyone who is self-isolating to limit contact with others, including those living in their residence and pets. Residents who are required to self-isolate are welcome to return to their room or apartment after completing their 14-day isolation period with no symptoms of coronavirus. Department of Residence Life Leadership Team is discussing t

We have been asked if students can cancel their on-campus housing contract for the rest of the semester and whether there will be any refunds. This unprecedented situation and will communicate decisions as soon as possible. For now, we just want residents to know that they do have a place to live on campus if they choose to return.

Dining:

Dining will remain open to support students.

Transportation:

Transportation will remain on the break schedule.

Meetings and Events:

Campus community meetings and events are now restricted to less than 50 participants. Meeting rooms must have considerations for appropriate social distancing, also described on the FAQs.

No participants from off campus (other than campus community members, such as with RELLIS or agencies) should join in-person meetings on campus, nor should any participants who travel from other states or countries. effective March 13 – April 3.

Campus Recruiting and Tours:

No undergraduate or graduate on-campus recruiting and no campus tours will take place through April 3.

Texas A&M Athletics:

The Southeastern Conference announced that all athletics activities, including

competitions, team and individual practices, meetings and other organized gatherings, will be suspended through at least April 15, due to continuing developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The SEC had previously announced that all competition was suspended until March 30. That suspension of competition has been extended through April 15 and now includes all organized team activities. Texas A&M will follow the new guidelines.

SEC athletics programs will cease practices, individual and team workouts effective the end of the day Friday, March 13. Team meetings shall conclude no later than 5 pm local time on Monday, March 16.

SEC member institutions will continue to provide their student-athletes with care and support to meet needs in areas including academics, medical care, mental health and wellness, nutrition and housing as needed.

Precautions to Continue to Take:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds
  • Use hand sanitizer
  • Avoid shaking hands
  • Disinfect frequently touched objects using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
  • Stay home when you are sick and avoid close contact with those who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Other Information:

The Bush Library and Museum will be closed effective Saturday, March 14. The National Archives and Records Administration directed all its museums and research rooms nationwide. NARA Staff will continue to serve the public remotely by responding to all phone calls and email requests to info.bush@nara.gov. The Bush Family Gravesite and the museum grounds will continue to be open to the public until further notice.

FAQ’s and this site will continue to be updated. Additional questions or needs can be routed to the IT Help Desk at (979) 845-8300 who will address issues or locate the correct support personnel.

We greatly appreciate the support received from the entire Aggie Network as we work with health authorities and government officials to take necessary steps in support of the safety and education of Aggies and our surrounding communities.

Carol A. Fierke
Texas A&M University Provost and Executive Vice President

Media contact: Kelly Brown, kelly.brown@tamu.edu.

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