COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M University System’s Board of Regents is moving forward with plans to reopen campuses and programs for the 2020-2021 academic year over a telephonic meeting Friday.
In an emailed media release Chancellor John Sharp emphasized the importance of having an on-campus college experience.
“You can get a degree online,” said Sharp “But it’s very hard to be an Aggie online.”
The Board of Regents approved A&M System’s COVID-19 response plan for reopening member campuses and programs for 2020-2021. The board also approved the establishment of the SecureAmerica Institute, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station.
The plan will have the Texas A&M University System utilize social distancing practices by "using smaller classes, longer class days to reduce congestion between classes, Saturday classes, adjustments to the academic calendar and a phased-in arrival on campus in August and again in January," stated the email.
There will be multiple measures to ensure that faculty, staff, and students are not bringing the virus to campus. By certifying that an individual has not been infected, does not have symptoms, and has not been in close contact with someone who does, the Board of Regents hopes to prevent an outbreak from occurring.
The university has also considered that a student who is potentially high-risk for COIVD-19 can consider other options for returning to campus. According to the plan, almost all classes should be offered either as remote or online instruction.
If a student does test positive for coronavirus, they are encouraged to self-isolate from their permanent residence or quarantine in separate accommodations.
The media release stated that "in preparation for the fall semester, universities and agencies are directed to prepare facilities, obtain cleaning supplies and protective equipment, and develop processes and protocols for implementation of this guidance."
Institutions are asked to:
- Adjust maximum capacity for each classroom or lab in accordance with COVID-19 physical distancing guidance from public health authorities.
- Remove or “block off” classroom furniture to limit seating to the adjusted maximum capacity.
- Add barriers where possible to encourage the separation of individuals.
- Disinfect teaching spaces several times each day.
For more information regarding university facilities, clubs, fraternities/sororities, food service, and athletics, read the full plan HERE.
Texas A&M University System has a statewide network of 11 universities and eight state agencies.