Texas A&M System Regents Vote to Reopen Campuses This Fall

The Texas A&M University System News Release

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M University System Regents on Friday voted  to reopen the System’s 11 university campuses for the fall semester, employing a mixture of face-to-face instruction with remote and online learning. They also directed the System’s eight state agencies to be fully operational by the fall.

The plan for the academic school year of 2020-2021 is general guidance that universities and agencies can use in tailoring their individual plans for reopening. The full document is here (https://www.tamus.edu/pdf/Reopening-Plan-REVISED-FINAL.pdf)

Chancellor John Sharp said the campus experience is invaluable in bringing camaraderie, offering personal experiences and reinforcing the traditions that shape students into the leaders of tomorrow.

 “You can get a degree online,” said Chancellor Sharp ’72. “But it’s very hard to be an Aggie online.” He said the same held true for the other 10 campuses – each with their own rich traditions and opportunities for personal experiences.

The plan calls for social distancing 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. By July 31, each university should determine if face coverings are required in certain settings or just recommended.

Employees and students should be required to certify they have not been infected with the virus, do not have symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who does. Once enrolled, students will be encouraged not to leave the university community during the semester to avoid bringing the infection back to the student body.

Each university will determine which classes should be offered in a classroom setting, but almost all classes should be offered either as remote or online instruction. Students should be encouraged to leave the building between classes when possible to avoid congregating in hallways and lobbies.

Students with COVID-19 high-risk characteristics will be advised to consider their risk in deciding whether to return to campus. The decision will solely be that of the student, although the plan advises such students to take courses remotely from their permanent residences.

Universities and agencies may implement testing strategies, including targeted sampling of individuals at various times during the semester in accordance with public health and medical guidance. They may also consider other tools such as temperature monitoring, thermal scanning, testing for antigens or antibodies, assessment of congregating patterns to adjust learning or living spaces accordingly, and monitoring of wastewater effluent from key facilities to look for the spread of the virus.

Students testing positive will be encouraged to self-isolate at their permanent residence or will be quarantined in separate accommodations, if space is available. Class attendance should be recorded where possible to aid in contact tracing which will be coordinated with local health authorities and the Texas Department of State Health Services

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.

As part of that preparation, the 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.

 

All agency and university facilities – libraries, recreation facilities, and student centers — will be open and operated under the appropriate precautions for the activity designed to occur in that space.

Activities such as clubs, lectures, fraternities/sororities, study sessions, and intramurals will be provided as much as is practical and safe.  All face-to-face co-curricular activities must observe the precautions recommended by local health authorities, including physical distancing and face coverings.

Food service will resume with a greater emphasis on take-away options and less reliance on self-service buffets.  There should be barriers between cashiers and customers and limited seating.

As for athletics, the guidance says the Texas A&M System supports the universities’ resumption of athletics in the 2020-2021 academic year, although timing and format will depend on an ongoing evaluation of conditions and direction from the athletic conferences of which the universities are members.

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

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Texas A&M System Regents to Consider How to Reopen This Fall

The Texas A&M University System News Release

 

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M University System’s Board of Regents will consider how to reopen the System’s 11 universities and eight state agencies for the 2020-2021 academic year during a special telephonic meeting on Friday.

The board will convene at 8:30 a.m. and go immediately into executive session.

Upon the board’s return to the public meeting, the agenda includes consideration and action on the following items:

1) Approval of the A&M System’s COVID-19 Response Plan for Reopening Member Campuses and Programs for 2020-2021

2) Establishment of the SecureAmerica Institute, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station

Members of the public may access the meeting, except for any posted executive session held in compliance with the Open Meetings Act, at https://www.tamus.edu/regents/live-streams/

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

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Navy Veteran Honored for Connecting Fellow Veterans to Student Services

The Texas A&M University System News Release

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Shae Diehl’s selfless service to fellow veterans at Texas A&M University-Kingsville has earned her the Texas A&M System’s first-ever Student Veteran Excellence Award.

Diehl served in the Navy as an aviation boatswains mate handling airman for three years. She is now a senior geology major and president of the university’s Student Veterans Association, where she is well-known for working overtime to help connect veterans to the services they have earned.

“Receiving this award means validation to me. It’s reassurance that the things I have done and will continue to do are putting the student veteran community of Texas A&M-Kingsville on the right track,” Diehl said. “It’s important, now more than ever, that student veterans know they’re not alone.”

Diehl, an Oklahoma native, met her husband, Chris, Petty Officer 2nd Class, while on active duty in Japan. He is stationed at the Naval Air Station in Kingsville. They have a three-year-old son, Dexter, who Diehl said inspired her to pursue higher education.

As she works toward earning her degree at A&M-Kingsville, Diehl remains committed to service. She is listed in the Inactive Ready Reserves until May 2021.

“The way I was raised, if you can help, you should help,” Diehl said. “It’s something that I’ve always tried to apply in any instance I can.”

Some of Diehl’s responsibilities as president of the association include promoting the organization and its events such as the annual Veterans Day Ceremony. By organizing fundraisers, Diehl and five other students, were able to go to Los Angeles for the Student Veterans of America National Conference (NATCON) in January 2020.

Diehl shares credit for her success with everyone in Kingsville who has supported the Student Veterans Association.

“We’ve come a long way, and it’s all because of the veterans and civilians who supported the SVA,” she said. “It’s truly been a team effort to get these ideas from my brain to reality.”

Eloy Gamez, Interim Director of Veteran Relations at Texas A&M-Kingsville, nominated Diehl for the award.

“Our Veterans Affairs Office took notice of her high-intensity enthusiasm of wanting what is best not only for her, but our student veteran body,” Gamez said. “She displayed a great sense of work ethic and dedication to study and served as the ideal mentor to our incoming students.”

Diehl said she enjoys helping students understand their veterans’ benefits.

“Truly it makes me so happy that I’m able to help someone gain clarity in anything involving their education,” she said. “College can be confusing so being able to fill that mentorship role has made me a better person and better leader.”

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

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Los Alamos Lab Plays Vital Role in Fighting COVID-19

The Texas A&M University System News Release

Scientists making artificial human organs to test new vaccines

COLLEGE STATION, Texas & LOS ALAMOS, N.M. – It turns out that the guardians of the nation’s nuclear deterrent are also busy fighting COVID-19.

Many of the scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which is famous for inventing the atomic bomb during the Manhattan Project, are focused on defeating COVID-19. Their work includes vaccine development, testing, manufacturing and viral genetic research.

Chancellor John Sharp of the Texas A&M University System spoke recently with Dr. Thom Mason, director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, about their work to battle COVID-19. The lab is managed by a group called Triad National Security, which is made up of three members: The Texas A&M University System, Battelle Memorial Institute and the University of California.

“There is some truly fascinating work being done at the lab under the management of Triad,” Chancellor Sharp said.

Chancellor Sharp’s conversation with Dr. Mason can be seen on “COVID-19: The Texas A&M System Responds.” In the television series, Chancellor Sharp is interviewing leaders, scientists, researchers and other experts who help fight the pandemic in a variety of ways.

  • The interview will air 7 p.m. Thursday on KAMU-TV in College Station and on other Texas public television affiliates. (Check local listings in Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, Waco and Amarillo.) It also will be available on the System’s YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/Lq2cdhQMKwg

Some of the work at the lab will surprise viewers, Chancellor Sharp said. For example, he learned about how the lab’s scientists are making artificial human organs.

New vaccines require a few stages of clinical trials before they can be tested on humans. Dr. Mason explained that artificial human organs can prove helpful in weeding out vaccine candidates early in the process without putting humans at risk.

“We see our role at Los Alamos as bringing the best science, technology and engineering to the most pressing national security challenges,” Dr. Mason said.

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

System News Archives

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In the Age of the Coronavirus, Chancellor John Sharp Seeks to Answer the Question: “Where’s the beef?”

The Texas A&M University System News Release

COVID-19 exposes weaknesses in our food chain

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texans are asking the same question at grocery stores across the state: Where’s the beef?

In this week’s episode of “COVID-19, The Texas A&M System Responds,” John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, explores what went wrong, why it went wrong and what we need to do to fix the situation to better secure our food supply.

“We are fortunate to have some of the world’s top researchers and economists teaching at Texas A&M and leading Texas A&M AgriLife,” Chancellor Sharp said. “This week, we tap into their vast knowledge to get a better understanding of why we are seeing changes in the market, and what this means to the future of Texas farmers and ranchers, as well as the consumers and the overall food chain.”

Chancellor Sharp joins Dr. Patrick J. Stover, vice chancellor and dean of Texas A&M AgriLife in the Texas A&M System and an international leader in biochemistry and nutrition, to talk about how mechanization and artificial intelligence can help strengthen our food chain.

Chancellor Sharp also talks with Dr. David Anderson, an agricultural economist and professor at Texas A&M, as well as Dr. Bart Fischer, a rancher and co-director of the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M.

The show will air 7 p.m. Thursday on KAMU-TV in College Station and on other Texas public television affiliates. (Check your local listing in Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Waco and Amarillo.) The show also will be available beginning Thursday evening on the website of The Texas A&M University System’s YouTube channel.

This is the seventh in a series of television shows hosted by Chancellor Sharp to educate Texans on the implications of COVID-19. He will be interviewing scientists, researchers and other leading experts from the Texas A&M System who are helping Texas and the nation respond to the pandemic.

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

System News Archives

May 2020
M T W T F S S
 123
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