Sent on behalf of Chancellor John Sharp
Texas A&M University System CEOs:
Thank you for communicating with us over the last 24-48 hours regarding decisions about your campus operations and overall plans for the remainder of the spring semester. TAMUS is providing the following guidance to our institutions and agencies as of 3/13/2020:
Institutions: We ask that you plan to suspend classes for the week following your spring breaks. This will include all of your teaching locations, including RELLIS. During the suspension of classes, please use that time to plan for delivery of online/alternative education for all students for the remainder of the semester or until the current situation changes and further guidance is provided. For those universities with spring break during the week of 3/16-20, we realize you may or may not need to suspend classes the following week. Existing online courses may continue as planned, at the university’s discretion. We realize that in some cases it may be difficult or impossible to eliminate face-to-face interaction, due to the nature of the class or due to technical or other limitations. If face-to-face class meetings are the only way to deliver the curriculum, we would recommend groups of 50 or smaller in spaces that allow for social distancing, which the CDC recommends to be at least six feet.
Campuses will remain open during this time. Student housing will remain open, and food service will continue, unless circumstances change. It will be a local campus decision as to staffing needed to maintain essential operations.
Agencies and System Offices: Agencies and System offices may move to skeleton crew staffing, as appropriate, for five days beginning March 16ththrough the 20th. Each Vice Chancellor or Agency director may designate staffing levels needed to maintain critical business operations and continuity. This plan will be revisited by 3/19. This does not apply to TDEM given its emergency management responsibilities, or to certain divisions of Agrilife, TEEX, TFS, and TVMDL, as determined by agency leadership.
Travel: As of 3/13/2020, no international travel is permitted and no domestic travel is permitted unless deemed mission critical. Regarding travel to Washington, D.C., as of 5 p.m. EST today, public access to the U. S Capitol complex, including the House and Senate office buildings, is limited until 8 a.m. Thursday, April 1. There will be no public tours or meetings with more than 15 visitors. Access for Official Business meetings will be limited and subject to staff escort from the building entrance. We expect these temporary access restrictions to expand to include federal agencies in the coming days. We recommend that any administrators, faculty, staff or students contemplating business travel to Washington, D.C. contact the A&M System Washington office prior to making any plans for further advice and consultation.
In addition, we would like to provide guidance from CDC regarding self-isolation and self-monitoring. This information is important as you may have students, faculty and staff who may be returning from travel abroad or within the U.S., which is now a Level 2 country. Please continue to check the CDC website as these recommendations may evolve:
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SELF-MONITOR?
According to the CDC, self-monitoring means people should monitor themselves for fever by taking their temperatures twice a day and remain alert for cough or difficulty breathing. If you feel feverish or develop measured fever, cough, or difficulty breathing during the self-monitoring period, you should self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek advice by telephone from a healthcare provider. To download the CDC Check and Report Every Day (CARE) Booklet which helps you understand how to self-monitor your health and how to check your symptoms daily visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/COVID-19_CAREKit_ENG.pdf
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SELF-ISOLATE?
If you are not experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 and are asked to self-isolate after returning from a country listed on the CDC’s COVID-19 travel advisories page as Level 3, you should stay off campus and remain home. Do not go to campus including work, residence halls and apartments, classes, athletic events or other social gatherings until 14 days after leaving the Level 3 country in question. Likewise, avoid public places and gatherings in the community.
Please follow these guidelines for self-isolation:
Report any symptoms of COVID-19 immediately to your medical provider, preferably by calling to get advice and instructions. Stay in your room or apartment. Do not go to work, classes, athletic events, or other social or religious gatherings until 14 days after your return to the United States from the country in question. Limit contact as much as possible. This also means limiting close contact with others including persons living in your residence. Wash your hands with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand rubs after coughing or sneezing or throwing a used tissue in the garbage. Cover coughs and sneezes with your upper sleeve or a tissue. Never cough in the direction of someone else. Avoid sharing household items. Do not share drinking glasses, towels, eating utensils, bedding, or any other items until you are no longer asked to self-isolate. Keep your surroundings clean. While the virus is not spread very well from contact with soiled household surfaces, try to clean surfaces that you share with others, such as door knobs, telephones, and bathroom surfaces (or any other object that you sneeze or cough on), with a standard household disinfectant wipe. Wash your hands after cleaning the area. Monitor yourself for symptoms at least daily including measuring your temperature. Any symptoms of COVID-19 should be reported to your physician. To download the CDC Check and Report Every Day (CARE) Booklet which helps you understand how to self-monitor your health and how to check your symptoms daily visit:
Please continue to be vigilant with public health measures that you are all implementing and that the public is being asked to practice, such as frequent hand washing, social distancing, and staying home if ill. We will continue to monitor the situation and appreciate everyone’s diligence and cooperation during this challenging time as we seek to protect our students, faculty, staff and communities.
Jenny E. Jones, M.A.
Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations
Texas A&M University System
1303 San Antonio Street, Ste 850 | Austin, TX 78701
ph: 512.542.7834 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, a comprehensive health science center, eight state agencies, and the RELLIS Campus, the Texas A&M System educates more than 153,000 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
(512) 289-2782 cell