Published on Tue 08/25/20
Dear Texas A&M Community,
I thank all of you for all of the extra effort that you are expending to make sure that our students have the best possible educational experience in the midst of this pandemic.
As students have returned, we are seeing an increase in COVID-19 diagnoses in this population and in the community. Texas A&M understands the importance of COVID-19 testing and the critical nature of sharing data with the Aggieland community. The COVID-19 dashboard is available here for public access and will be updated weekly, though data are being monitored daily by our health experts and administration. Information to date is as expected with thousands of students returning to the Bryan-College Station region and campus. As you review the dashboard, please carefully review each graph’s footnotes to notate what is included in each as data may vary from county or state information on a given day.
I meet regularly with university representatives to review the dashboard data and other metrics in order to make recommendations to the President and the System about University operations. We also work closely with Dr. Seth Sullivan of the Brazos County Health District, and we are monitoring the current situation very carefully.
We want our Aggie community to be safe. Each one of us can easily help and effectively minimize the spread of infection by wearing face coverings, physical distancing, staying home when sick, quarantining when exposed, assisting with contact tracing, and getting tested. Thank you for doing your part.
Please remember that information about COVID-19 can be found on the central COVID-19 page accessible from the university’s central web page.
Testing and Reporting
Beutel Health Center is offering COVID testing for faculty and staff including the self-collected nasal swab and blood COVID antibody testing. They will file insurance for these tests. Go here and select the patient portal to schedule.
If you have symptoms, get exposed, or are diagnosed with COVID-19, please immediately go to tx.ag/covidreport. Our operations center will initiate contact tracing, so please answer or return their phone calls. Additional details on reporting are available here.
- The add/drop deadline has been extended to 5 p.m. on Friday, August 28, to allow students additional flexibility with making changes to their schedule for in-person and/or remote classes.
- Our thoughts are with our Sea Aggies in Galveston who have evacuated their campus given the unpredictability of Tropical Storm Laura. Students in Galveston will have until 5 p.m. on Monday, August 31, to make changes to their schedule.
- If students are participating in your course remotely or online but while on campus (and not in their residence hall room), they must wear a face covering. They may not remove them during your online or remote course if they are doing so from a campus building (except their residence hall room) nor should they if they are accessing WiFi from other public locations.
- Remote or online students who could not be on campus in person to pick up their Aggie ID Cards have an electronic solution in the event they need an ID for exams. Today, they were instructed to obtain a screenshot, PDF, or printed version of their identification from the My Profile tile in Howdy.
- Please refer students to Help Desk Central for 24/7 assistance with Zoom, eCampus, Canvas, or other technology issues.
- The Faculty Senate indicated that the new Explanatory Absence Form is an acceptable alternative to a medical confirmation note as required in SR 7. NOTE: only students can view and complete the form. Instructors will receive the Explanatory Absence notification from firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The University Club on the top floor of Rudder Tower is temporarily closed.
As expected, I heard about many challenges last week, but I also heard many success stories, as well. The magnitude of this change on our operations is significant. I want to thank you for your hard work and months of preparation to welcome our Aggies back to campus. We could not have gotten to this point without you!
Carol A. Fierke
Provost & Executive Vice President