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Time Sensitive Faculty Guidance for March 16-17

Published on Tue 03/10/20

Dear Faculty,

Classes on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17 are suspended and will resume as scheduled on Wednesday, March 18.  Only classes are suspended.  Otherwise, campus operations will continue to operate as normal on Monday.  We expect that faculty, instructional staff and graduate teaching assistants will be working on their classes and contacting students on these dates. All other staff will operate under a normal schedule as well. Faculty should not cancel classes on their own. We are not extending the spring academic calendar.

Those faculty, instructional staff, and graduate teaching assistants who wish to explore or move from face-to-face delivery to online delivery for spring semester courses may do so and should use Monday and Tuesday to prepare as appropriate.  We are not requiring that all courses move to an online format at this time although we may need to do this in the future. Those individuals who fall into a high-risk category as defined by the CDC are recommended to move their courses online. 

Once instruction resumes on Wednesday, faculty who choose to teach courses online synchronously must teach at the officially-scheduled time so that students do not incur scheduling conflicts. Courses offered asynchronously are not time restricted. Online delivery remains optional for faculty. Faculty wishing to continue teaching in their classrooms as they did before spring break may do so at this time. Should faculty wish to change format, please notify your students in advance.

To assist faculty with online delivery, the Office for Academic Innovation has created as a centralized resource for using university-approved technology. This website also contains electronic resources to assist faculty who are not familiar with these technologies. Additional in-person and virtual training opportunities will be available next week; details on times and locations are forthcoming.

Please note that is available for all instructors, although those who have a course in e-campus may continue to use that platform as they already have sufficient tools for online delivery.

Because delivery of labs and studios may require additional considerations, please contact your dean’s office for additional guidance in moving labs to online delivery. Again, this is not required at this time.

Please remember that the USDOE requires institutions to ensure that faculty and students have substantive communication, either individually or collectively, when offering distance education.  Between the tools available in e-campus, Texas A&M’s enterprise license with ZoomGoogle ClassroomGoogle Apps at Texas A&M, and email, this requirement is easily met. 

For assistance 24/7, please contact Help Desk Central.

Disability Accommodations

Faculty who choose to move courses to online delivery should be mindful that certain students may need additional assistance for disability accommodations.  Students who have interpreters or transcriptionists may be immediately affected.  Please contact Disability Resources if you have questions about how to assist your students during this transition. 

Self-Isolation and Excused Absences

Students who returned to Texas A&M from locations designated as Level 2 or 3 by the CDC for COVID-19 are required to report travel and self-isolate for 14 days before returning to campus. These absences are excused under Student Rule – personal injury or illness that is too severe or contagious for the student to attend class. Student Assistance Services is providing additional support and notifying faculty members if a student traveled through one of the CDC-specified locations. 

As the situation remains fluid, please continue checking the university’s central site which includes an FAQ with additional information for students, faculty, and staff. 

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