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Texas A&M regents vote to reopen system campuses this fall

Texas A&M regents vote to reopen system campuses this fall

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Texas A&M campus

Walkways remain mostly empty on the Texas A&M campus in College Station on Friday, May 15, 2020. Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp said this week that “fall 2020 won’t look like fall 2019. But it can’t look like this spring and summer without serious consequences.”

The Texas A&M University System regents voted to reopen the system's 11 campuses this fall in a special telephonic meeting Friday morning.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the A&M system will implement a mix of in-person classes as well as remote and online learning. The A&M system regents also directed the system's eight state agencies to be fully operational by the fall.

A&M's reopening plan calls for social distancing by holding smaller classes and longer class days to reduce congestion between classes, as well as Saturday classes and adjustments to the academic calendar. There will also be a phased arrival of students to campuses at the beginning of each semester in August and January.

A&M system universities will determine which classes will be offered in-person, but most classes will have an option to be taken remotely or online. Students will be encouraged to leave buildings between classes, if possible, to avoid grouping in hallways and lobbies.

Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be encouraged to self-isolate at their permanent residence or will be quarantined in certain areas of residence halls.

All agency and university facilities, including libraries, recreational facilities and student centers, will be open. Food services will return with an emphasis of to-go options and less self-service buffets. Barriers between cashiers and customers will be implemented.

A&M system universities may implement testing strategies and other monitoring methods, such as temperature checks, thermal scanning, testing for antigens or antibodies, assessing congregating patterns to adjust learning or living spaces, and monitoring wastewater effluent from key facilities to look for the spread of the virus.

A&M system universities will determine by July 31 if masks are required in certain settings or just recommended.

To prepare for the fall semester, A&M system universities and agencies have been directed to prepare facilities, get cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment, and develop protocols to implement these guidelines.

To prepare for the fall semester, A&M system universities have been asked to adjust the maximum capacity of classrooms and labs in accordance with social distancing guidelines from public health authorities, remove or block off classroom furniture to limit seating, add barriers where possible, and disinfect teaching spaces multiple times per day.

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