TEXARKANA, Texas — Texas A&M University-Texarkana's updated Guide to Returning to Campus outlines specifics about instruction methods and implements a strict mask policy.
A&M-Texarkana is prepared to welcome students back to school Aug. 24, but the welcoming process will look different depending on which course delivery method is chosen by students.
The five class options provided in the guide are as follows:
— Face-to-Face: Class takes place in a traditional setting with reduced capacity and extra spacing allowed for social distancing.
— Online: Course will be offered fully online with no face-to-face component.
— HyFlex: Course will be taught face-to-face and will also provide real-time streaming of the course online allowing students to choose how to attend.
— Hybrid: Some elements of the course will be face-to-face, and some elements of the course will be online.
— Synchronous Remote: Course will be taught via real-time streaming.
Because of the potential threat of the COVID-19 being spread through holiday travel, fall courses are to transition to an online format after Thanksgiving.
The majority of students will not return to campus following the Thanksgiving break, and will finish the semester online, taking final exams remotely. The last day of on-campus instruction will be November 25th, before Thanksgiving break.
Final exams will begin remotely on Dec. 4 and be completed by Dec. 9.
For those who are on campus, masks or face coverings are to be worn in all public places, as well as in private areas when occupied by more than one person.
According to the guide, public settings include, but are not limited to lobbies, restrooms, cafeterias, classrooms, computer or other laboratory spaces, study areas, hallways, elevators, common spaces of residence halls, conference rooms and break rooms.
Face coverings are also required in outdoor areas where a 6-foot social distancing perimeter between people cannot be maintained.
Other measures being taken to prevent the spread of the virus include, but are not limited to:
— Asking anyone with symptoms to stay home.
— Making available sanitizing wipes to clean work surfaces and common areas, as well as hand sanitizer.
— Placing physical barriers in certain areas that typically require face-to-face contact.
— Arranging seats to maintain social distance.
— Providing the custodial staff with personal protective equipment (PPE) and chemical to sanitize all work and study areas.
— Requiring approval by the president and justification for visitor requests, in addition to COVID protocol training and self-assessment certification.
A&M-Texarkana is also requiring all of its employees to take a TrainTraq course, certify their compliance with the protocol and commit to self-assessment of potential illness before returning to campus in any capacity.
The Texas A&M University System is providing a limited number of tests to each campus, including A&M-Texarkana.
Anyone who happens to be exposed to the virus will be required to quarantine for 14 days from the last exposure, in accordance with Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. And if a quarantined individual develops COVID-19 symptoms, they are to get tested and self-isolate.
Also in accordance with the CDC, diagnosed individuals who have a mild to moderate case that can be managed at home may return to work/class after 10 days from the beginning of their symptoms has passed, symptoms are improving and they are fever-free for at least 24 hours, without fever-reducing medications. Individuals who tested positive, but were otherwise asymptomatic, can return to work/class 10 days after they were tested.
All measures taken by the University are in an attempt for the University to follow guidance from the Texas Department of State Health Services and the CDC.
A&M-Texarkana will not be tolerating students or faculty members refusing to wear masks in public places on campus.
The guide states, "Any refusal to wear a face-covering in the classroom is disruptive to the learning environment and will not be tolerated. Non-compliant students will be asked, first, to put on a face covering, and if that is refused, to leave the classroom. Students who refuse to leave the classroom will be escorted out of the setting, by university police officers, if needed."
Those who do not comply with face-covering requirements will be referred to Human Resources (employees) or Student Life (students) for appropriate action, which may include disciplinary action up to and including suspension/expulsion from the University or termination of employment.
Also included in the guide are specifics on student housing, with adjustments to the move-in process at Bringle Lake Village, as well as dining services, which will implement COVID-19 regulations and contactless service/payment plans.
To check out more from the guide on A&M-Texarkana's website, visit https://www.tamut.edu/About/Administration/COVID_19/COVID-19_Files/COVID-ReturnHandbook_78_Version1.0.pdf.