In an email sent to students, Texas A&M urged students to prepare for shelter in place order.
Both Dallas and Mclennan counties announced shelter in place of residence orders this weekend and the university said other counties may do the same. Keeping this in mind, students are urged to return to their family home, if possible.
“Given that Dallas and McLennan Counties have announced their own shelter in place of residence orders, and others may follow suit very soon, all students may want to consider returning to their family home residences,” the email stated.
Carol Binzer, the director of admin and support services for Residence Life, said that if there is a shelter in place ordinance, students on-campus should go follow the same guidelines provided by the university, which include social distancing, take-out dining and using resources as needed.
“It wouldn’t be any different than when they lived here,” Binzer said. “We have some social distancing signs up, dining is going to continue as take out to avoid people clustering in a dining room situation, student health is operational and all of the academic help has gone online.”
Students wishing to depart from their on-campus homes are eligible to use the “Express Check-Out” option. Those who are already at their family homes and have retained on-campus housing may schedule a time to collect their belongings through Residence Life, anytime within the semester.
Binzer said it is hard to have an exact count of students that have checked out because due to spring break many students have not returned but their stuff remains in their rooms. At this moment out of the almost 11,000 students living on campus this semester, 1000 have officially checked out.
“Many of the students went away for spring break and just haven’t come back and still have their stuff in their room and key, so we would count them as here,” Binzer said. “We have about a thousand people who have checked out.”
The Texas A&M System is working diligently to create options for refunds for both dining and housing and will keep students updated through email. Binzer said that Residence Life does not have any guidance on this, as it is a decision of the A&M System. Typically, on-campus housing contracts do not allow for students to get refunds, but these are unusual circumstances.
“We don’t want to have a drop-dead date because we do not want people to rush back to campus to get their stuff because that avoids social distancing and some of these counties are asking people to stay home,” Binzer said.