Texas A&M has cancelled classes on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17 following Spring Break after other universities addressed cautionary action due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
In an email sent to faculty on Tuesday, March 10, A&M announced classes would be suspended on March 16 and 17 and will resume on Wednesday, March 18. Faculty may move teaching online if they choose to. Campus will operate normally on Monday.
A&M Provost Carol Fierke announced in an email sent to students on Monday, March 9 that all classes will resume as scheduled on March 16. Faculty members are encouraged to provide assistance to students currently in self-isolation through online accommodations.
“For the few students required to be in self-isolation, faculty are encouraged to assist them with virtual or online options to accommodate their ability to keep pace with the class,” the email stated.
In a telebriefing on Monday, March 9, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC, said Americans should anticipate being exposed to COVID-19 at some point, but people over 60 and those with underlying health conditions are most vulnerable and should take preventative measures.
At the time, no A&M students, faculty or staff have tested positive for coronavirus, including those who have returned from CDC Level 2 and 3 countries.
A self-reporting portal is open for any students, faculty and staff who travel to any country designated as a Level 1, 2 or 3 risk by the CDC on a personal or university-related trip. The portal can be accessed using students’ Howdy login information.
This information comes after A&M announced on Feb. 29 that all university-sponsored travel to countries with a Level 1, 2 or 3 risk was cancelled.
In the March 9 email, Fierke said this cancellation applies to all university-sponsored travel until May 1. The university will make decisions regarding trips after May 1 in the weeks to come.
The University of Washington was the first large university to cancel in-person classes on March 6, according to The Daily at UW.
Rice University canceled in-person classes for the week of March 9 “out of an abundance of caution.” A Rice employee tested positive for COVID-19 on March 5 after returning from a trip to Egypt. All gatherings of more than 100 people have also been canceled at Rice.
The OU Daily announced March 9 Oklahoma University leadership is considering conducting classes online for two weeks after they return from Spring Break. OU College of Architecture Dean Hans Butzer said in an email the university is considering cancelling classes out of worry about Spring Break travellers.
University of Texas President Gregory Fenves said in an interview with the Daily Texan that there would need to be more than one confirmed case of coronavirus for them to consider moving classes online.