State of the University

Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young addresses faculty, staff, students and community members during the annual State of the University speech in October 2019 in the Memorial Student Center’s Bethancourt Ballroom.

Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that A&M hasn’t set a threshold to shut down in-person classes this fall, but 100 new infections a day has been mentioned as a mark to warrant a shutdown.

A shutdown, Young said, might also be dependent on whether its students or faculty are getting sick.

“If it was 100 professors a day, it would be game over,” Young told the Wall Street Journal. “We can’t lose 20% of professors and continue to run the university.”

Young said drafting a plan to unify East and West Germany while working for the U.S. State Department in the 1980s was easier than figuring out how to bring back A&M’s students, faculty and staff to campus this fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently, A&M is slated to begin its fall semester on Aug. 19. A&M Provost Carol A. Fierke said earlier this month that more than 50% of the fall course sections at A&M will be offered in-person and 63% of students will have two or more courses offered in-person. Fierke added the university is attempting to provide students with at least one in-person course and most with two in-person courses. All in-person courses at A&M this fall will have a remote option and faculty can choose to teach remotely.

On Monday, Fierke announced A&M is in the process of setting up 40 to 50 tents across the main campus with tables and WiFi to provide additional study space.

Fierke also announced that COVID-19 testing is now available for A&M students, faculty and staff by appointment in a tent located in the parking lot adjacent to the Beutel Health Center. Appointment windows are open 1 to 2 days before their availability and test results are available 2 to 3 days after the test is taken. Negative results will be sent to individuals directly via email and positive results will be sent to county health offices. The A&M Investigation and Operations Center will contact individuals testing positive.

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