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Message from Michael E. Fossum Regarding COVID-19    

March 14, 2020

By Texas A&M University at Galveston Office of the Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Superintendent

Dear Galveston Campus Community: 

We are experienced in dealing with disruptions from disastrous weather events but are in uncharted territory dealing with the threat posed by the coronavirus, or COVID-19, which is impacting much of our planet and disrupting everyday life. I thank you for your patience while we have been working with Texas A&M University, The Texas A&M University System, and local and state health officials to provide you with answers. 

Our top priority at the Galveston Campus is to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff as we address this rapidly evolving situation. Decisions by the Galveston Campus, Texas A&M University and The Texas A&M University System leadership to date have been based on supporting international containment efforts and protecting the health and safety of our campus community while simultaneously continuing to provide the best education and training for our students possible.

As previously was reported, all classes have been cancelled March 16 through 20 and will resume exclusively online on March 23. Our team is working diligently to put the structure and processes in place to make this process as smooth as possible, in spite of challenges drastically differently than initially envisioned. Our faculty and technical support team are working feverishly to get the courses moved to an online format. A new online Academic Help Desk is being activated over the course of the next week and details will be provided in the coming days.

We know this decision creates a number of questions related to final exams, face-to-face evaluation and lab requirements, graduation and more. We do not yet have answers to these questions, but we are committed to finding solutions that we can safely implement.

I understand the challenges uncertainty brings and reassure you that the leadership team is making every effort to eliminate those uncertainties as quickly as possible. I ask for your patience as we navigate this unprecedented situation.

The Galveston Campus will remain open to students, faculty and staff. I advise all of you to make the decision to return to campus in your own best interest. Any member of the campus community at-risk should remain at their current location and take “everyday precautions” as defined by the CDC.

We will support students returning with dining, housing, and other student services. Remember that no undergraduate student is required to be on campus due to the migration of classes exclusively online. All organized student activities, including for the Texas A&M Maritime Academy and NROTC cadets, have been suspended for now. This grieves me because student activities and the experiences they entail are part of the joy of student life, but we believe this is necessary at this time.

Graduate and professional students should contact their programs for additional guidance and refer to the guidance in our FAQs.

Faculty members will be advised on all protocols by the Chief Academic Officer in the days to come and will provide direction to individual classes the week prior to resuming classes on March 23.

For staff, I have expanded authority to authorize alternate work locations (AWL) and encourage all staff to use technology to its fullest capability over the coming weeks. Full guidance related to returning to work on Monday is available here.

We are past the halfway point in this semester with less than 2 months to the finish line! We are a resilient community as proven with your actions during Hurricane Harvey, and for many of you during Hurricane Ike, when you demonstrated what it meant to be Sea Aggie Strong. I know you will continue to approach this situation with the same Aggie grit, determination, and resilience you demonstrate every day.

Together we will weather this storm!

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