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Javelinas Care. Protect. Help.

Fall 2020 Update


Updated:

(August 24, 2020)

Dear Javelinas,

I am pleased to welcome you to the fall 2020 semester!

It is wonderful to walk across campus and see so many of you back in your Javelina home.

While many of you are living on campus and are ready to start face-to-face instruction, others have elected to begin this semester remotely. Whichever method you have chosen, I want you to know that we are not only committed to your health and safety, we are equally committed to ensuring your academic success through quality instruction and the support of faculty and staff.

You will notice many changes to campus this semester. Learning spaces look different to allow for social distancing. Approximately 1/3 of courses will be online only, with a quarter of courses and labs meeting face-to-face. The remaining courses will be delivered in a hybrid format. Some fall sports, including football, have been moved to the spring. Many campus events will be held either virtually or face-to-face, which will require attendees to check-in using a QR code system for contact tracing purposes.

This year has taught us many things—including the importance of being flexible and responsive to change. I encourage everyone to continue to prepare for any changes that may come as a result of our on-going response to COVID-19.

I also ask each of you to help us protect our community. We all know what we must do—wear face coverings, practice good hygiene and social distancing, comply with University protocols for testing, quarantining, and reporting.

In recent weeks, we have seen the unfortunate consequences that large social gatherings and off-campus parties can have on Universities reopening for the fall semester. Many have had to pivot to virtual learning as the virus spreads as a result of these events. I ask each of you to act responsibly this semester. Avoid large gatherings and parties. Be aware of potential exposure to the virus. Self-monitor for symptoms and stay home or in your dorm room if you are not feeling well.

I know you may have questions or concerns this semester. My administrative team and I want to know about them so that we can resolve any issues that may arise. You can share your concerns here or during a virtual forum with our Return to Campus committee Thursday, August 27, at 3 p.m.

For all that has changed, there is still much that has not. Your faculty remain committed to teaching and mentoring. Old friends and new friends eagerly await making memories together. Javelinas care, protect, and help, and we will get past this virus together.

Mark A. Hussey

President, Texas A&M University-Kingsville

We know that you have questions about returning to campus this fall as the state and nation continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff are always our primary concern. We are also guided by our commitment to provide the highest quality education to our students. With that in mind, we are committed to keeping campus safe, sanitized and ready for your return, while ensuring that our courses this fall reflect the quality for which Texas A&M-Kingsville has been known for nearly 100 years.

We also know the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in our region and state is evidence that we must continue to remain flexible in our planning for the fall semester.

 Here are just a few things we are doing now:

  • We are restructuring course schedules to allow for the most flexibility for our students, while maintaining physical distancing capacity in our learning spaces. Next week, advisors will begin contacting students about their fall class schedules. Graduate students should contact their graduate program coordinators. This fall, we will offer:
    • face-to-face courses and labs,
    • online courses, many of which will allow students to follow at their own pace for much of the semester, 
    • web conference courses, which will be online, but held at a specified date and time,
    • and Covid-Flex (Co-Flex) courses, which will allow students to meet in person one class day and then attend class virtually or complete an assignment the next class day. Some labs in some departments may only be offered face-to-face. Most face-to-face courses will also be available simultaneously via Blackboard Collaborate. This means students who register for a face-to-face course will be able to participate in the class either in-person or remotely.
  • Regardless of the method by which classes are offered, students may be able to view saved lectures if they are unable to attend class for any reason.
  • Faculty who will be teaching online and Co-Flex courses in the fall are attending training this summer with the Distance Learning and Instructional Technology team. This training ensures faculty integrate instructional technology design into curriculum in ways that best enhance student learning.
  • We are continuing as scheduled to start the semester Monday, Aug. 24 with the last day of class being Wednesday, Dec. 2. What will be different this fall is that all classes taught after the Thanksgiving Holiday, will be offered online or virtually. Final exams will take place as scheduled Friday through Thursday, Dec. 4-10 and will be administered online.
  • We have invested more than $300K in technology upgrades in some of our learning spaces to better facilitate online learning. We have also budgeted $1M for bandwidth and other information technology upgrades.
  • SSC custodial crews are disinfecting public areas and high-touch surfaces like door handles, stair rails and elevator buttons along with offices across campus. In the fall, classrooms and learning spaces will be sanitized two times throughout the day. Students will also be provided with sanitizing wipes as they enter classrooms to wipe down their areas. We are using this time to stock-up on the sanitizing products we will need this fall.
  • Crews have rearranged our classrooms and learning spaces to allow for recommended physical distancing and placed signage around campus.
  • Faculty, staff and students will complete a mandatory COVID-19 training before returning to campus. In addition, all employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19 while traveling on business or personal matters must report the possible exposure to their supervisors and be prepared to quarantine for 14 days.
  • Face coverings are now mandatory in all public places in buildings across campus and in outdoor areas where social distancing is not possible.

The University continues to develop a complete Re-opening Plan for campus that includes guidelines for reopening residence halls safely, providing engaging student experiences and establishing COVID-19 testing on campus.

While what we know about this virus evolves constantly, we now understand that the virus can infect and impact individuals of all ages. That is why it will be imperative for everyone to do their part to protect themselves and our Javelina Family.

For more information on academic scheduling, face coverings and other Fall 2020 updates, please visit https://www.tamuk.edu/return/. This website will be updated as new information becomes available.

Stay safe, Javelinas!

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Mark A. Hussey

President, Texas A&M University-Kingsville

 

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 Allen Rasmussen,

Provost & Vice President of Academic Affairs, Texas A&M University-Kingsville