Texas A&M continues to monitor the spread of the coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, as more cases are confirmed in the United States and other countries.
We continue to use the best advice and guidance available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization and the Texas Department of State Health Services. Texas A&M leadership from across the university is meeting regularly to discuss and review the rapidly evolving situation regarding the spread of COVID-19.
We have activated the emergency operations plan and convened our response team to coordinate preparedness and response activities.
At this time, no one within our campus community has tested positive for COVID-19. Nevertheless, we want to make sure our community is informed and follows preventative measures.
Emergency Management on Campus
The university is relying on local and state health officials, as well as members of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, Centers for Disease and Preparedness and the World Health Organization, to ensure a consistent and coordinated response. The university also is working with The Texas A&M University System and other institutions of higher education to ensure that issues related to campus communities are appropriately addressed.
Administration leaders are actively planning for a range of scenarios and potential short- and longer-term impacts, with particular focus on the health and well-being of the university community, as well as on the continuity of university operations.
Despite the rapidly changing nature of this situation, we are prepared to respond as necessary, including the activation of the university’s business continuity plan, which accounts for issues involving employment and instruction of our students. Student Health Services and the Departments of Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, along with many campus partners, all are paying close attention to this situation.
Travel Advisory Update
As we carefully track the CDC’s risk assessment for COVID-19, we continue to follow guidelines consistent with direction from The Texas A&M University System. Our regular updates can be found on the Texas A&M coronavirus page, also found on a button on the tamu.edu home page.
As of March 3, 2020, the following are categorized by the CDC as Level 1, 2 and 3 countries:
Level 3 COVID-19: China, Iran, Italy and South Korea
Level 2 COVID-19: Japan
Level 1 COVID-19: Hong Kong
Guidance on Leaving & Returning to the United States
All Texas A&M students, faculty, staff or visitors traveling to, from or through Level 2 or 3 COVID-19 risk countries must remain at their family home or off-campus residence for a minimum of 14 days before returning to the A&M campus. We highly recommend following CDC guidelines to self-isolate during this period. Should symptoms occur, seek immediate medical attention.
Guidance for International Travel
Texas A&M University-sponsored student education abroad spring programs for CDC-labeled Level 1, 2 and 3 COVID-19 countries have been cancelled. Other programs are scheduled to continue and will follow the same protocol should those countries move into any of these categories. For other countries, programs will be discontinued if the threat level increases.
For faculty and staff, mission-critical travel to countries Level 1 or above will require high-level institutional approval prior to departure.
What Does it Mean to Self-Isolate?
If you are not experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 and are asked to self-isolate after returning from a country listed on the CDC’s COVID-19 travel advisories page as Level 2 or Level 3, you should stay home — in your room, your apartment, or your house. Do not go to campus including work, classes, athletic events or other social gatherings until 14 days after leaving the Level 2 or 3 country in question. Likewise, avoid public places and gatherings in the community.
Please follow these guidelines for self-isolation:
- Report any symptoms of COVID-19 immediately to your medical provider – preferably by calling to get advice and instructions. Texas A&M students and international visiting scholars may call (979) 458-8300. For after-hours contact/inquiries, call the Dial-a-Nurse program at (979) 458-8379.
- Stay in your room or apartment. Do not go to work, classes, athletic events, or other social or religious gatherings until 14 days after your return to the United States from the country in question.
- Limit contact as much as possible. This also means limiting close contact with others including persons living in your residence.
- Wash your hands with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand rubs after coughing or sneezing or throwing a used tissue in the garbage.
- Avoid sharing household items. Do not share drinking glasses, towels, eating utensils, bedding, or any other items until you are no longer asked to self-isolate.
- Keep your surroundings clean. While the virus is not spread very well from contact with soiled household surfaces, try to clean surfaces that you share with others, such as door knobs, telephones, and bathroom surfaces (or any other object that you sneeze or cough on), with a standard household disinfectant wipe. Wash your hands after cleaning the area.
- Monitor yourself for symptoms at least daily including measuring your temperature. Any symptoms of COVID-19 should be reported to your physician.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with your upper sleeve or a tissue. Never cough in the direction of someone else.
How to Protect Myself
Stay educated on the disease by reading the CDC website. Most people who become infected experience a mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others.
Take care of yourself by following recommendations from the CDC:
Stay home if you don’t feel well. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance before arriving at a medical facility.
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water for 20 seconds. This helps kill viruses that might be on your hand.
Stay at least three feet away from someone who is coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth.
Follow good respiratory hygiene, which means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the tissue immediately.
Public Health Information Links on COVID-19
Please consult the Texas A&M coronavirus page for regular updates.
Thank you for your input, suggestions and patience as we work together through these developments with the mission of taking care of each other.
- Public health expert warns virus not going away – KSAT San Antonio
- Tesla asks employees to resume production at Fremont car plant despite coronavirus health orders – CNBC
- Major health groups and charities urge Trump to reverse World Health Organization funding decision – CNN
- Public health officials push back on May opening | TheHill – The Hill
- Analysis | The Health 202: Los Angeles is racing to discover the true coronavirus infection rate – The Washington Post
- Some Public Health Officials Not Releasing Coronavirus Hospitalizations : Shots – Health News – NPR
- Covid-19 health-care crisis could drive new developments in robotics, editorial says – The Washington Post
- Lost Your Health Insurance During the COVID-19 Crisis? Here Are Your Options – The Motley Fool
- El Paso virus cases jump to 35 as health leaders warn of increased risk of ‘community spread’ – KVIA El Paso