COLLEGE STATION, Texas — As the Brazos Valley adapts to COVID-19 so has Texas A&M, sharing their plans to combat the virus on campus this upcoming school year.
And we know things will change, but just how much will they change?
I sat down with Provost Carol Fierke to find out.
“We are trying to do everything on campus to decrease the viral load and the number of infections,” she said.
Signage, sanitary products and plexiglas are just a few things Aggies will see a lot of this fall, and their overall college experience is changing too.
Fierke said, “we’ve extended the school day so there’s more time between passing periods, we are decreasing the density on campus so we are using the physical distancing in classrooms.”
That means students will either only come to a M/W/F class one of those days a week, courses will be fully online or classes will be moved into larger spaces for more distance between students.
“So for instance the ballrooms in the MSC are going to become classrooms... we’re starting to look at one way hallways, this is the way you come in your classroom this is the way you leave your classroom,” Fierke said.
Reed arena itself is even being considered as a classroom; And that plexiglas mentioned earlier Fierke said, “there will be shields in every classroom for faculty to stand behind. For student advisors who’ll meet face to face. Many faculty will do office hours virtually, but some will wanna do face to face and they will have plexiglas.”
Classrooms will be cleaned at the beginning and middle of the school day. Getting to each one will also look a little different with more buses and less people allowed on them.
On campus eating is evolving too.
She said, “there will be decreased density in the eating areas. There’s not gonna be any self serve. Food will be served to people. There's going be a lot of grab and go so students can come in, get food and leave.”
Dorms will still have two people per room with extra cleaning.
With all these changes, more than 7,700 hundred people have signed a petition for A&M to lower tuition. To that, the school says, “our costs are significantly higher just to do what we’re doing so right now, we’re not discussing decreases in tuition... testing and tracing should help the community keep safe. If we need to make changes based on increased or decreased infection rates we will do that.”
Students will get to register for classes and see what's best for them on July 27, 2020.