COVID-19 Information

Last Revised: Septemvber 6, 2021

Below are resources and information pertaining to the Texas A&M graduate community. Stay up-to-date on the latest university-wide news and resources on the Texas A&M Coronavirus page.

Jump To: Academics | EmploymentExtension of Tuition and Fees CoverageTravelWell-beingFinancial Aid and Emergency Resources | Housing Information | International StudentsForms Processing | Messages to Graduate Students | FAQs | Responses to Grad Student Concerns Fall 2020 | Virtual Office Hours

Fall 2021 Requirements

Texas A&M University is scheduled to continue in-person classes at full capacity for the fall semester. Considering the continued infection rates in the nation and recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, the university is asking the campus community to do its part by taking important steps to keep Aggieland healthy and safe. The university has issued the following requirements: 

  • Students must confirm they’ve read and agree to adhere to the following guidelines by logging on through the Howdy Portal
  • Students, faculty and staff must participate in the mandatory COVID-19 testing program at intervals designated by Texas A&M.
  • Students, faculty and staff who test positive for COVID-19, have COVID-19 symptoms, or who have had close contact with someone who received a positive test result for COVID-19 are required to log on to this site and complete the COVID-19 Report Form, and are asked to cooperate with the Texas A&M COVID-19 Investigation Operations Center.
  • Students, faculty and staff who test positive or have been identified as a close contact are required to quarantine/isolate consistent with CDC guidance.

Please stay up-to-date with the university's COVID-19 Guidance Page

Academics

  • Instruction -- For the fall 2021 semester, Texas A&M is holding all classes (except for distance and online classes) in-person, at full capacity. See the following resources for more information:  
  • Graduate Students with Teaching Responsibilities -- Unless otherwise designated, traditional courses are to be taught face-to-face, with in-person course meetings and exams, and no remote option. 
    • If you are assigned an in-person teaching responsibility and you have concerns regarding your safety due to having a medical condition that may lead to increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 or having a household member with such conditions, you may contact your department’s HR liaison or the faculty or staff member who makes teaching assignments to discuss your concerns. 
    • The faculty or staff member who makes teaching assignments is your point of contact if COVID-related circumstances arise during the semester that impact you or your students.
    • GATs or GALs who test positive for COVID-19 must follow these steps
    • See the Provost's Guidance for Faculty and Staff for more detailed information. 
    • In an effort to provide a reliable source of information, a special task force of the Faculty Senate has worked with the Provost’s Office to answer frequently asked questions. The FAQ page will be updated as conditions change or needs arise.
    • In its first fall 2021 meeting, the Faculty Senate also made recommendations to President Banks that resulted in the following action items regarding COVID-19 safety measures.
    • If you are the instructor of record, students in your classes who test positive for COVID-19, whether symptomatic or not, may request an excused absence for the required period of self-isolation. Students who must quarantine after being in close contact with an individual who tested positive can also request an excused absence. Documentation must be consistent with Student Rule 7. Students must report their positive test through the COVID-19 reporting form and may forward notifications from the reporting portal to their instructor as documentation for an excused absence.
    • Recognizing that managing a proper instructional workforce during pandemic conditions is an evolving challenge for deans and department heads, the Office of the Provost has issued the following guidelines for graduate students with teaching responsibilities: 
      • Graduate students assigned to teaching responsibilities and who do not comply with mandatory face-to-face teaching will:
        1. Receive a written directive from their department head (or program Chair) to remediate the situation within 3 business days, by contacting the Department Head to discuss proposed solutions or alternatives, or Andy Barna in Human Resources to request an accommodation that may qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodation. Email from the Department Head is considered an official written notification.
        2. If no satisfactory resolution is reached or ADA accommodation is requested or granted, the graduate student will receive a written reprimand, requesting a resolution of the situation within 24 hours and identifying which of the following sanctions will be applied (individually or in combination):
          1. Two years ineligibility to be nominated to any university or departmental scholarship
          2. Ineligibility to be hired as a GAT for upcoming 2 years
          3. Elimination of any awarded funding from program or university in support of graduate studies
    • On September 15, Interim Provost Scott updated fall guidelines
    • For teaching and learning resources, visit Texas A&M’s Keep Teaching and Keep Learning pages.
  • Vaccination and Face Covering  Policy -- While Texas A&M does not require students or employees to be vaccinated or to wear masks, we strongly encouraged you to do your part to keep Aggieland safe by getting vaccinated, wearing a mask while in public indoor settings and frequently washing your hands. These actions are known to be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.
  • Vaccine Incentive Program -- 
    • Vaccination remains the most effective way to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. According to the Department of State Health Services, 99.5 percent of people who died due to COVID-19 in Texas between Feb. 8 and July 14 were unvaccinated.
    • Anyone age 12 and older is eligible for the vaccine. Vaccines are currently available at Student Health Services at no cost for students and employees, and you can schedule an appointment online. Alternatively, you may seek vaccination through your local health care provider including primary care physicians and pharmacies. Locate a vaccine provider near you on the CDC’s vaccine finder website.
    • ​To be eligible for a vaccine incentive drawing, you must be a student enrolled for the fall 2021 semester at any Texas A&M campus, other than Texas A&M Qatar, and you must provide valid proof of vaccination (either one or two shots depending on the vaccine) in the TAMU Voluntary Vaccination Reporting Portal (which is different from the mandatory COVID-19 Reporting Form portal).
    • Eligible Texas A&M students will be entered into a random drawing for a chance to win a prize equivalent to one year of undergraduate or graduate resident tuition and fees. Complete rules for this drawing will be made available soon.
  • Research – Research activities have been resumed under standard university protocols, but the office of the Vice President for Research urges diligence in carrying out COVID-19 safety measures to avoid outbreaks that may necessitate a curtaioling of research activities. For the latest guidance, visit the website of the Research Guidance during COVID-19 page on the Vice President for Research website. 
  • COVID training --
    • All students, regardless of whether you are taking classes face-to-face or remotely, are required to complete online COVID-19 Training and Certification. You must complete the training prior to arriving on campus. The training can be found through the Howdy portal.
  • Testing --
    • COVID-19 testing remains a critical weapon in stopping the spread of the virus.
    • All students, staff and faculty are required to participate in Texas A&M’s mandatory COVID-19 testing program. Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to submit to a COVID diagnostic test, provided by Texas A&M between Aug. 23, 2021 and Sept. 10, 2021. Testing sites, hours of operations and additional information will be updated regularly on Texas A&M’s COVID-19 Guidance page.
    • Students at other campuses/sites beyond the College Station campus will receive guidance from site leadership regarding site-specific protocols.
    • For more info on testing and where to get a test, click here.
  • Mandatory Self-Reporting -- 
    • All members of the Texas A&M community – students, faculty and staff – are required to report a COVID-19 diagnosis, regardless of where tested, or if you have had close contact with someone who tests positive. This can be done by completing the COVID-19 Reporting Form. Prompt reporting is required and is important to allow for proper contact tracing, as well as to help limit the potential spread of the virus.
  • Form submission – The Graduate and Professional School is now using DocuSign and DPSS to process most documents. See our forms page for details. Please be sure to follow the instructions, as failure to do so could result in processing delays. If you encounter any situation that prohibits you from utilizing the revised processes for securing approvals or submitting documents, please contact the Graduate and Professional School at grad-info@tamu.edu

Extension of Tuition and Fees Coverage for GAT, GAL, and GAR Students Delayed by COVID-19

The University recognizes that COVID-19 has caused profound disruptions for our students. The consequences of these disruption may vary by student, but it is clear that working remotely, as well as restrictions on travel, lab and facility access, and person-to-person contact, has impeded progress to degree for many of you.
 
For Ph.D. students on GAT, GAL, or GAR assistantships, there is University-wide mandate requiring your tuition and fees be covered by your program or alternative sources of funding. The mandate covers you for four or five years, depending on your entry status. See the tuition and fee payment webpage for details.
 
If your mandate period ended in May, August, or December 2020 and COVID-19-related factors have caused a delay in your progress toward your degree, know that the mandate sets minimum coverage. You may request an extension of tuition and fee coverage required by the mandate up to a year to accompany your assistantship. We encourage you to contact your program faculty, graduate director, staff advisor, or graduate student organization for guidance.
 
If your mandated coverage is not expired, but you anticipate needing extra time to degree, know that we are aware of the possibility and expecting requests over the next few years. We are prioritizing requests from students who are in the last year of mandated coverage.

Financial Aid and Emergency Resources

Financial Information and Assistance
For info on types of aid available, including grants, loans, and other assistance, contact Financial Aid at 979-845-3236 or https://financialaid.tamu.edu/Graduate/Types-of-Aid

If you have lost funding or incurred unexpected expenses for something related to COVID-19, we encourage you to review available University resources. 

Students facing financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis can apply for emergency financial assistance. Please detail the reason for your request. Financial Aid also offers other types of assistance, including grants for domestic and international students that are awarded based on need. If you are applying due to extenuating circumstances, make sure to include that information in your application.

Additionally, the Graduate and Professional School, colleges, and departments share a joint commitment to find solutions for students whose academic progress has been impeded by COVID-19 or university actions taken in response to the pandemic.
 
Recognizing that we are still in a period of uncertainty, but working to enhance student support moving forward, Colleges and the Graduate and Professional School agree to:

  • Actively foster flexibility, borne out of a spirit of understanding and compassion for students
  • Examine each student’s situation individually, considering all relevant factors that may have impeded progress to degree
  • Understand that non-academic factors (financial insecurity, travel restrictions, connectivity issues, family pressures, stress) may have impeded progress to degree
  • Communicate with transparency and openness
  • Recognize that impacts of the pandemic will likely extend into future semesters

 

 

HEERF Funding
Funds provided through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II) are authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), 2021, Public Law 116-260, signed into law by President Donald J. Trump on Dec. 27, 2020. The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund I (HEERF I) was initially established by the CARES Act.
 
Of the HEERF II funds that Texas A&M is set to receive, approximately $20 million has been made available for Emergency Aid to assist students with unexpected expenses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for more information. 


General Resources
Student Assistance Services also offers emergency financial support and connects students who are experiencing mental health challenges, food insecurity or other difficulties to local resources. If you or someone you know is in need or seems to be in distress, please contact their office at 979.845.3113 or submit a Tell Somebody report.

Other Resources:

Food Resources
12th Can -- The 12th Can is a student-run food pantry built to serve all students, staff, and faculty in need of assistance.

Travel

  • Domestic travel should be approved following pre-COVID protocols. 
  • Only travel beyond Texas borders essential to the mission of the university will be permitted at the discretion of the applicable vice president or dean. Mission-essential approval should be obtained from the appropriate VP or dean prior to departure.
  • All international travel requests must be routed through Concur to obtain the required approvals prior to departure:

    • Travel to destinations identified as high to extreme risk on the TAMUS Travel Advisory List (https://assets.system.tamus.edu/files/safety/pdf/travelrisk.pdf) for reasons other than COVID-19 will route to the Office of Risk, Ethics & Compliance for a risk assessment prior to being routed to the Office of the Provost for final consideration for approval

    • Travel to destinations identified as high to extreme risk on the TAMUS Travel Advisory List due to COVID-19 risks only will be permitted with approval from the appropriate VP or dean.

  • Student travel as part of a student organization must be routed through Student Affairs. Academic related student travel must be routed to Risk Management once deemed essential by the applicable dean.
  • For information on approval and reporting, visit the University's travel Travel Guidance page

Grad Student Well-Being

Coronavirus has disrupted our lives by posing a grave risk to our health and safety. It has interrupted research and possibly impeded progress toward degrees for graduate and professional students. It is important that we do what we can to maintain both our physical and mental well-being during this time. 

Mental Health -- Stay attuned to changes in your mental health. If you are in distress, the following Texas A&M resources are available for graduate and professional students:

If you or anyone you know is in an unstable or threatening situation or just needs a wellness check-in, submit a "tell somebody" report through the Offices of the Dean of Student Life.

Physical Health -- Staying physically active is good for your body and mind. The CDC recommends visiting parks, trails, and other open outdoor spaces to destress and get some fresh air, following a few simple steps to keep you and others safe. The Rec Center is open (with restrictions) to a limited number of participants. 

International Students

Campus Operations -- For information about Texas A&M campus operations, stay up-to-date with the University’s Coronavirus page.

Research -- For information about research operations, visit the Vice President for Research Coronavirus page

Vaccination -- 
We encourage you to vaccinate against COVID-19 infection in your home country as soon as vaccinations are available to you. While Texas A&M University is not requiring students to be vaccinated, we are currently—and may continue into the fall 2021 semester—providing COVID-19 vaccines to graduate and professional students on campus. As you may know, however, some vaccines require two doses as long as one month apart and it can be a full fourteen days after your second dose before you are considered fully vaccinated.

Travel -- For updates on travel restrictions, health insurance, immigration status, employment, submitting required documentation, and visas, visit the International Student Services Coronavirus Info pageTexas A&M is still planning to hold classes in-person courses in fall 2021. We are aware that some international students are still experiencing diffuculty obtaining visas to enter the United States, as well as other impediments to travel. For admissions options for international students who may not be able to travel for fall 2021, including remote learning and deferral options for the first semester, please contact your department. 
It is recommended that you book travel accordingly and adhere to the following guidelines:
Before you travel to the United States:
  • Currently, all air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 3 days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months before they board a flight to the United States. As the situation remains fluid, we recommend that you review the CDC requirements for air travel as well as the requirements of your airline in advance of your flight, and the week prior to the flight. 
During travel:
  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth. Currently, masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  • Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who is not traveling with you.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
After travel:
Guidance varies depending on whether you are
fully vaccinated with an U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA)-authorized vaccine.
If you have been fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine:
  • Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel.
    • Testing will be available to you on the Texas A&M University campus.
    • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected. Also, report your positive test to Texas A&M University.
  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
  • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements after travel.
If you are unvaccinated or received a vaccine that is not FDA-authorized:
  • Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel.
    • Testing will be available to you on the Texas A&M University campus.
    • Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
    • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected. Also, report your positive test to Texas A&M University.
  • If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
  • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
  • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements.
To isolate means that you stay in a specific location, room, or area and avoid all contact with others. You should isolate if you have COVID-19, whether or not you have symptoms. Isolation separates people who are infected with the virus from others, even in their home. You can leave isolation to seek medical attention and get tested as needed, but you should go directly to your appointment, minimize contact with others, and return to quarantine.
If you might have been exposed to COVID-19, you should stay home and avoid going out in public. This is called
self-quarantine. Self-quarantine keeps someone who might have been exposed to the virus away from others. You can leave quarantine to seek medical attention and get tested as needed, but you should go directly to your appointment, minimize contact with others, and return to quarantine.
 

Defense Announcements

Upcoming Events