Last Revised: January 11, 2021
OGAPS is working to communicate accurate and timely information as it evolves. Below are frequently asked questions and answers that may help to provide context or details not included on our Coronavirus Information Page.
Health and Wellness
Do I have to get a COVID test before coming to campus?
All local Texas A&M employees including faculty, staff, part-time wage employees, student workers, and grad assistants are required to test for COVID-19, If you fall into one of these categories, you should have received an email containing a personal (unique) link to the secure Texas A&M COVID-19 Testing Program portal with instructions about scheduling an on-campus test or uploading test results.
Note: testing requirement does not apply to non-TAMU employees such as agency employees (TEEX, TEES, Agrilife, etc.) unless otherwise directed by their respective agencies. Also, it does not apply to unpaid interns (they are not employees in Workday).
For general FAQs that apply to all students, see the Student Mandatory Testing FAQs.
Will the University provide vaccinations?
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) oversees vaccine distribution for the State of Texas after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determine how many doses a state receives (based on population) - received a limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine. Priorities are front-line healthcare workers and residents at long-term care facilities (called Phase 1A), plus people over 65 years and individuals over 16 years with comorbidities who have increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (called Phase 1B). At this time, the institution has not been given enough vaccines by the state to meet all the needs of Texas A&M University. We do have dispensing plans established and ready to go when we receive enough vaccine to begin moving aggressively beyond our clinical populations into the Phase 1b populations. Once we receive vaccines and when allowed by the State, we would then move to other populations within in the Texas vaccination role out plan https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/immunize/vaccine.aspx. We will continue to work with DSHS to expedite shipments, and we will do everything in our power to get vaccines into arms as quickly as possible once we have the necessary inventory. If you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccination plans at TAMU, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What can I do if I see other students violating mask orders, exceeding gathering limits, or violating other guidelines?
You may use the Campus Community Incident Report form to notify the Student Conduct Office (SCO) of incidents where a student has refused to either wear a face covering or leave the area.
When a violation is reported, the student alleged to be in violation will be contacted by the SCO with information regarding the process for determining whether they are responsible for a rule violation.
Options for May Graduates
I am graduating this spring, but I'm concerned about the job market. Can I just stay in school for an additional semester?
Employment opportunities will vary depending on your field. According to the Texas A&M Career Center, many fields are hiring as normal. The Career Center has a page devoted to graduate-specific resources.
You need a degree-related reason to continue in your current degree program. If you have met degree requirements or—for research degrees—cleared your thesis, dissertation, or record of study, there is no policy in place that would enable you to delay graduation.
Master’s or doctoral students who have been asked to make corrections to thesis or dissertation submission could submit final corrections after deadlines for graduation. Master’s students in non-thesis programs who have not completed all requirements could seek approval from their program to add summer or fall courses to their degree plan.
There are implications on meeting “satisfactory academic progress,” excessive hours, financial aid, and registration. There are additional implications for international students. Consult your graduate advisor and, for international students, ISS to make sure you understand these implications.
If I'm a current Texas A&M graduate student, can I apply for admission to other graduate programs?
Yes. In fact, we are encouraging students completing graduate degrees who have an interest in pursuing other graduate programs (stand-alone certificates, master’s, or doctoral) to do so, and we have simplified the process through the Quick Admit Program. No application is required. Contact your desired program to ensure you meet qualifications. Then, simply complete and send the “Letter of Intent” form to the admitting department’s head/intercollegiate faculty chair, delegated departmental staff, or authorized signer for approval. The signer will submit the completed and signed form to OGAPS from their official TAMU email address. Once processed through OGAPS, you are eligible to register for courses.
I am planning on participating in practicum or professional internship for summer 2021. If COVID is still limiting participation, should I still submit a petition to add this course to my degree plan?
If you are planning to participate in an internship, practicum, or clinical this summer, we are currently processing requests to add these to degree plans as normal. Obviously, there is uncertainty about whether or not internships, practicums, and clinicals will be feasible. Much will depend on what happens over the next month or so. Employers’ operations and travel may still be limited. The University will respond to this uncertainty by being flexible and addressing requirements and concerns on a case-by-case basis.
There’s a hold on my account pending approval for a petition to alter my degree plan. Will I be able to register for fall classes?
Degree plan holds are initiated by your College. They will be lifted once a student’s degree plan is approved by their committee and department and arrives in OGS status in DPSS. If a student is unable to file a degree plan due to extenuating circumstances, the Dean of the College can also approve a degree plan or lift a hold on a case-by-case basis.
How can I get approval for my CPT or OPT petition?
Petitions and degree plans are processed in the order they are received. Please submit your petition to add CPT or OPT to your degree plan as early as possible.
I am having trouble logging into Zoom for meetings/class. Should I log in through HOWDY, Outlook, or SSO?
To access Zoom meetings generated by Texas A&M University Zoom accounts for your courses, office hours, and other academic activities, please be sure to sign into Zoom using the SSO option. See here for instructions.
I have been offered a GAT position and have not met English language proficiency certification requirements due to restrictions on travel or testing center closings in response to the pandemic. Also, I am not able to schedule the English Language Proficiency Exam (ELPE) offered through the Texas A&M University Testing Center. What can I do?
On rare occasions, a department may need to hire an international graduate student as a Graduate Assistant – Teaching (GAT) who has not achieved English Language Proficiency Certification based on standardized test scores, ELPE or Alternative Certification. In such cases, a department may request a one-time, one-semester emergency deferral - “Emergency Deferral of Certification.”
A deferral, if granted, would enable the international graduate student to begin the semester as a GAT under the agreement that the student will participate in a CTE-ELP program and meet the ELP certification requirements during the semester.
If you are in this situation, then you may ask your department to submit an Emergency Deferral of Certification request on your behalf.
Can I work as a graduate assistant or student employee in Spring 2021 if I will be taking courses and initiating research remotely from outside the United States?
No. Due to legal concerns, Texas A&M has concluded that significant barriers exist to employ new or continuing international and domestic graduate students who cannot physically be present in the United States. As such, Texas A&M will not allow this employment arrangement until we receive further guidance from counsel. This restriction applies to any graduate student employment position including Graduate Assistant Teaching (GAT), Research (GAR), Non-Teaching (GANT), and Lecturer (GAL). This restriction does not apply to graduate students currently employed and residing in another country on a temporary basis, and for the purpose of conducting research specific to that location.