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A Message from President Young: Governor Abbott’s Executive Orders

April 29, 2020, 9:00 a.m. CDT

On Monday, Governor Abbott issued three executive orders and announced that he will allow Executive Order GA-14 to expire on April 30, 2020. GA-14 was issued on March 31 and required Texans to stay at home except to access essential services or provide essential services as an employee, or to engage in daily essential activities (e.g. grocery shopping) or certain outdoor activities. In Executive Order GA-18 issued Monday, Governor Abbott allows certain businesses to re-open and operate at limited capacity, such as restaurants, retail stores and movie theaters.

The new Executive Order GA-18 still specifies that "every person in Texas shall, except where necessary to obtain essential services or reopened services, minimize social gatherings and minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household." Specifically, the orders do not reduce most guidance for social distancing, gatherings of 10 or more people, personal hygiene or best practice regarding monitoring your personal health. Furthermore, social gatherings and events are still not permitted.

OGC has analyzed the three executive orders issued on Monday and does not believe that they will have a significant impact on university operations, given the changes that we have already implemented. Thus, Texas A&M University will continue its current mode of operations until further notice. We will continue to monitor developments relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and adjust our planning as changing conditions may require.

At Texas A&M University, instruction, research and operations have already adjusted to previous guidance, as well as our own assessment of public health impacts across our campuses and educational sites. We will be continuing our standing guidance at this time. This includes:

  • Completion of the Spring Semester via remote/online instruction and finals testing;
  • Campuses and educational sites remain closed to visitors through May 31;
  • Campus commencement ceremonies for Spring 2020 are postponed, with individual branch campus or professional schools providing information on their plans for their graduates. More information will be posted on the Texas A&M graduation page;
  • Summer I, Summer II and 10 Week Summer session will all be delivered by remote/online instruction;
  • Youth Camps on Texas A&M campuses and sites remain cancelled through June 30. Decision for July and August youth camps will be announced on or before May 15;
  • A number of university facilities and services remain accessible to authorized personnel until June 1 with additional guidance expected on or before that date;
  • University research operations remain limited, unless previously authorized by exception from Vice President for Research. Additional information about increasing research activity on campus will be forthcoming on or before May 18.

Individual faculty and staff guidance issued by your supervisor remain in effect as appropriate and as updated to fit your individual responsibilities. Access will remain available to the workplace for employees, as is the case today, and most employees will continue to work remotely from home. We anticipate bringing more employees back to the workplace in the near future, and expect a phased approach that calls for the return of certain employees as soon as mid-May with other employees returning in June and still others in July or August.

To the extent that work from home is possible, it should continue for medically vulnerable individuals and parents with children at home. We continue to monitor guidance from public health authorities, The Texas A&M University System, and The Office of the Governor to ensure appropriate health and safety for our university and communities.

We anticipate additional guidance and announcements regarding our university operations no later than June 1.

We appreciate your continued efforts to work, teach, learn and operate Texas A&M University in new and different ways at this time. We applaud your efforts which have helped to limit the impacts of COVID-19 and welcome your continued collaboration in the weeks and months to come.

Remember to take care of each other, maintain social distancing, stay home if you are ill and practice frequent hand washing!

Sincerely,

Michael K. Young
President