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January COVID-19 Testing Required for TAMU Employees in Bryan-College Station

December 14, 2020, 3:30 p.m. CST

Dear Texas A&M University employees:

Thank you for your hard work in 2020. With vaccines on the horizon, we are hopeful about 2021, recognizing that the rollout of vaccines will take time. Your continued efforts to keep yourselves and others safe also reduces burden on area hospitals this winter and enhances opportunities for a safer spring.

Prior to the start of spring semester classes, in addition to the COVID-19 online training course, Texas A&M University will require all employees at the Bryan-College Station campus/sites (faculty, staff, part-time employees, student workers, grad assistants) to test for COVID-19. See Testing Exemptions below. Students residing on campus will also be required to test.

There are three reasons for taking this action:

  • Testing helps to better manage the initial surge of cases. There was an initial surge when students arrived in the fall and a notable increase in COVID-19 cases among faculty, staff and students post-Thanksgiving. Our public health experts advise that we can expect a similar surge in January.
  • Timely testing allows for cases to be quickly identified (even those who are asymptomatic) and isolated. It also facilitates contact tracing to effectively reduce the virus circulating on campus, enhancing the health and wellbeing of all, and helps us have a greater chance of being able to finish the spring semester with in-person activities.
  • Proactive testing and isolation can help reduce the spread in our community and burden on area hospitals.

Employee Testing Dates: Employees must undergo a COVID-19 PCR test between Jan. 2 and Jan. 12 and provide the results by Jan. 15. Each employee will receive an email containing a personal link to the secure Texas A&M COVID-19 Testing Program portal and instructions about scheduling an on-campus test or uploading test results. Do not come in for testing if you are in isolation or quarantine; you should remain in isolation or quarantine and complete the required survey on the reporting portal instead.

Testing Locations: Employees may obtain PCR tests from their medical provider or consult the test site location page for on-campus locations for free testing, including expanded testing capacity Jan. 4 – 12.

Symptomatic: Anyone who is feeling sick or who believes they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 is advised by health experts to seek immediate testing and otherwise stay home and not go to campus, class or work during this time.

Exposure: Anyone who has had close contact with someone who has tested positive should follow CDC guidelines for self-quarantine and testing.

Positive Results: Anyone contacted by the COVID-19 Operations Center about a positive COVID-19 test or possible exposure shall comply with isolation, quarantine, contact tracing, and testing instructions given by the investigators.

Testing Exemptions: An exemption to this testing requirement will be made only for:

  • Employees who provide documentation prior to return to work for spring of a positive COVID-19 test result in the 90-days prior to start of classes (October 20 or later) and are symptom-free.
  • Employees with approved Alternate Work Location agreements in place before start of spring that involve no on-campus presence.
  • Texas A&M University System, including agency employees, should consult System leadership with regard to testing. Testing for members of these groups who spend time on Texas A&M Bryan-College Station campus/sites is highly recommended.

Other Sites: Campuses and sites beyond the Bryan-College Station campus should consult site leadership for site-guidance and/or requirements.

Travel: All faculty, staff and students returning from travel outside of the Brazos Valley should avoid contact with others to the greatest extent possible for 72 hours, always wearing a mask, keeping six feet from others, and washing hands frequently.

Central Resource: For more information on pandemic-related policies and guidance at Texas A&M, visit the university’s COVID-19 website.

Remember the COVID-19 test only allows you to know your status for that point in time. You can be exposed to the virus at any time, so you need to continually be diligent to protect yourself and others against exposures. Follow CDC guidelines regarding gatherings, wearing face coverings, and physically distancing.

Thank you for working together and displaying respect and selfless service while promoting the health and safety of every member of our university and local communities.

Sincerely,

Michael K. Young, President               Carol A. Fierke, Provost