The Texas A&M University System will reopen for in-person classes in the fall. That includes classes at its flagship campus in College Station as well as 10 others across Texas. But the campus experience won’t be the same as it was before the pandemic.
John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, told Texas Standard host David Brown on Wednesday that the “Aggie experience” is more than just an online education, which is why the system feels it’s important to return to normal as much as possible.
“The Aggie experience … depends a great deal on camaraderie, on student interactions, on friendships, the spirit that exists not only at football games but a whole lot of other things,” Sharp said.
Some classes will still be online, but the ones that will take place in person will be modified so that students and faculty can practice social distancing and follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Students can also participate online instead if they feel attending in person would risk their health.
The campuses will increase testing and monitoring of the spread of COVID-19. Sharp said one way will be to monitor dormitory sewage. If campus officials detect the coronavirus in it, they can test students in that dorm to determine who needs to quarantine.
As for football, Sharp said it’s up to college sports organizations like the SEC and NCAA whether the Aggies will play. But he didn’t rule it out. Football is an important source of revenue for the university. According to a 2019 Forbes ranking, Texas A&M is the most valuable college football program in the country with an average annual revenue of $197 million.
Sharp reiterated that he believes it will be safe for students, faculty and staff to return in the fall.
“We think they’ll be just as safe, if not safer, here as they would be if they were [in] Dallas or Houston or any place else.”
Web story by Caroline Covington.
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