COVID-19 Information

Last Revised: July 3, 2020

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: August Doctoral Degree Conferral | Academics | EmploymentExtension of Tuition and Fees CoverageTravelWell-beingEmergency Funding and Other Resources | Housing Information | International StudentsForms Processing | Messages to Graduate Students | FAQs

Academics

All instruction and testing should be conducted remotely through the summer. For teaching and learning resources, visit Texas A&M’s Keep Teaching and Keep Learning pages, which have been updated for summer 2020.

  • Instruction – All summer courses offered through Texas A&M University in the first, second, and 10-week summer terms (including the May “minimester”) will be delivered online. The University is planning for face-to-face instruction to resume this fall, unless evidence or directives suggest otherwise.
  • Preliminary Exams and Final defenses should be conducted remotely, if possible.
  • Summer Deadlines - In response to graduate student requests, The Office of Graduate and Professional Studies is extending three key summer deadlines for master’s thesis and doctoral students.  The new effective dates are as follows:
    • Friday, June 5: Last day to submit “Request and Announcement of the Final Examination” [formerly May 29]
    • Monday, June 22: Last day to take final exam (defend thesis) [formerly June 12]
    • Monday, June 29: Last day to submit a signed approval form and a PDF file of the thesis in final form by 5:00 p.m. [formerly June 19] 
    • Wednesday, July 29: ‚ÄčThesis and dissertation submission portal open for Fall degree candidates [formerly July 22] in order to ensure adequate time to clear summer degree candidates for graduation
  • Cross-Discipline Courses offered across colleges at TAMU may help complete your schedules for summer and fall 2020. Please view the listings provided by the colleges at this link.  Listings will be updated weekly as new submissions are received. 
  • Research – The Vice President for Research has published a Plan for Resuming Research Operations, effective June 1, 2020, for expanding research activities beyond “essential” levels. To further clarify appropriate roles for students as PIs prepare and plan for resumption of research operations after June 1, the Office of the VPR issued the following guidelines on May 20:
    • As much research activity as possible should continue to be carried out remotely.
    • For students who must return to campus to carry out their research responsibilities, their activities, as well as any fieldwork, must be carried out under plans approved at the unit level (or higher, if specified) that include provisions for social distancing, reduced occupant density, etc., as specified in the May 7 guidance. 
    • All student researchers, both graduate and undergraduate, must complete on-line training on safe practices related to COVID-19 through either TrainTraq or Howdy, depending on the nature of their appointment, before beginning or returning to any research activities that are not carried out remotely. Further, if significant training and supervision is required for new students, PIs must submit and receive approval by the unit head of plans that specifically addresses how in-person trainings and laboratory instruction/supervision will be conducted in a manner consistent with social distancing and other COVID-19 safety provisions.
  • Form submission – As a result of limitations/restrictions on person-to-person contact imposed on campus to combat the Coronavirus outbreak, OGAPS has implemented some changes in the way we process documents. We are now accepting electronic submissions of all forms. 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 OGAPS at ogaps-info@tamu.edu
  • Quick Admit Program -- Effective summer 2020, select Texas A&M graduate and certificate programs are offering expedited graduate admissions for eligible May and August 2020 graduates (graduating seniors). Under the “Quick Admit” program, you can bypass the typical application process, which requires you to pay an application fee and submit extensive applications materials. Instead, the process has been simplified and expedited. There’s no application fee and no GRE requirement. Requirements vary, but many programs are also waiving or reducing requirements for personal statements and letters of recommendation. For more information, including a list of participating departments and certificate programs and their requirements, click here.
  • Guidance for Fall – See the latest from Provost Fierke's office about the University Calendar, modes of course delivery, the measures the University is taking to ready campus for in-person instruction (including a face mask requirement), and links to find additional information. 

Employment – Graduate Assistants and Student Workers

  • Graduate Assistants should follow the same guidelines issued for non-essential personnel. Through July 20th, the University is in "phase 2" of a Return-to-Campus Plan. Consult your supervisors for guidance.
  • GATs (Graduate Assistants Teaching) and GALs (Graduate Assistants Lecturer): Graduate students who are teaching or supporting instruction should be doing so online. Online instruction will continue through at least the end of the spring semester. Grad students who are teaching should do so in a way that minimizes or eliminates time spent on campus. Grad students who need campus facilities to teach an online course can contact their respective department head for details on access. Please refer to keepteaching.tamu.edu site for additional teaching resources.
  • GARs (Graduate Assistants Research): Texas A&M researchers are encouraged to engage in activities that can be performed remotely (e.g., writing, data analysis, etc.); beginning June 1, the University will begin to allow research beyond "essential" levels. Consult your supervisors and the Plan for Resuming Research for guidance.  
  • GANTs (Graduate Assistants Non-Teaching): Like GARs, GANTs or paid graduate student workers should consult their supervisors and the Return-to-Campus Plans for guidance as the University begins phasing back in operations on campus. 
  • CARES Act - Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dated March 27, 2020, individuals who are self-employed, seeking part-time employment, or who otherwise would not qualify for regular Unemployment Compensation (UC) or Extended Benefits (EB) under state or federal law or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) under section 2107 may be eligible for assistance under Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Coverage may also include individuals who have exhausted their benefits under regular UC or EB claims under state or federal law, or PEUC.
  • Leave Guidance - Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Texas A&M is providing Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFMLA) to all employees, including Graduate Assistants, who are unable to perform their assigned duties due to certain, specified COVID-19-related reasons. Visit https://employees.tamu.edu/covid-19/FFCRA for FAQs, Request Forms, and Workday Job Aid. All leave-related questions concerning the coronavirus, including the use of EPSL or EFMLA, should be emailed to benefits@tamu.edu for TAMU or hschr@tamu.edu for HSC
  • Ombuds - The Ombuds Office provides a safe, non-judgmental space where you can share complaints or concerns confidentially and off the record. We are available to assist graduate and professional students as well as staff, faculty, and administrators:
    • Addressing communication challenges
    • Navigating difficult situations
    • Handling abrasive behavior or unfair treatment
    • Navigating academic red tape or roadblocks
    • Funding issues (e.g., assistantship, etc.)
    • Immigration related issues
    • Other questions and concerns related to graduate education

Email ombuds@tamu.edu to schedule a confidential phone or zoom appointment to explore a range of options or strategies for moving forward.

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 or will end in August 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 expecting requests over the next few years. We are prioritizing requests from students who are in the last year of mandated coverage.

Travel

Until further notice, university-sponsored domestic and foreign travel is suspended unless the travel is deemed mission critical. Mission critical domestic and foreign travel requests must be submitted through Concur so the Office of Risk, Ethics and Compliance can conduct an assessment before making a recommendation to the Office of the Provost. Final approval is required prior to departure. See the University's Travel Guidance page for more details. The university strongly discourages out-of-state and international personal travel. Only international travel should be recorded on the travel reporting portal

Grad Student Well-Being

Coronavirus is disrupting our lives by posing a grave risk to our health and safety. It is interrupting research and possibly impeding progress toward degree for graduate and professional students. It is important that we do what we can to both maintain our physical and mental well-being during this time. Follow the latest guidance on the Texas A&M Coronavirus page. 

Face Coverings: As stay-at-home orders are lifted and Texas begins a phased approach to re-opening some businesses, note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of cloth face coverings in public settings, including in any situation where social distancing measures and other hygiene practices are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores, pharmacies, campus buildings), and especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. As of June 15, face coverings are required on campus


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:

You can also visit "Coping during COVID-19" a CAPS resource for information and tips on staying mentally healthy and supporting others during this time of increased isolation. Also, watch "Promoting Mental Health during COVID-19," a webinar by Michelle Robichaux, a professional counselor with TAMU CAPS. 

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. The  

Community Guidelines: Stay up-to-date with the latest guidance from College Station, Bryan, Brazos County, and the State of Texas

Emergency Resources

Financial Information and Assistance

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). This fund provides emergency financial aid grants to be made directly to students to assist with disruptions to education as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For details regarding who qualifies, how to apply, and current data as of Friday, May 15th, please visit http://financialaid.tamu.edu/COVID.

If you have any questions, please contact Financial Aid at 979-845-3236 or financialaid@tamu.edu.

Other Resources:

Food Resources
Feed Maroon – http://www.thebatt.com/life-arts/feed-maroon-offers-meals-to-students-in-need-for-the/article_d4225a02-6fb5-11ea-8f69-9be55f569fc8.htm
12th Can -- Welcome to Texas A&M's Food Pantry! The 12th Can is a student-run food pantry built to serve all students, staff, and faculty in need of assistance.

Housing Information

Housing may be a source of stress for you, whether you’re an incoming fall 2020 graduate students wondering about where you might live or an existing renter with questions about your rights or any resources that might be available to you. We’ve compiled a page of information from the Off-Camus Student Services, one of the Offices of the Dean of Student Life, and the Texas A&M Law School to help.

 

International Students

This period of uncertainty can profoundly disrupt the plans of international graduate students and international prospective graduate students.

  • For information about Texas A&M campus operations, stay up-to-date with the University’s Coronavirus page.
  • For information about research operations, visit the Vice President for Research Coronavirus page.  
  • For updates on travel restrictions, health insurance, immigration status, employment, submitting required documentation, and visas, visit the International Student Services Coronavirus Info page.
  • Texas A&M is still planning on in-person courses for fall 2020. For admissions options for international students who may not be able to travel for fall 2020, including remote learning and deferral options for the first semester, please contact your department.
  • For international applicants and admits, International Student Services will contact students with guidance on visas.
  • Newly admitted international students who will be completing their enrollment as distance education students must complete the Distance Learner Check-In. This includes the following groups of students:      
    • Students who will fully enroll in their academic program from outside of the U.S.
    • Students who will fully enroll in their academic program from inside the U.S. but do not plan to physically attend any on-campus classes.
    • Students who will be Co-Enrolling at Texas A&M University in F or J student status. 
  • At this time, Texas A&M cannot employ students, including Graduate Assistant Teaching (GAT), Research (GAR), Non-Teaching (GANT), and Lecturer (GAL) positions, who are taking classes and/or initiating research from outside the United States. 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.