Details on excused absences and steps on what to do if you test positive or have a close contact

September 6, 2021, 2:00 p.m. CDT

To students, faculty and staff:

Thanks to each of you for getting the fall semester off to a good start, especially those who have worked tirelessly through the challenges of the pandemic and those who are understandably apprehensive about moving forward. Given we have returned to a face-to-face format for instruction, we are doing all we can in that environment to keep our students, faculty and staff as safe as possible.

All of us are needed to help protect the Texas A&M University campus from the highly contagious COVID-19 virus. To be able to stay in classrooms and return to the traditions we all love, we strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated and wear face coverings. Incentives for voluntarily getting the shot were announced Friday.

Mandatory testing - All Students, Faculty and Staff Must be tested by Sept. 10: Thank you to all who have participated in our mandatory testing, which ends Friday for all students, faculty and staff - regardless of vaccination status. Students, faculty and staff may get tested on campus at no cost. Eight sites are available throughout the campus and, along with the schedule and maps, are detailed on this list. For those not in Bryan-College Station, check your respective websites for similar information. Enforcement follow-up will begin after the mandatory testing window has closed.

You do not have to upload or report negative tests. Only positive tests and/or notification of close contact are required to be self-reported into the COVID-19 Report Form. Exemptions and sanctions for not complying with the mandatory testing are outlined in an Aug. 22 message to campus.

Please note that the flow charts linked below recently have been updated.

Testing Positive: Faculty and Staff who test positive with COVID-19 must follow these steps, while students must take these steps. People testing positive should not go to campus, including classes, and should isolate.

Close contact: Regardless of vaccination status, faculty and staff who have had close contact with someone who tested positive, should follow these steps, while students must adhere to these steps. Close contact is defined as being within six feet for a cumulative 15 minutes over 24 hours with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Vaccinated individuals do not have to quarantine, while unvaccinated must quarantine.

Excused absence: Students who test positive for COVID-19, whether symptomatic or not, may request an excused absence for the required period of self-isolation. Students who must quarantine after being in close contact with an individual who tested positive can also request an excused absence. Documentation must be consistent with Student Rule 7. Students must report their positive test through the COVID-19 reporting form and may forward notifications from the reporting portal to their instructor as documentation for an excused absence.

Falsification of these reports constitutes a violation of Student Rule 24.4.1 and the Aggie Honor Code.

Personal responsibility: Texas A&M can't require masking in instructional settings, nor can we require getting a vaccine, however, both are strongly encouraged as the COVID-19 vaccination remains the best way to protect Aggieland.

As we monitor COVID-19 on campus and in the community, we will adapt policies accordingly and update A&M's guidance page. We must remain dedicated to each other and to keeping Aggieland as safe as possible.