Texas A&M COVID positivity rate climbs to 23% before new semester begins
There are no plans to have broad virtual instruction.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Texas A&M University is preparing for a new semester and a growing wave of COVID-19 cases. The campus positivity rate is now more than 23% and school starts on Tuesday. In December the positivity rate was around 2%.
Texas A&M university faculty members worry about what to expect for the new semester.
“We heard Monday in our regular faculty senate meeting that there is a significant level of concern, in fact real anxiety, among many faculty members because of the current surge of the Omicron variant and the impact that it could have on people this semester on campus,” said Dale Rice, Texas A&M University Faculty Senate Speaker and an Instructional Associate Professor of Journalism and Media Practices.
Of the nearly 4,000 campus members tested in latest weekly data 937, or more than 23%, tested positive for COVID.
“I think that there are real concerns about bringing 60,000 plus students back into town... I think that yes we are worried about what lies ahead,” Rice said.
“It’s definitely higher than what we were seeing most of last year. It’s not surprising given that the Omicron variant is so contagious,” said Dr. Martha Dannenbaum Texas A&M Director of Student Health Services.
She said they will continue to offer testing for the campus community and are also providing masks in classrooms.
“There is no plan for broad virtual learning, our professors within the the different colleges have latitude to make some day to day decisions... The plan is that our students will be on campus in person for their classes,” Dannenbaum said.
“We have new information out on the web. Hopefully by today if not early tomorrow that does give the best information about when is it appropriate to do a five day isolation quarantine. When is a 10 day an acceptable option,” Dannenbaum said.
“I think there are real efforts here to say what can we do to try and keep campus and the community at large as safe as we can knowing that under the some of the state regulations that we have we might not be able to go as far as some of us wish,” said Rice.
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