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TAMIU Shares 'TAMIU Back Together Plan' for Fall Return Posted: 7/02/20

TAMIU Shares 'TAMIU Back Together Plan' for Fall Return

 

Dr. Pablo Arenaz
Dr. Pablo Arenaz, TAMIU President  

This Fall at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) will indeed be different, said TAMIU president Dr. Pablo Arenaz…but it will be a Fall that calls all to the shared challenge of higher education in the age of the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

“We have no doubt that this Fall will bring challenges, but we also know that we are dedicating all available resources to rise to these challenges together.  Throughout our COVID-19 response, we have called on our University community and the community at large to be TAMIU Together/Laredo Together.  That call continues and this shared resolve is unwavering,” Dr. Arenaz said.

The University's plan for Fall, TAMIU Back Together, remains focused on joining the other 10 campuses of The Texas A&M University System in preparing for an in-person Fall, for those wanting that experience, consistent with the guidance of  the Board of Regents and local health authorities, he said.

“Most of our classes will be offered in our TAMIUFlex format, with students having the option of attending class online or in-person.  Classes will be structured and scheduled respective of distancing and gathering restrictions.  A limited number of  classes in subjects that cannot be taught online will remain face-to-face.  We are fortunate to have a robust technology backbone on campus that will support this dynamic course offering flexibility. TAMIU also has the highest number of Quality Matters (QM)-certified online courses in the A&M System.  QM is the academic gold standard for online learning and it benchmarks quality with robust assessments,” Arenaz noted.

TAMIU’s on-campus experience will be delivered with all applicable restrictions and regard for both health and safety of the entire TAMIU community and remain flexible if changes are needed, he said. 

“On-campus offerings will be conducted following all applicable guidance, including mandatory face coverings, social distancing and gathering restrictions and proper hand-washing recommendations.  Campus signage will guide on-campus interactions and movement with distancing and protective barriers in place across campus. Before students return, they’ll need to complete an online certification that attests to their awareness of the cautions  and expectations in place. Staff have already completed protocol training on our work environment and expectations. We will also continue to appeal to personal responsibility from all members of the Dustdevil community.  We will remain flexible and able to respond to changes in our public health environment,” he said.

“To further minimize additional community spread, the semester will be structured to end in-class instruction to coincide with the Thanksgiving break.   Students will not return to campus thereafter and final exams will be delivered online beginning the week after Thanksgiving,” Arenaz added.

The TAMIU president said the University’s first priority remains the health and safety of all members of the University community: students, faculty and staff, but the reality of the Pandemic response is pervasive.

“While we are taking all due precautions to provide an environment that works to limit exposure, this remains a pervasive disease and we are all called to take personal responsibility and respect the guidance and restrictions that now frame our shared daily life.  The University is no different from any other campus or community entity and we know that COVID-19 cases will no doubt occur…but we must be resolved to help and protect each other,” Arenaz said.

The TAMIU Back Together plan was guided by five campus tactical teams charged with identifying specific recommendations  for Fall reopening. The teams represent all facets of the broad University community: faculty, staff and students, he said. 

Arenaz noted that assistance programs continue to be available to provide financial help to students. 

“The TAMIU CARES program, which provides grants to students for expenses related to COVID-19, continues. TAMIU will award $5.1 million in emergency grants to assist students as part of its TAMIU CARES Program.  Of this, 92%, or $4,750,878, are federal funds while the remaining 8%,  or $394,000, is from non-governmental sources. To date, we’ve awarded approximately $2 million. Additional CARES funding is helping to undergird the response resources we are utilizing. 

“New funding support for first-time and transferring students has also come from our System Board of Regents who provided $528,000 for student scholarships,” he explained. 

Arenaz also noted that prospective TAMIU students  applying and enrolling this Fall 2020 or next Fall 2021 will have scores for both SAT and ACT exams waived.

 

He said he is confident that students, faculty and staff will continue to demonstrate remarkable resilience and resolve, as they have this past Spring and  now Summer. 

“This past semester, our students, faculty and staff showed that they can not only meet the challenges of today, but far exceed them.  We look at the example of our  senior students, all candidates for Spring graduation, who saw their last semester expectations and traditions turned  completely upside-down.  They persevered through course changes, online delivery, virtual meetings with faculty and advisors and stresses that no student could have anticipated. And they persevered and completed their degrees.  That commitment and spirit  will drive our future and our recovery as we all move forward,” Arenaz concluded.

Additional information on the University’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 Pandemic is available on its online COVID-19 Response Center, located at https://www.tamiu.edu/coronavirus/index.shtml

Registration for Fall 2020 is now underway. TAMIUFlex, Hybrid, Face-to-Face and online courses will all have the same tuition rates. An online catalog containing a list of all undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs is at http://catalog.tamiu.edu

TAMIU  ranks 5th in the nation among the 100 Most Affordable Public Schools with the Highest Return on Investment (ROI), according to ranking authority Great Value Colleges. U.S. News and World Report’s 2020 Edition of its popular Best Colleges guide ranks TAMIU as the second highest-ranked Texas public university in its Best Regional Universities West category and the highest-ranked regional campus of the Texas A&M University System.

Most recently, TAMIU earned a top tier ranking for its COVID-19 Pandemic response. The 2020 Educate to Career College ranking placed TAMIU in Tier I for colleges and universities that have responded to the pandemic in ways that benefit and protect students, especially in terms of available online learning resources. Some 1200 colleges across the nation were reviewed.

As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, TAMIU’s campus is closed only to the general public. Entry to campus continues for students, faculty, staff and those having legitimate reasons to be on campus. Online and virtual services at the University continue, practicing all CDC Guidelines on gathering, masking and social distancing and with most staff working remotely.  

Office hours are subject to change and it is recommended that phone or email contact be made first to determine the office’s schedule of operation.   An online directory is here.

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