COVID-19 Guidance


Effective Thursday, March 19, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic LAUNCH is moving all appointments, meetings, courses, and programming online. No face to face meetings will be accepted and Henderson Hall will be locked. Please contact LAUNCH staff via email or phone.

LAUNCH Program Statements

Updated on 5/8/2020:
Undergraduate Studies is requesting information through a Qualtrics form to facilitate an approval process for students who need to complete in-person research to meet requirements for degree plans or for transformational learning programs. Please note the following:
  • Eligibility: Only students who are required to complete undergraduate research in summer 2020 to fulfill requirements for their degree or a transformational education program (e.g. Undergraduate Research Scholars). Students who are not required to complete research projects or who can defer research to a future term are not eligible.
  • Remote Research: This form is required only for students who need to conduct their research in an in-person format. Those who have projects that can be completed remotely do not require approval.
  • College Policies: Some colleges have established policies forbidding in-person undergraduate research for summer 2020. This approval process does NOT supersede any college policies regarding summer undergraduate research. Please distribute the link to others in your college as you feel most appropriate.
Link to Undergraduate Research Request Form: https://tamu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0HtsVIjX4ZqhBT7

Updated on 5/5/2020:
Students who are required to complete undergraduate research as part of their degree plans for graduation should seek guidance from their departments and colleges regarding interruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

May 2020 Graduation

LAUNCH will distribute Undergraduate Leadership Scholars, Undergraduate Teacher Scholars, Undergraduiate Service Scholars, and Undergraduate Performance Scholars capstone certificates at the rescheduled LAUNCH Recognition Ceremony and May 2020 graduation ceremonies when those take place. We are not mailing certificates.

Guidance from Campus

To align with recent VPR guidance regarding undergraduate student workers employed in research settings, the eligibility for in-person credit-bearing undergraduate research has been expanded to include paid undergraduate student researchers who are returning to research programs/laboratories in which they have previous experience. They should be able to function with little further training or direct supervision so that physical distancing can be observed.
 
The original message describing the in-person undergraduate research request, including a link to the Qualtrics request form, can be found in the 05/08/2020 update below.
 
Please note that no new undergraduate researchers may be hired or permitted as volunteers. And, as noted previously, some colleges have established policies forbidding in-person undergraduate research for summer 2020. This approval process does NOT supersede any college policies regarding summer undergraduate research.
Undergraduate Studies is requesting information through a Qualtrics form to facilitate an approval process for students who need to complete in-person research to meet requirements for degree plans or for transformational learning programs. Please note the following:
  • Eligibility: Only students who are required to complete undergraduate research in summer 2020 to fulfill requirements for their degree or a transformational education program (e.g. Undergraduate Research Scholars). Students who are not required to complete research projects or who can defer research to a future term are not eligible.
  • Remote Research: This form is required only for students who need to conduct their research in an in-person format. Those who have projects that can be completed remotely do not require approval.
  • College Policies: Some colleges have established policies forbidding in-person undergraduate research for summer 2020. This approval process does NOT supersede any college policies regarding summer undergraduate research. Please distribute the link to others in your college as you feel most appropriate.
Link to Undergraduate Research Request Form: https://tamu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0HtsVIjX4ZqhBT7
 
The Vice President for Research at Texas A&M has provided guidance for faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students involved in research activity on their website. View the VPR's Official Guidance on Research During COVID-19.

On March 31, 2020 Governor Abbot issued Executive Order GA-14, which identifies essential services in the state: On 4/2/2020, the VPR announced that Texas A&M University, TEES, and AgriLife Research created forms for research groups to identify essential personnel and request approval for essential research: View the VPR's full statement from 4/2/2020.

Chartwells On Campus Dining issued the following statement to the campus:

"All locations are still open and available for students with or without meal plans. That is our directive from the University and we’re following all policies & procedures. We spoke with our leadership and were advised to utilize the current Swipe Out Hunger program for any students in need during this time. There are currently 835 meals available to be donated for the remainder of the semester. Student Assistance Services would need to be involved to determine how those meals are distributed for students in need and follow the same process."

Be sure to direct all questions about meal plan refunds and policies to fda@tamu.edu.

You can donate your remaining meal plans through the Swipe Out Hunger program. Your unused meals will help any students in need during this time. You must work with Student Assistance Services to donate your meals. 

Be sure to direct all questions about meal plan refunds and policies to fda@tamu.edu.

Students who wish to receive a refund (or credit) for dining must apply on the FDA Dining Credit website; the students' dining privileges will be suspended the business day following their application. This refund (or credit) will be calculated based upon the total amount of unused dining dollars and a prorated amount for meal plans based on the length of time between the business day following their application and May 9, 2020.

For residents canceling their housing contract, removing their belongings, and returning their key after March 24, room rent refunds or credits will be based on the number of nights between the date of check-out and the end of the contract term, May 9. Individuals who have questions about this process should contact Residence Life: (888) 451-3896 or (979) 845-4744 or the Reslife On-campus Housing website.

Student Resources

Updated on 05/21/2020:
Emergency Funds from the CARES Act are available for students now. For details regarding who qualifies, how to apply, and current data as of Friday, May 15, 2020, please visit the Scholarships & Financial Aid COVID-19 webpage. Students can apply using the Scholarships & Financial Aid Emergency Aid application.

Updated on 03/18/2020:
From Texas A&M University’s Scholarships & Financial Aid office to all students that might need assistance with equipment to connect virtually for classes or pay for extra data usage, among other issues that may affect their financial stability due to the COVID-19 virus:

"We are prepared to assist each student with not only options they already have available, but whatever additional aid we can offer. At this time, we are asking students to complete the Emergency Aid Application. Our office will respond to individual students as soon as possible with all available options. If you require additional information or would like to discuss this in further detail, please visit or call our office at (979) 845-3236.”

On 04/14/2020, the Office of the Provost announced a new form that is available to students who are ill/injured and cannot keep up with their courses. Students should also review the following guidance:

  • If you are feeling ill, call your healthcare provider’s office or Student Health Services at (979) 458-8310 to determine if you should make an appointment, or visit: shs.tamu.edu
  • Contact your instructors to notify them of your illness.
  • Personal injury or an illness that is too severe or contagious for the student to attend class may be considered an excused absence under Student Rule 7. The student is responsible for providing documentation substantiating the reason for the absence, including reasons stated in Student Rule, Section 7.2. This documentation must be provided within three (3) business days of the last date of the absence, unless otherwise stated in this rule.

If your illness is impacting your ability to make progress in your courses and you can’t get in to see a medical provider, this form may be used in lieu of a medical confirmation note as required in Student Rule 7 during Spring and Summer 2020 terms only. Please refer to Student Rule 7 for guidance on class attendance and absences. This form must be submitted to the instructor within two (2) calendar days of return to class.

Visit tamu.edu/coronavirus for official updates. 

Spectrum

Spectrum is offering FREE Broadband and FREE Wifi to students for 60 days. Visit the Spectrum website to find out more.

Comcast

Comcast is offering low-income families who are new customers FREE Internet Essentials service for 60 days through their Xfinity services. In addition, Comcast announced that WiFi hotspots are free for everyone, data plans have been paused for 60 days to give everyone unlimited data for no charge, and there will be no disconnects or late fees if you contact them ahead of time. Find out more on the Comcast website.

Altice/Suddenlink

Altice/Suddenlink is offering Altice Advantage broadband free for 60 days to any new household in our service area with K-12 and/or college students who may be displaced due to school closures and who do not currently have home internet access. If you live in the Optimum service area, please call 866.200.9522 or visit the Optimum Coronavirus website.

Hullabaloo U's Tips To Be A Successful Online Learner

  • Treat online and on campus classes the same
    • Treat an online class the same way as an on-campus course.
    • Be prepared.
    • Your professors will have work you’ll do on your own time, as well as live, real-time lectures or discussions.
    • Be sure to dedicate the time necessary to do work on your own time.
  • Stay Engaged – It might feel more challenging right now, but our goal is for students to stay connected and engaged with the campus, their classmates, advisor, and faculty. 
    • Collaborate in online course discussions to better grasp the course materials and connect with classmates.
    • Set up a Google Hangout to have group discussions. 
    • Request a virtual meeting with your professor if you have questions about the material.
    • Reach out to your professor if you are falling behind with the online coursework for any reason. It’s better to get the help you need as early as possible.
  • Time Management
    • Plan ahead. Use a day planner or Google calendar to keep track of deadlines and assignments.
    • Create a daily and/or weekly schedule that includes online class time and study time.
    • Don’t multi-task.
    • Set a timer. Using a timer or phone alarm for 25-40 minutes allows you to work uninterrupted for a scheduled period of time and will help you stay on track.
    • Review each course syllabus to ensure you stay on top of upcoming tests and quizzes.
  • Practice mental wellness and avoid burnout
    • Take short 5-15 minute breaks after working on the computer for 25-40 minutes.
    • Move around and stretch.
    • Relax in ways that de-stress. Get a good night’s sleep, 7-8 hours, every day.
  • Staying focused and eliminating distractions will help you  meet deadlines and avoid procrastination.
    • Once again, set time aside each week as class time and study time.
    • Don’t let Netflix, Amazon shopping, or YouTube distract you from meeting course deadlines.
    • Figure out what strategy works best for you.
  • If you need help staying focused, consider creating lists using a project management tool, such as Trello or Smartsheet, to help organize tasks.
    • If you prefer a traditional to-do list, then look at digital notebooks like Todoist or Evernote.
    • Cold Turkey and Freedom can help eliminate distractions by blocking the apps and websites such as Youtube, Snapchat, and Twitter.
  • Academic Advisor
    • Reach out to your advisor for guidance and support.
    • Advisors are available via email, phone, and Zoom. 
  • Educational Environment
    • Wherever you choose to study, organize your space to help you focus on your studies; ensure reliable high-speed internet as best you can.
    • Headphones may be helpful if your professor posts a required course video to watch.
  • Keep your device(s) charged!

More Resources

On March 25, Texas A&M University announced the COVID-19 Disaster Relief Fund. Your gift to the fund will support those suffering from financial hardship as a result of circumstances surrounding COVID-19, such as those Aggies who are struggling to find alternative housing or face unexpected moving expenses, or those facing food insecurity or lost wages.

More information on the Texas A&M Foundation's Disaster Relief Fund website

Click here to donate to the Disaster Relief Fund. 
 

Students seeking emergency aid as a result of circumstances surrounding COVID-19 should complete the Scholarships & Financial Aid Emergency Aid Application.