SKIP TO PAGE CONTENT

UPDATED 7-2-2020

Download the Guidebook in PDF

 

 

President's Logo

To:         Faculty, Staff, and Students

From:    Walter V. Wendler, President

Date:     June 1, 2020

RE:         Individual Responsibility and COVID-19

West Texas A&M University, under the leadership of The Texas A&M University System, plans for the reopening of our campus this fall under conditions unimaginable last spring. Circumstances require all to reflect on fundamental notions of public and private responsibility, corporate citizenship, reminiscent of Tocqueville’s precarious balance of personal liberty, and good citizenship. However, nothing that has happened since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic diminishes the burden of self-determination and personal responsibility. To that end, as a preface to all of the actions that we will take institutionally to ensure a safe return to campus and resumption of study, intellectual activity, artistic expression, scientific investigation and service to our extended community, four levels of personal accountability are recognized: (1) Institutional Leadership, (2) Faculty, (3) Staff, and (4) Students. 

(I wrote the introduction and the institutional leadership perspective. The respective Faculty, Staff, and Student perspectives were written by the Faculty Senate, Staff Council, and Student Government Association Executive Team. This is a collaborative effort and represents what each organization believes will facilitate a positive and productive return to campus life, a goal which I know we all share.)

WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World holds as the primary underlying presupposition, the “Duty of Citizenship”:

The many rights granted to citizens carry considerable responsibilities. Theodore Roosevelt probably said it best in his speech, “Citizenship in a Republic,” given on April 23, 1910.

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

The essence of Roosevelt’s proclamation was that power and purpose grow out of a person’s duty as a citizen through the exercise of free will. At WT, we embrace the duty to encourage and sustain individual responsibility to the region, the state, and the country. Noble citizenship and its purpose expressed in an effective university is a potent and useful force for change.

(Page 24, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World)

Institutional Leadership

As leaders of West Texas A&M University we will adhere to levels of safe practice, informed by science and public policy, through a combination of statute and suggestion, in recognition and response to individual responsibility. We will apprise the community, which includes our campus and all associated with it, of actions that we take, in response to elected and appointed leadership to whom we are responsible.

However, it is not our intention to become so rule and policy driven as to forget that individual accountability is the essence of good corporate/university citizenship that guides behaviors over which we might try to legislate or control, but ultimately will fail. It is our responsibility to continue to communicate and inform the campus and extended communities the best practices for living in current and future COVID-19 circumstances. 

Faculty Leadership

The open exchange of ideas, tutelage, research, and personal development between faculty and students imbues and emblematizes the core spirit and raison d'être for West Texas A&M University as an institution of higher learning. In this relationship, faculty and students cultivate an environment that extends our collective acuity in the tenets of logic, reason, and empiricism; these traits remain as essential components in a deportment of good citizenship. 

Together, as faculty and students frequently collaborate to forge students’ journeys into the future, so too must we exercise our collaborative tradition to adjust our learning environment amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. As the student-faculty relationship remains at the core of the institution, we must together in that partnership practice the behaviors that will allow the maximization of our physical, intellectual, and emotional health. We emphasize the importance of personal responsibility as it will be the basis by which best practices become practical. For the benefit of our community, we are confident that administration, faculty, students, and staff will exercise the care and consideration that will sustain us through the COVID-19 crisis.

Staff Leadership

As proud members of the WTAMU staff, it is our responsibility, along with guidance from system and institutional leadership, to ensure that WTAMU’s health is our top priority as we come back together. Just as our leaders were proactive in protecting students, staff, and faculty to ensure our health and safety, we must reciprocate by showing the same commitment to our students, fellow staff, and the community by taking all required measures seriously and responsibly. We will do our part to provide the services and support our students deserve, while ensuring each individual’s voice and concerns are heard and everyone remains safe, not just on our campuses but within our families and communities. Furthermore, we shall:

Support WTAMU students, staff, faculty, and the communities of the Panhandle.

Take proud ownership of our respective areas.

Act in a manner that brings honor to oneself and WTAMU.

Focus on the mission and goals of WTAMU.

Forge a bright future by constantly seeking to improve oneself, our respective areas, and our guests.

Student Leadership

The West Texas A&M University Student Government will demonstrate an example of selfless and noble citizenship by ensuring the safety of self and others, while allowing students to maintain civil liberties and freedom. Student Government will support the institution and urge students to comply with federal, state, local, and The Texas A&M University System safety recommendations, but will continue to support our fellow Buff’s in accessing their basic human and constitutional rights. Student Government will encourage each individual to accept personal responsibility and accountability on the premise of noble citizenship by recognizing, and practicing, the provided safety recommendations.

Walter V. Wendler
President
806.651.2100
president@wtamu.edu

 

Guiding Principles

West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) is committed to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with safety and the well-being of all students, employees and visitors as a top priority. The primary goal of WTAMU’s response is to protect the health of our students and employees while continuing the University mission of higher education and research from the Panhandle to the World.

WTAMU’s plans are also consistent with guidance provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the State of Texas, and The Texas A&M University System (TAMUS), Randall and Potter counties, the cities of Amarillo and Canyon and the Bi-County Health Department. The COVID-19 virus continues to evolve and the WTAMU guidelines will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.

WTAMU’s plans to return to normal operations will include a phased approach. The timeline is subject to change. Also, it is important to understand that the process of re-opening may be longer or shorter than expected and will be based on the guidance of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Return to the Campus

Symptom Monitoring Requirement

Students must self-monitor for symptoms daily before coming to campus. Students must be free of ANY symptoms potentially related to COVID-19 before returning to campus. These symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Diarrhea
  • Feeling feverish or measuring a temperature greater than or equal to 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Known close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19

Students are confirming on a daily basis that they are symptom-free with their presence on campus. Students experiencing symptoms should contact their health care provider and inform their instructor.

According to CDC, individuals with certain conditions are at a higher risk for COVID-19 infection. Those conditions may include:

  • Older adults (aged 65 years and older)
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Moderate to severe asthma
  • Serious heart conditions
  • Being immunocompromised
  • Severe obesity (BMI of 40 or higher)
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic kidney disease being treated with dialysis
  • Liver disease

Return to Campus Versus Online Classes

WTAMU will continue to follow the State of Texas mandates and CDC guidance as the campus continues to welcome an increasing number of staff, faculty, students and visitors to our campus. Consideration should be given to those who are at high risk, as defined above, to continue taking classes online. Students should work with faculty if you wish to be given online accommodation for classes.

Return to Campus Operations

Students who anticipate coming to campus should ensure compliance with required social distancing measures. Please be mindful of crowding and consider alternate routes to class, residence halls, vehicles and other places to reduce the potential of spread.

  • University Buildings: Currently, all buildings on campus, except Mary Moody Northen Hall, including residence halls and the Dining Hall, will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Beginning on July 6, some University facilities, such as the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum and the Virgil Henson Activities Center, will be allowed to have extended hours during the week. If any schedule changes to building operation occur, the University will notify the campus community.

Returning of University Equipment

Campus equipment checked out to students from the Information Technology department must be returned after each semester and sanitized before re-use. Please coordinate returns with IT at 806-651-4357.

Health and Safety Guidance

Personal Safety Practices

To prevent transmission of the virus, the State of Texas requires and the CDC recommends that students wear an appropriate face covering or mask while in close proximity to others (within 6-feet) and in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (common work spaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, etc.). WTAMU requires all students to wear appropriate face coverings when outside of a one-person office or when meeting with or around more than two individuals. It is recommended to wear your face covering from your personal vehicle to your office and from your office to your vehicle. There might be certain operational or health situations in which a face covering will not be required.

Appropriate use of face coverings or masks is critical in minimizing risks to others around you. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.

Students may also use their own personal masks/face coverings. Cloth face coverings should only be worn for one day at a time and should be properly laundered before re-use.

Use and Care of Facemasks/Coverings

Putting on the facemasks/coverings:

  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer prior to handling facemasks/coverings.
  • Ensure the facemask or face covering fits over your nose and under your chin.
  • Situate the facemask or face covering properly so that it is snug.
  • Throughout the process, avoid touching the front of your facemask or face covering.

Taking off the facemask/covering:

  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth when removing your facemask or face covering.
  • Wash hands immediately after removal.

Social Distancing

Keeping space between you and others is one of the best ways to avoid being exposed to the COVID-19 virus, slowing the spread, and helping protect people who are at higher risk. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay away from others when possible, even if you do not have symptoms. Students on campus should follow these social distancing practices:

  • Always stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arm’s length) from other people
  • Do not gather in groups of more than 10
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings
  • Wear facemask or face covering when not in personal offices

Taking Temperatures

Each student should continue to self-monitor daily and should not report to work if they have a fever or display any of the COVID-19 virus symptoms listed on this page.

Handwashing

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing or touching your face. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands with soap, and after rinsing, pat completely dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, but if necessary, be sure to wash your hands before and after touching your face.

Hand sanitizing stations are located across campus and will be refilled as needed. If you find a station that needs to be refilled, please contact the SSC Physical Plant (ext. 2133 and physicalplant@wtamu.edu) with the exact location.

Gloves

According to the CDC, gloves are not necessary for general use and do not replace good hand hygiene. Washing with soap or cleaning your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is considered best practice.

Goggles and Face Shields

Students do not need to wear goggles or face shields as a part of general activity on campus.

Cleaning/Disinfection

SSC teams have enhanced their disinfecting and cleaning practices across campus and are paying particular attention to high-traffic areas and high-touch fixtures such as doorknobs, light switches and handrails. SSC monitors soap and hand sanitizer dispensers and is refilling them as needed. If you find a station that needs to be refilled please contact SSC (ext. 2133 or physicalplant@wtamu.edu) with the exact location.

University Buildings: In addition to the routine custodial cleaning protocol, the University has instructed SSC to implement an enhanced cleaning frequency to clean and disinfect common areas and commonly touched surfaces in occupied buildings. Touchpoints such as entrance handles, handrails, elevator buttons, tables and restroom stall handles/doors are being cleaned once daily and will be increased to twice daily five days a week, using EPA-registered disinfectants. Some areas of the campus, specific to the operation, will be cleaned to the standard of their department or unit’s operational needs. WTAMU administration will continue to monitor the situation and update cleaning protocols as necessary.

University Installed Sanitizer Dispenser Stations: Dispensing stations containing alcohol-based hand sanitizer are installed near all building entrances and will be maintained as supplies allow. In addition, during the summer months, SSC will be installing sanitizer wipe stations in all University buildings to wipe down surfaces as needed. Although hand sanitizer can help prevent the spread of the virus, practicing the CDC’s proper hand- washing technique is considered more effective. Handwashing should include the use of any soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. If soap is not immediately available, use hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol content or greater.

Disinfecting My Study Area: Clean commonly touched surfaces several times per day. This includes lab benches, lab equipment, desks, phones, remote controls, printers, fax machines, computer mouses and keyboards. The University is providing departments with EPA-registered disinfectants such as single-use disinfectant wipes and multi-surface spray cleaners VIREX II 256. Always use cleaning products as recommended on manufacturer labels, including wearing disposable gloves as directed. It is recommended that your study area be personally cleaned before and after personal use.

Here are some simple instructions for the use of the VIREX II256 spray bottles:

VIREX II 256

Use Instructions for the One-Step Disinfectant Cleaner and Deodorant in a Spray Bottle:

  • Pre-clean heavily soiled areas
  • Apply a light mist to hard, non-porous environment surfaces. To disinfect, all surfaces must remain wet for approximately 10 minutes.
  • Air dry, wipe surfaces to dry and remove residue, or rinse with potable water, do not use on glassware utensils or dishes.

Office: Highly touched surfaces including chairs, desktops, keyboards, monitors, remotes, light switches, elevator buttons, handrails, doors, knobs, door push plates, card readers, refrigerator/freezer doors and handles will be cleaned during daily servicing.

Labs: Equipment panels/switches, bench tops, biosafety cabinet and fume hood sashes and their working surfaces; bio-waste container lids, commonly used hand tools and small objects, PPE (including goggles), refrigerator/freezer doors and handles will be cleaned during daily servicing.

Classrooms: Highly touched surfaces including chairs, desktops, tabletops, keyboards, monitors, remotes, light switches, window shade handles, handrails, doors, knobs, door push plates, card readers and cabinet handles will be cleaned during daily servicing.

The Difference between Cleaning and Disinfecting:

Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.

Disinfecting refers to using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, however, disinfecting a surface after cleaning can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Area Exposed to COVID-19:

The University has instructed SSC to be ready to send special cleaning crews as needed to disinfect and sanitize areas that have been reported to have been exposed.

Coughing/Sneezing Hygiene

Remember, always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and cover up with the inside of your elbow. Always throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Campus Visitors

Campus visitors are expected to follow the same guidance as students. Visits to campus should be postponed when possible to reduce traffic in common areas. Visitors should not visit campus if they exhibit any of the COVID-19 virus symptoms listed on this page.

Guidance for Campus Scenarios

Common Spaces

In hallways, labs and classrooms, it is always important to maintain 6 feet of distance between you and others. If more than one person is in these common spaces, a facemask or face covering is required. Individuals should not sit facing one another. Classrooms will have removed or rearranged chairs and tables or add visual cue marks to support social distancing practices between students. Wipe all surfaces, including tables, door knobs, chairs and other objects after use.

Restrooms

In restrooms with stalls, students are encouraged to occupy every other stall, if possible. After using the restroom, wash your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to reduce the potential transmission of the virus.

Elevators

No more than three people should be in the elevator at a time. Those who are able should use the stairs whenever possible. While using an elevator, you are required to wear a facemask or face covering and avoid touching the elevator buttons with your exposed hand/fingers, if possible. Wash your hands thoroughly after or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to reduce the potential transmission of the virus.

Meetings

Convening in groups increases the risk of transmitting the virus. Where feasible, meetings should be held in whole or part using a virtual meeting program such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx or by telephone.

In-person meetings are limited to 10 individuals and all attendees should maintain 6 feet of separation. Departments should remove or rearrange chairs and tables or add visual cue marks in meeting rooms to support social distancing practices between attendees. All attendees are required to wear a facemask or face covering while sharing space in a common room.

While on campus, you are encouraged to communicate with fellow students, faculty and advisers as needed by email, telephone, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Jabber or other available technology rather than meeting face- to-face.

Dining

Before and after eating, you should wash your hands thoroughly to reduce the potential transmission of the virus.

If dining on campus, you should wear a facemask or face covering until you are ready to eat, and then, replace it after eating. On-campus dining will have markings to ensure there is at least 6 feet of distance between each customer. Some seating areas have been removed to ensure social distancing. When possible, students are encouraged to enjoy their meals outside, where social distancing is easier and air quality is better.

Laboratories

Student researchers performing non-hazardous and/or dry work should, whenever possible, perform such work in their individual workspace. Student researchers conducting work with hazardous or bio-hazardous material or who are conducting work on animals should follow social distancing guidelines.

Signage and Posters

Building occupants are expected to follow signage about social distancing throughout University buildings, doors, restrooms, etc. Only University approved signs and posters can be placed around campus. If a common area used by students has identified a need for signage that is not already established, please let your student organization adviser know.

All University entrances will have the below notice posted:

Covid-19 Entering Facility Poster