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Update on Coronavirus, COVID-19

12 March 2020

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Qatar, in-person classes at Texas A&M University at Qatar will not resume for the spring 2020 semester, which will be completed wholly online. Faculty and students should continue classes, exams and assignments virtually for the remaining six weeks of the semester. Starting today, all TAMUQ employees are authorized to work from home.

Texas A&M at Qatar is monitoring local and regional news closely, and our first priority is the health and safety of students, employees and their families. This is not a campus shutdown. Rather, we are adapting to a rapidly changing situation while working to maintain continuity of teaching and learning, and of the operations that support that process.

 

10 March 2020

Mandatory reporting of travel activity since 1 Dec. 2019  

Texas A&M University requires all faculty, staff, researchers and students to report travel —personal or business — for or through any country that is designated as Level 1, 2 or 3 by the CDC for COVID-19. Even if you received this message from main campus and reported your travel through its questionnaire, please take a few minutes to report your travel since 1 Dec. 2019 using the form at http://tx.ag/TAMUQReportTravel.

Level 3 COVID-19: China, Iran, Italy and South Korea
Level 2 COVID-19: Japan
Level 1 COVID-19: Hong Kong

In addition to reporting travel to countries flagged by the CDC, Texas A&M at Qatar students and employees are required to report travel to any country listed by the State of Qatar’s Government Communications Office. As of today, those countries are the following: Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, and Thailand.

In case of questions, please contact Kent Clawson (kent.clawson@qatar.tamu.edu).

 

9 March 2020

Message to students: Transition to online classes effective 10 March 2020

As you are well aware, face-to-face classes have been suspended and all courses have transitioned to online/virtual classrooms. Please adhere to all modifications communicated to you by your professors. Further, all university events have been suspended until further notice.

Texas A&M at Qatar continues to monitor the spread of the coronavirus known as COVID-19 and we continue to make plans to minimize the risk of exposure in our community. As you know, new information related to virus is becoming available daily, so it is important that we continue to adjust and adapt to shifting procedures and expectations.

As of today, the following is a summary of student travel expectations and required procedures for reporting, absences related to illnesses, and information regarding quarantine.

University student travel
All university travel is cancelled or postponed until further notice; we will regularly reassess the necessity of this restriction as new information becomes available.

Mandatory travel reporting
Next, all students, faculty, and staff who have traveled (for any reason) since 1 December 2019, to countries listed in Levels 1-3 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are required to report this travel to Texas A&M University using this form: http://tx.ag/TAMUQReportTravel. This requirement is in accordance with Provost Fierke’s 7 March email to all faculty, students, and staff.

Level 3 COVID-19: China, Iran, Italy and South Korea
Level 2 COVID-19: Japan
Level 1 COVID-19: Hong Kong

In addition to Levels 1-3, Texas A&M at Qatar students are required to report travel to any additional country listed by the State of Qatar’s Government Communications Office. As of today, those countries are the following: Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, and Thailand.

Quarantine
If you travel to one of the restricted countries, in addition to reporting to Texas A&M, you may be subject to mandatory quarantine by the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) in Qatar.

Further, if you are not placed in mandatory quarantine by MOPH, but have traveled to one of these countries, you are required to self-isolate. Self-isolation requires that you do not come to campus, residence halls, on-campus apartments, classes, athletic events or other social gatherings until fourteen (14) days without symptoms after leaving a restricted country.

Absences due to illness or quarantine
In the event you have flu-like symptoms or are subject to mandatory or self-isolation, all absences will still be handles in accordance with Student Rule 7. In summary, excused absences are handled directly with your professors. For absences of greater than three (3) business days, you will be required to provide your professors proof of a needed absence (a note from a medical professional).

If you are quarantined or are in self-isolation, if possible, you are expected to adhere to the virtual/online course modifications communicated to you by your professors. If you are not able, due to illness or quarantine, to attend online classes or complete coursework, please follow Student Rule 7.

General health and wellness
If you have any flu-like symptoms or are sick in any way, please do not come to campus and seek immediate medical attention. Again, Student Rule 7 is there to protect you in illness related absences. We also recommend that you reconsider any personal travel for any non-essential reason and avoid large crowds or unnecessary social events. For more information, please visit the following links:

https://www.tamu.edu/coronavirus
https://www.tamu.edu/coronavirus/#FAQ
https://www.tamus.edu/texas-am-system-delivers-guidance-on-covid-19/

If you have any questions related to COVID-19, absences, or any other concerns, please contact the Department of Student Affairs at dsa@qatar.tamu.edu.

 

TAMUQ operations and transition of classes online

The State of Qatar has announced that all schools and universities, public and private, will suspend face-to-face classes from 10 March 2020 until further notice. During this time, Texas A&M at Qatar’s spring semester will continue, and classes will be delivered electronically. Although classes will not be meeting, Texas A&M at Qatar remains open and operational, and employees are expected to report to work as usual.

Students will receive instructions from faculty for how to access required course materials and with information for how their courses will proceed. In order to successfully complete spring 2020 courses, students must comply with any course assignment and/or exam modifications communicated to them by their professors. For example, students may be expected to “attend” virtual lecture streams, complete virtual projects, submit assignments via eCampus, etc.

TAMUQ email is the official means of communication. Students and faculty should contact servicedesk@qatar.tamu.edu for technical support. All academic and student support services will remain available. 

For TAMU employment-related information related to COVID-19, go to https://employees.tamu.edu/covid-19/.

Also, Qatar’s government has announced that it would bar entry of travelers coming to Qatar from 14 countries in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19. In light of these developments, and with operational integrity in mind, all TAMUQ business travel is suspended until further notice without exception.

 

Message from Qatar Foundation   

For Qatar Foundation, the safety and wellbeing of our community is always our top priority. With this in mind, we continue to closely monitor the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak. Please note the following important updates:

School and university closures
Following a government directive issued today [March 9], all QF schools, QF partner universities and Hamad Bin Khalifa University will suspend classes as of tomorrow [March 10] until further notice. In the meantime, QF schools and universities will be providing online/virtual education instruction. For more information, please refer to the school or university. Staff who are affected by these closures should speak to their line manager about flexible and remote working arrangements. 

Events and gatherings
All QF events for the next six (6) weeks are cancelled with immediate effect.

QF internal gatherings, meetings and workshops should be cancelled, where possible, or kept to the absolute minimum of people (no more than 10 people).

Travel advisory
On Thursday, March 5, we confirmed that all business travel by QF staff is cancelled.

For your own protection, Qatar is urging all citizens and residents to avoid all non-essential personal travel at this time; and that, as of Monday, 9 March, entry into Qatar is temporarily suspended for all those travelling from certain countries. Full details are available here.

If you experience symptoms of coronavirus, please make plans to self-isolate for up to 14 days and notify your manager or HR and seek appropriate medical advice.

Staff should also be aware that most medical insurance policies, including our QLM policy, carry restrictions that apply in the case of global epidemics or pandemics. In Qatar, care will be provided by Hamad Medical Corporation, using your HMC medical card.

If you do decide to travel outside of Qatar to countries not currently affected by the above suspension of travel, we ask you to inform your manager/HR of your travel plans, in particular the destination country, and to observe the following precautionary measures as outlined by QF’s Primary Health Care Center:

  • Wash your hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds each time.
  • Carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer and face masks, for use where needed.
  • Cough or sneeze into a paper tissue and dispose of it. If no tissue is available, cover your nose and mouth with your elbow.
  • Stay at least one meter away from people coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid large gatherings.

All matters regarding medical leave and salary entitlement in cases of illness continue to be governed by QF HR policy, and should anything change in this regard, we will ensure you are informed. In the meantime, should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to raise them with your line manager.

The wellbeing of our staff and wider community is our utmost priority, and, as such, we appreciate your professionalism, understanding, and contribution to minimizing the risks created by COVID-19 for everyone at this challenging time.

Thank you for your support as we maintain all other QF business as usual. Please continue to check the Coronavirus update page on Maktabi for more information and on the QF website.

 

4 March 2020

Message to community 

We are continuing to monitor the spread of the coronavirus known as COVID-19 and are making plans to minimize the risk of exposure in our community. We continue to use the best advice and guidance available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and PreventionWorld Health Organization and the Qatar Ministry of Public Health.

As we carefully track the CDC’s risk assessment for COVID-19, we continue to follow guidelines consistent with direction from The Texas A&M University System. Regular updates can be found on on this page as well as on the Texas A&M coronavirus page.

As of 3 March, the following are categorized by the CDC as Level 1, 2 and 3 countries:
Level 3 COVID-19: China, Iran, Italy and South Korea
Level 2 COVID-19: Japan
Level 1 COVID-19: Hong Kong

As of today, 4 March, Texas A&M at Qatar will not allow any non-essential business travel for faculty, staff and students. This moratorium will last for one month, until 4 April, at which time we will reassess the threat. The dean can make an exception for travel when it will negatively impact the teaching or research mission of the university.

We have canceled the second half of the annual Spring Leadership Exchange Program next week during which 14 students and 2 staff members from main campus were due to visit us. The TAMUQ students and staff who are on this trip will return as scheduled. Visits from outside of Qatar over the next month will be cancelled.

Other TAMUQ faculty and staff members who are currently on business travel should return to Qatar as scheduled.

Please be aware that travel restrictions are changing frequently. The Qatar Ministry of Public Health has placed some restrictions on travelers to Qatar, which may affect your ability to leave or return to Qatar. If you are flying back to Qatar, please be sure to check with your airline or the Qatar Ministry of Public Health before traveling back to Qatar for the most up-to-date information.

Texas A&M has also published some travel guidance related to coronavirus, or CoVID-19 that you should take into account if you are traveling.

For more information, please visit the following links:
https://www.tamu.edu/coronavirus
https://www.tamu.edu/coronavirus/#FAQ
https://www.tamus.edu/texas-am-system-delivers-guidance-on-covid-19/

Classes at TAMUQ are scheduled to resume on Sunday, 8 March. All faculty, staff and students will be notified via email or an Aggie Alert text message if this changes.

Should the government of Qatar close schools and universities, faculty should be prepared to teach remotely and staff members should work with their supervisors and unit heads to determine how the mission of the department will continue to be met during any closures.

Lastly, should you feel sick, please do not come to work and seek immediate medical attention.

If you have questions, please contact Kent Clawson, kent.clawson@qatar.tamu.edu.