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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Provost office clamps down on Zoom classes

Academic+Building
Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver
Academic Building

Recently updated guidelines from the Texas A&M Office of the Provost discourage professors from holding class over Zoom.
On Tuesday, Oct. 5, the Office of the Provost published updated guidance regarding in-person classes. According to the instructions, professors who do not comply with mandatory face-to-face teaching could receive three years of ineligibility to be nominated to any university awards, ineligibility for merit raises for the current fiscal year and an unsatisfactory rating on their annual evaluation. Professors who qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, may request accommodations for alternative solutions.
Greg Hartman, chief operating officer at A&M, said there are still some ways for professors to hold class over Zoom.
“There are allowances for if a professor has [COVID-19] or some other extenuating circumstance where they need to [teach class] through Zoom,” Hartman said. “We ask them to first see if there are alternatives like, folks who can cover the class for them; and if they are going to do Zoom, particularly a larger class, that they have a teacher’s assistant to help manage.”
Students can also attend class through Zoom if they become infected; otherwise, their options are limited, Hartman said.
“If those situations don’t exist, then [students] are expected to attend classes in person,” Hartman said.
Hartman also said, while some professors are concerned, others feel strongly about being in class.
“People have different points of view about all of these issues, so we work with all of them and try to do as fair, equitable and clear as possible in terms of what our policies are going to be,” Hartman said.
Being a public institution, Hartman said, they take Gov. Greg Abbott’s recommendations regarding COVID-19 very seriously.
“There’s a line of responsibility and accountability we have to the governor, so of course the governor’s guidance and directions are something we pay attention to,” Hartman said. “We still make decisions as an institution in terms of what we’re going to do, but we have to follow appropriate direction and guidance from the governor’s office.”
Some students, like structural engineering senior Alexa, who declined to give her last name, said they aren’t happy with the new guidelines.
“I understand why there can’t necessarily be mandates for vaccinations or masks, but it does create an environment where a lot of people would not feel comfortable attending in-person classes,” Alexa said.
Alexa said she doesn’t understand why Zoom classes were available last semester but not this semester.
“I feel like it’s not that much harder to do online classes,” Alexa said. “I just think, both for students and for professors, there should be options if people are uncomfortable.”
It’s not right to punish them, Alexa said.
“People are obviously here to pursue higher education … and so it just feels wrong to punish them for that,” Alexa said.

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