Remember the movie Outbreak? It starred Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo and Morgan Freeman, then had appearances from names like Cuba Gooding Jr. and Kevin Spacey. For a mid-1990s movie that's about as average as it gets, seeing it trend on Netflix a few nights in a row made me think, "Dang, we're really doing everything we can to prepare for the coronavirus, including watching 25-year-old movies."
The coronavirus is hotter than Joe Burrow's brand. You can't go 30 minutes these days without someone bringing it up, seeing coverage on a television or in a newspaper, or passing someone walking through town in a surgical mask. All parts of the country are taking every precaution possible, and even a state like Texas — with 76 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of March 18 — is doing all they can to contain the outbreak.
Texas A&M University announced that following spring break, all in-person classes in College Station were being canceled for two days to prepare for potentially going completely online with its class schedule. Ohio State, Princeton, USC, UCLA, Stanford, Washington, and Purdue are among several major colleges that had already transitioned to fully online classes for the foreseeable future.
Texas A&M Cancels Classes
Dear Texas A&M University Community:
Please be advised that classes will not resume until Wednesday, March 18 to allow for planning and logistics to ensure the provision of all university services in the most efficient, effective and safest way. Dining, health, counseling and other services will be available on a normal schedule Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17. Transportation will run on the current Spring Break schedule.
There are no plans at this time to cancel future classes beyond March 17. Texas A&M is not requiring that all courses move to an online format at this time. The university will continue to keep faculty, staff and students updated. Faculty will communicate with their students on changes. In addition, please check the university's COVID-19 website for updates.
UPDATE (March 18, 2020): The university announced in a press release that its entire spring semester schedule would be moved into an online format. In addition, spring graduation ceremonies planned for the first weekend of May at Reed Arena in College Station would be postponed. Texas A&M President Michael K. Young said, via the release, that diplomas would be mailed to graduates, and in-person ceremonies for any May graduates hoping to walk could be moved late into the summer.
Also, the 101-year-old tradition of Family Weekend was being canceled.
Texas A&M Postpones Graduation, Cancels Family Weekend
"These are very difficult decisions made with careful thought and input from faculty, staff and students," Young said. "Around the world and here in Aggieland, the unprecedented disruption and sprawling impact of the pandemic are unfolding at a precious time for our university — graduation, finals, major events. And at the same time, we know that most essential is preserving health and safety and continuing to support ongoing education online."
We'll see how long this lasts, but between college basketball tournaments being canceled altogether and professional leagues like the NBA, MLB and NHL suspending operations for the foreseeable future, this won't be the last time coronavirus-related news makes waves in Texas.
This article was originally published March 11, 2020.
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