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Coronavirus Update from President Wendler

March 30, 2020

Members of the Campus Community,
 
Earlier today, March 30, 2020, the cities of Amarillo and Canyon initiated shelter in place orders effective at midnight. The details of these orders will be available on the municipal websites. Any similar orders from Randall and Potter County will also be available on their respective websites.
 
I want to communicate a few observations that are important in these developing circumstances.
 
First, West Texas A&M University is a member of The Texas A&M University System and as such is a state agency directed by Governor Abbott.  The leadership and requirements that govern our campus come from the governor’s office and the Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System through Chancellor John Sharp. As a state agency we are not subject to requirements of the cities or counties, but rather the guidance given by the Governor and the Chancellor. To date, we have been asked to stay open in service to students living in our residence halls and provide all of the health, safety, and welfare provisions typical to these operations. Our residence halls and food services are open as are other necessary campus functions. They will remain so until we are directed to do otherwise.
 
Second, Chancellor Sharp has asked the leadership of WT to be responsive to local conditions as determined by municipalities and county governments to the greatest extent possible. We have four jurisdictions that impact us in our service to the citizens of West Texas: the cities of Canyon and Amarillo as well as Randall and Potter counties.
 
Third, West Texas A&M University will remain open with essential personnel reporting for work on schedules determined by immediate supervisors. In order to understand how the essential personnel requirements might relate to you as a faculty and staff member, including student workers, please check with the person to whom you would typically report. Our goal in the interest of the health, safety and welfare of the general public, and our primary mission as an academic institution is to limit the number of personnel on the campus and in the public. We will continuously monitor our needs and the quality of service we are providing. This will allow us to comply with both the declarations and the spirit of guidance and directions from the State, System, counties, and cities that we serve most directly. If faculty or staff need to come to campus to collect materials to work from home they can do so on or before April 1, 2020 at 5:00 p.m., at which point WT will move to restricted access.
 
This step is a modest one for West Texas A&M University because we have already significantly reduced the on-campus personnel by remote work, scheduling, staggered staffing, and special assignment measures that have kept the campus operational for the online instructional environment and the on-campus student population in response to public health concerns. Because our teaching has shifted to online instruction, student interactions have been drastically reduced in and around the campus and the Harrington Academic Hall WTAMU Amarillo Center.
 
I appreciate your patience with all of this as we contend with circumstances that are new to everyone associated with West Texas A&M University. But, in the spirit of West Texas pragmatism we will do our very best to thoughtfully and deliberatively respond to the challenges we face.

Walter V. Wendler
President
president@wtamu.edu