KILLEEN, TX — Texas’s only transfer university welcomed students back to school Monday.
Texas A&M University - Central Texas says only about 20% of their student body is taking some form of face-to-face classes this year. School officials tell 25 News about the plans in place, to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff.
The first day stressors are now amplified due to the COVID-19 pandemic. University officials say they have been preparing well throughout the summer to ensure that health procedures are in place across campus.
“We’ve been doing the normal safety things to fire and safety things, but we knew that COVID was going to be a whole different thing,” said Shawn Kelley, the head of safety and risk management at Texas A&M - Central Texas.
The ever-changing CDC COVID-19 guidelines have Kelley on his toes.
“That’s my primary focus is to not only do things that make the campus safe but also to make those things visible so students can see that we care about them and about their health and their education,” he said.
Hand sanitizers at every corner, mandatory masks campus wide, social distancing markers and hydrostatic sprayers are just a few examples. Kelley says they're still planning to do more
“We’re going to put ultraviolet lights into the air handler systems to kill viruses. They are airborne when they come into the building so that we were putting in condition air into the building that’s clean,” Kelley added.
Still, some students are a little apprehensive about returning to school in the middle of a pandemic.
“...a little nervous, actually a lot nervous going into it with all these different changes. It’s just, you know, overwhelming," said student Amanda Daniels.
Daniels is scheduling the majority of her classes online, but other students like Kirsten Martinez can't avoid campus. She’s a student worker and says she's seen the COVID-19 procedures taken seriously.
"I do actually, I think that our university has taken the necessary precautions to really keep students and faculty and staff safe,” said Martinez.
With a job that's centered around keeping others safe, Kelley says these safety measures will be in place as long as needed.
“We don’t want anybody’s degree plan to slow down. We want to keep them here and keep things as safe as we can while we’re on campus,” he said.
If someone does test positive for COVID-19, they will be immediately sent home and all the areas that they have been will be disinfected.
To keep up with the COVID-19 procedures, at Texas A&M - Central Texas you can head over to their website.
The university says students, faculty, and staff who are experiencing one or more of the COVID-19 symptoms can get tested for free on campus from 7:30 a.m.– 9:30 a.m.