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Clarification Memo from the Office of Gov. Abbott

Friday, March 20, 2020 - 9am

Memo on Executive Order GA 08

This memo will provide additional guidance on the continued operation of your institution of higher education in light of the Governor’s Executive Order Number GA 08 issued on March 19, 2020. Educating future generations is a crucial feature of any society, second only to ensuring public safety. In the executive order, institutions of higher education are directed to operate in accordance with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. As described in the text of the order, the state is following guidance from the CDC to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the greatest extent practicable. Please continuously monitor the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Institutions of Higher Education for any updates. Texas’ institutions of higher education have already taken on this responsibility and acted swiftly in responding to this unique crisis. The work your institutions have already done is admirable and for that we are grateful.

It is our understanding that your institutions have already taken numerous precautions to protect your students, faculty, and staff. Those precautions include moving nearly all instruction to an online modality. There will be of course some instruction and operations that cannot be moved entirely online, and we expect that administrators will make the best decision on a case-by-case basis that incorporates adequate social distancing, limits on the total number of people in one space, and includes proper disinfection. This office also appreciates that institutions have made housing and food services available to a limited number of students for whom it is necessary. While we encourage you to use teleworking as much as possible, we also expect that certain staff must remain in their work environment, and specific offices located on campus may need to remain open to ensure the continuity of your operations. Again we ask that you take any and all necessary precautions.

Please accept my gratitude for everything you do for the students and residents of this state. While there will always be unique circumstance specific to each campus, we hope that this memo and CDC guidance for higher education are of assistance as you work through this situation. If you feel there are additional areas in which further discussion is necessary feel free to contact me.

Best regards,

Brady Franks
Deputy Budget and Policy Director
Office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott