Texas A&M President won’t attend summer graduation after COVID-19 exposure

(Texas A&M University)
Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 5:20 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Texas A&M University President M. Katherine Banks said Wednesday she won’t attend the upcoming summer graduation ceremony after learning she was exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

In a letter posted to the university’s website, Banks said both she and the person who contracted the virus are fully vaccinated and aren’t experiencing symptoms. She self-reported through the university’s COVID portal.

Banks took over as president of the Texas A&M University System flagship campus in June.

Here is the full statement:

Since taking office as president on June 1, I have looked forward to Friday’s commencement ceremony. I am extremely disappointed to learn that I will not be able to attend in person to address the more than 2,000 graduates who have earned their degrees.

I learned late last night that I was exposed to someone in my office who tested positive for COVID-19 and — just like that person — I have no symptoms and am fully vaccinated. I followed all Texas A&M University protocols by immediately self-reporting in the university COVID portal, completing a COVID test this morning, and scheduling a retest Sunday. I will continue to take precautions, including wearing a mask indoors.

However, since the president’s role in graduation puts me in close contact with a large number of students, I have been advised to avoid potential exposure to our students and their loved ones until my final testing is complete on Sunday.

As we begin a new academic year, this is a reminder that we must continue to be vigilant. Vaccines remain the most effective way to protect our entire campus community from COVID-19. Texas A&M will continue to offer both free vaccines and testing to all student, faculty and staff members. The most up-to-date information can be found on our COVID-19 guidance page. Please join me in following our protocols to keep Aggieland safe and healthy.

And, to the graduates: Congratulations on this significant milestone! I will be cheering for you as I watch the commencement ceremony live on KAMU.

M. Katherine Banks, Texas A&M University President

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