Making changes

To help prevent potential exposure to the coronavirus, Texas A&M University-Commerce has entered a partnership with TimelyMD to offer free remote health support to students

 COMMERCE — To help prevent potential exposure to the coronavirus, Texas A&M University-Commerce has entered a partnership with TimelyMD to offer free remote health support to students and has also postponed its spring graduation ceremony to December.

In addition to these cautionary measures, a group called Go Team Therapy has been bringing their well-behaved pets to the A&M-Commerce campus to offer students “hugs from their furry friends” during this stressful time.

As people in the community continue to monitor their health, the university’s partnership with TimelyMD allows students 24-hour online access to doctors or mental health providers from their home, office or dorm room. A university email address (ending in .edu) is needed to use the service for free. More about the service can be learned at www.timely.md/campushealth-faqs.

On Sunday, A&M-Commerce President Mark Rudin announced in a video posted on social media that this spring’s commencement ceremony would be postponed to December.

“I assure you that this was not an easy decision,” Rudin said. “Our decision was based upon three items. One is because of advice from health officials about large group gatherings, second is guidance from the Texas A&M University System, and third was a desire to do our part to help the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“For many of you, you may be first in your families to earn a college degree, and the Lion family doesn’t want you to miss out on this important opportunity to celebrate your accomplishments with your family, friends, fellow students, and faculty and staff, so our May 8 and 9 ceremonies are postponed to December 2020,” he added.

In his announcement, Rudin also said that despite the spring 2020 graduation ceremony being postponed, those students who fulfilled the requirements for their degrees will be able to receive their diplomas through the registrar’s office as soon as their grades are posted.

He also mentioned that there are, so far, no plans on whether or not to postpone the August graduation.

On a lighter note, the group Go Team Therapy has been bringing six dogs and a cat to campus to help comfort students during concern about the pandemic.

“Back in Boise, we got a German Shepard puppy named Pi, and we knew he was going to need some good training,” said A&M-Commerce’s first lady, Elizabeth Rudin, who is very familiar with the organization. “As he got older, we went through Go Team training, and Pi is a licensed therapy dog now.”

Go Team Therapy began making visits to the campus after the shooting that occurred at Pride Rock Residence Hall on Feb. 3.

Travis Hairgrove is a news reporter and features writer at the Herald-Banner and covers city government for many municipalities in Hunt County. To reach him outside of business hours, email THairgroveReporter@gmail.com.

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