MOVING FORWARD, TOGETHER
Despite the various challenges resulting from COVID-19, Georgia College remains committed to providing an exceptional academic and co-curricular experience for our students. Instruction continues to be face-to-face and in-person, along with mitigation measures designed to keep students, faculty and staff safe during this global pandemic.
We plan to continue offering instruction that will be face-to-face with social distancing and other mitigation measures recommended by the CDC. The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff will always remain our top priority. Our mitigation efforts will include the following:
- Modified face-to-face classrooms with social distancing, hybrid learning options and alternative locations to minimize people density
- All common areas, labs, recreational facilities, classrooms and other locations on campus have been physically modified to ensure social distancing
- Plexiglass barriers have been erected in classrooms and other highly trafficked locations for additional mitigation
- Face masks will be required on campus and in all facilities, and wherever social distancing is not possible.
- Hand sanitizer stations have been installed across campus, and classrooms will be cleaned daily with additional supplies for students and faculty to use as needed
- Campus dining services are limiting the number of students in the MAX and have introduced other mitigation measures, such as to-go boxes to avoid crowding
- Elevator use has been restricted and distance markers have been added to locations across campus to avoid crowds
- Classrooms will be cleaned daily, and we are stocking classrooms with sanitizing wipes so that the instructor and students can wipe down their work/study area if they desire.
- Our academic calendar has been revised to ensure learning continues while limiting the potential spread of COVID-19 by reducing travel to and from campus.
- A detailed campus reopening FAQ has also been published that provides additional information about our campus reopening plan and our response to COVID-19.
Be sure to check this website often for updates and additional information. Another great resource for information is Front Page, your source for daily campus news, updates and announcements.
The health and safety of our community has been and will continue to be our top consideration as we address issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the things that we have learned is that change can occur rapidly, and these updates for Spring 2021 are based on the information we have at this moment.
Plan for Fall 2021 and Vaccines
Dear Fellow Bobcats
This year has posed some significant challenges to us as we sought to provide our students with a “normal” college experience amidst a global pandemic. I know how difficult this was for all of you, and the impact on your collegiate experience has been significant.
I am pleased to share with you that we anticipate a return to normal in Fall 2021 with a full slate of programs and experiences to enhance your co-curricular and social collegiate life. Students who joined us in 2020 can anticipate a very robust programmatic and social experience unlike anything they have seen this year. We are excited to welcome you to what a Georgia College experience is meant to be. For rising second-year students who missed out on a normal Weekend of Welcome, we invite you to a special celebration during the first week when you return in August.
While our plans will be built to pivot as changes arise, we anticipate a return to normal meaning easing restrictions on the numbers of participants who can attend programs, plans to offer comprehensive Bobcat Nights evening and weekend programs, resumption of our normal intramural sports and wellness center operations, and allowing group travel. Campus traditions like Bobcat Marketplace, GC Gives Day, Midnight Breakfast, and Dance Marathon will resume, and we invite you to take full advantage of them. I also welcome your ideas and look forward to seeing the things you will create at Georgia College.
We will continue communicating the details of our plans throughout the summer as we receive guidance from the CDC, the University System of Georgia, and the Georgia Department of Health. For now, I hope you will enjoy your final month of the semester and take pride in what you have accomplished this year.
I very much look forward to celebrating and experiencing our return to normalcy this fall.
Shawn Brooks, PhD
Vice President for Student Life
Our COVID-19 mitigation measures on campus were effective at preventing the spread of infection in campus facilities. We will continue to implement classroom distancing, mask requirements, and additional health and safety strategies based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.
Just before Thanksgiving, we encouraged the community to “Go Home Healthy” by taking a free COVID test on campus in the days before returning home. Likewise, we want all bobcats to come back well and know your status. To that end, we urge you to plan to limit exposure in the two weeks leading up to your return to campus. If you think that you may have been exposed or if you feel unwell, please get tested before your return. For those who feel fine but want to know your status, we will be providing free COVID tests again on central campus in Terrell Hall room 310. These will be drop-in clinics, so no appointment is necessary.
Our quarantine protocol will remain in place for the spring. Please refer to the decision paths if you are exposed or become ill. Our COVID Care Response Team will continue to assist students in quarantine with notifying faculty of excused absences and staying connected to campus resources.
Our health and safety protocols will remain in place for the spring. As a reminder, here are some of the ways we have modified our operations to serve students safely:
- Campus offices are open with safety measures in place. Regular business hours are Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Campus dining services at The MAX will continue offering grab-and-go meals, and limited indoor seating is available. Meal exchanges at our retail dining locations are back to help students maximize their dining options.
- Student Health Services will use tele-health for initial appointments, but students who need a physical exam or treatment will be directed to come to the clinic for an in-person visit.
- Counseling Services will utilize tele-counseling. Students who need a private space may request the tele-health room in the Counseling Center when making an appointment.
- Shuttles will continue running frequent circuits with limited capacity to avoid overcrowding.
We recognize that social isolation was a top concern among students and their families. Our registered student organizations and Student Life units provided many innovative and well-attended programs in the fall. Traditions like Midnight Breakfast and Potato Drop carried on with a few modifications, and new favorites like Resident Student Association’s (RSOs) Drive-In Movie and First-Year Experience Pumpkin Painting were big hits among students. See our message to students to learn more about the ways we will continue offering avenues for student involvement.
Something that always brings our campus together is Athletics. Many of our fall sports were deferred to the spring by their respective conferences, so we are excited to have a packed schedule of games from baseball, basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball. Game schedules can be found at gcbobcats.com. While spectators will be limited for indoor sports, we encourage every Bobcat to come out to West Campus for a soccer, softball, or baseball game, or walk by Centennial Center during a tennis match. You can also support our Bobcats by viewing live-streamed games. The link to games can be found at gcbobcats.com.
Information for Students
Information for Employees
We have amended the academic calendar as we continue with our modified face-to-face instruction for the spring semester. Spring classes will begin Tuesday, Jan. 19, instead of the originally scheduled date of Wednesday, Jan. 6. March 8 will be observed as a Reading Day with no classes, and Spring Break, which was originally set for March 15-19, has been removed from the calendar. The last day of classes will be May 4. The final exam period will be shortened from four days to three, and will be held online between May 5-7.
In an effort to prevent crowds and minimize people density in areas on campus, the Division of Student Life has been preparing programming related to campus life and student activities that will take place in a virtual environment for the fall. Face-to-face programming will be greatly reduced, and student clubs and organizations will conduct most of their activities virtually. Also, there will be no recreational sports for the fall semester to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 among our students.
The Division of Student Life has created a “Campus Coach Connections” program to help both new and returning students transition to campus life. Throughout the summer, Campus Coaches will engage students on a weekly basis to connect them to co-curricular programs and services and connect them with other Bobcats. At the start of the fall semester, Campus Coaches will engage with returning students as well to help ensure a smooth transition back to campus. All offices and services related to student affairs will remain open, although there will be an intentional effort to ensure social distancing is maintained.
We are planning for face-to-face, on-campus instruction with social distancing. Students can expect classroom settings to be reconfigured and section sizes to be reduced to allow for social distancing. We have brought some larger rooms on the schedule, and we are configuring them as classrooms to allow for more social distancing. Rotating class schedules and synchronous online teaching may also be implemented by faculty members to further reduce the number of students in labs and classrooms. In a limited number of cases, some classes may be taught entirely online while others will be augmented in a hybrid format using digital and online technologies. Faculty members will continue to work with any student that has been exposed to or becomes ill because of COVID-19 to ensure they can continue to make academic progress during periods of quarantining or self-isolation. Returning students should carefully review their class schedule in PAWS as class location changes may have occurred since spring registration activities.
Clinicals, Student Teaching, and Leadership
Regarding clinical, student teaching or internships, students must follow the provisions and requirements of the site where the clinical, student teaching or internship is being conducted. If the student is uncomfortable with the requirements of the site, they should contact their university coordinator. The University will work with sites and students on an individual basis to ensure that requirements are met in case of issues that arise.
Upon determination by the University System of Georgia and the Georgia Department of Public Health that the number of COVID-19 cases has made it so that the campus can no longer function safely, alternative plans will be enacted. Any alteration of current plans will be in coordination with the University System of Georgia.
Dining services at The Max will be open, although the number of admitted patrons will be limited to adhere to guidance regarding social distancing. There will be no self-service stations in The Max and disposable utensils will be used wherever possible. In addition, seating areas will be physically reconfigured to ensure spatial distancing is maintained. The University will also expand the grab-and-go options and prepare boxed meals to provide more options for students and to further minimize crowding in our dining areas. The Subway location on campus will be temporarily closed while Chick-fil-A will remain open with spatially reconfigured seating areas.
Effective July 15, 2020, all University System of Georgia institutions will require all faculty, staff, students, and visitors to wear an appropriate face covering while inside campus facilities and buildings where six feet social distancing may not always be possible. Use of face coverings will be in addition to, and is not a substitute for, social distancing. Face coverings are not required in one’s own housing suite or residence hall, when alone in an enclosed office or study room, or in campus outdoor settings where social distancing requirements are met.
Anyone not using a face covering when required will be asked to wear one or must leave the area. Repeated refusal to comply with the requirement may result in discipline through the applicable conduct code for faculty, staff or students. Reasonable accommodations may be made for those who are unable to wear a face covering for documented health reasons.
The University will provide up to two masks per each student who does not have their own.
Upon our return to campus in the fall, we are expecting all students, faculty and staff to follow the guidelines specified by the Georgia Department of Public Health and the CDC.
These guidelines currently include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue or inside your elbow.
Parking and Transportation
In an effort to decrease ridership on our buses at any given time, there may be changes to our routes and schedules. Buses will be cleaned more often, and we encourage everyone to wear a mask at all times while on the bus. Riders will be urged to spread out on the bus.
We are asking all students, faculty and staff to continue to maintain social distancing. This means, whenever possible, at least 6 feet of distance should be maintained from others, to avoid gathering in groups. In addition, we ask everyone to avoid handshaking and any other unnecessary person-to-person contact. We also advise against using other people’s phones, desks, office spaces or other personal items to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19.
At this time there is no directive to offer testing to otherwise healthy students. Any student who gets sick or is exposed will consult with Student Health Services. If it is determined that a COVID-19 test is needed, then Health Services will arrange for the student to be tested at an appropriate testing site. We continue to monitor the Georgia Department of Public Health and CDC regarding testing requirements.
If you become sick during the semester, we ask that you notify your professors and do not go to class. You should immediately consult Student Health Services or your private physician. Student Health will determine if a COVID-19 test is warranted. If needed, they will direct you to the appropriate testing site and will direct you to self-isolate. If you are determined to be COVID 19 positive you must quarantine for 14 days. You will be asked to quarantine from your home, not on campus. During the quarantine period, upon notifying your professors, they will work with you to complete assignments from home. You may return to campus when student health determines you have either provided a note from a provider or that you have met the CDC guidelines to ending quarantine. Faculty will work with students during their quarantine period to adjust for assignments.
All students, faculty, and staff who have travelled outside of the country are advised to self-monitor for a period of 14 days in accordance with the CDC Guidelines. During this time, take your temperature twice a day and avoid contact with others, avoid public transportation, and maintain social distancing. If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, please contact our Health Services office at 478-445-5288.
The Wellness Center will be open although a number of preventative measures will be put in place. There will be more frequent cleaning schedules along with additional spacing to further separate workout equipment to facilitate social distancing. Contact sports will be eliminated, and we will limit the number of people using the Wellness Center at any given time.