The University of Georgia’s top priority in reopening our campuses is the safety of our faculty, staff, and students. As UGA has affirmed, each member of our community must take responsibility for their actions and adhere to the guidelines of the GDPH, the CDC, as well as guidelines issued by the USG and UGA to protect themselves and others while helping to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Voluntary compliance is critical.
Please note that face coverings are required on campus. The CDC recommends that if social distancing is difficult to maintain, cloth face coverings are the best option for protection against COVID-19. Also, note that Athens-Clarke County requires the use of masks in indoor spaces. Face shields are not a substitute for masks.
KEEPING EVERYONE SAFE
Because your health is our first priority, we want all students, faculty and staff to return to campus feeling safe and secure. If you have a health condition or another issue that may put you at a higher risk, please apply to UGA’s disability Resource Center for remote learning accommodations.
Effective July 15, 2020, University System of Georgia (USG) institutions will require all faculty, staff, students, and visitors to wear an appropriate face covering while inside campus facilities/buildings where six feet social distancing may not always be possible. Face covering use will be in addition to and is not a substitute for social distancing.
Face coverings are not required in one’s own dorm room or suite, 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 Governor’s July 15th Executive Order contains a new provision suspending any state, county, or municipal law, order, ordinance, rule, or regulation that requires face coverings. Consistent with interpretation from the Governor’s office, the USG’s face covering guidance does not fall into one of these categories and therefore is not suspended. Face coverings are required inside campus facilities/buildings where six feet social distancing may not always be possible.
CLASSROOM & SCHEDULE CHANGES
What will classrooms look like?
We're still using the same classrooms as before, but we've made some adjustments to increase safety. We are observing social distancing in our classrooms, and we are marking chairs and table spaces with stickers to note spaces that have been properly measured out. When you walk into a classroom, you’ll probably see just as many desks as before—that’s only because we don’t have the storage space to move all the desks and chairs out.
It may be useful to plan to sit in the same seat each time you step into the classroom, to minimize excess time moving about the room.
Will my schedule change?
By spacing out our seating, it means our classrooms have significantly reduced their capacity. This means that how you attend class will also adjust. Many classes that are too large to fit into a classroom at once will split into sections, and will alternate attending in person or online, depending on the day. For example, one half of a class would be designated as Section A and one half would be section B; on Mondays Section A would attend in-person, while Section B would attend online. The groups would switch for the next class. Look to course syllabi for details on how this will work, as it will change depending on the details of the class.
We are installing video cameras and microphones in all of our classrooms to accommodate for this hybrid model of instruction. We are also installing acrylic panels at the front of each classroom, and you may also see some of these installed in faculty and staff offices. Our crew out at Whitehall has been busy constructing these.
Your class schedule will also look different this semester. UGA is adding additional time between classes, accommodating for reduced capacity on UGA buses and time to file in and out of classes while keeping our distance. We will have these times posted on our digital displays to help you keep track.
We enjoy having our Warnell family around, whether it's chatting with friends after class or sending time with faculty or advisors. This fall, though, will be different. For your own safety, unless you have face-to-face classes or appointments, your best strategy is to enter and exit without delay. In practice, this means keeping socially distant whenever you are in our buildings, keeping "traffic moving" to and from our classrooms, and, whenever possible, taking conversations outdoors.
LABS AND FIELD TRIPS
Because most of our labs are outdoors, many remain unchanged. We still require social distancing, though, and some key labs will be moved to earlier in the semester just in case our schedule changes as the semester moves forward.
For indoor labs, we have been working with UGA’s Office of Research to evaluate room capacity, and will follow similar protocols as in classrooms. Depending on the lab, equipment may be available to check out, so students can have the same experience, just in their own spaces.
One of the unique aspects of Warnell is our trips out to Whitehall and elsewhere in our vans. But, because of social distancing, the number of people who can now ride in a van has been severely affected. Please look to your instructor and your syllabus for information on trips off campus, as these will have new guidelines that will change depending on the number of participants or how it’s structured.
COVID-19 GUIDELINES FOR STUDENT CLUBS AND ORGANIZATIONS
The Engagement, Leadership, and Service department has published its COVID-19 Guidelines for Student Organizations. As we all work to create an environment where student leaders can be successful and thrive in the coming year, we hope that these guidelines prove helpful in that process with student organizations.
PRACTICING EVERYDAY SAFETY HABITS
Around our buildings—and, across UGA—we will have sanitizing stations set up for your use. This includes hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes. When you enter a classroom, we ask that you grab a wipe and wipe down your area so you know you’re starting class with a safe, clean spot.
Please note that sanitizing wipes are not meant for skin—they are for cleaning surfaces between users. Our hallways will also have hand sanitizer stations that are meant for skin contact.
Before entering a classroom, please follow these steps to make the start of class as safe and efficient as possible:
1) Sanitize your hands
2) Grab a wipe
3) Proceed to your designated seat and wipe down all surfaces you may come in contact with. Please do not enter and leave the room multiple times to get sanitizer and/or wipes, as it causes congestion at the door.
We are now working on an inventory of our hallways, bathrooms, stairwells and other places that see a lot of foot traffic or touches. We are assessing where cleaning needs to take place on a regular basis, and where new stickers and other directional markers can assist with traffic flow and keeping everyone safe. We will share more details about these spaces in the coming weeks.
FACULTY OFFICE HOURS
Because each faculty member’s situation is different, it is up to them to determine the best options for office hours. Some offices are more conducive to meetings than others. While the best option for many may remain virtual, other faculty may be available after class for brief questions or discussions. Drop-in office hours will not be offered. Please look to your instructors for their guidelines on meeting one-on-one.
Matt Head asks that students finalize their schedules ahead of the first day of classes. Remote advising via Zoom is preferred for longer meetings; email is preferred for a quick response. We will still allow in-person meetings if the student and advisor agree to it. Those will be done with masks and social distancing. We will likely have 1-309 available for students to use as a location to use Zoom and to meet with the pre-professional advisor or Matt.
GENERAL CAMPUS INFORMATION
Daily Wellness Checks and Symptom Reporting
The University will be implementing a tool that gives each member of the campus community the ability to self-monitor COVID-19 symptoms and exposure and to facilitate the sharing of information internally and with the Georgia Department of Public Health. Additionally, the tool will help provide a quick response when there is a confirmed case, expediting cleaning and sanitizing processes. The tool will be rolled out before students return to campus, and you will receive additional information in the coming weeks.
In addition to these resources, remember that UGA has purchased and provided all faculty, staff, and students with two cloth face coverings. The University of Georgia—along with all University System of Georgia institutions—now requires all faculty, staff, students, and visitors to wear an appropriate face covering while inside campus facilities/buildings where six feet of social distancing may not always be possible. Face covering use will be in addition to and is not a substitute for social distancing.