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Georgia Southern’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

As we manage this ever-changing situation with the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), Georgia Southern’s primary goal is to protect students, faculty, and staff. Following direction from the Georgia Department of Public Health and the CDC, Georgia Southern has moved to online-only instruction for the remainder of the spring semester, and for the summer term.

For the fall semester, our plan is to resume face-to-face instruction should guidance from Governor Kemp’s office and public health officials allow it. Currently, we are developing complex plans to ensure the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff. The details of those plans will be communicated this summer.

To help students and faculty adjust to this new online learning environment, we have collected a wealth of online learning resources here.

Like all other University System of Georgia institutions, Georgia Southern is adapting its operations to remain open with minimal staff physically on-site to ensure continuity of certain services.

We encourage Eagle Nation to continue to adhere to public health and CDC guidelines regarding hygiene and social interactions.

Guidelines for Reopening of Campus

See the full “Initial Return to Campus Plan” under My Messages & Alerts in the MyGeorgiaSouthern portal.

  • Will faculty, staff and students be required to wear face masks?
    The wearing of face masks or cloth face coverings by all employees working on campus is strongly encouraged when in the presence of others and in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., common work spaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, etc.). Appropriate use of face masks or coverings is critical in minimizing risks to others near you. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you have no symptoms. The mask or cloth face covering is not a substitute for social distancing. Employees in some front line, high contact positions (e.g. custodial and dining staff) will be provided face coverings. All other employees will be responsible for providing their own face coverings.
  • Will face masks be provided for faculty, staff and students?
    Employees in some front line, high contact positions (e.g. custodial and dining staff) will be provided face coverings. All other employees will be responsible for providing their own face coverings.
  • Will face shields or goggles be required for faculty, staff and students?
    Staff do not need to wear goggles or face shields as part of general activity on campus. Good hand hygiene and avoiding touching your face are generally sufficient for non-healthcare environments. It may be appropriate to wear goggles or face shields in wet environments, such as cleaning public bathrooms, etc.
  • Will faculty, staff and students be required to wear gloves?
    Healthcare workers and others in high-risk areas should use gloves as part of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), but gloves are not necessary for general use and do not replace good hand hygiene. Washing your hands often is considered the best practice for common everyday tasks.
  • Will hand sanitizer be provided for faculty, staff and students?
    Yes. The university already has sanitizer dispensers throughout campus and is working to increase those numbers.
  • Will the University provide cleaning supplies to sanitize my work space?
    The University will provide cleaning supplies for high traffic public spaces – front service desks, computer labs, testing labs.  These supplies allow for the frequent disinfection required in these high touch areas.  Full cleaning of spaces will be handled by Custodial Services during the standard nightly cleanings. The provided supplies should not be utilized for personal office spaces. The University also will provide hand sanitizer stations in all office reception/front desk/service desk areas, as well as in public spaces throughout all buildings on all campuses.  Germ shields will be provided at all front desk/service desk locations and point of sale locations in dining/food service facilities.
  • I’m not comfortable returning to the workplace even though I am not considered a higher risk, as defined by the CDC, for COVID-19. What should I do?
    Employees who have been instructed to return to work on-site and have concerns about doing so or who wish to seek ADA Reasonable Accommodations related to returning to the workplace should contact Human Resources by emailing hrservice@georgiasouthern.edu or by calling 912-478-6947.
  • What do I do if I am considered higher risk, as defined by the CDC, for COVID-19 and I am not comfortable returning to the workplace?
    Employees who have been instructed to return to work on-site and have concerns about doing so due to inclusion in a higher risk group, who are pregnant, or who wish to seek ADA Reasonable Accommodations related to returning to the workplace should contact Human Resources by emailing hrservice@georgiasouthern.edu or by calling 912-478-6947. You are not required to divulge your medical condition to your supervisor.
  • What do I do if I have a family member who is sick with COVID-19 and I must take care of them?
    Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and may stay home and telework when possible. The employee should follow GDPH recommendations in caring for their family member. These employees are eligible for up to two weeks paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and can use any other available leave.
  • What do I do if one of my employees is exhibiting multiple symptoms of COVID-19?
    Supervisors who observe an employee with multiple symptoms, may consult with their Human Resources office to require an employee to return home and seek medical care.
  • With the phased reopening, who will be making the decisions as to which employees return to campus and when?
    Supervisors and vice presidents of the divisions will be involved.
  • Will the guidelines for reopening in regards to safety, cleaning and distancing be detailed?
    Yes. The guidelines will be the same as the ones on the Georgia Department of Health’s website and are detailed in the Initial Return to Campus Planning Document. See the full Initial Return to Campus Plan under My Messages & Alerts in the MyGeorgiaSouthern portal.
  • Has there been discussions about employees who have children in the school system and how that situation would be addressed if the public schools do not reopen in August when we do?
    We understand that childcare, eldercare and school situations have to be considered. Employees will need to work with their supervisors and HR if there is a conflict. Anyone with concerns related to returning to the workplace should contact Human Resources by emailing hrservice@georgiasouthern.edu or by calling 912-478-6947.
  • Has a decision been made as to who will pay for testing and screening? Will benefits cover testing and screening?
    Employees will need to work with their health provider for testing. Department of Public Health and local businesses are also offering testing. If the university is able to provide testing, it will be for students only.
  • Will furlough days impact benefits?
    No. Benefits eligibility and costs will not be impacted by furlough.  Furlough does not impact employee or employer contributions or service credit toward retirement. 
  • What is the target date for staff to start returning to campus?
    We are preparing a phased-in approach with the goal of all employees returning to campus – unless other arrangements are made – by July 20.
  • Will the university be prohibiting outside visitors/vendors from coming into the workplace?
    Yes. Visitors, trainees, and guests are not allowed on worksites during this time.
  • Will the university be allowing staggered work shifts for staff?
    Yes. There are several options supervisors/employees may use to maintain required social distancing measures and reduce population density within buildings and work spaces. Options must be approved by the supervisor and division vice president. See the Initial Return to Campus Planning Document for details on staffing options. The plan can be found under My Messages & Alerts in the MyGeorgiaSouthern portal.
  • Will the university be cleaning and disinfecting copiers, doors, elevators and computers?
    Yes. Prior to the return of faculty, staff, and students to campus, Custodial Services will be fully disinfecting all spaces on campus to include high touch surfaces within those spaces.  Once returns are complete, Custodial Services will continue to provide nightly cleaning services as it did before, as well as increased daytime attention to high touch public spaces (elevators, stairwells, doors, handrails, etc.).
  • How do I clean and disinfect machinery or equipment?
    The University will be providing disinfectant and rags to certain areas of campus for increased daily routine disinfection – these areas will include front desks/service desks, computer labs, testing labs. Instructions on how to properly clean these areas will also be distributed
  • How can I safely use cleaning chemicals?
    Employees are asked to follow all instructions for the cleaning chemicals provided.  Instructions will be provided by the University for proper use and application of disinfectants.  If employees choose to provide their own cleaning chemicals for their personal spaces (offices), the employees must ensure the chemical is proper for the application and read all associated directions for use.
  • What else can I do in my workspace to help decrease the spread of COVID-19?
    Employees are encouraged to follow all CDC guidance provided to minimize the spread of COVID-19, including frequent handwashing, the use of face coverings, and the use of hand sanitizer.
  • Should offices turn off central air systems?
    No. University faculty and staff are asked to NOT adjust any settings related to the HVAC systems.  Air movement and air exchange rates are critical to ensuring proper air quality.  All settings will be controlled by the Division of Facilities Services to ensure safety.
  • Are the restrictions in place for dine-in restaurants applicable to dining services on campus?
    All dining operations have changed at the Statesboro and Armstrong campuses with the COVID-19 outbreak. Dining operations throughout the university will adjust in order to adhere to recommendations by the CDC, University System of Georgia and Georgia Southern University administration. Visit the Eagle Dining Services site for more details.
  • Are dining facilities typically available to staff on campus going to be open?
    All dining operations have changed at the Statesboro and Armstrong campuses with the COVID-19 outbreak. Dining operations throughout the university will adjust in order to adhere to recommendations by the CDC, University System of Georgia and Georgia Southern University administration. Visit the Eagle Dining Services site for more details.
  • Are staff allowed to each lunch or take breaks in current break rooms/lobbies?
    Use of break rooms is still allowed as long as proper social distancing measures are followed.  Staff are encouraged to eat outdoors or inside their offices when possible to minimize the use of public congregation spaces.

University Messages

Colleagues:

Georgia Southern University is planning to bring our students back to our campuses to begin the fall semester 2020 engaged in the classroom, laboratory, clinical, experiential, extramural, and co-curricular environments. Throughout this process of preparation and implementation, our decisions will be guided by the University System of Georgia (USG), Gov. Brian Kemp’s office, the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH), and the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC). The health, safety, and wellbeing of our students, faculty, staff, and communities will continue to be our utmost priority.

As we continue through the summer months with remote instruction, we must prepare for a resumption of in-person instruction in August, 2020. In anticipation of this effort, Georgia Southern will begin a staggered, sequenced, and gradual return to campus for employees (faculty, staff, and student workers) who have been in telework or flexible arrangements for the past several months.

Our “Initial Return to Campus Plan,” which you can access under My Messages & Alerts in the MyGeorgiaSouthern portal, addresses and outlines this phased-in approach to the initial return of all employees. Guided and directed by health and safety guidelines, each phase of the return details workplace expectations, staffing options, symptom monitoring, personal safety best practices, specific workplace scenarios, enter/exit control, and mental and emotional wellbeing.

As detailed in the plan, the institution is currently progressing through elements of the Phase 1 plan. The target timeline for completion of full Phase 1 implementation is June 1 – June 15. On June 15, the institution will begin taking steps to implement Phase 2 return to campus, for a completion of Phase 2 implementation on July 20. On July 20, the institution will begin taking steps to implement Phase 3 return to campus, in preparation to be fully operational by August 1, 2020.

The COVID-19 situation is fluid, and guidance may likely change over time, even after plans are prepared and executed. Georgia Southern is committed to protecting the health of employees, ensuring the well-being of the community and carefully and deliberately preparing for the fall semester. Everyone at the university has an individual responsibility to adhere to public health guidance to protect themselves and others as well as to help contain the spread of the virus. Institutional controls are only as effective as the willingness of individuals to carry them out.

Throughout all phases of return to the workplace, all employees are expected to fully comply with the policies, protocols, guidelines and personal safety practices outlined in the “Initial Return to Campus Plan.”

We know many of you will have questions. Please review the attached document thoroughly and review an extensive FAQ that has been developed at https://www.georgiasouthern.edu/covid-19-information/. We will continue to email updated information to all employees and post regularly to our COVID-19 information page. Additional guidance and details as applicable for each division and department will come from your divisional leader.

Additionally, I will host a virtual town hall meeting for faculty and staff on June 8, beginning at 10 a.m., to outline this plan and answer questions related to our initial return to campus and budget planning. Details will be shared next week on how to participate in the town hall discussion.

Please note that this plan details our initial return to campus only, and communication with regard to the full implementation plan for Fall semester 2020 will be forthcoming.

For additional questions, please contact your supervisor directly or email your questions to hrservice@georgiasouthern.edu.

Sincerely,
Kyle Marrero
President

Dear students,

We are now two weeks into our new fully online environment and I want to thank you for adapting, innovating, and connecting during these challenging times. Thank you also for supporting your professors as they work to provide you with a meaningful educational experience to close out this semester.  As I said in my video message last week, I am inspired and encouraged by you!  THANK YOU!

I wanted to let you know that the university’s leadership continues to meet daily to update each other, resolve issues, develop and implement response strategies, and provide real-time information. In each of those meetings, we ask what we are doing to help our students, and how we can help our students overcome any issues we have heard about.

I would like to share with you some important information and updates, as we know them today:

  • Please make sure you are visiting the Online Learning Resources webpage for Faculty and Students at https://www.georgiasouthern.edu/online-learning-resources/. We have collected a wealth of information there to help you with this transition to online-only learning.
  • The Governor’s Executive Orders on schools and shelter in place allows for continued access to remote education and maintaining minimal operations for students.  At this point, it does not directly impact our current status or delivery of online instruction at Georgia Southern. Students are permitted to travel as necessary to engage in distance learning. It may be advantageous to you to keep your student ID with you.
  • As you know, May and summer semester terms will be delivered online. This could present a great opportunity for our students to catch up or make great academic progress.  We are working to update our course offerings with a goal of providing a full slate of opportunities for our students to continue their progress toward their degrees.
  • Student refunds will be processed this week and should all be issued by the end of today (April 10).  The combined refunds of housing, dining and fees will return more than $11 million to our students.  We know how important it is to get these funds back into the hands of our students during this time.
  • Operation Move-out was an emotionally difficult process, but operationally very successful as we quietly and quickly moved out more than 4,500 students from our residence halls.  We have approximately 200 students remaining in housing.  We are taking special care to accommodate social distancing and access to meals for those students remaining in housing.  I want to thank the housing staff and volunteers for their incredible work in this effort.
  • For those students still in housing, or who live nearby and are having trouble making ends meet right now, we have been stocking up our student food pantries in Savannah and in Statesboro. Look for more information soon on how to take advantage of these resources. 
  • Our Health Services, led by Dr. Brian DeLoach, continue to operate on both campuses screening students and providing testing if necessary. Additionally, our Counseling Center, led by Dr. Jodi K. Caldwell, is contacting clients and transitioning operations to telemental health.
  • We have provided FAQs and MyHelp options to ensure our faculty, staff, and students are getting the answers they need — please keep the questions coming!
  • Spring Commencement plans continue with different opportunities to engage our students. We are working on virtual ceremonies for each college on May 8 and 9 (graduating students need to provide their information through MyGS by April 10); we are scheduling a face-to-face ceremony at a date yet-to-be announced for late summer; and we are inviting graduates to walk at the fall commencement ceremony in December if they cannot participate in the rescheduled in-person ceremony. Details can be found at www.GeorgiaSouthern.edu/commencement.  I do want to acknowledge the entire team that has been producing the virtual ceremony…it’s going to be really cool!
  • We continue to monitor and interpret the guidelines of the Federal Stimulus packages, specifically the CARES Act funding, to help our students impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak.  More information will be provided in the coming weeks.

Mostly, I want you all to know and acknowledge to each other that it’s okay to feel uneasy, unsure, and even a little disheartened.  Personally, I miss you all so much…I’m a people person and I miss the face-to-face interaction with our students who bring our campuses to life. 

I have no doubt Georgia Southern will be stronger and certainly more innovative as a result of this event.  Our students and our communities depend on us!  It will be our innovation, sustainability and dependability that will guide the economic recovery and future beyond COVID-19.  Education will always be relevant but we must be ready to adapt, and I am the most proud of our adaptability accomplishments to date. 

Please continue take the time to care for each other, support each other, and follow all health safety guidance.  Remember, it is our people (you, our students), that make Georgia Southern great!  So, take care of yourself!  We need each other!

Sincerely,
Dr. Marrero

It has been one week into our fully online environment and I want to thank everyone — faculty, staff, and students — for adapting, innovating, and connecting during these challenging times. As I said in my video message last week, I am inspired and encouraged by you! THANK YOU!

The leadership team continues to meet daily to share real-time information, resolve issues, and develop and implement response strategies. Information and guidance continue to evolve so I wanted to highlight and acknowledge some important topics as we know them today:

  • The Governor’s Executive Orders on schools and shelter in place allow for continued access to remote education and maintaining essential operations for students, faculty, and staff. At this point, it does not directly impact our current status or delivery of online instruction at Georgia Southern. We will continue to implement our current telework and flexible work strategies so that only a minimum number of staff are on campus to maintain operations and support remote instruction. 
  • May and summer semester terms will be delivered online, via remote instruction.  We are working to update our course offerings in this mode of delivery with a goal of providing a full slate of opportunities for our students to continue progress toward their degrees.
  • Student refunds will be processed this week and should be issued by April 10. The combined refunds of housing, dining and fees will be more than $11 million to our students. We know how important it is to get these funds back into the hands of our students during this time.
  • Understanding the importance of each paycheck for many of our students, I am very proud of our commitment to keeping our student workers employed through our supervisors’ creativity in moving tasks and job duties to online and remote environments so that we can continue to meet our operational goals while supporting our students.
  • Operation Move-Out was an emotionally difficult process, but tactically very successful as we quietly and quickly moved out more than 4,500 students from our residence halls. Currently, we have approximately 210 students remaining in housing. We are taking special care to accommodate social distancing and access to meals for those students remaining in housing. I want to thank the housing staff and volunteers for their incredible work in this effort.
  • Our Health Services, led by Dr. Brian DeLoach, continues to operate on both campuses, screening students and providing testing if necessary. I am very grateful to Dr. DeLoach and his team for their outstanding level of service and care for our students. 
  • We have provided FAQs and MyHelp options to ensure our faculty, staff, and students are getting the answers they need. Please keep the questions coming! 
  • We are accommodating needs for teleworking, flex scheduling and leave requests to ensure our faculty and staff are safe and able to navigate care needs for their loved ones.
  • We have transitioned more than 5,500 courses online. This is nothing short of heroic! Thank you, faculty and students, for your innovation and adaptation!!!
  • Spring Commencement plans are underway and will offer three opportunities to honor our students. Details can be found here. Please know that our students are invited to participate in both the virtual ceremony AND an in-person ceremony, and we hope that they will participate in both formats! I do want to acknowledge the entire team that has been producing the virtual ceremony…it’s going to be really cool!
  • We continue to monitor and interpret the impact of the Federal Stimulus packages to help institutions of higher education through these uncertain economic times. We will know more about the budget in the coming months and will keep you updated.
  • For my Eagle Nation spotlight, I would like to highlight a group of people who continue to soar above and beyond: the crews who keep our students fed and who keep our campuses clean. While most of us have been able to conduct our work remotely for the last few weeks, there are employees who continue to show up to ensure we can still support our students and remain operational. My thanks to each of you for the pivotal role you play at Georgia Southern.

So — these are only a few of the top-of-mind topics. Please let us know what other questions you may have.  

Mostly, I want you all to know and acknowledge to each other that it’s okay to feel uneasy, unsure, and even a little disheartened.  Personally, I miss you all so much…I’m a people person and I miss the face-to-face interaction with my colleagues and, most importantly, our students who bring our campuses to life.  

Colleagues, we will make it through all of this…I have no doubt we will be stronger and certainly more innovative as a result of this challenge.  Our students and our communities depend on us! It will be our innovation, sustainability and dependability that will guide the economic recovery and future beyond COVID-19.  Education will always be relevant but we must be ready to adapt, and I am certain — given our accomplishments to date — that we will continue to lead in this effort.

Please take the time to care for each other, support each other, and follow all health safety guidance. Remember, it is our people (you), that make Georgia Southern great. So, take care of yourself, my friends.  We need each other! 

Sincerely,
Kyle

Georgia Southern University and all the University System of Georgia’s 26 institutions will continue to deliver instruction remotely during May and summer semesters, with only limited exceptions.

USG institutions are tentatively planning to return to normal on-campus operations for the fall semester should guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Georgia Department of Public Health allow it.

In the interim, all institutions have been asked to continue their current telework and flexible work strategies for faculty and staff. USG institutions overall have remained open, with only minimal staff physically on-site to ensure continuity of certain services.

We continue to prioritize the safety of our students, faculty and staff as we do our part to help stem the spread of the coronavirus in Georgia and fulfill our mission to graduate our students in these challenging times.

We understand that we are all overcoming many challenges during these uncertain times. The University is committed to your well-being and success. We have several resources available online related to online learning and the University’s response to COVID-19. 

In addition, we have answered Frequently Asked Questions for students, faculty and staff, and the public. These FAQ’s are being updated regularly, so please check them often.

Georgia Southern Students:

We understand that these uncertain times have left you with many questions. Please rest assured that we are working diligently to provide answers as fast as possible.

To that end, we are now able to announce that Georgia Southern intends to implement a prorated refund of Housing and Dining plans, as well as the entire graduation fee for spring graduates, a $25 parking refund for spring only permits, and a portion of the Activity, Recreation/Wellness, Transit, and Residence Life programming fees. This refund plan was completed in coordination with the University System of Georgia.
A breakdown is outlined below:

Housing and dining:  Refunds are based on March 16 as the last day of service, which means approximately 44% of remaining plans will be refunded. The exact amount depends on the plan that was originally purchased. Students who were granted an exception to remain in the residence halls will not be refunded their housing rent, but they will be refunded for dining. Dining services are continuing to offer limited service on a cash/credit card/Eagle Express card basis. The dining service will be pick-up only.

Graduation: A full refund of the graduation fee paid by spring graduates only ($35 per student) will be issued.

Parking: A $25 refund will be issued to all students who purchased a spring parking permit.

Activity: A refund will be issued — $10.10 per Statesboro campus student and $4.90 per Armstrong campus student.

Recreation:  A refund will be issued — $4.50 per Armstrong campus student and $4.20 per Statesboro campus student.

Transit: This fee is paid only by Statesboro students. A refund of $24.37 per student will be issued. 

Housing Residence Life: A refund of $8.83 per student will be issued.

Refunds of these fees will mirror students’ normal refund check process, so it is imperative that students’ home address and direct deposit information is up-to-date. If any corrections are needed to your personal information, please reference this direct deposit link for instructions for updating your banking information.  If you want to continue to receive manual checks, then please confirm or update your permanent home address in your WINGS account by selecting “Personal Information,” then “View Address & Phone.”  Our goal is to disperse refunds April 6-10. We will communicate with you directly if there are any delays in this process.

All other fees have been carefully studied and vetted with the University System of Georgia and deemed to be essential to the continuity of instruction and business operations.

Please note that Georgia Southern has passed the deadline for a student to withdraw from the full spring term. Students who have registered for a spring minimester Term B can withdraw through April 16. Refunds for Term B withdrawals would be processed under normal refunding guidelines.

All students at University System of Georgia institutions are now eligible to consult with doctors, nurses and mental health specialists as they work through issues related to COVID-19. These consultations are no cost for students enrolled in the USG Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) and $40 for non-enrolled students. There is a 24/7 helpline available for all students at no charge.

Students who have questions or concerns about whether they are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 should immediately call their healthcare provider or member services number through their insurance plan. For students who need guidance or may not have a provider or insurance, the Georgia Department of Public Health has established a hotline. That number is: 844-442-2681.

Services available for ALL students

Telehealth Services
  • Telehealth services (on-line or by phone doctor’s visits) are available for all students through UnitedHealthcare StudentResources HealthiestYou program by Teladoc. Download the HealthiestYou mobile app, call 1-855-870-5858 or go online at www.telehelp4students.com.  
  • Telehealth services are available at no charge to students enrolled in the USG Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP)
  • Students not enrolled in the SHIP program pay $40 per visit.
  • Behavioral Health Visits
    • Students enrolled in the SHIP program have access to licensed therapists and psychologists at no charge at www.telehelp4students.com.
    • Students not enrolled in the SHIP program have access to licensed therapists and psychologists through www.betterhelp.com for a monthly charge of $180.
Optum Support Line
  • To support students who may be experiencing anxiety or stress following the recent developments around COVID-19, UHCSR is offering an Emotional-Support Help Line, through Optum, providing access to specially trained mental health specialists.
  • Optum’s toll-free help line number, 866-342-6892, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as necessary. The service is free of charge to all students.

Additional information for Students enrolled in the USG SHIP program

Access to Medical Care, Coverage
  • If a student thinks they may have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of the disease, students should immediately call a provider. To find a network provider, visit www.uhcsr.com/MyAccount or utilize their UHCSR mobile app.
  • All testing for COVID-19 will be covered by UHCSR at no charge.
  • Additional updates will be made on United Healthcare StudentResources website at www.uhcsr.com/news-main
Student Assistance Program

The USG SHIP program offers a student assistance program through Optum which provides a wide range of resources to students telephonically. The phone number is available on your UHCSR Mobile App or your www.uhcsr.com/MyAccount.

  • Counseling – 24/7 access to crisis intervention services and confidential counseling from licensed clinicians.
  • LiveAndWorkWell.com – health risk assessments, health/fitness calculators and other helpful resources.
  • Legal and Financial Services – provides help with issues such as credit card debt, divorce, child custody and shelter from abusive relationships.
  • Mediation – access to a national network of mediators to help resolve family-related disputes such as divorce, separation, child custody, visitation and support.

If you have any questions, please contact Georgia Southern’s Dean of Students office at: 

Georgia Southern’s Student Health Services office is also a resource: https://auxiliary.georgiasouthern.edu/healthservices/.

Georgia Southern students,

Like you, we are working every day to establish a plan for what our ‘new normal’ looks like for the remainder of the spring semester. Rest assured that the faculty and staff here are working diligently to ensure your success. Together, we will navigate these unprecedented times. Together, we will soar.

Here are some questions we know we can answer right now. We are working on more answers and will put them on a new FAQ we are developing that you will be able to find off our new operational status webpage, under “useful links,” at https://www.georgiasouthern.edu/covid-19-information/.

How do I get my belongings out of the residence halls?

Communication started going out yesterday to all students in the residence halls. We will stagger your move-out to ensure your safety and the health of staff who will be on hand to assist. Please look for that communication directly from housing and follow their direction on when you are scheduled to come to campus. For questions, or if you need to make arrangements to come at a time other than those provided, please email housing@georgiasouthern.edu.

What about my stuff in the academic buildings (lockers, labs, offices)?

Please follow the attached schedule to determine when you may come to campus. If you received information from University Housing, please follow that schedule. In addition, you will find the specific location of the building where you should meet and the person who will be available to let you into the locked space. If they are not in the location when you arrive, please call them and let them know you are waiting. If you need to make arrangements to come at a time other than those provided, please email provost@georgiasouthern.edu.

Is Georgia Southern working to issue partial refunds?

All 26 University System of Georgia institutions are working as quickly as possible to issue partial refunds to students, especially those required to move out of on-campus housing and those who no longer have access to dining services. More information will be forthcoming soon to our campus communities.

What about dining services?

Dining services will switch to a pick-up only service on Friday, March 20. We expect this pick-up only service to continue through Friday March, 27, After March 27, we will have limited services available at the Galley, Dining Commons, and Gus Mart I and IV. Our preference is you use your EagleExpress, credit/debit or other cashless options (We will still take cash if that is all someone has). We will charge $8.75 per meal and normal prices at Gus Marts.

Hours of operation will be as follows beginning Friday, March 20:

Dining Commons (Statesboro campus) and the Galley (Armstrong campus in Savannah):
Monday – Sunday from 11 am to 2 pm and then from 4 pm to 6 pm.

Gus Mart I (Statesboro campus) and Gus Mart IV (Armstrong campus in Savannah):
Monday – Friday from 8 am to 2 pm.

How do I learn more about switching to online learning?

The University has set up a page for online learning resources that has lots of information and tips to help ease any nervousness about this transition to online-only learning, which starts March 30. It is easily accessible from the home page or you can go there directly at https://www.georgiasouthern.edu/online-learning-resources/.

We will pass along more information as it becomes available.

Dear Georgia Southern faculty, staff and students,

In our continuing effort to keep you informed of developments as soon as possible, we wanted to pass along the latest direction from the University System of Georgia.

The University System of Georgia (USG) has directed all 26 USG institutions to cancel Spring 2020 commencement ceremonies. Students will still graduate consistent with academic standards, but the actual ceremonies will not be held as originally scheduled.

The USG continues to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance to avoid gatherings of more than 50 people.

“We don’t make this decision lightly, nor do we want to diminish all our students have achieved,” USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley said. “Our institutions are working on creative, alternative ways to celebrate their students’ accomplishments, and I am grateful for the commitment and dedication our students have shown in the face of extraordinary times. They have worked hard and rightfully expect to celebrate and mark their graduation.”

This announcement follows a statement from President Kyle Marrero earlier today.

“As a follow-up to our initial announcement of spring commencement ceremony cancellation, we know that this decision is profoundly disappointing for many of our graduates and their families,” Marrero said. “This decision was made in adherence to CDC and DPH guidance that all University System of Georgia institutions are following. During these unprecedented and challenging times, the safety and well-being of our students remains our top priority. As an update, our commencement committee met this morning, and we are working on a plan for alternative options to celebrate our students’ achievements. All options are on the table, including rescheduling, and we will communicate the plan out as soon as possible.”

Georgia Southern Faculty, students and staff:

As we manage this ever-changing situation with the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), our primary goal is to protect students, faculty, and staff. One of the most important preventative measures is to avoid having people in large groups as advised by the Georgia Department of Public Health and the CDC. Accordingly, we unfortunately need to cancel all public events to include our planned commencement exercises on May 8 & 9. Students will still be able to graduate, consistent with academic standards, but the actual spring ceremony will be cancelled. We are beginning discussions now on what options we might still have to celebrate our graduates’ accomplishments.

See below for updated guidance just released from the University System of Georgia. Please note that we will provide further information as soon as possible.

Following last week’s decision to suspend instruction for two weeks, the University System of Georgia (USG) has decided:

  • All 26 institutions will move to online instruction for all courses for the remainder of the semester, with extremely limited exceptions.
  • Residence halls will be closed, with minimal exceptions for students unable to return home or who cannot find housing elsewhere. Students are not allowed to return to campus until given permission by their institution.
  • Institutions will make every effort to accommodate students who are unable to depart campus.

The USG will provide guidance to campuses on refunds to students. Additional details are forthcoming.

All USG institutions will remain open with minimal staff physically on-site to ensure continuity of certain services.

Please continue to adhere to public health and CDC guidelines regarding hygiene and social interactions, and be especially mindful during the transition this week and next.

Further guidance will be forthcoming.

Georgia Southern Community:

While Georgia Southern University has suspended instruction for two weeks, effective Monday, March 16, 2020, this announcement does not mean the university is closing. 

This announcement from the University System of Georgia (USG) followed new guidance from the state’s coronavirus task force and the Georgia Department of Public Health. This move is designed solely for the health and welfare of our faculty, staff and students. 

Here’s what this means for Eagle Nation.

For students: since Georgia Southern is on Spring Break next week, this announcement means all Georgia Southern classes — including those online — will NOT be held until March 29, 2020. Students currently on campus are asked to depart campus by close of business today (Friday, March 13, 2020), and to remain away from campus until March 29, 2020.  At this time, students are NOT being asked to move out of their residence halls for the remainder of the semester. For students who are unable to leave campus for the next two weeks, our residence halls will remain open, and some of our dining facilities will be operational on a limited schedule. Look for details at https://auxiliary.georgiasouthern.edu/eagledining/.

For students who may need to remain in housing, please help us assist you better by filling out this form: https://forms.gle/WhsMi7QzXBoANEZn9

The university is committed to the continued employment of students who need to have hours. If you need employment, please reach out to your immediate supervisor or contact the Student Employment office in Human Resources at 912-478-6947 or put in a ticket with hrservice@georgiasouthern.

For faculty: since Georgia Southern is on Spring Break next week, this announcement means that faculty are not teaching from March 16-20. However the week of March 23-27 is a work week, and faculty need to spend their time ensuring Folio sections are properly built out and ready to be used in the event that a decision is made to convert classes to fully online. Faculty also may engage in research and/or service activities, but are encouraged to do so as much as possible from home. You should also know that the USG has suspended all non-essential travel.

More detailed information will be provided by Academic Affairs leadership.

For staff: this class suspension does not mean the university is closed. However, a goal of this decision is to reduce the number of people on our campuses. Accordingly, division leaders need to provide direction to their employees as to who may be allowed to work from home, and who is an essential employee that needs to come onto campus. You should also know that the USG has suspended all non-essential travel.

We understand there may be more specific questions, so HR is developing an FAQ about this situation at  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1v8VyPZWcHGTuE_WYBGCRzcn0qqu1vwFy1NgVQxUXS-4/edit?usp=sharing

For visitors: most events — including sporting events — on our campuses will be postponed or canceled. Please check online if there is an event you planned to attend. Organizers should work with anyone who has rented space on campus to allow them to easily cancel or reschedule their event.

We expect further direction soon from state officials as they continue to assess the current situation regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) in Georgia.

In the interim, all students, faculty and staff who may be traveling in any capacity (either domestically or internationally) are being encouraged to register their travel information through the MyGS portal so we may provide relevant updates. 

The CDC strongly advises against anyone traveling to a location subject to a Level 3 or higher Travel Health Notice, including most of Europe, South Korea, China and Iran. We also encourage community members to check with the U.S. Department of State website, and talk with family and travel companions to make a wise decision about travel plans, particularly related to travel in Europe. Remember the USG will not authorize official travel to any countries subject to a Level  3 or higher CDC Travel Health Notice.

We urge all community members to practice good preventive measures and to visit the USG resource guide for the latest information concerning travel advisories and other guidance. You can also find additional information from the CDC here.

Prevention of COVID-19 is paramount, and we urge everyone to take appropriate measures such as: 

  • Wash hands regularly.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Be responsible and courteous to others and stay home if you are sick or experiencing symptoms.

  • Respect personal space when greeting others and during conversations.

  • Be mindful of those in high risk populations such as those with underlying health conditions and the elderly.

  • Follow CDC and DPH guidance on personal and business travel to avoid increasing your risk and that of others.

Guidance from DPH identifies those with the highest risk to contract COVID-19 are travelers to countries with widespread outbreaks, as well as those travelers’ close contacts. Additionally, those most likely to develop serious illness after contracting COVID-19 include persons who are older than 60, as well as persons with chronic health conditions.

Health officials advise that the incubation period of COVID-19 is 2-14 days, with an average period of 5 days. Symptoms include coughing, fever and shortness of breath. Most people experience mild to moderate symptoms. Those who experience flu-like symptoms are urged to contact the Department of Public Health at 1-866-PUB-HLTH.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
University System of Georgia
March 12, 2020

The University System of Georgia (USG) is consulting constantly with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Governor’s Coronavirus Task Force. 

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp today announced state agencies, school systems and local communities have been given the flexibility to implement closures.

Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, all 26 USG institutions will temporarily suspend instruction for two weeks to allow time for USG institutions to test their business continuity plans and online instruction modules and for state officials to continue to assess the current situation regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) in Georgia.

Students who are currently on spring break are strongly encouraged not to return to campus. Students on campus are asked to depart campus by close of business Friday, March 13, 2020, and to remain away from campus until March 29, 2020. At this time, students are not being asked to move out of their dorms for the remainder of the semester. All institutions are being asked to work with students who are unable to leave campus.

We take very seriously the responsibility to make prudent and well-informed choices for the well-being of our campus communities and the public. We continue to prepare for all scenarios in this rapidly evolving situation. All USG institutions have plans to ensure academic continuity as operations are impacted.

The USG is providing regular updates to all institutions and the public at its website, https://www.usg.edu/coronavirus.

In the interim, all students, faculty and staff who may be traveling in any capacity (either domestically or internationally) are being encouraged to register their travel information so we may provide relevant updates. (Georgia Southern’s travel registry can be found on the MyGS portal.)

The CDC strongly advises against anyone traveling to a location subject to a Level 3 or higher Travel Health Notice, including most of Europe, South Korea, China and Iran. We also encourage community members to check with the U.S. Department of State website, and talk with family and travel companions to make a wise decision about travel plans, particularly related to travel in Europe.

We urge all community members to practice good preventive measures and to visit the USG resource guide for the latest information concerning travel advisories and other guidance. You can also find additional information from the CDC here.

Prevention of COVID-19 is paramount, and we urge everyone to take appropriate measures such as:

  • Wash hands regularly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Be responsible and courteous to others and stay home if you are sick or experiencing symptoms.
  • Respect personal space when greeting others and during conversations.
  • Be mindful of those in high-risk populations such as those with underlying health conditions and the elderly.
  • Follow CDC and DPH guidance on personal and business travel to avoid increasing your risk and that of others.

Guidance from DPH identifies those with the highest risk to contract COVID-19 are travelers to countries with widespread outbreaks, as well as those travelers’ close contacts. Additionally, those most likely to develop serious illness after contracting COVID-19 include persons who are older than 60, as well as persons with chronic health conditions.

Health officials advise that the incubation period of COVID-19 is 2-14 days, with an average period of 5 days. Symptoms include coughing, fever and shortness of breath. Most people experience mild to moderate symptoms. Those who experience flu-like symptoms are urged to contact the Department of Public Health at 1-866-PUB-HLTH.

The health of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority. We will continue to work with USG leaders in collaboration with state officials and DPH to act on the most up-to-date guidance available.

From the University System of Georgia:
The University System of Georgia is consulting constantly with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Governor’s Coronavirus Task Force.  DPH has advised that the risk of contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Georgia remains low.

Therefore, all 26 USG institutions will remain open for face-to-face education at this time. 

For those of you, or anyone on your campus who may be traveling, please make sure they remain in regular contact with your campus for operational updates. 

Many of you have asked, what can we do?   The most important responsibility we each have is to practice prevention.  Prevention is paramount.

Please urge your faculty, staff and students to take appropriate measures such as:

  • Wash hands regularly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Be responsible and courteous to others and stay home if you are sick or experiencing symptoms.
  • Respect personal space when greeting others and during conversations.
  • Be mindful of those in high risk populations such as those with underlying health conditions and the elderly.
  • Follow CDC and DPH guidance on personal and business travel to avoid increasing your risk and that of others.

We take very seriously the responsibility to make prudent choices for the well-being of the USG community.

The latest information is that (as of Thursday morning) there are 12 confirmed and 19 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Georgia. These numbers are likely to change.

For the latest updates, please monitor DPH’s website.

Health officials advise that the incubation period of COVID-19 is 2-14 days, with an average period of 5 days. Symptoms include coughing, fever and shortness of breath.  Most people experience mild to moderate symptoms.

Guidance from DPH identifies those with the highest risk to contract COVID-19 are travelers to countries with widespread outbreaks, as well as those travelers’ close contacts. Additionally, those most likely to develop serious illness after contracting COVID-19 include persons who are older than 60, as well as persons with chronic health conditions.

As you are aware, the CDC strongly advises against anyone traveling to a location subject to a Level 3 or higher Travel Health Notice, including Italy, South Korea, China and Iran. USG will not approve travel to those countries.

We urge all community members to practice good preventive measures and to visit the USG resource guide for the latest information concerning travel advisories and other guidance. You can also find additional information from the CDC here.

We will continue to work with DPH and communicate with you regularly and fully as conditions change. Thank you for all you do for USG.

In coordination with, and under the direction of, the Georgia Department of Public Health and the University System of Georgia, Georgia Southern is continuing to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation, which is dynamic and changing frequently.

As of today, Georgia Southern University has no suspected cases of coronavirus, and Georgia Southern has not been notified that any member of the campus community is suspected of having the virus or being in contact with anyone who has the virus. While the current risk level associated with COVID-19 in the United States remains low, we are continuing our efforts to be prepared to respond if necessary.

To that end, we are asking a few things:

● All students, faculty, and staff, we encourage you to voluntarily register any upcoming travel plans for Spring Break or any other reason. Please log your travel through the Travel Registry link within the MyGS portal. This will allow us to communicate directly with travelers and to provide guidance to ensure that your safety is top priority if you have visited an area that is named an area of concern by the CDC. Currently, CDC recommends travelers should avoid nonessential travel to any country designated as a Warning Level 3. A list is available at the following link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html. As a reminder, anyone traveling to a country that is designated as a CDC Warning Level 3 must not return to any USG campus or facility for 14 days following their return.

● Though we are not directing classes to move online, we do ask that faculty keep coursework up to date on our online education platform — Folio, and keep our campuses’ wellbeing in mind when students request not to attend class due to illness. Folio is designed to let students continue their instruction.  We do not want to force students to come to class if they are ill, and students should not be required to provide proof of a medical visit when absent. It is better to allow students the opportunity to use Folio than come to class.

● Employees, if you do not feel well, please stay home. Supervisors, please be understanding that if anyone has a fever or a cough, they should not return to work or school until their temperature has been normal for 24 hours without the use of medication.

There remains NO current guidance from the state that we need to cancel classes, close the University, or cancel large gatherings of any kind. If anything changes with regards to the operational status of our campuses, we will update the university community as soon as possible.

As usual, we want to remind everyone to take the following important steps every day to reduce the spread of the flu, coronaviruses, and other respiratory viruses:

  • wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • cover your cough or sneeze with a disposable tissue, or if a tissue is not available then coughing or sneezing into your elbow
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • stay home when you are sick
  • avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

We have been closely watching reports of a new coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, and there have been no identified cases at Georgia Southern or in the state of Georgia. As of today, there have been five confirmed cases in the United States.

As you may be aware, the Georgia Department of Public Health has confirmed Georgia’s first cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) involving two residents of Fulton County who live in the same household. According to officials, one recently returned from Italy. Both have mild symptoms; they are isolated at home with other relatives to keep the illness from spreading.  

State, local and university officials continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 coronavirus situation, and to date, there are no reports of community transmission occurring within Georgia. Additionally, there have been no suspected nor confirmed cases on any Georgia Southern campus.

Georgia Southern is actively following anticipatory guidance provided by the CDC, Georgia Department of Public Health, and the University System of Georgia to minimize the risk of transmission on our campuses.

We have a robust emergency response plan, and we are in frequent discussion with officials on-campus and throughout the state to ensure Georgia Southern is prepared to respond as necessary.   

We have a robust emergency response plan, and we are in frequent discussion with officials on-campus and throughout the state to ensure Georgia Southern is prepared to respond as necessary.

The latest CDC recommendations ask that universities consider postponing or canceling student foreign exchange programs.

These guidelines appear to have a limited impact on Georgia Southern at this moment. We are currently undergoing discussions about future programs, and have identified 7 students who are currently abroad and confirmed that only one of our students is in an area currently designated as Level 3. We are reaching out to those students to provide guidance and assistance as needed.

Georgia Southern officials will continue to monitor the situation and are in constant contact with state officials to ensure the safety of all students, faculty and staff.

As we approach Spring Break, anyone planning to travel is encouraged to stay up-to-date with current travel alerts from the U.S. State Department and the CDC.  Currently, both organizations are recommending that people should avoid nonessential travel to any country designated by CDC as a Warning Level 3.

Anyone who has traveled from China, or any other area with apparent community spread of COVID-19, in the past 14 days and who has a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing should seek medical care immediately and are advised to call ahead to inform medical staff about their recent travel and symptoms. Students with any concerns can call the Statesboro campus health center at 912-478-5641 or the Armstrong campus health center at 912-961-5726, and faculty and staff should call their primary care provider. 

While the COVID-19 virus is attracting attention, the flu remains a much more serious public threat. Georgia Southern Health Services continues to see flu cases on a regular basis. It is not too late to receive your flu vaccine. The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu vaccine each year.

The flu vaccine is available Monday through Friday at the Statesboro campus Health Services pharmacy and the Armstrong campus Health Services clinic for students, faculty and staff. The flu vaccine is also available in most other pharmacies throughout the region.  

All students, faculty, and staff are urged to take the following important steps every day to reduce the spread of the flu, coronaviruses, and other respiratory viruses:

  • washing your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • covering your cough or sneeze with a disposable tissue, or if a tissue is not available then coughing or sneezing into your elbow
  • avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • staying home when you are sick
  • avoiding close contact with people who are sick 
  • cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces

We have been closely watching reports of a new coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, and there have been no identified cases at Georgia Southern or in the state of Georgia. As of today, there have been five confirmed cases in the United States.

Our health professionals will continue monitoring the situation and are following the direction given by public health experts.  It is important to note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a recommendation to avoid all nonessential travel to Hubei Province, China.

Symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the seasonal flu, which remains the higher risk for our population. This is also the time of year when we typically see a rise in cases of seasonal flu.

Persons on any Georgia Southern campus who have traveled from China in the past 14 days AND have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing should seek medical care immediately and are advised to call ahead to inform medical staff about their recent travel and symptoms.  Students can call the Statesboro campus health center at 912-478-5641 or the Armstrong campus health center at 912-961-5726, and faculty and staff should call their primary care provider.

We encourage everyone on campus to follow the same preventative strategies used during a normal cold and flu season: getting a flu shot, washing hands regularly, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when experiencing symptoms of illness.  Flu shots are still available in the student health centers on both the Armstrong and Statesboro campuses for Georgia Southern students, faculty, and staff.

It is recommended that anyone over the age of 6 months get the flu shot, and especially people with chronic medical conditions who are at high-risk for flu-related complications.