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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. While we will continue to follow direction from the Georgia Department of Public Health and the CDC, Georgia Southern is planning to resume face-to-face instruction for students in the fall.

Staff are now returning to their offices in phases, and faculty are making plans to return on August 1st. As everyone returns, they will find new guidelines, signage and protocols in place to ensure Eagle Nation stays safe. For example, social distancing, mask-wearing, self-monitoring and other safety protocols will be strongly recommended.

The COVID-19 situation is fluid, and guidance will very likely change over time, even after plans are prepared and adopted. Our goals are to protect the health of employees, help ensure the well-being of the community and carefully and deliberately prepare for the fall semester. Everyone at the university has an individual responsibility to contribute to proper behavior and 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.

Contact the CARES Center for answers to all your COVID-19 related questions; to self-report test results and symptoms; get help evaluating your situation; and receive support for your COVID-19 related academic, employment and on-campus notification needs. There are several ways to reach the CARES Center:

University Messages

Select audiences and/or categories to filter the list to relevant topics. You can also search for specific keywords within the email text (e.g. “mask” or “class”).

Date Sent and WhoMessage
Sent August 3, 2020 to Faculty and Staff

Aug. 3, 2020

As we move toward the fall semester and continue our Return to Campus phased-in plan, here are Five Things You Should Know This Week:

  1. The LiveSafe app now provides another tool to keep our community safe.
    Georgia Southern’s LiveSafe app now includes a COVID-19 Health Check tool that allows faculty, staff, students and visitors to proactively check-in online and self-attest that they are feeling well and remain symptom-free. Likewise, they can report they’re not feeling well with the touch of a button, which will provide them with a means to contact the university’s new CARES Center self-reporting tool. The Health Check questionnaire is HIPAA compliant. This resource could be useful for event organizers on campus who want to ensure attendees conduct a health check for COVID-19 symptoms before attending.

    In addition to the questionnaire and information regarding the University's response to the pandemic, the LiveSafe app provides two-way, real-time interactions with Public Safety that include text, calls, photos and videos. The app also provides relevant safety resources and peer-to-peer safety tools and is available as a free download for all Georgia Southern students, faculty and staff. In addition, Georgia Southern parents may also download LiveSafe.
  2. Buses will be running this fall on and between campuses, with some precautions.
    The intercampus shuttle and on-campus shuttle buses will be running again this fall, but some changes and precautions are being implemented to aid in public health and safety efforts. Face coverings will be required, and social distancing measures will be implemented on all buses and shuttles. The intercampus shuttle will start at 6:40 a.m. to reach the Armstrong campus in better time for 8 a.m. classes. The full schedule is here. For on-campus shuttles in Statesboro, bus routes will change to better support the campus and ensure social/physical distancing. Most routes will be on the exterior of the campus. Passengers will be limited to 25 people per bus. Riders will enter only through the back door and seats will be marked for availability. Look for updated information and routes at https://auxiliary.georgiasouthern.edu/parking/transit/.
  3. Be aware of the need for good mental health.
    Based on predictions from health organizations and disaster response experts, counseling centers are expecting a demand for mental health services this fall. To facilitate students' access to mental health services, Georgia Southern’s Counseling Center has drafted an explanation of fall mental health services along with how students can access each of our services (and how faculty/staff can refer students) on the Counseling Center website home page.  For employees, there are many resources available, including the Employee Assistance Program. This program offers no-cost telecounseling to all employees and dependents for no charge. The University System Wellness Initiative provides wellness activities that include physical and emotional wellness components. Any employee whose emotional well-being impacts their ability to complete their job responsibilities should reach out to HR for additional options that may be available to them such as an ADA accommodation or Family Medical Leave.
  4. HR has developed Virtual Training On COVID-19 Reopening.
    Human Resources has developed a training to help you better understand all that has been done to ensure a safe return to work, and what you should do to support this effort. While this training is beneficial for all employees, supervisors are strongly encouraged to view the training to know their responsibilities in assisting with the safe return to campus operations.  The training is featured content under the “Training” tile in Building a Better U (BBU), which can be accessed through your MyGeorgiaSouthern portal.  Once you are in BBU, simply click on the icon of GUS covering his beak and then click enroll. Launch the course and you are on your way to being up to speed about returning to campus.
  5. Today begins Phase 3 of our Initial Return to Campus Plan
    We are working through our Initial Return to Campus Plan, which means Phase 3 begins today with faculty and staff returning to campus to begin final preparations for the start of the semester. As a reminder, the email you received on Friday detailed several return-to-work options through Human Resources for employees who seek extended work flexibility for continued childcare needs in light of recent school district decisions. Check here for more information on the Telework/ Flextime Request Process.

Visit https://www.georgiasouthern.edu/covid-19-information/ for additional return to campus information and resources, including return to campus plans, FAQs and public health information. This page is updated frequently.

Faculty and Staff
Sent August 3, 2020 to Faculty and Staff

August 3, 2020

Good Morning Colleagues,

As of today, Phase 3 of our Initial Return to Campus Plan is underway as faculty return to campus and as we all begin final preparations for the start of fall semester. As a reminder, the email you received on August 1 detailed several return-to-work options through Human Resources for employees who seek extended work flexibility for continued childcare needs in light of recent school district decisions.

I want to convey my sincere appreciation to the faculty for your hard work and adaptability in preparation for this upcoming semester. You have been asked to modify face-to-face courses and be creative and innovative in order to educate our students with the same level of service and commitment we pride ourselves on. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed - I am inspired and grateful for your dedication to our students!

We continue to communicate frequently via email, updated FAQs, bi-monthly meetings with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and Staff Council, as well as town halls. Please plan to join me virtually on August 12, at 10 a.m., for our annual State of the University Address. The format will be different than previous years, just as our upcoming year will be. We must remain flexible as we continue to navigate this changing environment and the modifications that will come as we progress through the semester. I look forward to sharing updates with you as we set the stage for the upcoming academic year. More details on the State of the University Address will be coming soon.

Before the new academic year begins, I invite you to visit the Performance Excellence tile on your my.georgiasouthern homepage, where you can view each division leader’s annual scorecard report for the past fiscal year as well as each cabinet member’s 90-day actions. The scorecard provides a measurement of each division’s progress toward the key performance indicators aligned with the University’s Strategic Plan. The 90-Day Actions tab allows you to review, in real time, what your leadership is focused on accomplishing. These actions are updated frequently and allow us to review and continue to progress, assess and/or refocus as needed, toward our goals. The work that each of you do every day contributes to our progress, so it is very important to me that you know these goals and that you are able to actively see your contribution to Georgia Southern’s success.

After input from many of our students, alumni, faculty, and staff, our Inclusive Excellence Action Plan is almost ready for distribution. Tenets of this plan will be embedded within the annual goals and actions of each division, department, and individual employee. I look forward to sharing the plan with you and working together to achieve the goals laid out within the plan.

We have been preparing extensively to meet the challenges that will arise when the academic year begins. Just one example of this is the implementation of our new CARES Center, which is designed as another tool to help mitigate the spread of the virus on our campuses. CARES Center team members are graciously providing their time to care for us, so please exercise our core values of collaboration and integrity when interacting with the center. It’s not an easy job, but it’s a significant job, and I want to thank them for their willingness to serve.

Together, this new center – along with social distancing protocols, use of face coverings, and our enhanced cleaning measures – will help us to promote the health and safety of our university community.

Finally, please remember that we continue to monitor the impact of the virus daily and are in frequent communication with state and local public health officials, the University System of Georgia, as well as local government and healthcare administrators so that we can continue to make informed decisions as we navigate this changing environment. I ask that you continue to remain flexible as new information comes and we must adjust accordingly. Please continue to read through the information that is shared. It is each of our responsibility to remain informed and up-to-date with current protocols and practices that will allow us to navigate this semester successfully.

Colleagues – Georgia Southern is indeed a special place – a resilient, tough, roll-up-our-sleeves kind of place. Through these challenging times, we must support each other and run the race together – albeit six feet apart! Thank you for your continued flexibility, support, and hard work for Eagle Nation.

Sincerely,

Kyle

Faculty and Staff
Sent August 1, 2020 to Faculty and Staff

Aug. 1, 2020

Phase Three Return to Campus Begins Monday

As we move toward the fall semester and continue to implement our Initial Return to Campus Plan, Monday (8/3) marks the beginning of Phase 3 (pushed back from July 20). As a reminder, over the course of the next week, all faculty and staff should begin returning to their offices unless they have made alternative arrangements after submitting a request through HR. During Phase 3, faculty should be ensuring that they are prepared to deliver instruction in their adjusted environments and communicating with their classes on what to expect. By August 10, which is when Phase 3 will be complete, our goal is to have full presence back on our campuses.

Return-to-Work Options through HR for Parents of School-aged Children

We recognize the unique circumstances of parents of school-aged children. We continue to monitor school reopenings closely and meet regularly with school district leadership to stay abreast of plans.

Some school systems impacting our employees are offering a choice of in-person instruction or virtual education. As such, choosing to keep your children at home for virtual education is generally not covered under any protected leave.

Employees opting for virtual education for their children when the school is open for in-person instruction, may be eligible for a telework or flextime agreement. The employee should be fully engaged in work during work hours. Telework and flextime is an employee privilege, not an employee right. Also, not all positions are eligible for telework or flextime. Please review the telework policy to understand the requirements of this arrangement

In school systems that are not offering in-person instruction, employees may qualify for telework or flextime. Not all positions are eligible for telework or flextime. Please review the telework policy to understand the requirements of this arrangement.

Employees with children in schools not offering in-person instruction may also qualify for leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Some employees are working together with their neighbors and each other to establish a shared responsibility of providing instruction and assistance to children learning virtually. In these situations, it minimizes exposure to a much smaller group and allows employees to minimize the time that work schedules and locations are disrupted.

Check HERE for more information on the Telework/ Flextime Request Process.

Virtual Training Offered On COVID-19 Reopening

 Human Resources has developed a training to help you better understand all that has been done to ensure a safe return to work, and what you should do to support this effort. While this training is beneficial for all employees, supervisors are strongly encouraged to view the training to know their responsibilities in assisting with the safe return to campus operations.  The training is featured content under the “Training” tile in Building a Better U (BBU), which can be accessed through your MyGeorgiaSouthern page.  Once you are in BBU, simply click on the icon of Gus covering his beak and then click enroll.  Launch the course and you are on your way to being up to speed about returning to campus.

As you return to campus, remember:

  • Meetings and professional development should remain virtual as much as possible, especially in spaces where social distancing measures cannot be maintained.
  • All Georgia Southern faculty, staff, students, and visitors are now required to wear an appropriate face covering while inside campus facilities/buildings where six feet social distancing may not always be possible, or in campus outdoor settings where social distancing requirements are not met.
  • Please continue to follow public health guidance to protect yourself and others from exposure to the virus: wear a face covering, practice social distancing, wash hands regularly and thoroughly, avoid touching face, and stay home if experiencing symptoms of illness.
  • Travel must be approved by your supervisor and travel remains limited to essential trips only for USG employees.

For more information, please see the university’s COVID-19 response page, including an extensive FAQ for faculty and staff, at https://www.georgiasouthern.edu/covid-19-information/.

Faculty and Staff
Sent July 31, 2020 to Faculty

Dear Faculty,

As the fall semester draws near, we continue our preparations for the reopening of the university. Obviously, this year will not be business as usual. Our plan remains to open the fall semester with in-person classes that will be adjusted to meet social distancing guidelines.

We recently shared with you our plan to use Folio’s Groups function to create subsections for all sub-sectioned courses. We also shared this plan with students. I want to thank you for your flexibility and for the time and effort you put into creating subsections for your classes. I’m excited about all the great ideas you came up with for subsections, and I really appreciate your dedication to our students’ success in this new environment.

The next step will be for you to reach out to your students. They are expecting to hear from you at the beginning of August about the following:

  • A course and instructor introduction
  • A description of how Groups will work in your course (if applicable) 
  • Directions on where to go for Groups and meeting days
  • When those Groups will be set up and available
  • Specific information on field placements/clinicals, etc... (if applicable)

I know I’m repeating myself, but it bears mentioning again. Please activate your Folio account as soon as possible. Students will need access to the Folio site in order to see which attendance pattern they will follow for the first week. We highly recommend that your Folio site be active (with at least your course policies posted and Groups built) by August 6th.

My office is working on providing you with more information to help you navigate the reopening. In the coming weeks, please be on the lookout for messages on:

  • Technology training and reference material
  • Folio quick guides
  • Preferred materials to clean areas (by users)
  • Appropriate use of facilitators
  • Workflow information for students reporting illnesses (language for “what to do if you’re sick”)
  • Loading and unloading class

Thank you.
Carl L. Reiber

Faculty
Sent July 30, 2020 to Students

Students,

As the University previously communicated, we are looking forward to welcoming you back to campus this fall. Our plan remains to start the fall semester with in-person classes that will be adjusted as needed to comply with social distancing guidelines. 

Previously, we shared some information on Folio, and introduced Groups for socially distanced face-to-face courses. As many courses will be using Zoom or Hangouts in addition to meeting in-person, Groups will be how you know how and where you will engage with your class each day. Each course will have variations on how Groups are constructed. Be sure to check your Folio site for each of your courses in case there are differences between the classes. 

Linked here are: 

  1. a step-by-step guide on navigating Folio (in general), and 
  2. a step-by-step guide on how to access the Groups description in Folio. 

Between August 6 and August 13, your instructors will be sending out specific information about each course. Providing you a safe learning environment while maintaining some direct engagement with your instructors is our top priority. 

We hope that you are keeping well, and please be on the lookout for reopening information from the university through the rest of the summer. 

Office of the Provost


For more information, please see the university’s COVID-19 response page, which includes an extensive FAQ for students, at https://www.georgiasouthern.edu/covid-19-information/.

Students
Sent July 29, 2020 to Students

July 29, 2020 

Students, 

As we move toward the fall semester and continue to implement our Return to Campus plan, University Communications and Marketing will be sending you regular updates on Things Eagles Need to Know Now. 

As we get closer to the first day of classes, your emails will increase as different departments and your professors start detailing expectations for the Fall 2020 semester. 

It is important you read these emails, which are official university communications. Your success this fall may be linked to you understanding this critical information. There is an expectation that you will read what’s sent to you, engage with the FAQs and online information, and take responsibility for understanding what is presented.

Please continue to monitor your MyGS portal and your Georgia Southern email account. You will be hearing more from Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Health Services, your professors and others as details are finalized about things such as Operation Move-In (for housing), student activities, and your individual classes.

1: The new CARES Center is now operational online, via phone and via the GS mobile app.

To help with reporting and tracking of COVID-19 cases on our campus, Georgia Southern has developed the CARES Center. Standing for COVID-19 Answers, Resources, Evaluation and Self-reporting, we are providing this center to streamline communications in an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus on our campuses. The center provides answers to your COVID-19 related questions; a way for you to self-report your test results, symptoms, and quarantine directions due to COVID-19 exposure; evaluation of your situation; and resources for your COVID-19 related academic, employment and on-campus notification needs.

There are several ways to reach the CARES Center:

2. Georgia Southern Health Services is ready and currently providing testing for students.

Testing students and tracking positive cases of COVID-19 remain important parts of keeping our community safe. Georgia Southern’s Health Services Center has been, and will continue to be, able to test COVID-19 symptomatic students this fall with several testing options including rapid test results. For employees, any person who wants a test can be tested through one of the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) test centers. Locate and contact the test center nearest to you at https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-testingdirect-patient-lines. Additionally, testing is offered through local medical providers, urgent care, and now at local drugstores. We will keep you updated as more testing options and information become available.

3. Face-coverings are to be worn inside and outside where six feet social distancing may not always be possible.

All Georgia Southern faculty, staff, students and visitors are now required to wear an appropriate face covering while inside campus facilities/buildings where six feet social distancing may not always be possible. This means wherever you are on campus, if there’s a chance you will come within six feet of someone else, (for instance, passing one another in a hallway), face coverings must be worn. 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.

4. If “enforcement” of the face-coverings requirement is necessary, it should be carried out with civility and respect.

The university will use messaging, signage and peer communication to remind others of the requirement to wear an appropriate face covering while inside campus facilities/buildings where six feet social distancing may not always be possible. 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 and should be considered as just one precaution people should take to ensure our community remains healthy.

Faculty should use their classroom management expertise and training when working with students who are not following protocols. Anyone not using a face covering when required can be asked to wear one or leave the area. Repeated refusal to comply could be considered a disruption and may result in discipline through the applicable conduct code for faculty, staff or students.

For more information, please see the university’s COVID-19 response page, which includes an extensive FAQ for students, at https://www.georgiasouthern.edu/covid-19-information/.

Students
Sent July 27, 2020 to Faculty and Staff

As we move toward the fall semester and continue our Return to Campus phased-in plan, here are Five Things You Should Know This Week:

  1. The new CARES Center is now operational online, via phone and via the GS mobile app.
    To help with reporting and tracking of COVID-19 cases on our campus, Georgia Southern has developed the CARES Center. Standing for COVID-19 Answers, Resources, Evaluation and Self-reporting we are providing this center to streamline communications in an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus on our campuses. The center provides answers to your COVID-19 related questions; a way for you to self-report your test results, symptoms, and quarantine directions due to COVID-19 exposure; evaluation of your situation; and resources for your COVID-19 related academic, employment and on-campus notification needs.

    There are several ways to reach the CARES Center:
  2. Georgia Southern Health Services is ready and currently providing testing for students.
    Testing students and tracking positive cases of COVID-19 remain important parts of keeping our community safe. Georgia Southern’s Health Services Center has been, and will continue to be, able to test COVID-19 symptomatic students this fall with several testing options including rapid test results. For employees, any person who wants a test can be tested through one of the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) test centers. Locate and contact the test center nearest to you at https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-testingdirect-patient-lines. Additionally, testing is offered through local medical providers, urgent care, and now at local drugstores. We will keep you updated as more testing options and information become available.
  3. We are aware that many parents of school-aged children are dealing with unique decisions and circumstances right now.
    University officials, especially in Human Resources, are continuing to monitor the situation closely and University leadership meets regularly with leadership of the local school systems to stay abreast of plans. Please check the Human Resources website HERE for more information about options for parents of school-aged children and updated policies related to this situation (scroll to the bottom of the page).

    Need help finding quality child care that is open? Call 1-877-ALL GA Kids (1-877-255-4254) or go to https://families.decal.ga.gov/ChildCare/Search to find child care or Pre-K programs near you.
  4. Face-coverings are to be worn inside and outside where six feet social distancing may not always be possible.
    All Georgia Southern faculty, staff, students, and visitors are now required to wear an appropriate face covering while inside campus facilities/buildings where six feet social distancing may not always be possible. This means wherever you are on campus, if there’s a chance you will come within six feet of someone else, (for instance, passing one another in a hallway), face coverings must be worn. 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.
  5. If “enforcement” of the face-coverings requirement is necessary, it should be carried out with civility and respect.
    The university will use messaging, signage and peer communication to remind others of the requirement to wear an appropriate face covering while inside campus facilities/buildings where six feet social distancing may not always be possible. 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 and should be considered as just one precaution people should take to ensure our community remains healthy.

    Faculty should use their classroom management expertise and training when working with students who are not following protocols. Anyone not using a face covering when required can be asked to wear one or leave the area. Repeated refusal to comply could be considered a disruption and may result in discipline through the applicable conduct code for faculty, staff or students.
Faculty and Staff
Sent July 27, 2020 to Faculty and Staff

Georgia Southern Cares Center

The COVID-19 Answers, Resources, Evaluation and Self-reporting (CARES) Center for faculty, staff and students launches today. 

For your safety and for the safety of our community, Georgia Southern is providing this center to streamline communications and mitigate the spread of the virus on our campuses.

The center provides answers to your COVID-19 related questions; a way for you to self-report test results and symptoms; evaluation of your situation; and resources for your COVID-19 related academic, employment and on-campus notification needs.

Contact the CARES Center if you:
  • Need to self-report a confirmed or suspected positive COVID-19 diagnosis
  • Have received self-quarantine requirements due to direct or presumed exposure to COVID-19
  • Have symptoms with pending test results
  • Have questions about Georgia Southern’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Need academic or employment resources related to COVID-19
There are several ways to reach the CARES Center:

A CARES team member also will perform contact notification to help notify campus community members who likely had close contact with a person who has self-reported positive test results. Unlike contact tracing, which is performed by the Department of Public Health, contact notification helps the University quickly communicate to affected faculty, staff, and/or students to mitigate the potential spread of the virus.

The CARES Center should not be used for medical advice. If you need medical advice, you need to call your health provider or 911.

Faculty and Staff
Sent July 24, 2020 to Students

Students,

We can’t wait to have you back on campus next month! Our plan remains to start the fall semester with in-person classes on Aug. 17. 

Classes have been adjusted as needed to comply with social distancing guidelines.  Adjustments also will be made to many student activities, so we are writing to give you an update on how things will look for you when you arrive back on campus. 

In terms of your classes, details on individual courses are still being finalized, but we can tell you that less than 10 percent of our fall classes that were scheduled in-person are moving fully online. Most will be a mix of face-to-face and some kind of virtual/online experience. All of your courses this fall will utilize Folio for communicating and sharing course content. For those of you who haven’t used it yet, Folio is our Learning Management System. In addition to finding things like your syllabus and course policies, Folio allows your instructor to share course resources, collect assignments, and provide feedback in a wide range of courses.  

This semester, Folio will also be where you will find information about your in-person courses that have been social-distanced to create classroom Groups. In the days before classes start, your instructors will be sending out specific information about each course, and the university will also provide a step-by-step guide to navigate Folio and detailed information on Groups.  Look for more information from your teachers about 10 days before classes begin.

In terms of student activities and events, we are committed to providing a rewarding schedule of co-curricular activities. We have developed an extensive set of guidelines to keep students, faculty and staff engaged yet safe. We have mapped out room capacities, identified outdoor spaces that can be used, and developed checklists for registered student organizations to use in planning events. We’ll be asking questions such as:

  • Can your organization meet those guidelines reasonably with the resources at your disposal? If no, then the program should be restructured or offered in a virtual format.
  • Will these guidelines impact the integrity of the program? - If yes, then the program should be restructured or offered in a virtual format.

Please know that as we move forward, all our decisions are being made using the latest health information and with your safety as our top priority. On Monday, look for more information about a new CARES Center, which willprovide answers to your COVID-19 related questions; be a way for you to self-report test results, symptoms; evaluate your situation; and provide support for your COVID-19 related academic, employment and on-campus notification needs. It will be available via the MyGS mobile app, Georgia Southern’s official mobile app available from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

We hope that you are keeping well. Look for more information soon in your Georgia Southern email as well as through Folio messages and announcements. Please regularly check the resource page (https://www.georgiasouthern.edu/covid-19-information/) for updated return to campus information and resources, including return to campus plans, FAQs and public health information. 

See you in a few weeks!  Go Eagles!

Carl Reiber, provost and vice president for academic affairs
Shay Little, vice president for student affairs

Students
Sent July 20, 2020 to Faculty and Staff

As we move toward the fall semester and continue our initial Return to Campus phased-in plan, here are Five Things You Should Know This Week:

  1. The CARES Center for faculty, staff and students launches next week. 

    Last week, we shared that Georgia Southern is developing a centralized COVID-19 support system for faculty, staff and students. For your safety and for the safety of our community, Georgia Southern is providing this center to streamline communications in an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus on our campuses.

    The COVID-19 Answers, Report, Evaluation and Support (CARES) Center provides answers to your COVID-19 related questions; a way to report test results, symptoms, and COVID-19 exposure; evaluation of your situation; and support for your COVID-19 related academic, employment and on-campus notification needs.

    By completing one report through the MyGeorgiaSouthern portal, faculty, staff and students will be able to report if they have received COVID-19 positive test results, if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or if they have been informed by the Department of Public Health that they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. A CARES team, trained to help, is mobilized once the report is submitted. 

    This is the only report you will need to complete. You and those around you will receive further instructions as needed. A CARES team will handle all of the necessary notifications. 

    A contact notification process will be in place to help notify campus community members who likely had close contact with a person who has reported positive test results. Unlike contact tracing, which is performed by the Department of Public Health, contact notification helps the University quickly communicate to affected faculty, staff, and/or students to mitigate the potential spread of the virus.

    In addition, CARES Center personnel will be available for the University community to answer general COVID-19 questions by phone, chat and email. 

    The CARES Center should not be used for medical advice. If you need medical advice, you need to call your health provider or 911. 
    Check your email next week for more information!

    Until this process is announced to campus with details on how to reach out to the CARES Center, please continue to reach out to HR as well as your supervisor per guidance that has previously been shared by HR.
  2. We are still waiting on delivery of some items for campus.

    The Division of Facilities Services (DFS) reports that suppliers are backed up and have been delayed in providing disinfectant, germ shields and wall-mounted hand-sanitizer dispensers that the university has ordered. Each will be installed and distributed as soon as they arrive on campus.
  3. More on how to wear, adjust and care for your mask or cloth face covering.

    Human Resources’ distribution of cloth face coverings to faculty and staff should be completed by the end of this week. As a reminder, each employee is scheduled to receive five coverings -- these are not medical-grade protective equipment but do provide an extra layer to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling in the air and onto other people. Staff whose job duties require the use of personal protective equipment will continue to be provided with appropriate gear. 

    The cloth face coverings provided to faculty, staff and students by Georgia Southern are designed to be one size fits most. There are many ways to adjust your mask to fit more comfortably around your ears, including using items such as rubber bands, string or shoelaces, to loop around the ear and tie around the back of your head. Many other techniques can be found by searching online.

    Watch this video to learn more about properly wearing, adjusting and caring for your mask or cloth face covering.
  4. The Department of Facilities Services has provided more details on building cleaning.

    In response to several questions about cleaning schedules and procedures, the Department of Facilities Services is providing more information (see attachments) about office cleaning schedules, times, locations and procedures

    The attachment titled “Office cleaning schedule” includes information about cleaning dates for all buildings, listed by building name. “Office cleaning procedures” lists the tasks that staff perform on the nights when offices are cleaned (on the nights that offices are not on the schedule to be cleaned we ask that faculty and staff place trash cans outside of their door if they need to be emptied). “Cleaning Service times” lists when faculty and staff can expect to see a staff member in their building providing services. During the morning and afternoon service the staff focus on high touchpoints. The fourth attachment “HighTouchSurfaces Cleaning” is from Diversey, the company that provides our core cleaning products and provides a great visual for what gets disinfected.
  5. Chick-fil-A and Starbucks are open on the Statesboro campus.

    Eagle Dining Services locations on the Statesboro and Armstrong campuses are returning to operation. Today, you may visit Starbucks, Chick-fil-A on the Statesboro campus. Locations on the Armstrong campus will be opening soon. Please be advised that social distancing and CDC guidelines will be observed. Most locations are available for to-go only.

    Additional dining locations will open closer to the beginning of fall semester. If you have any questions, please contact eagledining@georgiasouthern.edu. Please visit our website for an updated list of summer 2020 hours of operation.
Faculty and Staff
Sent July 13, 2020 to International Students

Dear International Students at Georgia Southern:

Georgia Southern University is a member of the American Council on Education (ACE), which has issued a letter to Congressional leaders regarding the July 6 ICE directive on international students studying in the United States. The letter asks that if the Department of Homeland Security is unwilling to withdraw the directive, that Congress act quickly to pass legislation that grants flexibility for international students and institutions during the global pandemic. A copy of this letter can be found here: https://www.acenet.edu/Documents/Letter-DHS-ICE-Fall-2020-Guidance-071020.pdf

The Office of International Student Admissions and Programs (ISAP) has been actively communicating with and providing support to our international students during this uncertain time in preparation for the fall semester. We continue to monitor developments on this important issue and are reviewing potential impacts to our international students. We will share more information with you as soon as it becomes available.
Georgia Southern remains committed to supporting you and providing the assistance you need during this time of uncertainty. Please reach out to the Office of International Student Admissions and Programs with any questions. 

Students, International Students
Sent July 13, 2020 to Faculty and Staff

As we move toward the fall semester and continue our Initial Return to Campus phased-in plan, here are Five Things You Should Know This Week:

  1. As of July 15, face coverings (masks) are required inside campus buildings. Appropriate use of face masks/coverings is critical in minimizing risks to others near you. COVID-19 can be spread to others even if you have no symptoms. The mask or cloth face covering is not a substitute for social distancing and should be considered just one step we all should take to ensure our community remains healthy. 

    As of Wednesday, July 15, and until further notice, all Georgia Southern faculty, staff, students, and visitors are now required 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.
  2. How to care for your cloth face covering. According to the CDC, cloth face coverings should be washed after each use. It is important to always remove face coverings correctly and wash your hands after handling or touching a used face covering.  
    • How to clean:
      • Washing machine: you can include your face covering with your regular laundry. Use regular laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth used to make the face covering.
      • Washing by hand: prepare a bleach solution by mixing 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) household bleach per gallon of room temperature water or 4 teaspoons household bleach per quart of room temperature water. (Check the label to see if your bleach is intended for disinfection. Some bleach products, such as those designed for safe use on colored clothing, may not be suitable for disinfection. Ensure the bleach product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.) Soak the face covering in the bleach solution for 5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with cool or room temperature water. Make sure to completely dry cloth face covering after washing.
    • How to dry:
      • Dryer: use the highest heat setting and leave in the dryer until completely dry.
      • Air dry: lay flat and allow to completely dry. If possible, place the cloth face covering in direct sunlight.
  3. Phase 2 of the Initial Return to Campus Plan is now extended through July 31. We know that offices are still being prepared to welcome guests safely and many decisions with regard to schooling and daycare accommodations are not yet finalized. To remain as flexible as possible during this time of transition, Phase 2 of the Initial Return to Campus Plan will be extended through Friday, July 31. On Monday, August 3, we will begin Phase 3 of the plan, and Phase 3 steps should be complete by August 10 in preparation for our students' arrival. 

    As a reminder, Phase 3 is when we finalize preparations for the fall semester and when all faculty and staff are scheduled to fully return to their offices, unless work schedule accommodations are made after initiating a request through HR. 
  4. We are still on track to offer classes in-person this fall. We are well into preparations to host face-to-face courses this fall, but with social distancing in those spaces. Classes will surely look a little different than last fall's classes as some classes are being moved to larger spaces, some might be via Zoom or Hangouts rather than only in the physical space, and some will be a combination of in-person and virtual experiences. 

    Academic Affairs has been working hard on contingency planning as part of our reopening plans. We've seen the largest (ever) enrollment from our faculty in our online preparedness and teaching programs through our Center for Teaching Excellence, and the university has invested in infrastructure that will aid in those new kinds of delivery as well. 
  5. The university is working on a centralized structure for COVID-19 reporting and assistance.

    We are in the process of developing a centralized support team for faculty, staff and students to report COVID-19 cases or ask questions. A contact notification process will also be in place to identify and notify Georgia Southern persons who are considered close contacts of a positive case with potential exposure. 

    Until this process is announced to campus with details on how to reach out to the support team, please continue to reach out to HR as well as your supervisor as per guidance that has previously been shared by HR.

Visit https://www.georgiasouthern.edu/covid-19-information/ for additional return to campus information and resources, including return to campus plans, FAQs and public health information. This page is updated frequently.

Faculty and Staff
Sent July 10, 2020 to Students

To: All GS students
From: Office of the Provost
Re: Classes this fall

As the university previously communicated, we are looking forward to welcoming you back to campus this fall. Our plan remains to start the fall semester with in-person classes that will be adjusted as needed to comply with social distancing guidelines.

As you can imagine, our Fall semester will be new territory for us all. The No. 1 question that seems to be on everyone’s minds right now is “what will classes be like in the Fall?” For many of our courses, “face-to-face” might look a little different than it has in the past.

Some of our courses will only see the change in social distance spacing and the use of masks in class. Some of your courses might also use Zoom or Google Hangouts in addition to the traditional physical classroom experience. All of your courses will utilize Folio for communicating and sharing course content. We are currently in the process of reviewing each class space with social distancing requirements in mind, and we will provide a full update to what our classes will look like once that process is complete at the end of July.             

There remains a great deal of uncertainty right now, and what we are doing is preparing for every option while also following public health guidelines. Just last week, we learned that all Georgia Southern faculty, staff, students, and visitors are now required to wear an appropriate face covering while inside campus facilities/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.

Providing you a safe learning environment while maintaining some direct engagement with your instructors is our top priority.

We hope that you are keeping well, and please be on the lookout for reopening information from the university through the rest of the summer.

You can always visit https://www.georgiasouthern.edu/covid-19-information/ for additional return to campus information and resources, including return to campus plans, FAQs and public health information. This page is updated frequently.

Students
Sent July 10, 2020 to Faculty and Staff

To All GS faculty and staff
From:  Office of the Provost
Re: Classes this fall

As you can imagine, our fall semester will be new territory for us all. This year will not be business as usual.

Our plan remains to start the fall semester with in-person classes that will be adjusted as needed to comply with social distancing guidelines. Many of you have been working at various levels on reopening plans and new types of course engagements. As you know, we are moving ahead with having face-to-face courses, but with social distancing in our classrooms. For many of those courses, “face-to-face” will look different than it has been in the past.

While there's still a great deal of uncertainty right now, we are preparing for every option while also following public health guidelines as outlined in our Fall 2020 Return to Campus Plan shared by President Marrero on June 18th.

Some of our courses will only see the change in social distance spacing and the use of masks in classrooms. Many more will have to make use of Zoom or Google Hangouts in addition to the traditional classrooms to allow as much face-to-face engagement as possible. We are currently in the process of reviewing each class space with social distancing requirements in mind, and we will provide a full update to what our classes will look like once that process is complete at the end of July.

This week, the university will send an initial message to students about any changes to the fall schedule. This initial step is vital to prevent confusion about how and where they will be attending classes.

You can always visit https://www.georgiasouthern.edu/covid-19-information/ for additional return to campus information and resources, including return to campus plans, FAQs and public health information. This page is updated frequently.

We hope that you all are keeping well, and please be on the lookout for reopening information from the university through the rest of the summer.

Faculty and Staff
Sent July 8, 2020 to Faculty and Staff

**Sent on behalf of University Housing

Good morning,

University Housing is excited to welcome back students for the upcoming start of the year. Due to the need to accommodate for more social distancing and to provide for fewer points of contact, Operation Move-In is going to look very different this year from years past. We hope that you will take the time to review the changes to operations within this email as it pertains to dates and times of check-in, volunteer opportunities, and early arrival processes.

Check-in Dates and Times

The biggest change to Operation Move-In is the need to have multiple days for check-in to accommodate for social distancing both at the point of check-in as well as within the residence halls after check-in. Statesboro Campus move-in operations will begin on Monday, August 10, and Armstrong Campus move-in operations will begin on Wednesday, August 12. Students will be able to select their check-in time online through the housing portal located in the My.GeorgiaSouthern.edu portal.

Check-In Process

The check-in process will vary slightly by campus but essentially the effort will be to minimize the points of contact. University Housing is working to develop a seamless transition that should result in a drive-up/drive-off process once students arrive on campus. We will then direct them to their unloading zones(s) for their residence hall after checking in to get their key.

Volunteers

With the changes to Operation Move-In the need for volunteers is still great on both campuses. This year volunteers cannot help students with their belongings, but will be helpful in managing traffic flow, assisting with unloading zone monitoring, and in helping to check students in at our remote check-in locations. Volunteer sign-up information will be coming out shortly for individuals who remain interested in volunteering.

Early Arrivals

Many offices on campus have a need for students to arrive early in order to prepare for a variety of programs and jobs on campus. Early arrival is available to students who are affiliated with an official university office/function. Check-in dates on the Statesboro campus are available between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday beginning on July 31 and will continue through move-in week. Check-in dates on the Armstrong Campus are available between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday beginning on Monday, August 10. Students who arrive early are subject to an early arrival fee of $25 per day. This can be paid by the sponsoring department or can be billed directly to the student’s account. If your office has students who must arrive on campus prior to the official move-in dates listed above we ask that you do the following steps. 

  1. Designate a point of contact for your office.
  2. Email University Housing at housing@georgiasouthern.edu the names, Eagle ID numbers, and needed arrival dates for your students.
  3. Individual departments are responsible for communicating with your student(s) on their arrival date, time, and cost.
  4. Early Arrival students (with the exception of students participating in Sorority Recruitment and Residential Learning Communities) do not need to sign up for a check in time during the week of Operation Move-In.
Faculty and Staff
Sent July 6, 2020 to Faculty and Staff

As we continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for the next phase of our return-to-campus plans, Cabinet leadership and I have been meeting with staff council and faculty senate executive committee every two weeks to ensure we are addressing concerns and updating campus leaders on the latest information we have available. To establish a regular flow of valuable information sharing, University Communications and Marketing (UCM) has begun sending out a weekly email update, HR is developing a regular newsletter, regular messages will continue to go out to students through various channels, and we are frequently updating our online FAQs.

Around our campuses, we have:

  • Installed more than 7,600 new signs to remind everyone about public health best practices and encourage social distancing
  • Ordered almost 70,000 cloth face coverings (two for every student and five for each employee)
  • Installed 1,000 new hand-sanitizer stations
  • Delivered approximately 3,300 bottles of personal hand sanitizer to employees
  • Begun the process to ensure each of more than 5,000 classes scheduled for this fall can be done safely. Some will be reconfigured or moved to a larger room to allow for social distancing; some will meet online part of the time, some may meet entirely, or almost entirely online, and certain lab and studio classes will require face coverings/masks due to limited social distancing.

We will continue to work our plan and keep a close eye on updated public health advisories and guidelines so we can ensure the health and safety of our people and our communities. We are also closely monitoring our public school systems’ opening plans, as we know that may have an impact on our staff and faculty.

Read the full Message from President Marrero here.

Faculty and Staff
Sent July 6, 2020 to Faculty and Staff

Recently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance for managing COVID-19 related issues. In response to those changes from the CDC, the University System of Georgia is providing updated guidance on the wearing of face coverings and for who is eligible to seek alternate work arrangements due to falling into one of the below categories.

Therefore, Georgia Southern is providing two additional things you should know this week. 

1. Face Coverings Will Be Required on Campus

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.

2. Guidance is updated on who is eligible to seek alternate work arrangements due to falling into one of these categories:

  • The CDC no longer gives a minimum age for those at risk.  The USG will continue to use 65 as its measure for evaluating requests for alternate work arrangements.  Individuals who are younger than 65 can provide documentation from a health care provider that their age is a determining factor for risk that should prevent them from working on campus as scheduled.
  • People with the following underlying medical conditions may request alternate work arrangements under the previously developed process:
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
    • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
    • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 or higher)
    • Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Type 2 diabetes mellitus
    • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
    • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
    • Cystic fibrosis
    • Hypertension or high blood pressure
    • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
    • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
    • Liver disease
    • Pregnancy
    • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
    • Smoking
    • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
    • Type 1 diabetes mellitus

Georgia Southern will be updating FAQs, HR processes and guidance this week.

Visit https://www.georgiasouthern.edu/covid-19-information/ for additional return to campus information and resources for Georgia Southern, including return to campus plans, FAQs and public health information. This page is updated frequently.

Faculty and Staff
Sent July 6, 2020 to Faculty and Staff

As we move toward the fall semester and continue our Return to Campus phased-in plan, here are Five Things You Should Know This Week:

1. What to do if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.

Human Resources has developed an easy-to-follow workflow graphic for anyone concerned about possibly exhibiting symptoms that may or may not be COVID-19. Please refer to the Covid Symptom Checker document online at https://jobs.georgiasouthern.edu/hr-covid-19/covid-19-decision-trees/.

2. What to do about work if you are tested for COVID-19.

Human Resources has developed an easy-to-follow workflow graphic for anyone who has been tested for COVID-19 and wondering what happens with their work status. Please refer to the Covid-19 Testing Decisions document at https://jobs.georgiasouthern.edu/hr-covid-19/covid-19-decision-trees/.

3. You are eligible for paid sick leave if you must self-quarantine.

You are eligible for paid sick leave if a health care provider directs or advises you to stay home or otherwise quarantine yourself because the health care provider believes that you may have COVID-19 or are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, and quarantining yourself based upon that advice prevents you from working (or teleworking). Only the first 80 hours of this is covered under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act - Emergency Paid Sick Leave. Any additional time would come from an employee’s accrued leave.

4. There are work options for employees now and in the fall.

As the campus re-opens, the expectation is that employees return to campus to conduct their work. With that in mind, managers may stagger employee schedules, create rotating in-office schedules, and other flexible arrangements throughout their staffing structure in order to maintain social distancing and other safety measures within their unit. 

5. There are special considerations for employees who are considered at high risk of illness or exposure.

For employees who are subject to high-risk of illness or exposure to COVID-19, Georgia Southern does allow for flexible utilization of leave. 

  • All available leave will be allowed for COVID-19 illness or to minimize exposure for those that are high-risk and unable to telework.
  • At the point that all accumulated leave has been exhausted, the institutional shared sick leave pool is available to employees who are members of the program.
  • Employees who exhaust their paid leave options will be able to request “authorized leave without pay” in order to take care of themselves and our community without negatively impacting their continued participation in their USG insurance plan. FMLA leave will be available to eligible employees who contract COVID-19 or are caring for a qualified family member that has contracted COVID-19.

For more information, view the entire Return to Campus Plan >> https://drive.google.com/file/d/14m7KCHR5UulIj2G5-rR0i4TyYaIdsECN/view

Visit https://www.georgiasouthern.edu/covid-19-information/ for additional return to campus information and resources, including return to campus plans, FAQs and public health information. This page is updated frequently.

Faculty and Staff
Sent June 30, 2020 to Faculty, Staff and Students

The university is aware of the emergency order signed by City of Savannah Mayor Johnson that will require the wearing of face masks in certain areas within Savannah city limits beginning at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, July 1.  State property, to include our campuses, is not subject to terms of local regulation.  Following current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, the university very strongly recommends wearing face masks or cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. 

Remember, it is the responsibility of each and every one of us to do our part to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses and in our communities.  Please visit the COVID-19 FAQ page on the Georgia Southern website for more information.

Faculty and Staff, Students
Sent June 29, 2020 to Faculty and Staff

Georgia Southern faculty and staff:

Over the last couple weeks, you have been inundated with information as we move into our Return to Campus Plan. To make information easier to digest, we are beginning a regular, weekly email to all employees with updated information as we prepare for the fall semester. Every Monday, we will highlight at least 5 things you need to know that week. This will add to the information provided on the university’s COVID-19 Resources page, which now includes a searchable FAQ.

This communications effort will be supplemented by updates from Human Resources via the HRNews email, President Marrero’s monthly campus update, as well as virtual town hall meetings and additional emails when necessary.

Today’s update is long -- longer than future updates will be -- but includes 7 valuable things you need to know this week:

  1. Safety measures that are coming for University departments (provided by Division of Facilities Services)
  2. 1,000 additional hand sanitizers going up around the University
  3. Campus signage being installed throughout campuses, and a link for downloadable signs for your areas
  4. Information on custodial services during this time
  5. Answers about HVAC systems
  6. Face-coverings and personal hand sanitizers the university will provide to employees
  7. Some information about COVID-19 testing and notifications 

Please see below for more details:

Safety Measures for University Departments

The Division of Facilities Services (DFS) will provide hand sanitizer, germ shields, and disinfectant throughout campus. Divisional leaders were responsible for identifying high-traffic or public-facing areas where a germ shield is needed. DFS collected all the suggested locations and have ordered almost 400 germ shields to be installed across our campuses. They are expected to start shipping on July 3. Upon receipt, they will be delivered to the areas previously identified. These shields are portable desktop units, the majority of which are 36” wide by 34” tall with an 18” wide cut out at the bottom to allow for the transfer of papers and materials if necessary.  Some larger areas will be provided a 48” wide by 34” tall unit.  

In addition to being provided germ shields, these areas also will be provided with gallon containers of hand sanitizer, 32 oz. bottles of disinfectant, and rolls of paper towels.  The sanitizer is provided for you to place at your germ shield areas so that patrons may utilize it prior to doing business at your point-of-service locations.  Disinfectant and paper towels are being provided so that employees working the point-of-service areas can routinely disinfect the areas – this will be of great assistance to DFS, as we simply don’t have enough capacity within our custodial staff to cover all areas of campus throughout the day.  Along with these items, we will provide instructions on the use of the disinfectant to include the frequency of cleaning, as well as instructions for how to re-order the supplies as you begin to run low.  We do not currently have a delivery time frame for the disinfectant.  The sanitizer is on-hand and we are hoping to be able to make one complete delivery to each area if we receive the disinfectant in the next two weeks.  

Hand Sanitizer throughout Buildings

DFS will install an additional 1,000 wall-mounted hand sanitizer units across our campuses.  As you can imagine, hand sanitizer is in high demand, so the delivery of our units is several weeks out.  When they are delivered to campus, DFS will install these units in prominent locations in all buildings on campus – one unit in every major lobby/entryway, and one unit outside of each public restroom (if two sets of restrooms are adjacent to one another, there will be one unit installed between the two).   Wall units will also be installed in all open and instructional computer labs.  This will take several weeks to complete, but DFS expects to have all units up and ready for the beginning of the semester.  Custodial services will have responsibility of ensuring these units are kept filled.  However, if you find any dispensers that are empty, please contact the Service Response Center at 8-5588 (Statesboro) or 4-2545 (Armstrong/Liberty) and we will dispatch someone to refill the dispenser.

DFS has also procured a smaller quantity of portable floor stand dispensers to be used in strategic locations and for a limited purpose – namely events.

Campus Signage

DFS has worked closely with University Communications & Marketing (UCM) to identify a myriad of signage to be placed across our campuses.  The signage will be a combination of standard 8.5”x11” signage and 16”x16” vinyl decals as well as yard signs.  DFS is currently installing signage in elevators, restrooms, and entrances/exits.  Additional signage for social distancing reminders and one-way stairwells is forthcoming and will be installed soon.  We ask for your continued patience as we work diligently to ensure all of this signage is installed in its intended locations.  

In addition, UCM is providing downloadable PDFs via the University website for a number of different signs that departments are encouraged to print and hang within their office suite areas.  We do ask that you refrain from posting additional signage in public areas, but if you have a concern over an area you feel needs signage, please contact DFS directly.

DFS will be identifying – where feasible – entrance-only and exit-only points in most buildings on all campuses.  Not all doors will have these signs as we do need to ensure continued ADA access points.  For doors marked as exit only, we will be transitioning those doors to 24-hour lock.  This will ensure that they are not used as entry points but will continue to allow for egress in the event of an emergency.  Stairwells within buildings will also be taken to one way either up or down and will be marked accordingly.  Elevator capacity in all instances will be limited to 2 occupants at any given time.

We anticipate having all signage installed across our campuses by August 1.

Custodial Services

Custodial Services has resumed normal night-time servicing routines across our campuses.  This includes nightly cleaning and disinfection of all public spaces, restrooms, locker rooms, classrooms, lobbies, hallways, etc.  In order to focus our attention on high-touch/high-traffic areas, Custodial Services has moved all private offices to a once-weekly servicing schedule.  This schedule will be disseminated to the Building Managers shortly and will also be posted to the Facilities Services website.  If you would like for the trash in your office to be emptied on the evenings where we are not scheduled to service your office, we ask that you leave your trash can outside of your office door.  We do ask that individual office occupants assist us in maintaining cleanliness within your office spaces.

The normal cleaning procedures used by Custodial Services for nightly cleaning meets all CDC guidance for cleaning during this pandemic.  The disinfectants we are using are EPA-registered to kill Coronavirus, and our custodial staff has been retrained on all proper cleaning and disinfecting methods and are provided all applicable personal protection to ensure they complete their jobs thoroughly and safely.

Custodial Services will be reworking our daytime custodial staff to allow for a focus on high-touch areas – handrails, door handles, restrooms, elevator keypads, etc. – across our campuses.  

DFS will not be removing hand dryers from buildings and/or installing paper towel dispensers in lieu of hand dryers at this time. If you see a member of our custodial staff, please thank them as they are working very hard to ensure our safety!

HVAC and other Building Systems

DFS has continued to maintain all building systems since the University moved to a remote status in March.  All proper preventive maintenance on these systems continues to be completed, as has a full check of our systems to ensure they are functioning as designed and as efficiently as possible.  

DFS will continue to monitor and manage all air exchange rates and hold firm to our preventive maintenance schedule for filter change-outs and system flushings.  We have also increased the outside air intake to our buildings as much as we can while still maintaining necessary humidity levels.

We ask that faculty, students, and staff keep their office and apartment/bedroom doors open as much as possible to assist with air circulation.  

Face Coverings & Personal Hand Sanitizers

The University will be providing five branded face coverings and one 8 oz. bottle of hand sanitizer to each faculty and staff member.  Human Resources is coordinating the disbursement, which should begin this week. 

 All employees are strongly encouraged to wear a cloth face covering on campus.  Cloth face coverings are important in preventing transmission from asymptomatic individuals who have COVID-19.  There may be scenarios under which an employee would be required to wear a face covering (e.g. indoor spaces where social distancing is impossible to practice).  Employees who are typically required to wear a face covering or other personal protective equipment should continue to do so.

Testing and Notifications

The university is only aware of infections that we diagnose within the student health center, those that are reported to us by Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) as being associated with GS, and those reported to us directly by students/faculty/staff who test elsewhere. Any time we report cumulative case reports, it must be reported in the context of understanding that we are only reporting on the cases we are aware of.

 When we do learn of a positive case, the university notifies DPH, which is responsible for taking appropriate steps to mitigate transmission – that includes contact tracing and notifications to anyone who may be at risk because of contact with an infected individual. Privacy laws prevent the university from identifying or publicly reporting details of individuals who have been tested positive for COVID-19. We are currently defining clear pathways for faculty/staff/students to notify the University if they are positive or are a close contact.  We continue to encourage widespread testing and see opportunities to do so expanding. For example, at least one local pharmacy chain is advertising free drive-through COVID-10 testing.  

Please continue to monitor the COVID-19 resources page, and especially the FAQ for faculty and staff for more information.

Faculty and Staff
Sent June 19, 2020 to Faculty and Staff

To help encourage our university community to Do Right, you will find "Return to Campus" signage posted across our campuses. Facilities Services is in the process of posting a variety of this signage in public spaces. 

When you’re a true blue Eagle, you do what Erk said — Do Right.

  • Eagles Do Right when we follow public health guidelines. 
  • Eagles Do Right when we wash our hands.
  • Eagles Do Right when we spread our wings. 
  • Eagles Do Right when we encourage each other.
  • Eagles Do Right when we respect our nest. 
  • Eagles Do Right when we cover our beaks.

For other areas across campus, downloadable "Return to Campus" signage resources are provided online for you to download, print and post. These resources will help communicate public health guidelines to ensure the safety and welfare of your area. Visit https://www.georgiasouthern.edu/covid-19-information/return-to-campus-faculty-staff/signage/ to download the signage that you need.

If the signage you need is not available online, please submit a project request to University Communications and Marketing. 

Visit https://www.georgiasouthern.edu/covid-19-information/ for additional return to campus information and resources, including return to campus plans, FAQs and public health information. This page is updated frequently.

Faculty and Staff
Sent June 18, 2020 to Students

Students:

Georgia Southern staff began returning to the workplace this week in preparation for a fall semester when we can welcome YOU back to campus. We have missed the vibrancy of our campuses being alive with students, and we look forward to welcoming you back home!

Some details are still being worked out, but our plan is to start the fall semester with in-person classes that will be adjusted as needed to comply with social distancing guidelines. Additional precautions, such as the wearing of face coverings and maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from one another, will be strongly recommended.

For classes, labs or other situations where social distancing is not reasonable, other accommodations will be made. 

For students planning to live on campus, University Housing has done an extensive cleaning of all buildings and will be taking a series of steps to keep students as safe as possible. Community bathrooms and common areas will receive regular thorough disinfecting. We also plan to add more sanitizing stations, towel dispensers, soap dispensers and trash receptacles throughout our complexes. Please note that residents are responsible for cleaning their own rooms and suite and apartment bathrooms.

In addition to these precautions in the residence halls, you will notice other modifications to many campus activities and programs to adhere to social distancing guidelines.  As we get closer to the beginning of the academic year, you will receive more detailed information about what new expectations you will find on campus, such as in the dining halls and recreation facilities. You can see the university's plans online at our COVID-19 resources page.

Following guidance from the NCAA and adhering to strict health guidelines, Georgia Southern Athletics is starting to welcome back student-athletes this summer in anticipation of a full slate of fall sports. While current state guidelines still place limitations on gatherings, departments throughout campus are planning for fall events with the understanding that some social distancing guidelines may still be in place.

We will continue to evaluate all our plans and operations -- and continue to rely on guidance from the state, Georgia Department of Public Health (GPDH) and the CDC -- as we move forward. The health and safety of all our community members will always remain our top priority.

We will continue to update our COVID-19 resources page at https://www.georgiasouthern.edu/covid-19-information/ with additional details as they become available. Please also check out the FAQ for students online on this page. If you have a specified issue that needs to be addressed, please contact the Dean of Students Office (Statesboro Campus: (912) 478-3326 • deanofstudents@georgiasouthern.edu / Armstrong Campus: (912) 344-2514 • armdeanofstudents@georgiasouthern.edu).

And please remember, you play an important role in keeping our community safe. Please check out this video to learn more about how you can help fight COVID-19.

Students
Sent May 28, 2020 to Faculty and Staff

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

Faculty and Staff
Sent April 10, 2020 to Students

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

Students
Sent April 6, 2020 to Faculty and Staff

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

Faculty and Staff
Sent April 2, 2020 to Faculty and Staff

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.

Faculty and Staff
Sent March 24, 2020 to Students

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.

Students
Sent March 20, 2020 to Students

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/.

Students
Sent March 20, 2020 to Students

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.

Students
Sent March 18, 2020 to Faculty, Staff and Students

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."

Faculty and Staff, Students
Sent March 17, 2020 to Faculty, Staff and Students

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.

Faculty and Staff, Students
Sent March 16, 2020 to Faculty, Staff and Students

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.

Faculty and Staff, Students
Sent March 13, 2020 to Faculty, Staff and Students

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.

Faculty and Staff, Students
Sent March 12, 2020 to Faculty, Staff and Students

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.

Faculty and Staff, Students
Sent March 12, 2020 to Faculty, Staff and Students

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.

Faculty and Staff, Students
Sent March 11, 2020 to Faculty, Staff and Students

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
Faculty and Staff, Students
Sent March 4, 2020 to Faculty, Staff and Students

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
Faculty and Staff, Students
Sent January 29, 2020 to Faculty, Staff and Students

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.

Faculty and Staff, Students