Georgia College Operational Plan: March 18 - May 2, 2020

Georgia College Operational Plan: March 18 - May 2, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we face this unprecedented and ever-changing challenge before us. I appreciate your flexibility and adaptability as we move forward. This guidance covers university operations through the end of the current academic semester.  I ask you to please be patient regarding what happens next.  Rest assured that we are trying to provide as much information as we can, when we can. But also know that things change rapidly and we are trying to adjust as circumstances require.

Our primary concern is the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.  So, please know that all decisions are being made with that in mind.

Students, faculty and staff are urged to check the university home page regularly for updates. Additional campus messages are posted on Front Page. Additionally, we ask you to check the updates from CDC, Georgia Department of Public Health, and the State Department as you make decisions to protect your personal health and make travel plans.

Here are some operational guidelines for the remainder of the semester:

SELF-QUARANTINING

Consistent with guidelines from the CDC and the Georgia Department of Health, anyone traveling to, from or through a Level 3 or higher travel designation cannot return to campus until they have been asymptomatic for a period of 14 days from the date of entering or reentering the United States. Those self-quarantining must follow CDC and local health authority guidelines.

  • Guidelines for self-quarantine from the CDC include:
  • Restricting activities outside the home except for appointments with a medical professional for evaluation.
  • Limiting contact with others in the home, including pets.
  • Frequent hand washing.
  • Regular cleaning of all high-touch surfaces including tables, countertops, doorknobs, keyboards, tablets, bathroom fixtures, television remotes, and phones.
  • Limiting the sharing of household items like drinking glasses, plates, utensils, bedding, towels, and clothing.
  • Washing dishes, clothing, and bedding regularly.

 

ACADEMIC AFFAIRS & INSTRUCTION

Georgia College will move to online/remote instruction for ALL courses for the remainder of the semester, effective March 30, 2020.  In this interim suspension between now and March 30, faculty are preparing to teach their courses in an online/remote format. Staff from the Center for Teaching & Learning (478-445-2520) (ctl@gcsu.edu) are currently available for faculty to consult with regarding transitioning their teaching to a March 30th start of the total online format. Faculty should develop the remainder of their semester materials to be taught away from campus.

ACADEMIC ADVISING:  Academic Advisors are available Monday-Friday from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm via email at advising@gcsu.edu, telephone at 478-445-2361, and video chat by appointment.

STUDY ABROAD: We have cancelled all study abroad courses for the remainder of the semester and for the Summer.  Students and faculty involved in these courses will be notified.

SACSCOC: SACSCOC has been notified of all changes that this emergency is requiring of us and we are operating in accordance with standards they have promulgated to ensure accreditation standards.

RESEARCH LABORATORIES:  Personnel needed to maintain core research functions at minimal levels for maintenance of research facilities, lab safety, research animals, etc. should continue to do so. However, please notify the dean of your area regarding your presence on campus.

 

ON-CAMPUS OPERATIONS

Offices and departments should be operating according to their business continuity plan. With that in mind, most faculty and staff are telecommuting or working in flextime arrangements.  Supervisors should do everything possible to be flexible with staff in arranging for at-home work until the end of the semester. Supervisors should establish routines for remote operations and online check-in meetings as appropriate. On campus operations should be reduced to a minimum to allow only for the following:

  • Maintain students in campus residence halls who cannot move out due to international status, lack of access to housing, etc.
  • Provide limited dining to support students who are still on campus.
  • Public Safety personnel as needed to provide public order and safety.
  • IT support services to maintain our ERP systems, core academic support systems, email, and other systems as needed to support operations.
  • Personnel needed to maintain core institutional functions at minimal levels such as research facilities, lab safety, research animals, etc.

IT SERVICES:  IT services will be available to consult with students, faculty and staff that are experiencing difficulty during this time. Please note, however, that most IT employees will be working remotely with limited staff on campus. You may continue to utilize the services of SERVE via telephone at 478-445-7378, by email serve@gcsu.edu or complete the online form on our website.

HUMAN RESOURCES: Employees who need HR assistance during this time should contact HR by phone at 478-445-5596 or email at hr@gcsu.edu.  Limited staff will be available at the HR office.  Searches that are in progress may decide to postpone their activities for the semester. If searches go forward, committees should utilize electronic forms of communication for search committee deliberations and candidate interviews. No non-essential travel will be authorized and group assembly is not desirable at this time. The employee assistance program (EAP) vendor, KEPRO, is available 24/7 as a resource. ​​​​​​ EAP Counseling sessions are confidential and can be done remotely via HIPAA compliant platforms.  Supervisors are encouraged to be as flexible as possible with work from home assignments including, but not limited to:

For those employees with specific technical skills, provide opportunities to brush up on specific job requirements or take an online certification course for your area of expertise.

  • Professional development – find specific online classes related to the department, TedTalks, Lynda.com, YouTube topics and have the employee watch and then provide a short essay about how it applies to their job duties and responsibilities.
  • Assign a special project(s). These might be things that have been “on the radar” but have not yet had time or resources assigned due to other priorities. For example, developing a new function-specific training program for your department to help cross-train staff.
  • Review departmental policies to make sure they are current.
  • Develop or review standard operating procedures and identify opportunities for process improvements.
  • Continue conducting regular online work.
  • Complete annual performance reviews as needed.

MAIL SERVICES: To support social distancing efforts, Mail Services will not be performing the usual daily route. The GC Mail Services Office window, located in the MSU, will be open every Wednesday from 11:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m. for departments to secure their mail if needed. If your office needs a special pick-up or delivery, please contact us at 478-445-2273. Students leaving campus housing should go their local USPS or to the USPS website to complete mail forwarding requests of their mail.

REGISTRAR’S OFFICE: The Registrar’s office will be open with limited staff, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m., available by email at registrar@gcsu.edu or by phone at 478-445-6286.  Registration will remain open during the suspension of instruction.  Wait list notifications will be released beginning Monday, March 30. Transcript ordering instructions are available online. The electronic transcript option is strongly encouraged.

BUILDING ACCESS: An assessment of physical security (buildings locked down, card-only access, etc.) is underway and related public safety measures have been taken to secure campus in light of reduced staffing. Buildings that are closed include signage to that effect. Access to a closed building may be provided by contacting Public Safety at 478-445-4400.

LIBRARY: The Library is closed to the public. Faculty, staff and students may access SERVE, Center for Teaching & Learning, Disabilities Services and the Learning Center located in the building by swiping their Bobcat card at the entrance closest to the College of Arts and Sciences building. The Library staff are available by email at circ@gcsu.edu or by phone at 478-445-4047.

CAMPUS EVENTS & ACTIVITES: In keeping with CDC guidelines regarding crowds and social distancing, all events for the remainder of the Spring Semester have been cancelled. This includes events such as intercollegiate athletics, intramural athletics, scheduled performances, scheduled student group activities, advancement events, and any use of our campus by external entities during this time.

TRAVEL:  No non-essential travel by students, faculty or staff will be approved for the remainder of the semester.

COMMENCEMENT:  In keeping with the CDC guidelines regarding crowds and social distancing, the Spring 2020 commencement activities as we have held them in previous years are cancelled. We do not make this decision lightly, nor do we want to diminish all that our students have achieved. We are working on creative, alternative ways to celebrate students’ accomplishments, and we are grateful for the commitment and dedication our students have shown in the face of extraordinary times.Students will be able to graduate, consistent with academic standards, but the face-to-face ceremony will be cancelled. We are looking into alternative delivery mechanisms and other ways that might allow us to celebrate the accomplishments of our students. More details will follow.

ADMISSIONS OFFICE:  The admission review and acceptance process for Fall 2020 will continue. Recruiters will contact prospective students and applicants regarding admission, housing and POUNCE during this time. Admitted student receptions and Glimpse sessions have been cancelled and staff are utilizing virtual opportunities to engage applicants. The office will be open with limited staff, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m., available by email at admissions@gcsu.edu or by telephone at 478-445-1283 or 1-800-342-0471.

REGISTRATION: Registration for summer and fall courses is open now. Students should consult with their advisors as needed and register as usual through the PAWS Portal. 

 

STUDENT SERVICES

ACADEMIC & CAREER ADVISING:  Academic Advisors are available Monday-Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm via email (advising@gcsu.edu), telephone (478-445-2361), and video chat by appointment. Career Service Advisors will maintain their current appointment schedule and can be contacted by phone (478-445-5384) or video chat by appointment. Appointments may also be made via UNIFY.

HOUSING: All students have been notified of their need to move out of Georgia College residence halls and apartments. To be consistent with CDC advice regarding crowding and distancing, a plan has been developed by housing for an orderly and ‘staggered’ move out that will start Friday, March 20 and will end Friday, March 27. Students will be provided with appointment times to move out. It is important that students only arrive at their scheduled appointment times as these are systematically arranged to decreased the likelihood of crowds to prevent disease transmission due to crowding. Every effort will be made to accommodate students who cannot move out due to extenuating circumstances.

FINANCIAL AID:  The Financial Aid Office will be open with limited staff, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am through 5:00 p.m. and available by email at financialaid@gcsu.edu or by phone at 478-445-5149.

STUDENT FEES AND REFUNDS: The University System of Georgia will work with Georgia College to review the impact of this situation on mandatory fees as well as housing, dining and other fees to determine which should be maintained and which should be refunded on a pro-rated basis. This assessment will take into account the impact on Title IV and state financial aid programs. Students will be notified by the university when a determination is made and a plan is developed regarding fees.

STUDENT HEALTH & COUNSELING SERVICES: Student Health (478-445-5288) and Counseling Services (478-445-5331) are preparing to continue to provide services via telephone and other limited in-person services as required. 

DISABILITY SERVICES: Accommodations for students with disabilities must still be granted in an online learning environment. For faculty who need assistance, please follow the instructions provided by the Center for Teaching and Learning. Students should consult with their faculty member regarding individual needs and challenges. For more assistance contact Disabilities Services at 478-445-5931.

DINING: Residential dining (The MAX) and all retail dining locations will be closed for the remainder of the semester.  Every effort will be made to accommodate any students needing to remain on campus due to extenuating circumstances but will mostly consist of delivery and distributed food stations to avoid clustering and achieve social distancing. For questions about dining, contact Auxiliary Services at 478-445-1976.

ATHLETICS:  Team events and practices have been cancelled in accordance with the Peach Belt Conference. Student athletic scholarships will be maintained for the remainder of the semester.

SHUTTLES: Shuttles will be suspended for the remainder of the semester. For questions regarding shuttles, parking or transportation please call 478-445-RIDE.

BOOKSTORE: Barnes & Noble at Georgia College will offer online services only for the remainder of the semester. Provisions for the return of rental books will be made. More information will come at a later date. For further information regarding the bookstore call 478-445-TEXT.

INNOVATION STATION: Innovation station will offer online services only for the remainder of the semester. For information regarding innovation station call 478-445-TECH.

BOBCAT CARD OFFICE: The Bobcat Card office will be closed for the remainder of the semester. For information call 478-445-CARD.

VETERANS STATUS: The State of Georgia is working to address the required Department of Veterans Affairs waiver as it relates to the GI Bill recipients and change in instructional format. 

TESTING CENTER:  Open Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm., available by email at gctesting@gcsu.edu or by phone at 478-445-5016.

This plan is effective immediately and is current as of March 18, 2020. Further changes may require us to alter or change these directives. Should that be required you will receive additional guidance which may supersede this memo.

Sincerely,

Steve M. Dorman
President
Georgia College & State University