Coronavirus Updates to Faculty and Staff

Coronavirus Updates to Faculty and Staff

May 27, 2020 - 2:28 p.m.

Dear GC Colleagues,

We recently submitted plans to the system office outlining a gradual and staggered return to campus. The system office has now authorized us to begin implementing the reopening of our campus.   I would like to explain what these next steps will be as we reopen the university. Additional information will follow for faculty members and students as we begin preparing for the Fall semester and beyond.

As always, the health and safety of our campus community remain our top priorities. Therefore, we will do all that we can to comply with executive orders and directives from the Governor’s office and ensure that our reopening plan adheres to guidance from the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) and the CDC.  As we work through the reopening of our campus, I would like to remind you of our campus values of Reason, Respect, and Responsibility. As we implement these reasonable health and safety measures we do so not only because we have a responsibility to keep you healthy and safe, but also because all of us should respect the health and safety of others on campus.

We will have a gradual and staged return to campus. Movement forward with this plan will be dependent upon continued good health of our employees. As we monitor the progression of this plan, we will not hesitate to slow the progress should we determine there is a spike in COVID-19 cases.

If, after reading this letter, you have questions about your time to return to campus, please do not hesitate to contact your supervisor or your appropriate vice president.

Stage 1, Weeks 1-2: Beginning June 1, all facilities management employees will return to campus as appropriate. In addition, some financial services employees will return to close out the current fiscal year and prepare for the coming financial year. The Georgia College campus will undergo a deep-cleaning process that will last approximately two weeks. All employees involved in this process will be provided with appropriate PPE to perform these duties and will be trained regarding safety and health prior to beginning their job functions. Employees are expected to wear appropriate PPE properly at all times.  These procedures will ensure that our campus has been fully cleaned and is ready for the gradual return of faculty and staff. The plan for cleaning campus prior to employees returning or in conjunction with employees returning will use best practices as learned through the Georgia National Guard Training and existing protocols for cleaning campuses.  Relevant preparations during this time will include preparing office spaces and high-touch areas such as campus elevators, stairs, restrooms and common areas. Also, appropriate supplies will be provided to encourage mitigation, including hand sanitizers, adjustments to furnishings to ensure appropriate distancing, and the installation of signage and markings that promote safe practices. In some situations, plexiglass barriers may be installed. Please see the attached chart to determine departments and employees who will be returning to campus during this first stage.

Stage 1, Weeks 3-4: On June 15, the university’s senior leadership and senior management for academic and administrative units will return to campus as needed to review their overall work environment and ensure appropriate physical configurations are made to adhere to all relevant health and safety guidance. Vice presidents will consult with their extended leadership to determine appropriate scheduling and/or physical environment needs to accommodate appropriate social distancing. Plans must also be made to accommodate visitors to campus offices. It is possible that some units on campus will continue to have flexible work arrangements through a combination of working hour shifts, teleworking, or alternating campus working days. University employees must follow appropriate social distancing guidelines when on campus. University employees must wear face masks except in personal offices and spaces. Please see the attached chart to determine departments and employees who will be returning to campus during this time.

Stage 2: Beginning June 29, staff from administrative and academic units across campus may return to work on campus on a limited basis. Offices will begin to open to the public on a limited basis with limited staff. Prior to this point, you will be notified by your supervisor regarding work scheduling or physical distancing measures that must be used to comply with a safe work environment. University employees must follow appropriate social distancing guidelines when on campus. University employees must wear face masks except in personal offices and spaces. Please see the attached chart to determine departments and employees who will be returning to campus during this time.

Stage 3:  Stage 3 will begin on August 1 as we prepare for faculty and students to return to campus. All offices will be open. Staffing levels will be determined at that time. University employees must follow appropriate social distancing guidelines when on campus. University employees must wear face masks except in personal offices and spaces. Appropriate provisions and modifications to programs may be necessary to comply with recommendations from the Georgia Department of Public Health.


Here are some specific guidelines and things you need to know and practice as you return to campus (This applies to all stages):

1. Testing:  At this time, there are no plans to routinely test for COVID-19 among otherwise healthy faculty and staff. However, if you are a GC employee who is sick or becomes sick with COVID-19  symptoms, you will be asked to not be on campus and be expected to provide results of a COVID-19 test prior to your return to campus. You will be assisted by HR in finding the proper outlet for testing.

2. Contact tracing: The Georgia Department of Public Health has committed to contact tracing. If you or someone you work with is diagnosed with COVID-19, the Department of Public Health will be notified. They are the responsible party for contract tracing, and they will determine if further tracing and testing needs to be done by you or others in the office environment.

3. Isolation & Quarantine: If you are COVID-19 positive or believe you have been exposed to COVID-19 prior to coming to work, you must contact HR. If you have become sick while on campus, you will be sent home immediately; and HR will contact you. HR will consult with you regarding your testing options. If testing indicates that you are COVID positive, you will be directed to self-quarantine. During self-quarantine, you will be expected to work from home if possible. Should you become sick, you will be expected to take appropriate leave; and work will be discontinued. If you come into contact with someone who has been identified as COVID-19 positive either on or off the job, you should tell your supervisor, self-monitor and contact HR immediately. If you have questions regarding your need for a test based upon exposure with others who may or may not have been COVID-19 positive or other potential exposure situations which arise, you may contact Rhonda Dixon in Student Health Services at ext. 1282.

4. Hygiene Expectations: Every employee is expected to follow GDPH and CDC basic guidelines:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue or inside your elbow.

5. Face Masks/Face Coverings:   Until further notice, all employees, students, and faculty must wear face masks in all public situations, meetings, events and assemblies on campus where there is the likelihood that the social distancing requirements may be compromised.  Use of face masks may be discontinued in personal office spaces and residence hall rooms.  If you do not have a face mask, one will be provided for you. Visitors to campus offices will be supplied with a mask to use during their interactions on campus.

6. Social Distancing: Please make every effort to comply with the social distancing requirements. This means, when at all possible, you should stay 6-feet away from others and not gather in groups. Please refrain from handshaking and related unnecessary person-to-person contact in the workplace. Please refrain from using other employees’ phones, desks, office spaces, or other work tools and equipment.

7. Alternate Work Arrangements will be made for Employees who are at High Risk: Individuals who fall into one of the following GDPH and CDC categories for higher risk for severe illness with COVID-19 may request alternate work arrangements.  Based on what we know now, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are:

  • People 65 years and older
  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:
    • People with chronic lung disease or moderate-to-severe asthma
    • People who have serious heart conditions
    • People who are immunocompromised
    • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
    • People with diabetes
    • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
    • People with liver disease

The USG Human Resources department has provided a common form for employees to use in  making such a request. Documentation for underlying medical conditions will be required as a part of the request.  If you believe you fall into a high-risk category that would make you a vulnerable employee, please contact Amber Collins (478-445-4236) at the Georgia College Human Resources Office. GC HR will review the request and, upon approval, will work with the employee and their immediate supervisor in documenting and providing for an alternate work arrangement.

8. Monitoring Employees for COVID-19:

Self-Monitoring – It is your responsibility to monitor your health. Do not come to work if you are ill. All employees should be diligent about self-monitoring.  Symptoms of COVID-19 can be found online and are listed below:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

This is not an exhaustive list of symptoms; and other less common symptoms have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. As more is known, other symptoms may emerge. Employees should be vigilant about checking their own health. If you have any of these symptoms DO NOT COME TO WORK.

Temperature Checks – Employees may be asked to engage in temperature checks while on campus.  Normal temperature should not exceed 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit without the aid of fever-reducing medications.  If an employee shows a temperature above 100.4, the employee will be sent home by their supervisor immediately and should contact their healthcare provider.  GC HR will contact the employee that day to determine the extent of the illness. To return to work, employees should provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result OR should be without a fever above 100.4 for a period of 72 hours without the aid of fever-reducing medications and have no additional symptoms.  Employees who are sent home should use applicable leave options which will be described by HR.

9. Travel: Non-essential travel is prohibited until further notice.

10. No non-essential activities: There will be no face-to-face, nonessential activities conducted on campus during Stages 1 and 2. This includes but is not limited to all internal and external events, camps, facility rentals, campus meetings, intercollegiate activities, intramural activities, Kids University, congregating groups, Montessori Academy programming, and Student-Life programming. Further guidance will be forthcoming regarding Stage 3.

11. Central points of notification:  Requests regarding HR related issues should be sent to Amber Collins (478-445-4236) at the Georgia College Human Resources Office.  Health-related questions should be directed to Britt McRae (478-445-5288) at Student Health Services.

12. The Plan: For more information, please consult the Georgia College Reopening Plan that was recently submitted to the Chancellor’s Office. Because we are in an everchanging environment, guidance provided in this letter supersedes any guidance provided in that plan.

I recognize that while many of us welcome the return to campus and seeing our colleagues once again, the situation is still far from business as usual. This correspondence is meant to provide guidance for Stages 1 and 2 as we begin a gradual and staged return to campus. More guidance will come as we prepare for Stage 3 and the eventual return of students to our campus.  The COVID-19 situation is fluid, and guidance will very likely change over time, even after these plans are prepared and implemented. Please know that our goal is to protect the health of employees and students. Everyone at the university has an individual responsibility to contribute to proper behavior and adhere to public health guidance to protect themselves and others as well as to help contain the spread of the virus. Our institutional controls are only as effective as the willingness of individuals to cooperate with these guidelines.  

Thank you for all that you do for Georgia College, especially during these challenging and unprecedented times.

Sincerely,

 

Steve M. Dorman

President
Georgia College & State University

_____________________________________________________________

May 20, 2020- 6:31 p.m.

Dear Georgia College Colleagues,
 
Thank you for your continued patience and diligence in your work in light of the uncertainty dictated by our circumstances.  Today, I want to update you on the progress of the Reopening Working Groups and our proposed Budget Reduction Plan. Our reopening work groups continue to meet and deliberate. The draft plan for the first working group, the Workplace and Health Safety Committee, has been submitted to the Chancellor’s staff for review. Plans for the remaining working groups (academics affairs, student life, public service/continuing education, communications, and financial impact) will be submitted to the system office by May 26. We will share more with the campus once these plans are approved for implementation.
 
In other developments, I have attached a summary of our proposed budget plan which adopts the directives that the system office has communicated earlier. We continue to experience challenging times. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the state’s economy, and this will undoubtedly affect higher education. This April, state revenues declined by more than $1 billion (or 35.9%) compared to April of last year. Further revenue declines are expected and will likely result in serious budget reductions we must plan for now.
 
The University System of Georgia (USG) and all state agencies were recently asked to prepare budget plans that reduce spending by 14% in Fiscal Year 2021, which starts July 1. Nothing will be final until a budget appropriation is approved by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor. That is expected to happen in June, as legislative leaders meet for the remainder of the 2020 legislative session and finalize the FY21 state budget. 
 
Chancellor Wrigley asked us to be strategic in our approach as we plan for this reduction at our institution. Our greatest priority continues to be helping our students complete a college education. Again, I want to reiterate that this a plan, and final reductions will be determined in the weeks ahead. 
 
In an effort to remain transparent, please know that we will continue to update the campus as we learn more. 
 
Again, thank you for your kind words and support during these unprecedented times.  Please stay well!
 
Kind Regards,

Steve M. Dorman

President
Georgia College & State University

_____________________________________________________________

May 7, 2020- 5:46 p.m.

Georgia College Colleagues,
 
Please find below the Salary Tier Chart that the USG has provided to us as guidance for the furlough implementation as we develop our respective plan for a 14% budget reduction. Please understand that this is a plan at this point and that we will manage toward the budget that we are finally provided from the General Assembly.
 
Proposed Salary Tiers for Furlough:

Sincerely,

Steve M. Dorman

President
Georgia College & State University

_____________________________________________________________

May 7, 2020- 12:34 p.m.

Dear Colleagues,
 
The Board of Regents just released the following press release with additional directives for all system institutions.  Please know that we are working on our internal plans and more details will be forthcoming. 
 
Thank you all for your diligence as we continue to move forward.

Sincerely,

Steve M. Dorman

President
Georgia College & State University

_____________________________________________________________

May 7, 2020- 10:43 a.m.

Update from President Dorman

_____________________________________________________________

May 1, 2020- 9:13 p.m.

Message from Chancellor Wrigley

Dear Faculty and Staff:
 
Your hard work has continued to keep all of our 26 institutions and the University System Office (USO) accessible and responsive in an extraordinary time, even as you have had to juggle your own personal challenges. I am grateful and proud of the way each of you has responded to our rapid shift in operations.
 
The challenges thrown at us by the COVID-19 pandemic are unprecedented. The health and safety of our students and employees are our greatest priorities.
 
As you are aware, the state of Georgia is facing a significant drop in revenue from the coronavirus that has caused the news I must now share.
 
Today, the state Office of Planning and Budget, House Budget and Research Office, and Senate Budget and Evaluation Office directed all state agencies to develop new spending proposals for fiscal year 2021, which begins July 1. In doing so, all agencies including USG must submit proposals that include a 14% reduction of their base budget.
 
I have instructed all institutions and the USO to prepare a plan to address these 14% reductions. These plans must be submitted to the state no later than May 20th.
 
This will not be easy work. We have asked everyone to be strategic in their approach to meeting this reduction, therefore across the board cuts are not permitted. Our priority continues to be helping our students complete a college education. Our mission is more critical than ever as we take a leading role in helping all Georgians recover.
 
Right now, institutions are only submitting plans to address the 14% reductions for FY21. It will be some time before we will know the specifics of these plans and how they will be implemented. Among actions that may be taken include furloughs and layoffs. Additionally, we are placing a hold on all vacant positions not deemed essential, and remain committed to a critical hire process for the few that are. We will be faced with some uncertainty until the FY21 budget is adopted and approved.
The state will continue to monitor the financial impact of COVID-19 and adjust as circumstances require.   Any budget plans submitted to the state must also be finalized and approved by the Georgia Legislature, and signed by the Governor.
 
I know this is hard news to hear. Please keep in close contact with your supervisor for further guidance and if you have any questions. We will provide updates as quickly and as transparently as possible. 
 
Above all, know you are making a difference at a critical time for the University System. There is no question this will be tough. But we will get through it, and be stronger. Thank you for all you do to support our students and the state of Georgia.
 
Sincerely,
 
Steve W. Wrigley
Chancellor

_____________________________________________________________

April 29, 2020- 12:56 p.m.

Dear Georgia College Colleagues:

I hope that all of you are doing well and staying safe during this ongoing pandemic.  Like many of you, I am closely following the news for updates on the situation and am eagerly waiting for improved public health conditions.  I have also been in touch with our colleagues at the University System of Georgia (USG) and we are in the early stages of planning for an eventual reopening of our campuses.

Although we anticipate an eventual resumption of in-person instruction, we do not yet have a precise timeframe.  However, the health and safety of our entire campus community is our utmost priority.  The USG has been in constant contact with the Governor’s Task Force and the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) for ongoing guidance and next steps.

We have been asked by the system office to develop reopening procedures that place the safety of our students, faculty, and staff first and foremost.  As such, we will ensure that any plans to reopen campus will be consistent with the GDPH, CDC, and the Governor’s office.  A number of working groups are currently being assembled to plan for our eventual resumption of campus operations.  Every effort is being made to include faculty and staff input.  The working groups include the following:

Workplace and Health Safety:

  • Headed by Vice President Susan Allen and myself, this working group is tasked with recommending ways in which our campus can reopen safely for everyone. This group will consider preventative practices, mitigation and monitoring practices, cleaning and sanitation procedures, travel policies, and appropriate enforcement mechanisms.  This group will recommend the early staging of employees back to campus.

 Academic, Research, and Enrollment Management:

  • Headed by Provost Costas Spirou, this working group is charged with how our academic and research personnel can return to campus and what their specific needs are in terms of instructional technology, as well as relevant needs for classrooms, offices, and labs. This group will also work to determine overall priorities and how academic instruction will be delivered in the context of social distancing, student density, and what flexible working parameters might be required. An enrollment management working group will also make recommendations on how we can effectively implement the following critical areas:  student recruitment, admissions, registration, orientation, advising, and financial aid that would include support for students that are experiencing financial distress during these difficult times.

 Public Service, Outreach, and Continuing Education:

  • Vice President Monica Delisa will be leading this working group to identify approaches, priorities, and practices that allow us to continue to engage external audiences while mitigating risks associated with various external parties.  This group will make recommendations on any restrictions that might be appropriate to ensure mitigation and minimize people density in the context of external engagement.

Student Life:

  • Vice President Shawn Brooks will lead this working group and its various subgroups.  Key topics that this group will make recommendations for include residence halls, dining services, student activities, athletics, counseling, and other support needs to ensure a safe return to student life. Dr. Brooks will oversee several working groups reviewing these important areas of campus life. These groups will make important recommendations in the context of our ongoing mitigation practices, minimizing people density, and what we must do to ensure ongoing student success at Georgia College.

Communications:

  • Associate Vice President for Strategic Communications, Omar Odeh, will lead this working group to ensure that we have an effective communications plan for each constituent group.  The communications strategy will encompass key recommendations made from each working group and ultimately reflect decisions made by university leadership.  As such, this working group will provide important messages and updates on a wide range of topics, including: preventative practices, mitigation and monitoring practices, and policies as they relate to flexible working arrangements, travel, budgeting and other fiscal matters.  Other messages may include guidance related to campus events and activities, campus dining, residential life, and student athletics.

Fiscal Impact:

  • The Executive Cabinet will collectively deliberate on areas that impact the university’s fiscal situation. All decisions and guidance for a Fall reopening must be viable within current and future budget limitations which may be adversely impacted from the COVID-19 virus.

 

At this point, the situation is still very fluid and all guidance and planning may be subject to changes. With that said, let me take this opportunity to thank you all for your steadfastness and perseverance as we tackle these challenges together, as a campus community.  I know that I can rely on each of you to do your part to reopen our campus in a safe and measured manner while we ensure the ongoing health and safety of our faculty, staff, & students.

Sincerely,

Steve M. Dorman

President
Georgia College & State University

_____________________________________________________________

April 2, 2020- 1:35 p.m.

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

We 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, we have been asked to continue their current telework and flexible work strategies for faculty and staff. Georgia College, overall has 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.

Sincerely,

Steve M. Dorman

President
Georgia College & State University

_____________________________________________________________

March 28, 2020 - 10:10 a.m.

Dear Faculty Colleagues, 

I would like to thank you for your hard work in preparing for your courses to be offered online/remotely on March 30th.  We are ready to deliver 1,565 courses, which is 100% of our Spring 2020 offerings.  This is very impressive as it reflects your commitment, creativity, flexibility, and “can-do” attitude.  I am deeply appreciative of your efforts and willingness to make quick adjustments, always keeping our students in mind. They are at the center of all that we do during these challenging times.  As I am sure you all know, the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students are of paramount  importance. Please consider some suggestions below as we move forward with the upcoming transition: 

  • Remember that our students, unless they have special permission due to extenuating circumstances, must stay away from campus as they complete the Spring 2020 semester.  They, like all of us, are anxious and under pressure during this unprecedented time. There is uncertainty about employment opportunities, job offers, internships,  summer plans, etc.  Your flexibility, patience, empathy and support are essential during this last portion of the semester.  
  • Online instruction is a dynamic process. We know that it is an iterative process that continuously improves upon itself over time and after each successive semester. I know how difficult this is on many of you – particularly those that might feel frustrated in trying to perfect your online teaching in such a short period of time.  Consider that simplicity is often more successful than complex and elaborate designs.
  • Everyone is stressed, anxious, and under a lot of pressure from multiple perspectives. Now more than ever, we need to support and take care of each other through encouragement and understanding. If you can encourage or assist a colleague, please do so!
  • Be sure to communicate with your students frequently. Keep in mind that they are taking multiple online courses.  For many of them, this may be the first time they have learned using remote methods.  Use of GeorgiaView/D2L for communications allows for clustering of all course related material in one place.  This will help our students keep track of assignments and course expectations.
  • Remember that ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accommodations apply in an online/remote environment as well. Please be aware that some students may be in need of extra assistance.

As a way of providing continuous support to faculty, we have assembled many online resources in a single online portal: GC Keeps Teaching. We have also created a similar portal for student-specific information:  GC Keeps Learning.   Additionally, the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) has organized two Webinars for next week and will be maintaining a GC Online Learning Community site for faculty to ask questions and exchange ideas with each other. Think of it as if you were going to lunch with another faculty member and wanted to pose some questions about teaching.  Please contact CTL for registration information.

Thank you again for your continuous efforts during these very challenging times. Feel free to contact your Department Chair, College Dean, or myself if we can provide any assistance.

Best wishes for a successful remainder of the Spring 2020 term!

 

Sincerely,

CostasSpirou, PhD

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

_____________________________________________________________

March 27, 2020 - 9:46 a.m.

Dear Georgia College Colleagues:

Words cannot express my thanks and gratitude to the faculty and staff of Georgia College over the last few days.  I am so proud to report that our faculty have quickly mobilized under the leadership of the deans and department chairs, and Provost Spiroureports that 100% of our courses are ready to go online Monday morning.  This is no small feat, and I thank the faculty for working through your spring break to make this happen for our students.  Thanks also to our Center for Teaching and Learning staff and our IT staff for being ready to help faculty transfer their work during this period.

Let me also thank our diligent staff who continue to process paperwork, answer student and parent phone calls, help students move out of residence halls, and move the work of the university forward from your workstation at home.  I know many of you had to rapidly learn about our web and phone conferencing platforms (I know I did!) and still continued your work.  Thank you for your dedicated customer service and friendly approach to your work!

I also know that many of you are having to balance work, caring for your children, and taking care of a different set of demands when everyone is together all day long.  Thank you.  You continue to manifest that Georgia College “can do” state of mind, and I so appreciate that.  You continue to work hard and provide service to our students, faculty and staff – albeit in a different way.  I cannot thank you enough.

Starting Monday, our students will be actively pursuing their coursework again – online, until the end of the semester.  There will be questions about technology and getting connected.  There will be questions about bills and refunds of fees.  And there will be plenty of questions about student life.  I know that again, you all will rise to the opportunity of meeting these needs as well.

Like many of you, I am paying close attention to the news and receiving updates on the global situation we find ourselves in.  Many of you are anxious and looking for clarity and answers.  I wish I could provide them, and I wish there was a clear path forward.  As yet, there is not.  But, I hope you take comfort knowing that we are embarking on this journey together with resoluteness and resolve.  I know that as a community - together - we will overcome these hardships, and we will emerge stronger and better prepared.

We are currently working to launch a more robust and improved version of Front Page.  This will allow us to submit information about upcoming events and stay connected to activities happening within our campus community – such as joining a live yoga class or taking a virtual tour of one of our museums. In addition, a GC United web portal is being created to showcase many of these events and announcements to our community.  More to come by the end of next week – so stay tuned!

While we work distantly, I encourage you to continue to look after each other – your families, your neighbors and your colleagues.  Please avoid crowds as we all work together to “flatten the curve.”  Pick up the phone and call a friend for support and encourage one another.  And please reach out if you need someone to talk to.

Thank you for all that you do for Georgia College!  Stay safe and be well.

With Bobcat Pride,

 

Steve M. Dorman
President

_____________________________________________________________

March 18, 2020 - 9:15 a.m.

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Subject:  Message from President Dorman to Georgia College Employees

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Dear Colleagues:

The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic means that we all have to accept a certain amount of ambiguity and uncertainty as we move forward. Online classes will start for our students on March 30 for the remainder of the semester. Similarly, faculty members are preparing to finish the semester with online learning and the GC Housing Office is communicating with students about moving out of the residence halls in the next week.  In an effort to follow CDC guidelines and to prevent large crowds from forming, the move out process will occur in a staggered manner.  We will make every effort to accommodate any student who is unable to return home, or who cannot find housing elsewhere.

The Georgia College campus will remain open with limited services to ensure business and learning continuity through the end of this semester.  Therefore, we strongly encourage all staff to remain off campus and to work by telecommuting or flexing your time.  Not all staff will be able to telework, so please consult with your supervisor about these options. The Office of Information Technology has created WebEx accounts for many employees to make communications easier. Other solutions do exist and we encourage individual offices and departments to make decisions that best serve their individual work and operational needs.

Let me take this opportunity to thank all of you for your dedication and service to our students and campus community. Your support for each other and for our students and faculty members is essential.  Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we approach a quickly changing and evolving set of circumstances.  We will inform the campus as soon as more information emerges regarding future work plans.  Please know that the health and safety of the entire Georgia College community is our prime concern at this time.

Please check our website for the latest information on this rapidly unfolding situation. 

Please follow CDC guidelines and stay safe!

Sincerely,

Steve Dorman
President
Georgia College

_____________________________________________________________

March 17, 2020 - 8:24 a.m.

Faculty update from Provost Spriou

 

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

As Georgia College prepares to move to online instruction for the remainder of the 2020 academic term, I would like to share with you the information below:

  1. Following the current two week USG required pause, we will begin the delivery of courses via online on Monday, March 30th.
  2. We will return to the semester as scheduled. Faculty should incorporate any missing work from the week following Spring Break into the remainder of the semester.
  3. As you organize your material and prepare to launch your online courses, please utilize the faculty support services available at the Center for Teaching and Learning. The staff in CTL are ready to assist your efforts (478-445-2520-ctl@gcsu.edu).
  4. Please continue to monitor the Georgia College website on COVID-19 found here.  

Thank you for your commitment to supporting our students during these unprecedented times!

Costas

_____________________________________________________________

March 16, 2020 - 8:00 p.m.

Message for Faculty, Staff and Students:

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Dear Colleagues and Students :

We just received guidance from the University System of Georgia that Georgia College, along with other institutions in the system, will move to online instruction for all courses for the remainder of the semester. This situation is very fluid and evolving rapidly.  More information will be released with additional details as soon as possible. The full message from the University System of Georgia is below:

Georgia College Moves to Online Instruction for Remainder of Semester
For Immediate Release
March 16, 2020
Contact: Aaron Diamant, aaron.diamant@usg.edu

The University System of Georgia (USG) has decided that Georgia College, along with all 26 institutions, will move to online instruction for all courses for the remainder of the semester with extremely limited exceptions. This action comes following last week’s decision to suspend instruction for two weeks to ensure business and instructional continuity, and to allow further state assessment of COVID-19.

Students are not allowed to return to campus until they receive permission from their institution, which will be forthcoming soon.

Additionally, residence halls will be closed, with minimal exceptions for students unable to return home, or who cannot find housing elsewhere. Students will receive specific instructions from campus leaders regarding when they will be allowed to return to campus to retrieve their belongings from residence halls. Students must follow those instructions. For those students who are unable to depart campus, we will make every effort to accommodate these students. 

The University System of Georgia will be providing guidance to campuses on refunds for housing, dining, and other services. Students should wait for Georgia College to contact them. 

Georgia College will remain open, with minimal staff physically on-site, to ensure continuity of certain services.

In the end, we want to ensure that our faculty, staff and students are safe; that we do our part to help stem the spread of the coronavirus in Georgia; and that we fulfill our mission to graduate our students even in the face of these challenging times.

 

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we go through this unprecendented time.  Please continue following the guidance from the CDC to protect your health and the health of your family.  

Sincerely,

Steve M. Dorman
President
Georgia College & State University

_____________________________________________________________

 

March 14, 2020 - 10:40 a.m.

Faculty Update from Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Costas Spirou on Keep Teaching USG

 

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

Please find below a communication from the USG that includes a resource page to prepare for transitioning to online instruction.

My thanks to everyone for your extraordinary efforts during these challenging times as we work together to support our students!

Thank you again and have a good weekend!

 

Costas

***************************************

Good morning,

 

The distance learning team here at USO has created a resource page https://www.usg.edu/keep_teaching_usg designed to guide faculty toward helpful resources and contacts to prepare for a transition to online instruction. This includes many of the resources from your institutions together with other useful tools and quick-guides all in one place.

Many many thanks for all who worked so diligently to bring this together. Of course we will add to the site as other resources become available.

Please feel free to distribute on your campus.

Best Wishes

Tristan

 

Dr. Tristan Denley
Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer
University System of Georgia
tristan.denley@usg.edu

_____________________________________________________________

March 12, 2020 - 7:45 p.m

For Faculty & Staff:

Message from the President:  Online Instruction and Business Continuity

**************************************************************

Dear Colleagues:

Pursuant to the USG’s directive earlier today, and effective Monday, March 16, 2020, Georgia College will temporarily suspend instruction for two weeks to allow time for university faculty and staff to finalize their business continuity plans and online instruction modules. State officials will continue to assess the current situation regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) in Georgia.

Students are being asked to depart campus by the end of the day on Friday, March 13 and to remain away from campus until March 29. At this time, students are not being asked to move out of their residence halls for the remainder of the semester. Georgia College will accommodate students who are unable to leave campus.

Please check our website for the latest information as well as the USG’s website. Additional information will be posted as this situation continues to unfold.

Sincerely,

Steve Dorman
President
Georgia College

_____________________________________________________________

March 12, 2020 - 11:40 a.m

Wellness and Recreation Center Update

 

Dear Campus Community,  

Late yesterday afternoon, we came to understand that a community member who stated they had recently traveled to Italy had used the Wellness and Recreation Center.  Although the individual is asymptomatic, out of an abundance of caution, the Center was closed immediately and we contacted the Department of Public Health.  We were advised to conduct a routine cleaning of the facility and to reopen.  The individual has been contacted and informed they may not use the WRC until further notice.  

Please know the health and safety of our students is always our top priority. 

Britt McRae, MN, NP-C
Director, Student Health Services

_____________________________________________________________

March 10, 2020 - 4:46 p.m.

Campus community update from President Dorman on coronavirus and springbreak travel.

 

Dear Campus Community:

With Spring Break approaching, many of us will be taking a well-deserved break from campus. We continue to monitor the Coronavirus outbreak very carefully and want everyone to be safe and healthy upon their return to campus. 

Please keep in mind the following if you are planning to travel during Spring Break or anytime thereafter:

  • Check the travel information on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and State Department websites and talk with your family and travel companions to make a wise decision about travel plans.
  • The CDC has urged everyone to avoid traveling to or through any of the locations with a Level 3 or Level 4 travel health notice. 
  • 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. These self-quarantined travelers must follow CDC and local health authority guidelines prior to returning to campus in an effort to keep everyone safe. 

Guidelines for self-quarantine from the CDC include:

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

 

  • Please note that the status of countries or regions identified by the CDC as having an elevated health risk may change while you are traveling and thus could affect airport or other travel procedures. Please pay attention to ongoing guidance and information from the CDC and the State Department websites for the latest updates.
  • The State Department has recently alerted travelers of an increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment.
  • At this point in time we are not transitioning to an online format for current instruction. We do encourage all faculty members to prepare for online instructional delivery should unfolding circumstances require this approach to accommodate our students.  Similarly, we encourage all students to prepare for the possibility of an online learning environment by accessing their GeorgiaView/D2L accounts. 
  • For all students, faculty and staff:  if you are traveling in any capacity (international or domestic), whether for university business or personal travel, we have created an online travel registry. We encourage everyone to register their travel through our online Travel Registry Form.  You may be required to use your Unify credentials.
  • If anyone experiences symptoms consistent with the coronavirus, please take all necessary precautions by self-isolating and seeking medical attention from your primary care provider or other appropriate health care facility. 

The safety of our entire campus is our highest priority. For more information on the coronavirus, including guidance, resources and campus-specific announcements, please refer to our website. We will be updating the site regularly. 

Thank you for staying informed on this rapidly evolving situation.

 

Steve M. Dorman

President

Costas Spirou

Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs

Britt McRae

Director, Student Health Services

_____________________________________________________________

March 10, 2020 - 8:50 a.m.

 Faculty update from Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Costas Spirou on D2L training sessions

 

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

As we prepare, due to the uncertainties of the COVID-19, the Georgia College Center for Teaching and Learning has scheduled three sessions this week to assist faculty to create online resources for their courses.  These can include developing a module, organizing a discussion board, setting up a quiz/exam, and uploading your syllabus.  Specifically:

  1. Wednesday, March 11, Noon to 12:50 p.m.
  2. Wednesday, March 11, 2:00 to 2:50 p.m.
  3. Thursday, March 12, 2:00 to 2:50 p.m.

All sessions will take place at 376 Ina Dillard Russell Library (CTL Classroom).

I encourage all faculty members to be proactive in preparing for all contingencies, including the delivery of online education.

To sign up for this program, please click on the Registration Link

 

Thank you,

Costas

_____________________________________________________________

March 9, 2020

 Faculty update from Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Costas Spirou on COVID-19 preparedness

 

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

As we further our preparations to provide students with continuity in learning, due to the uncertainties surrounding the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation, I would like to share with you some useful information and resources: 

 

  1. Please familiarize yourself with the following resource from the Center for Teaching and Learning to access materials on GeorgiaVIEW (Brightspace by D2L) which is Georgia College's Learning Management System.  You will find D2L interactive tutorials, quick guides, open educational resources for teaching and learning, as well course design insights, grade book build, video assistance and other services.  I would suggest that each of you work to develop a sample module by using your home equipment.  This will allow you to simulate a potential situation should the need arise.

 

  1. In addition, USG eCampus has produced an online training course for USG faculty titled Rapid Guide to Teaching Online in D2L.  It is a condensed triage-style training that focuses on the basics of online access, communication, quizzes, and assignment submissions. There will be a companion training for students as well as a basic D2L LMS template that faculty can use.  Contact the Center for Teaching and Learning if you are interested in accessing this resource.

 

  1. Other USG institutions have developed resources on ways to access and prepare for remote instruction. For example Georgia State University has created the following website.  The Chronicle of Higher Education also published a resource which you can find here.  Contact the Center for Teaching and Learning for more information on this and other USG material.

 

  1. For D2L technical support: 
  •   Center for Teaching and Learning (478-445-2520-ctl@gcsu.edu) Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday (Location: Library 3rd Floor, Room 375).
  •   Password Issues: SERVE Email or 478-445-7378. 
  •  GeorgiaVIEW Knowledge Center (https://d2lhelp.view.usg.edu/s/) provides 24/7/365 assistance through Knowledge Base or Help Center Agent (1-855-772-0423).
  •  Staff members from the Center for Teaching and Learning will be happy to assist you with D2L and teaching support.  Feel free to contact any of the following staff members:

 

Jim Berger, CTL Director (jim.berger@gcsu.edu)

Laura Mender, Systems Analyst (laura.mender@gcsu.edu

Jaclyn Queen, Instructional Designer (jaclyn.queen@gcsu.edu)

Barbara Szyjko, Instructional Technology Staff Specialist (barbara.szyjko@gcsu.edu) ​

Simeco Vinson, Instructional Designer Specialist (simeco.vinson@gcsu.edu)

 

Thank you,

Costas

_____________________________________________________________

March 6, 2020

Message to faculty from Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Costas Spirou on Coronavirus

 

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

The USG Office of Academic Affairs provided guidance on precautions regarding the ongoing COVID-19 situation. The uncertainties around how this virus might spread requires us to be flexible and prepare for a wide range of circumstances to meet the needs of our students.  Georgia College will be providing updates at https://www.gcsu.edu/coronavirus as additional information becomes available.  

As you know, all faculty at Georgia College are assigned a D2L account which will assist to provide continuity in learning.  Prepare to utilize this resource in case courses need to be delivered online should students be under quarantine.  This can include “asynchronous” discussions, video conferencing, independent learning activities, and consideration for alternative plans for lab and clinical course requirements.  Faculty, staff and students who traveled to countries at a Level 3 or higher designation are required to remain home as they self-monitor for 14 days prior to returning to campus. Additionally, all instructions for quarantine or isolation must be followed. The Georgia College Center for Teaching and Learning (https://www.gcsu.edu/ctl) is prepared to provide assistance if you need to employ an online format to meet the academic needs of our students.   

Once again, please monitor the Georgia College site for updates and thank you for your continued commitment to serving our students!

 

Thank you,

Costas

_____________________________________________________________

March 5, 2020

Message from President Dorman to the campus community on Coronavirus

 

Dear Campus Community,

I know that as a campus community we are all concerned about the coronavirus and its impact. Please know that Georgia College places the highest priority on the safety of everyone on campus, and we are closely monitoring the situation as it unfolds. We are coordinating efforts closely with the University System of Georgia and are reviewing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as the Georgia Department of Public Health.

We have created a website (https://www.gcsu.edu/coronavirus) that provides the latest updates on the coronavirus as it relates to our campus. It includes additional information and resources on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus. This webpage will be updated as additional information becomes available.

We are committed to doing all we can to keep our students, staff and faculty safe.

 

Sincerely, 

Steve Dorman
President
Georgia College