A Message from Dr. Brooks: Preparing for Spring Semester
A Message from Dr. Brooks: Preparing for Spring Semester
Dear Georgia College Students,
Happy New Year! I hope that this message finds you well. We are very much looking forward to your return to campus for the spring 2021 semester on January 19. Let me start by saying that I understand how challenging the last ten months have been. Your fall semester was anything but typical, but as a community we have persevered through extreme difficulties and learned about our resilience as individuals and as an institution.
The health and safety of our community has been and will continue to be our top consideration as we address issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the things that we have learned is that change can occur rapidly, and these updates for Spring 2021 are based on the information we have at this moment.
COVID-19 Safety Measures
Our COVID-19 mitigation measures on campus were effective at preventing the spread of infection in campus facilities. We will continue to implement classroom distancing, mask requirements, and additional health and safety strategies based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. Details of our mitigation strategies can be viewed online.
We recognize that social isolation was a top concern among students and their families. Our registered student organizations and Student Life units provided many innovative and well-attended programs in the fall. Traditions like Midnight Breakfast and Potato Drop carried on with a few modifications, and new favorites like Resident Student Association’s (RSOs) Drive-In Movie and First-Year Experience Pumpkin Painting were big hits among students. Below are a few of the ways we will continue offering avenues for student involvement:
- Winter Break virtual programming continues through the month of January. Click here to view the calendar of events online.
- Georgia College hosts 145 registered student organizations. All RSOs may register in-person events that have fewer than 50 attendees and meet standards for safe social distancing and use of Personal Protective Equipment through GC Connect.
- Fraternities and sororities will be able to propose programs using the same event registration protocol in GC Connect.
- Study rooms in the residence halls will be reservable for small, distanced, masked gatherings.
- A Homecoming committee has convened to reimagine Homecoming under our current circumstances.
- Intramural sports held an impressive 1,932 games in the fall. Intramurals will resume in the spring. Join a team and see the schedules on the GC Wellness & Recreation app.
- The outdoor tables on front campus will remain in place for impromptu, small gatherings. Masks are encouraged.
- Perhaps most importantly, additional classroom and meeting space will be made available to RSOs and Student Activities and Organizations for evening and weekend programming. We hope that this will assist in addressing issues related to isolation and involvement.
Something that always brings our campus together is Athletics. Many of our fall sports were deferred to the spring by their respective conferences, so we are excited to have a packed schedule of games from baseball, basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball. Game schedules can be found at gcbobcats.com. While spectators will be limited for indoor sports, we encourage every Bobcat to come out to West Campus for a soccer, softball, or baseball game, or walk by Centennial Center during a tennis match. You can also support our Bobcats by viewing live-streamed games. The link to games can be found at gcbobcats.com.
Just before Thanksgiving, we encouraged you to “Go Home Healthy” by taking a free COVID test on campus in the days before returning home. Likewise, we want you to come back well and know your status. To that end, we urge you to plan to limit exposure in the two weeks leading up to your return to campus. If you think that you may have been exposed or if you feel unwell, please get tested before your return. For those who feel fine but want to know your status, we will be providing free COVID tests again on central campus on January 19th and 20th from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. in Terrell Hall room 310. These will be drop-in clinics, so no appointment is necessary.
Student Health Services resumed normal operations this week. Students can receive COVID tests, flu shots, and other services by appointment by calling 478-445-5288.
We will be working closely with the University System of Georgia and Georgia Department of Health as the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more readily available to determine whether there will be an opportunity to offer the vaccine on campus or direct students to a local provider to be immunized.
Our quarantine protocol will remain in place for the spring. Please refer to the Decision Path for Students if you are exposed or become ill. Our COVID Care Response Team will continue to assist students in quarantine with notifying faculty of excused absences and staying connected to campus resources.
Our health and safety protocols will remain in place for the spring. As a reminder, here are some of the ways we have modified our operations to serve students safely:
- Campus offices are open with safety measures in place. Regular business hours are Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Campus dining services at The MAX will continue offering grab-and-go meals, and limited indoor seating is available. Meal exchanges at our retail dining locations are back to help students maximize their dining options.
- Student Health Services will use tele-health for initial appointments, but students who need a physical exam or treatment will be directed to come to the clinic for an in-person visit.
- Counseling Services will utilize tele-counseling. Students who need a private space may request the tele-health room in the Counseling Center when making an appointment.
- Shuttles will continue running frequent circuits with limited capacity to avoid overcrowding.
We saw in the fall what Bobcats are capable of when we practice Reason, Respect, and Responsibility. We expect spring will have its own challenges, but we look forward to a safe, successful semester. Again, Happy New Year! We can’t wait for your return to campus. If there is anything that I or my staff can do for you, please let me know.
Shawn Brooks, PhD
Vice President for Student Life