In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Athens-Clarke County (ACC) has declared a local state of emergency and adopted a local ordinance imposing shelter-in-place requirements applicable to individuals and businesses in Athens-Clarke County. ACC’s announcement of the ordinance can be found here.
We’ve received questions about the ACC ordinance and its impact on moving students out of residence halls and removing belongings from academic facilities. The ordinance’s shelter-in-place requirements are subject to several exceptions, one of which is for “essential travel.” Essential travel includes travel “to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services,” as well as travel to and from a place of residence, which includes a residence hall. Therefore, parents, guardians, and students traveling to Athens to retrieve educational materials and other personal items while moving out of residence halls would not be in violation of the ordinance.
We assure you that the University is taking every possible precaution to ensure health and safety during this process. In University Housing, the appointment time system allows in only 3% of each building in each 2-hour time slot. (In Russell Hall, which houses 1,000 residents, this is 36 students per 2-hour time slot — an average of 1–2 people per wing or 3–6 people per floor at a time.) Our cleaning staff has focused their full effort on wiping down all door handles, elevator buttons, and counter tops at least every hour, and in practice — many times an hour. We are also limiting elevators to one family per elevator. The process has worked efficiently and effectively thus far.
We also understand that if any student/their family are not able to return for any reason — we ask that they complete the exemption to remain form — let us know their situation, and we’ll start calling next week to find a solution together. We ask that people make decisions best for their families at this point, and we will be as open as we can to help meet different needs. However, if you are able to keep your move out appointment, please do so. We are here to assist you through a safe, efficient move-out process.