We are pleased to submit this compilation of reports comprising carefully devised plans for the phased and gradual return to normal operations for the Fall Semester at the University of Georgia (UGA), health conditions and state regulations permitting. These plans, developed by nine working groups, have now been reviewed and approved by the University System of Georgia. You may access the 225-page document by going to this link: “Plans for a Phased Return to Full Operations.”

This comprehensive planning process involved approximately 140 members of our faculty and staff, although considerably more were engaged in consulting roles to the working groups. We express our gratitude to the diligent efforts of the members of the working groups and their chairs:

  • Workplace and Health Safety — Mr. Ryan Nesbit, Vice President for Finance and Administration
  • Instruction — Dr. Rahul Shrivastav, Vice President for Instruction
  • Research — Dr. David Lee, Vice President for Research
  • Public Service and Outreach — Dr. Jennifer Frum, Vice President for Public Service and Outreach
  • Student Life — Mr. Victor Wilson, Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Enrollment Management — Dr. Marisa Pagnattaro, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
  • Athletics — Mr. Greg McGarity, J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics
  • Communications — Ms. Karri Hobson-Pape, Vice President for Marketing and Communications
  • Fiscal Impact — Mr. James Shore, Senior Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration and Budget Director

We also are appreciative for the health and medical experts involved in these efforts, as their expertise has been fundamental to the development of our recommendations in regard to preventative practices and identification of risk areas in the workplace; protocols for notification and isolation; plans for coordination of contact tracing with the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH); and additional surveillance strategies including the exploration of options for widespread COVID-19 testing.

In particular, Dr. Marsha Davis, Dean of the College of Public Health; Dr. Lisa Nolan, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Shelley Nuss, Campus Dean of the AU/UGA Medical Partnership; and Dr. Garth Russo, Executive Director of the University Health Center, took the lead on developing the various health aspects of the Return to Campus Guidelines you received on June 4. This abbreviated document should serve as a helpful reference as we work together to facilitate our successful return.

In addition, a training module for supervisors is now ready to access. Details on this video, as well as several other important resources, were provided in an email sent to campus earlier today, Update: Return to Campus. Please watch for a new digest of updates to be sent each Tuesday in preparation for our return in August.

As we now transition from plan development to implementation, campus public health and medical officials will assert themselves even more fully into leadership roles. Dr. Garth Russo, Executive Director of the University Health Center, has agreed to chair the Medical Oversight Task Force for COVID-19. This group’s role will be to coordinate processes and information exchange related to various COVID testing practices, surveillance strategies, and clinical services.  The group also will facilitate the contact tracing efforts of the GDPH by providing UGA’s institutional point of contact and stewardship of UGA’s notification process.

Dr. Russo will again be joined on the Medical Oversight Task Force by Dean Davis, Dean Nolan, and Dean Nuss. The group will be augmented with additional expertise, as conditions warrant.

The task force will liaise, where appropriate, with the Preventative Measures Advisory Board, serve as a medical resource for University Human Resources in reviewing COVID-19-related workplace accommodations requests, and provide recommendations to the University’s senior leadership team on issues regarding monitoring and mitigation efforts.

The Preventative Measures Advisory Board (PMAB) consists of technical area experts in infectious disease, medicine, public health, health and safety, and communications. This group already has been working to consider questions about reopening and provide recommendations to campus. A key component of those recommendations is the identification of critical control points at which a risk or hazard can be prevented or minimized by implementing control measures.

Dean Nolan co-chairs PMAB with Mr. John McCollum, Associate Vice President for Environmental Safety.

Other members include: Dean Davis; Dean Nuss; Dr. John Francis, Campus Associate Dean for Student and Multicultural Affairs, AU/UGA Medical Partnership; Dr. Russ Karls, Department of Infectious Diseases, College of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Brandy Burgess, Director of Infection Control, College of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Keith Harris, Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Chris King, Associate Vice President for Research Integrity and Safety; Dr. Glen Nowak, Director of the Center for Health and Risk Communication, College of Journalism and Mass Communication; Ms. Hayley Major, Strategic Marketing, Marketing and Communications; and Mr. John Kotval, Manager of Industrial Hygiene and Occupational Safety Program.

PMAB will be supported by a number of University units including Human Resources, Legal Affairs, University Health Center, College of Public Health, Facilities Maintenance Division, and the executive committee of the Environmental Health and Safety Management System.

Our top priority in developing these plans has been, and will remain, the safety of our faculty, staff, and students. However, these plans will only succeed if individuals recognize their personal responsibility and commit to abiding by them. Let us work together to protect the health and safety of every member of the Bulldog Nation.