S. Jack Hu, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Rahul Shrivastav, Vice President for Instruction
Victor Wilson, Vice President for Student Affairs
Members of the University of Georgia community have been working diligently to prepare for your return to campus in August. Our administrators, faculty and staff are now beginning to return in a gradual and phased manner that will culminate in our full return for the Fall Semester, health conditions and state regulations permitting. Your health and safety remain our top concern as we plan to resume the effective delivery of high-quality instruction.
This memo summarizes some of the key components of our instructional plans for the fall. Rest assured that you will receive further communications in the weeks ahead.
Fall Semester Classes Will Begin on August 20, 2020
The academic calendar for the Fall Semester has not changed. Classes will begin on Thursday, August 20.
In-Person Instruction Concludes at Thanksgiving Break
In-person instruction will conclude at Thanksgiving Break, with all remaining coursework and final exams moving online following Thanksgiving. The calendar for online final examinations will remain as previously set, December 11–17. The University will remain open after Thanksgiving Break and will continue providing regular campus operations and student life services—such as housing, dining, health/wellness centers, and campus transit—until the end of the Fall Semester.
The Spring 2020 Undergraduate Commencement ceremony has been scheduled for Friday, October 16, 2020, at 6:30 p.m. in Sanford Stadium. The Spring 2020 Graduate Commencement ceremony for master’s and doctoral degree candidates is scheduled for Friday, December 18, 2020 in Stegeman Coliseum in combination with the regularly scheduled Fall 2020 Graduate Commencement.
Fall 2020 Undergraduate and Graduate Commencement ceremonies are currently scheduled for Friday, December 18 in Stegeman Coliseum. We are discussing plans for that day, knowing that we may need to adjust planning for those ceremonies as conditions warrant.
The Daily Class Schedule will be adjusted to add five minutes between classes to allow you additional time to walk between classes, should you choose to do so. Campus Transit buses will be operational but with social distancing measures in place that will limit passenger capacity. More details about the adjusted class schedule and Campus Transit service will be released in the coming weeks.
Social Distancing in the Classroom
Classes will be taught face-to-face with social distancing. This will look different, depending upon classes and subject areas. For example, in some cases, students will attend every session in person but will meet with their professor online for office hours. In other cases, some students will attend class in-person with others attending online, typically by rotation; and in yet others, faculty may deliver online lectures with in-person breakout sessions. A variety of options are available, and faculty members will use the approach or approaches best suited to their classes.
Seating Capacity in Classrooms
Teams on campus are currently evaluating the seating capacity for each classroom and laboratory and will ensure that individuals are able to maintain social distancing.
Self-Monitoring and Face Coverings
In the best interest of the health and safety of our community, the University of Georgia is requiring all faculty, staff and students to self-monitor and acknowledge that they are not aware that they have signs or symptoms of COVID-19 prior to coming to campus each day. Toward that end, UGA will provide a digital thermometer to all faculty, staff and students, as well as two (2) reusable and washable cloth face coverings.
The University System of Georgia (USG) has directed the University of Georgia, along with all other USG institutions, to strongly encourage—but not require—faculty, staff and students to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) has not mandated wearing facial masks, nor has the Centers for Disease Control, and the USG is following their guidance on this issue. In addition to supplying faculty, staff and students with tools for self-screening, UGA is following social distancing guidelines, intensifying cleaning and disinfecting efforts, and promoting the practice of sound personal hygiene by all members of the campus community. Each and every one of us will have a critical role to play as we work together to protect the health and safety of every member of the Bulldog Nation.
As is the case for all faculty and staff, students will be required to complete a training program prior to returning to campus in August. The training program will inform you of the extensive measures being taken to promote your health and safety, as well as your own individual responsibility to follow the UGA guidelines in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
You will receive more information about the training video later this summer.
Student Requests for COVID-19-Related Accommodations
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID- 19. Requests from students for an accommodation due to COVID-19 will be handled through the Disability Resource Center’s (DRC) existing accommodations process. DRC professional staff work directly with students to assess their individual needs and to develop appropriate plans for accommodations and services.
You probably have many questions about what you will experience this fall. Throughout the summer we will provide you with updates about what to expect. Be sure to check your email regularly so you don’t miss important information. You can also check the University COVID-19 website for updates and resources.
We look forward to seeing you on campus in a few weeks!