Jack Hu, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Rahul Shrivastav, Vice President for Instruction
Victor Wilson, Vice President for Student Affairs
Spring Semester is right around the corner, and we have many reasons to be hopeful that it will go well based on what we have learned from the Fall, and especially now that vaccines have been approved and are expected to become more widely available in the near future. However, we must remain diligent and be ready for the unexpected. We will need to remain flexible in the months ahead. 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 Spring.
Spring Semester Classes and Spring Break
Wednesday, January 13, 2021 is the first day of class for Spring Semester. Although there will be no Spring Break, the calendar includes three one-day instructional breaks on February 17, March 12, and April 8.
Based on recommendations from the Educational Affairs Committee, “no mandatory assignments shall be scheduled for completion during these instructional break days, either for course work or extra-curricular or co-curricular activities. It is strongly recommended that assignments and examinations not be scheduled for the day after the instructional break days.”
Daily Class Schedule
The transition time between classes has been expanded by five minutes to give students and faculty more time to move between classes. You can see the revised class schedules here. Campus Transit buses will continue to operate, but social distancing will limit passenger capacity.
Classes will be offered in face-to-face, hybrid, or online formats. Hybrid and online classes may be synchronous or asynchronous. The instructional formats for all classes are identified in Athena and should not be changed without approval from the Provost’s Office. Students are encouraged to make the most of their UGA experience through active participation in their classes. One way to do so is to keep the video on when attending hybrid or online classes in order to provide faculty with immediate feedback.
While the need for faculty, staff, and students to quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19 will continue, the University’s classroom attendance policy has not changed. Instructors should implement an attendance policy that best suits their classes but includes sufficient flexibility to meet public health and safety guidelines. Instructors should communicate their attendance policies through their syllabi and in their classes. Students should take attendance requirements into consideration as they plan their semester schedules.
Student Care and Outreach will continue to notify instructors if any students in their classes report a positive test report via DawgCheck.
Social Distancing in the Classroom
Students and faculty must maintain six feet or greater distance with each other, and seating arrangements that allow this social distancing have been marked in all classrooms.
The University of Georgia encourages all faculty, staff, and students to self-monitor for any symptoms of COVID-19 and to use DawgCheck every day before coming to campus to acknowledge that they are not aware they have signs or symptoms of COVID-19. Anyone who knows they have COVID-19 (with or without any symptoms) must report that through DawgCheck and follow the isolation instructions provided.
Spring Semester Face Covering Distribution
The University provided all faculty, staff and students two face coverings to start the Fall Semester. With the realization that these have been heavily utilized, the University has purchased one additional face covering for campus community members. Masks for faculty and staff were sent via campus and US Mail in the last few weeks. More information about distribution of masks to students can be found here.
As a reminder, the University of Georgia—along with all University System of Georgia (USG) institutions—requires all faculty, staff, students, and visitors to wear an appropriate face covering while inside campus facilities/buildings where six feet social distancing may not always be possible.
We also strongly encourage you to take advantage of the expanded surveillance testing that is being offered from January 4 – 22: up to 1,500 free tests per day at Legion Field and pop-up locations. Testing at Legion Field can be scheduled at https://clia.vetview.vet.uga.edu/. Walk-up appointments can usually be accommodated at Legion Field, and pop-up saliva testing does not require pre-registration. For planning purposes, precise sites and schedules for the pop-up clinics are published on the UHC’s website and its social media as they are secured: https://www.uhs.uga.edu/healthtopics/covid-surveillance-testing.
The Spring 2021 COVID-19 training module is now live in eLC. Current faculty and staff, as well as returning students, will complete a condensed “Refresher” module, while faculty, staff, and students new to UGA will complete the full version. Faculty, staff, and students should log into eLC and complete the training before January 31, 2021. These training modules may be found in the UGA Professional Education Portal (PEP) at www.pep.uga.edu.
Student and Faculty Requests for COVID-19-Related Accommodations
Requests from students for an accommodation due to COVID-19 will continue 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.
All faculty, staff, and graduate assistants who received a COVID-19/ADA-related accommodation during the Fall 2020 Semester may continue to use their approved accommodations during the Spring 2021 Semester unless notified otherwise. Faculty, staff, and graduate assistants may seek a new or different COVID-19 related accommodation for the 2021 Spring Semester if they fall within one of the categories for increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, as defined by the CDC. Requests for accommodations should be submitted to Human Resources through the University’s existing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations process.
Commencement Spring 2021 Undergraduate and Graduate Commencement ceremonies are currently scheduled for Friday, May 14, 2021. We are developing plans for both ceremonies, knowing that we may need to adjust these plans as public health conditions warrant. For up-to-date information on Commencement, please see commencement.uga.edu.
As we did during Fall Semester, we will continue to provide updates on COVID-19 information via email. You can also check the University COVID-19 website for updates and resources.
We look forward to having you on campus this Spring and thank you for your continued flexibility in these challenging times.