Dear students,

Congratulations on a successful start of classes! We have been eager and excited to welcome you back to campus, and you have been in my thoughts as we embark on another semester of challenges and opportunities. 

As I have said previously, much of my effort has been in appealing to my colleagues to keep you, your health and safety and your learning experiences at the center of our planning and decisions. I am writing to implore you to do the same.  

The University continues to make every effort, in time and resources, to provide you with a genuine opportunity to return to campus for in-person instruction and activities. The plan has been fluid, and we have had to adjust along the way, but with your support and buy-in, we still feel that we can continue to offer a safe and successful in-person learning environment.  

I have always tried to be honest and up front with you, and I must level with you – it appears that some in the student community have decreased your diligence in adhering to good public health practices. Though we are hopeful to have this pandemic in the rearview very soon, we are not there, yet, and it is as important now as ever to continue the basic daily actions that keep each other safe: masking up, washing hands, staying more than 6 feet apart, avoiding larger gatherings, and general social distancing. 

We are in this together, and our success relies on one another. Primarily, we are trying to keep you, and the University and Athens communities, safe. Secondarily, we very much desire to provide an on-campus learning environment that enables you to enjoy your friends and UGA and pursue your studies successfully. I understand that we are genuinely fatigued and are ready to simply be with our friends and enjoy UGA the way we know it is meant to be, but in the spirit of moderation we have to keep that in balance. You cannot allow one afternoon’s or night’s opportunity to socialize to take away from future opportunities this semester.

To be clear, all of the requirements and health practices designed to keep each other and our community safe are still very much in place, and you are expected to continue following these guidelines throughout this semester. 

This doesn’t just happen at the student organization level or in the classroom or even on-campus. Each of us has to do our part in exhibiting good practices and behaviors and speaking up to others who aren’t. I’m working to ensure the University does its utmost to do its part to keep you safe and keep campus open – I’m asking you to do yours. 

Thank you to those who have embraced the guidelines for good health and safety practices. Mask wearing and physical distancing, for the most part, have been pretty good in class and in general on campus. Our remaining locations for improvement are buses and bus stops, dining locations, in larger gathering spaces like the Tate Student Center and the libraries, and particularly in outdoor spaces and in off-campus gatherings at apartment complexes and in Downtown Athens. 

Remember the University guidelines:

  • Check your temperature and complete DawgCheck every day before you come to campus.
  • If you feel sick, contact your health provider and stay home until it is safe to return.
  • Wear your face covering on and off campus. The importance of wearing a face covering cannot be overstated. Please watch this video and mask up, Bulldogs!
  • Practice social distancing whenever possible and avoid large gatherings where appropriate social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Utilize the wipe stations and hand sanitizing stations that have been installed across campus, and wash your hands regularly throughout the day.
  • Protect our public health by holding each other accountable and following guidance where it applies.

Together, we can ensure the safety and wellbeing of our community and ensure a successful semester. You, our amazing students, do so much to make me proud and I know you will do your part. Thank you for your part in making UGA Georgia Strong, Dawg Strong!