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UNG to reopen for face-to-face instruction fall 2020

Students on campus
UNG is preparing for students to return to campus in August for face-to-face classes during the fall 2020 semester. Social distancing guidelines and other preventive measures will be applied to keep the university community safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The University of North Georgia (UNG) is preparing for students to return to campus in August for face-to-face classes during the fall 2020 semester. Social distancing guidelines and other preventive measures will be applied to keep the university community safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It is important to bring our students back to our campuses to engage in the full higher education experience," UNG President Bonita Jacobs said. "The goal is to restore as much of the face-to-face experience as possible while taking measures to prioritize the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff."

UNG and all University System of Georgia institutions are following guidance from Governor Kemp's COVID-19 Task Force, the Georgia Department of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to inform plans for resuming campus-based instruction and activities this fall. Due to the fluidity of the COVID-19 pandemic, plans are subject to change, and UNG has developed contingency plans should it be necessary to shift back to remote delivery of instruction at any point during the semester.

Beginning June 15, UNG employees will begin a phased return to campus-based work to prepare for a full reopening this fall. These efforts focus on cleaning and preparing campus for the return of other employees over the summer and students in the fall. Facilities teams and others doing this work have been provided with extensive training, personal protective equipment and other measures to ensure their safety. UNG will continue to clean and disinfect classrooms, offices, bathrooms and other common areas throughout the fall as recommended by the CDC.

Students, faculty and staff will be strongly encouraged to follow the best practices recommended by state public health officials and the CDC to prevent the spread of the coronavirus to include:

  • Practicing social distancing.
  • Using a cloth face-covering when around others and social distancing is not feasible.
  • Performing best practices in hygiene, cleaning and disinfection.

The new guidelines will affect nearly all areas of campus life, ranging from academics to social activities, and more details will be published soon on the UNG website.

"Social distancing will undoubtedly change the nature of events, activities and experiences that can be provided at UNG, but I hope that we will all do our part to keep our campus communities safe by following recommended guidelines," Jacobs said. "UNG will continue to focus on serving the best interests of our university community to ensure its continued health and safety."

For example, faculty and staff are devising ways to accommodate social distancing in courses.

"We will arrange classrooms to allow students to sit 6 feet away from each other or provide flexible schedules for students, including hybrid courses," said Dr. Chaudron Gille, provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs. "Though the look of our classrooms may change, our faculty members' commitment to student success remains steadfast."

Some courses that require a lab, clinical or practicum have developed customized plans to allow students to complete the courses. Faculty and academic advisors will continue to meet with students face-to-face or virtually.

Other daily campus centers and student services have modified their practices to allow for social distancing and face-to-face interaction. Examples include the dining hall and food courts, Student Counseling, Student Health Services, and Campus Recreation and Wellness, where new social distancing and cleaning protocols are essential.  Also, the size of meetings and gatherings on campus will be limited to follow the most current public health guidance.

"While some of our programs and services may look different, we are grateful to welcome students back to campus for fall 2020 and excited for our new students  to begin their journey at UNG with an on-campus experience," said Dr. James Conneely, vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.

Students are also encouraged to follow preventive measures and assume some responsibility as part of this process. For students living in campus residence halls, social distancing will look different. 

"Students living in the same room or suite will be considered as individuals living in the same household; however, they will be encouraged to practice social distancing while in other areas of campus," Treva Smith, director of residence life, said. "It is the responsibility of residential students to adhere to appropriate behaviors related to the prevention of COVID-19, including the cleaning of their room or suite."

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