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Students can expect these changes as they return to campus

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UNG students will notice multiple changes on campus to promote health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Classroom setups and signage that promote social distancing, as well as plastic barriers and cloth face coverings, are some of the changes students can expect on campus in fall 2020 at the University of North Georgia (UNG). Classes begin Aug. 17 with a blend of in-person, hybrid and online instruction.

"As we work toward resuming face-to-face instruction on campus this fall, we have implemented numerous health and safety measures consistent with public health guidance to create a safe learning and work environment for our students and employees," UNG President Bonita Jacobs said. "We know this fall will be unlike any other we have experienced. Everyone in the UNG community will play a critical role in our successful return to campus, and our actions must be guided by concern and respect for others and a high degree of flexibility."

As students and their families begin coming to UNG's campuses in early August for orientations or staggered move-ins to residence halls, all are encouraged to read the return to campus checklists, what to expect on campus, FAQs and other information on the Nighthawks Together website. The site also includes full information about UNG's Fall Reopening Plan.

Effective July 15, face coverings are required by students, faculty, staff, and visitors in UNG buildings and facilities where six feet of social distancing may not be possible, including all classrooms. Face coverings are not required in one's own residence hall room or suite, when alone in an enclosed office or study room, or in campus outdoor settings where social distancing requirements are met.

Faculty, staff and students are expected to perform a daily self-check before coming on campus. Details and a checklist are provided on the Nighthawks Together website.

Additionally, facilities staff will regularly clean and disinfect door handles, classrooms and restrooms. Signage will help ensure students, faculty, staff, and visitors on UNG's campuses practice social distancing in high-traffic areas such as sidewalks. Limits will be set on bathroom and elevator occupancy. Only the auto-fill portion of water fountains will be available for use, too.

Plastic glass barriers will promote safety for students and the staff who serve them at counters.

To provide for health and safety, facilities such as the libraries, observatory and planetarium will be open to students, faculty and staff but not to the public until further notice.

Dr. Chaudron Gille, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs, appreciates the flexibility shown by students, faculty and staff to implement safe practices while ensuring students' academic success.

"The creativity and diligence of our facilities staff and our faculty have made it possible for us to offer in-person instruction this fall through a mix of hybrid and face-to-face courses," Gille said. "We are grateful for their efforts and for the precautions students will take when they arrive on campus."

Social distancing will not allow for many of the traditional activities and events that student organizations have come to enjoy and expect. In that spirit, UNG will provide alternate activities and experiences that promote social distancing and engagement at the same time.

Student Affairs staff pivoted to a largely online support role in the spring and summer, and the division is ready to hit the ground running this fall.

"We have adopted additional strategies that will allow us to keep students engaged as they make their way back to campus, whether face-to-face or remotely," said Dr. James Conneely, vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. "The staff have developed innovative and creative ways to ensure that UNG students have a robust out-of-classroom experience even during these difficult times."

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