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ARCHIVED: EGSC, USG monitoring Coronavirus alerts

ARCHIVED: EGSC, USG monitoring Coronavirus alerts

by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | February 27, 2020
Last Edited: April 09, 2020 by Victor Poole
ARCHIVED: EGSC, USG monitoring Coronavirus alerts

ARCHIVED. FOR FURTHER UPDATES, PLEASE VISIT WWW.EGA.EDU/COVID19

 

Archived information below:

ARCHIVED. Update from the University System of Georgia 03/12/20 as of 8:45 p.m.: 

   The University System of Georgia (USG) is consulting constantly with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Governor’s Coronavirus Task Force.
   Georgia Governor Brian Kemp today announced state agencies, school systems and local communities have been given the flexibility to implement closures.
   Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, all 26 USG institutions will temporarily suspend instruction for two weeks to allow time for USG institutions to test their business continuity plans and online instruction modules and for state officials to continue to assess the current situation regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) in Georgia.
   Students who are currently on spring break are strongly encouraged not to return to campus. Students on campus are asked to depart campus by close of business Friday, March 13, 2020, and to remain away from campus until March 29, 2020. At this time, students are not being asked to move out of their dorms for the remainder of the semester. All institutions are being asked to work with students who are unable to leave campus.
   We take very seriously the responsibility to make prudent and well-informed choices for the well-being of our campus communities and the public. We continue to prepare for all scenarios in this rapidly evolving situation. All USG institutions have plans to ensure academic continuity as operations are impacted.
   The USG is providing regular updates to all institutions and the public at its website, https://www.usg.edu/coronavirus.
   In the interim, all students, faculty and staff who may be traveling in any capacity (either domestically or internationally) are being encouraged to register their travel information so we may provide relevant updates.
   East Georgia State College’s Travel Registry can be found at http://bit.ly/2PZS8zm.
   The CDC strongly advises against anyone traveling to a location subject to a Level 3 or higher Travel Health Notice, including most of Europe, South Korea, China and Iran. We also encourage community members to check with the U.S. Department of State website (found here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel.html), and talk with family and travel companions to make a wise decision about travel plans, particularly related to travel in Europe.
   We urge all community members to practice good preventive measures and to visit the USG resource guide (found here: https://www.usg.edu/coronavirus)for the latest information concerning travel advisories and other guidance. You can also find additional information from the CDC here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
   Prevention of COVID-19 is paramount, and we urge everyone to take appropriate measures such as:

  • Wash hands regularly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Be responsible and courteous to others and stay home if you are sick or experiencing symptoms.
  • Respect personal space when greeting others and during conversations.
  • Be mindful of those in high risk populations such as those with underlying health conditions and the elderly.
  • Follow CDC and DPH guidance on personal and business travel to avoid increasing your risk and that of others.

    Guidance from DPH identifies those with the highest risk to contract COVID-19 (see link here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html) are travelers to countries with widespread outbreaks, as well as those travelers’ close contacts. Additionally, those most likely to develop serious illness after contracting COVID-19 include persons who are older than 60, as well as persons with chronic health conditions.
    Health officials advise that the incubation period of COVID-19 is 2-14 days, with an average period of 5 days. Symptoms include coughing, fever and shortness of breath. Most people experience mild to moderate symptoms. Those who experience flu-like symptoms are urged to contact the Department of Public Health at 1-866-PUB-HLTH.
   The health of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority. We will continue to work with USG leaders in collaboration with state officials and DPH to act on the most up-to-date guidance available.

ARCHIVED. Updates from the President of East Georgia State College:

NEW - March 15, 2020 • 4:16 p.m.

   As you know well, East Georgia State College has temporarily suspended instruction for two weeks beginning on Monday, 3/16/2020. Although instruction is suspended, the college is not closed. The college has created a Task Force which will be meeting regularly and closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation during this two-week period.
   This COVID-19 situation has and will continue to be a fluid situation. The directives we receive from national, state, USG and local authorities will likely change from time to time as the situation changes. It is extremely important that each of us maintain regular and direct contact with our supervisors during this period to assure that we are up-to-date as the situation evolves.
   • During this two-week period, I encourage you to regularly visit the college’s webpage about COVID-19 to stay up-to-date.
   • Many faculty and staff will be teleworking, and those necessary to maintain service and safety will be on campus working. As this situation evolves, it may be necessary to make modifications to teleworking and on-campus assignments. Again, please stay in direct daily contact with your immediate supervisor so that changes can be made as needed.
   During this two-week period, our two major goals will be (1) to prepare all of our courses for wholly online instruction so that we will prepared should it become necessary to offer all courses online for an extended period of time following this two-week suspension; and (2) to further develop and test the college’s Business Continuity Plan so that we will be able to continue to offer services to faculty, staff and students at an appropriate level during any continued period of interruption of normal operations. I know that everyone in our college community is committed to the intense hard work which will be necessary to accomplish these goals over the next two weeks. Your work and dedication are deeply appreciated.
   Use the Travel Registry
   As you know, the college established a Travel Registry to assist us in protecting our college community. You are Encouraged to Use the Travel Registry.

Mandatory Registration
Registration is required if you have recently traveled or plan to travel to any of the Level 3 destinations before the beginning of fall semester 2020.
Voluntary Registration
EGSC also encourages you to voluntarily register any domestic or international travel plans (from now until the beginning of fall semester) as you make those plans. This voluntary registration will enable the college to understand and evaluate risks as the situation develops. In short, knowing your travel plans will enable EGSC to better communicate with you about risks and precautionary measures and to protect our college community.

All Non-essential Travel Is Suspended
   During this two-week period of suspension of instruction, all non-essential college travel is suspended. Even if your travel was approved prior to this period, please re-submit any request for travel to your immediate supervisor before traveling if you believe it is essential. That request must be approved by your immediate supervisor, the Vice President for Business Affairs and the President before you travel.
   Preparing All Courses for Delivery in Online Format
   As indicated above, one of our major goals during this two-week period of suspension of instruction is to prepare all courses for delivery in wholly online format so that we will be prepared for the possibility that implementation of that plan becomes necessary at the end of the two-week period. EGSC’s academic leadership will be working closely with faculty and staff during the next two weeks to assure that we are ready to do this if necessary. Additional resources include:
   • The distance learning team at the USG has created a Keep Teaching Resource Webpage designed to provide faculty with helpful resources and contacts to prepare for a transition to online instruction.
   • USG eCampus has produced an online training course for USG faculty called Guide to Teaching Online in D2L. They will share with any institution that requests it. It is a condensed triage-style training that focuses on the basics of online access, communication, quizzes, and assignment submissions. There will be a companion training for students as well as a basic D2L LMS template that faculty can use. If interested, please email Amy Austin, Director of USG eCampus Online Faculty Development, at amya@ecampus.usg.edu.

   You are Encouraged to Conduct All Meetings Electronically, Not Face-to-Face
   Please strongly consider the use of Skype, Zoom or conference bridge numbers to conduct all meetings. This includes meetings with as few as two EGSC employees. If you need assistance in setting up these meetings, please submit a work request to our IT department. Please understand that they will have an even heavier workload than usual during this extraordinary period. They stand ready to help you, but your patience is important in getting all of us through this together.
   Please practice social distancing
   You are strongly encouraged to help make our campuses “hand-shake” free zones and to maintain the practice of maintaining an appropriate distance between individuals in all face-to-face encounters. Also, please take full advantage of the disinfectant supplies made available to your unit and the hand sanitizer stations located around our campuses.
   Responding to Requests from Media Sources for Information
   It is possible that you will receive requests for interviews from media sources about things like the two-week suspension of instruction, cancellation of college events and external events on campus and teleworking. Please be certain to contact the Office of Institutional Advancement for advice before responding. It is very important that the public and all members of our college community receive clear and consistent information about this situation. Following this practice will help us accomplish that.
   Beware of Scams and Misinformation
   Please see the email message which was sent by our Chief Security Officer on 3/13/2020. As he points out, as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve, some bad actors are using this situation as an opportunity to harm others. As stated in his email,

  • “Obtain information from trusted sources. Some web sites are providing misinformation and serving malicious software. Refer to the World Health Organization (WHO) (https://www.who.int), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (https://www.cdc.gov) and the Georgia Department of Public Health (https://dph.georgia.gov/) for official information on COVID-19.
  • Check email addresses and links. Inspect web links by hovering your mouse pointer over the URL to see where it leads. Review the sender’s email address.
  • Beware of online requests for personal information. A COVID-19 themed email requesting personal information like your Social Security number or login information is a phishing scam. Never respond to these emails.
  • Watch for spelling and grammatical mistakes. If an email includes spelling, punctuation or grammar errors, it is possible this is a phishing email.
  • Look for generic greetings. Phishing emails are likely to use greetings like “Dear sir or madam.” These usually signal an email is not legitimate.
  • Avoid COVID-19 themed emails requiring an immediate response. Phishing emails often create a sense of urgency. Stop-Think-Act.
  • Report suspicious email. Contact the EGSC helpdesk at abuse@ega.edu (478-289-2004) if you receive suspicious email. Alternatively, you can contact me directly at awoods@ega.edu.”

   Information about Events on Campus During this Two-week Period
   Virtually all public events scheduled on our campuses during this two-week suspension have been postponed or cancelled. This includes games scheduled for our Bobcat baseball and softball teams. Our Event Planning Office has already reached out to event organizers about cancellation or rescheduling. If you have any questions about an event which you scheduled or plan to attend, please contact our college’s Director of Event Planning at abwilliams@ega.edu.
   Reporting Any Information You May Receive About Individuals Who May Have Been Exposed to COVID-19 or Who Exhibit Symptoms of COVID-19
   Please see the information below in the guidance from the USG for employees under the headings: “What Should I do if I am Sick?” “What do I do if I have symptoms of COVID-19?” “What should I do if I am exposed but do not show any symptoms?” and “What if I have been exposed and am showing symptoms?”
   The college is required to report known cases of COVID-19 to the Georgia Department of Public Health. Accordingly, if you do become aware of any information of this type, please let your immediate supervisor know immediately. The immediate supervisor should then promptly make the President’s Office aware. If for any reason you cannot contact your immediate supervisor, please call the President’s Office immediately. Also, please remember that exposure to COVID-19, infection or the perception by others that you may have or have been infected is a stressful event for the individual and those close to them. Please assure that you treat any information you may receive about suspected or actual exposure with the highest level of confidentiality possible under the circumstances and with compassion for the individual involved.
   Information for Employees from the University System of Georgia
   In addition to the above information, the USG has provided the following guidance for employees (as of 3/13/2020).

What can I do to protect myself?
   The most important responsibility we each have is to practice prevention. Prevention is paramount.
   Please take appropriate measures such as:
      · Wash hands regularly.
      · Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
      · Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues.
      · Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
      · Be responsible and courteous to others and stay home if you are sick. If you are experiencing symptoms, contact your health provider.
      · Respect personal space when greeting others and during conversations.
      · Be mindful of those in high-risk populations such as those with underlying health conditions and the elderly.

We take very seriously the responsibility to make prudent choices for the well-being of the USG community. The Governor has issued a directive to reduce the number of employees on-site at any one time and prioritize teleworking and flexible scheduling.

What action is the University System taking to protect students, faculty and staff from COVID-19?
   We continue to monitor COVID-19 and to take safety actions as warranted. We are operating in conjunction with our local, state and national health agencies to include regular updates with the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).
   Each college and university president has established a task force composed of leaders from across campus who are working to continually assess the institution’s readiness plans and execute protocols related to medical health and safety, business continuity, emergency preparedness and travel.
   What should I do if I am sick?
   Employees should not come to work when they are sick. Employees should stay home and use appropriate leave. If an employee appears to be exhibiting symptoms associated with coronavirus while at work, a manager should excuse the employee from work and advise them to seek care from a healthcare provider. Regular benefits-eligible employees have leave available to them to cover absences. Employees should follow standard request and approval procedures. The employee will be expected to use appropriate leave to cover the time away and may be expected to provide a release from a healthcare provider to return to work.
   What do I do if I have symptoms of COVID-19?
   Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath; you should contact your primary care physician or institution health center, if applicable for students.
   What if I have been exposed but am not showing any symptoms?
   Employees who believe they have been directly exposed to COVID-19, but are not showing symptoms, should self-quarantine consistent with DPH and CDC guidelines. Employees must contact their supervisor if they are unable to come to work or need to make a telework arrangement. Employees should contact their healthcare provider if they become sick and remain home.
   What if I have been exposed and am showing symptoms?
   Employees who believe they have been directly exposed to COVID-19 and are showing symptoms should seek care from a healthcare provider and may be required to self-quarantine. During this time, employees should not come to work and should inform their manager. Managers have the discretion to determine if an employee’s duties and responsibilities can reasonably be performed from an employee’s home location, and, when they can, the manager may elect to offer the employee the option to telework.
   Will FMLA cover me if I become ill with the COVID-19?
   It depends…
   If you are eligible for FMLA and you have tested positive for COVID-19, then yes FMLA will be available to you.
   If employees have only been exposed to the virus, FMLA is not applicable. However, they may still need to be quarantined, and applicable non-FMLA leave (to include sick leave) could be an option subject to standard request and approval procedures.
   Will FMLA cover me if an immediate member of my family contracts COVID-19?
   Yes, FMLA allows an eligible employee to take FMLA leave if either the employee or an immediate family member, defined as spouse, child or parent, contracts the virus.
   Can a manager consider telework or flex schedules for employees?
   Employees should consult with their supervisors about teleworking and flexible schedule options. Supervisors have increased flexibility to approve telework and flexible schedules in order to comply with the Governor’s directive to reduce the number of employees on-site at any given time. Authorized managers can waive the requirement to complete the usual telework agreement and may use email to confirm approval to telework.
   What guidance is available for home quarantine and isolation?
   The CDC has guidance on this topic found at the website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/.
   If my job involves travel and I’m concerned about potential risks, what should I do? What if I am a manager of an employee who is scheduled to travel for work?
   All non-essential business travel is suspended in order to comply with the Governor’s directive. Managers have the authority to rescind prior travel approval. Required in-person meetings should be transitioned to an electronic format or rescheduled. USG official travel to a CDC Level 3 or higher country is not authorized and will not be reimbursed.
   Will I be reimbursed for travel if my meeting is cancelled?
   Employees should explore all options to obtain refunds or credits for cancelled or rescheduled conferences and business meetings. Employees will be reimbursed for expenses that cannot be refunded due to COVID-19 assuming the travel was properly authorized consistent with travel regulations.
   What if I am planning personal travel or have traveled out of the state or country?
   Employees should use their best judgement regarding travel plans to destinations other than CDC Level 3 or higher locations. Anyone planning to travel, either domestically or internationally, is encouraged to stay up-to-date with current travel alerts from the CDC.
   Currently, CDC recommends travelers should avoid nonessential travel to any country at a Warning Level 3 or higher. Employees who have traveled to or plan to travel to CDC Level 3 or higher locations must not return to any USG campus or facility for 14 days following their return. In addition, employees returning from a Level 3 or higher country are required to self-quarantine in accordance with the DPH and CDC guidelines.”

   I extend to each one of you my personal thanks and appreciation for all you are doing to keep our college community safe and to continue a high-quality learning environment in the face of this world-wide situation. Your efforts make a big difference. Thank you.
   Each of you is very important to us. Please be safe.

March 13, 2020 • 7:55 a.m.
   Yesterday, at about 3:30 pm, all UGA presidents were notified of the following by the University System of Georgia: “Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, all University System of Georgia institutions will temporarily suspend instruction for two weeks to allow time for USG institutions to test their business continuity plans and online instruction modules and for state officials to continue to assess the current situation regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) in Georgia.”
   EGSC, as directed by the USG, immediately announced temporary suspension of instruction for two weeks, effective Monday, March 16, 2020. EGSC has not closed any of its three campuses. We are working intensely to develop a plan which will encourage teleworking by as many EGSC employees as possible beginning Monday, March 16, 2020. Our campuses remain open and a core of employees will continue working on campus to keep the campuses running.
   As indicated in the above directive from the USG, the next two weeks will require intense work and dedication by all of us to do what the USG has directed: assure that we are fully prepared to offer all of our courses fully online for a continued period of time following this two week suspension of instruction should that be necessary; and assure that our business continuity plan enables us to continue operating during any continued suspension of instruction.
   This means that many of you will be doing this work remotely and some of you will be doing this work on campus over the next two weeks. However, all of us will need to contribute to assure that we are prepared for the period following this temporary suspension of instruction. I thank each and every one of you in advance for the hard work and dedication which the next two weeks will require.
   As soon as possible, each of your supervisors will be reaching out to you with instructions about what needs to be done over the next two weeks; and whether that work will be done remotely or on campus.

March 12, 2020 • 5:01 p.m.
   The University System of Georgia has directed the following:
   “Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, all University System of Georgia institutions will temporarily suspend instruction for two weeks to allow time for USG institutions to test their business continuity plans and online instruction modules and for state officials to continue to assess the current situation regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) in Georgia.
   Students who are currently on spring break are strongly encouraged not to return to campus. Students on campus are asked to depart campus by close of business Friday, March 13, 2020, and to remain away from campus until March 29, 2020.  At this time, students are not being asked to move out of their dorms for the remainder of the semester.”
   As directed by the University System, EGSC is temporarily suspending instruction for two weeks beginning on March 16, 2020. We will monitor the situation closely and keep you updated as new and more detailed information becomes available. Please check this webpage regularly for updates.

ARCHIVED. About the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

   From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website:
   Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. 

ARCHIVED. How does COVID-19 Spread?

   From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website:
   The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but now it seems to be spreading from person to person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some diseases are highly contagious (like measles), while other diseases are less so. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably the virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading between people. Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html.

ARCHIVED. Symptoms of COVID-19:

   From the Georgia Department of Public Health website:
   Symptoms of COVID-19 may resemble the common cold or seasonal flu, which is a far greater risk this time of year. The best way to prevent infection with any respiratory virus is to use the same preventative strategies used during a normal cold and flu season: get a flu shot, wash hands regularly, cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home when experiencing symptoms of illness until they resolve. It is important to remember that viruses cannot target people from specific populations, ethnicities or racial backgrounds and this type of stigma should be avoided. For more about stigma related to COVID-19 and how to prevent it, please see: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/related-stigma.html.

ARCHIVED. EGSC Travel Registry:

   East Georgia State College is actively monitoring the current situation concerning Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and taking proactive steps to promote the health and safety of everyone in our college community. Each of you is extremely important to us.
   As you may have already heard, all faculty, staff and students of University System of Georgia institutions who have recently traveled, or will soon travel, to a location designated as Level 3 or higher by the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) must remain at home as they monitor their own health condition for 14 days prior to returning to campus.  See the CDC website for a list of those Level 3 locations: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html .
   In order to implement this important step to protect our college community, EGSC is instituting a new Travel Registry effective March 10, 2020. Registration is required if you have recently traveled or plan to travel to any of the Level 3 destinations before the beginning of fall semester 2020.
   EGSC also encourages you to voluntarily register any domestic or international travel plans (from now until the beginning of fall semester) as you make those plans. This voluntary registration will enable the college to understand and evaluate risks as the situation develops. In short, knowing your travel plans will enable EGSC to better communicate with you about risks and precautionary measures and to protect our college community.
   Please click here to register your travel.

ARCHIVED. Further COVID-19 Information:

   The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Coronavirus (COVID-19) page updates daily:

   Below is East Georgia State College's current pandemic/infectious disease response plan. This is currently being reviewed in light of the Coronavirus alerts.
       • RESPONSE PLAN

   East Georgia State College's Emergency Response Plan flip chart can found in each office and the EGSC Police Department website in .pdf form here: http://www.ega.edu/police/emergency-response The page relevant to pandemic/infectious disease response can be found below
       • FLIPCHART

 

ARCHIVED. FOR FURTHER UPDATES, PLEASE VISIT WWW.EGA.EDU/COVID19

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