During these unprecedented times, I deeply appreciate the professional and compassionate manner in which all of you are coming together (although virtually) to continue to carry out our mission. You are the best and you are deeply appreciated.
I am writing today to encourage all of you to keep these key strategies in mind:
- Stay away from campus unless you are one of the small number of faculty and staff specifically authorized by your supervisor as necessary to maintain a minimal level of operations on campus.
- Stay positive. Together, we will emerge stronger soon.
- Stay in touch by regularly checking your EGSC email account.
- Be patient with other members of our community as we all strive to respond to the continually changing conditions and directives from the USG and federal, state and local authorities. The situation is fluid and it is going to stay that way for some time.
- Stay in daily electronic contact with individual students. Completing this semester is going to be a struggle for many students as they adapt to a wholly online environment. Your guidance and mentorship will be the key factor in their success. Your personal connection with these students will be the single most important factor in determining whether they come back after this semester.
- Stay in daily electronic contact with individual colleagues and small groups of colleagues. Everyone will be coping with loneliness and isolation and this will ease the struggle.
- Accept the reality of daily change. As conditions change, we will receive almost daily directives from the USG about small details and big policy issues. Sometimes, directives given to us earlier will change. The situation they are managing is changing daily and they are working 24/7 to respond. As the situation changes, we too will adapt.
- Watch carefully for scams by e-mail and other electronic means. If in doubt, don’t click. Report immediately to our Chief Information Security Officer.
- Be safe. Each of you is very important to EGSC.
All classes will resume in a wholly online format on Monday, March 30, 2020. BSN and FESA classes will resume on Monday, March 23, 2020.
Spring graduation and Honors Night will not be held. This is, of course, a huge disappointment for our students, their families and supporters and all of us. For many of our students, their graduation is the first ever in their family. Rest assured, that we are already planning for an appropriate method to recognize the academic achievements of our students. I will keep you updated as those plans develop.
More Detailed Updates Appear Below (this will be updated and sent to you at least once per week)
As you are well aware, The University System of Georgia (USG) has decided all 26 institutions will move to online instruction for all courses for the remainder of the spring semester with extremely limited exceptions. This instruction will commence at EGSC on Monday, March 30, 2020 (with the exception of nursing and FESA which will continue on-line instruction beginning today). This action comes following last week’s decision to suspend instruction for two weeks to ensure business and instructional continuity, and to allow further state assessment of COVID-19.
Everything is subject to change. The situation is fluid and change will occur rapidly. Everyone is advised to check this webpage frequently.
Critical Points to note:
- Instruction will be wholly online for the duration of Spring Semester.
- No decision has been made at this time about Maymester, Summer Semester or later.
- Everyone should be intensely preparing this week to deliver all classes wholly online and to ensure business continuity. Please see the Resources for Rapid Conversion Guide from EGSC IT and Distance Learning here.
- None of our campuses are closed. Access, however is strictly limited to employees who have been designated to work on campus on certain days/times and to students granted specific permission (see below). Please be respectful to the police officers charged with limiting access to our campuses. They are enforcing this limited access to keep us healthy and safe.
- On-campus operations have been reduced to a minimum. Only the personnel necessary to maintain on campus operations who have been specifically authorized by their supervisor have access to the campus buildings. There is limited access to all 3 campuses.
- Ingress and egress to campus for authorized entrants is limited one location per campus. Only the main entrance on Lambs Bridge road is open to the Swainsboro campus. Police officers are stationed at main entrance of Swainsboro campus and at the front door at EGSC Statesboro. Most outdoor areas are open for individual (not group) use (walking trails, disc golf course). Users will need to park near the main entrance and not on campus. EGSC Augusta buildings are locked.
- When communicating with your colleagues, use individual emails or text, small group emails or texts, phone calls, conference phone calls, Zoom, Skype or other methods of personal electronic communication. Everyone’s inbox is flooded with emails. Avoid “reply all” except when really needed. Avoid email blasts to large groups when individualized communication is more appropriate.
- Students are not allowed to return to campus until they receive specific, individual permission from EGSC. Any such permission must be approved by the college president. Additionally, residence halls will be closed, with minimal exceptions for students who meet certain criteria. EGSC Housing has worked very hard to develop a detailed plan giving permission to Bobcat Villas residents to return to campus on a staggered basis (assigned specific time slots). Students may not simply drop in to check out. Information is currently being collected from students who are requesting a housing extension for extenuating circumstances. An extension is not guaranteed and will only be granted for reasons of housing insecurity and employment reasons.
- A “move-out” plan from Bobcat Villas (approved by USG) has been initiated. This plan is being implemented. Phase 1 was completed Sunday, March 22. There will be a minimal number of students in residence hall. Existing students returning to pick up belongings and check out will be implemented strictly in accordance with plan submitted to USG over a staggered time period of March 25-29. Students received their appointment times via email on 03/20/20.
- Housing students are not authorized to return to campus outside of their communicated time slot for move out. No changes of time slot are permitted. Students who cannot come during their time slot should contact housing to set up a special move out time once the official move out period has ended. No early move out requests will be approved.
- The Bobcat Villas Shopping Shuttle will run from 5pm-8pm on Sundays only until further notice.
- The Student Health Center will remain open to serve students who will continue to reside in the residence halls Monday-Thursday from 1-5 PM. Other students may contact the Student Health Center if needed during those hours by calling 478-289-2182.
- Student meals will be delivered to the Bobcat Villas Clubhouse.
- The Bobcat Bridge will open upon request. Please submit requests to firstname.lastname@example.org so that an open time can be arranged.
- All EGSC conduct policies, with the exception of the visitation policy, will function as normal. No students or guests other than those approved a special housing extension will be permitted in the Bobcat Villas until further notice.
- Faculty, Staff and Students are reminded to complete the travel registry.
- The Telework Agreement will need to be acknowledged by staff who are teleworking.
- All events scheduled with visitors on campus, including meetings, are cancelled for the rest of spring semester.
- All events at the Fulford Community Learning Center and The Morgan House of East Georgia State College are cancelled. There will be no visitors to the Fulford Community Learning Center.
- The library and the ACE (all three locations) are closed. More information on available services may be found here.
- The gym and fitness center, and our athletic facilities including outdoor basketball courts, playing fields and tennis courts are closed. EGSC’s dining hall, bookstore, campus café, and Common Grounds Coffee Shop are closed.
- The bookstore is closed. The EGSC Bookstore will be available online only. Free shipping has been extended on all online orders placed through their website. https://www.bkstr.com/egscstore/home
- Per the guidance of the NJCAA and the GCAA, all spring athletic games and practices are cancelled.
- No face to face meetings will be held. All meetings will be via telephone, Zoom or Skype or other electronic means. Everyone is strongly encouraged to observe appropriate social distancing including being handshake-free and hug-free and 6-foot distancing.
- Our Spring commencement exercise and Honors Night are cancelled. Planning is already underway to creatively celebrate our students’ accomplishments.
- Study Abroad Programs have been cancelled.
- The College Board and ACT have suspended all upcoming ACT and SAT testing dates indefinitely.
- The Athletic Banquet has been cancelled.
- The Student Leadership Program Retreat has been cancelled.
- Plans for Student Center Grand Opening are cancelled. This will be rescheduled for a date in early fall 2020.
- Dual Enrollment instruction is suspended on the same basis as all other instruction It will commence on March 30, 2020 in an online format.
- You are reminded that when communicating with external groups to first run message/response by IA before sending.
- What to do if you or someone else exhibits symptoms of COVID-19? See email from Dr. Boehmer dated 3/15/20 and USG guidance.
- See the following concerning Bookstore rental return procedure: www.ega.edu/announce/Rental_Returns_031820.pdf
Be especially mindful of potential email scams and phishing attempts. Follow the guidelines established by EGSC IT and do not open or respond to anything that is out of the ordinary or that you have concern about. Specifically,
- 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.
- Is the email from an external source? Look for the banner at the top of the email: ALERT: This email originated from an external source. Please use proper judgment before opening attachments, clicking links, replying, or
- Report suspicious email prior to clicking any links or attachments. Contact the EGSC helpdesk at email@example.com (478-289-2004) if you receive suspicious email. Alternatively, you can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. We will continue to work with USG leaders in collaboration with state officials and the Georgia Department of Public Health to act on the most up-to-date guidance available.
Ultimately, we want to ensure our faculty, staff and students are safe; that we do our part to help stem the spread of the coronavirus in Georgia; and we fulfill our mission to graduate our students even in the face of these challenging times.
You will be receiving updates at least weekly with new information.
Most importantly, thank you for all you are doing to respond to this unprecedented situation. I am deeply proud of the response our college community and each of you.
Please be safe.