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Message to EGSC Faculty/Staff

Message to EGSC Faculty/Staff

by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | April 06, 2020
Last Edited: October 06, 2020 by Victor Poole

   Dear East Georgia State College Faculty and Staff,
   The one thing at the top of my mind this week is your personal health and safety. Please take this COVID-19 crisis with highest level of seriousness. Each one of you is important to me as an individual. Please take care yourself.
   Thanks so much for your extraordinary efforts to make the transition to a wholly online learning environment go so well! Everyone is adapting to the new normal with a positive approach. Please continue to be positive, patient, flexible and strong to adjust to this new online environment and we will get through it together and we will all be better for it.
   There were, as you know well, several major developments this week concerning your personal safety and the college’s operations. (clicking on each heading below takes you to more detailed information about each of these)

Governor Kemp Issues Shelter in Place Order
Wholly Online Classes Extended Through Maymester and Summer Semester 2020
University System of Georgia Announces Plans to Return to Normal Operations for Fall Semester 2020
Other Important Information

Governor Kemp Issues Shelter in Place Order

   Late last week, Governor Kemp issued another Executive Order. That Order includes the implementation of a State-wide shelter in place directive. That Order went into effect on Friday, 4/3/2020 at 6 PM.
   I strongly encourage you to stay healthy and safe by fully complying with the Governor’s shelter in place Order.

Wholly Online Classes Extended Through Maymester and Summer Semester 2020
   The following important information was received earlier in the week from the University System of Georgia:

May and summer semester instruction will be delivered remotely with limited exceptions, …”

   That same message from the USG went on to say:

“All institutions should continue to implement their current telework and flexible work strategies so that only a minimum number of staff are on campus to maintain operations and support remote instruction.  The Governor’s Executive Orders on schools and shelter in place allow for continued access to remote education and maintaining minimal operations for students, faculty and staff.”

   The Governor's Shelter in Place Order contains an exception for Critical Infrastructure. As stated in a letter yesterday from the USG:

"...One exception includes Critical Infrastructure. The USG and constituent entities are considered Critical Infrastructure to the extent to which they are “educators supporting public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing other essential functions, if operating under rules for social distancing” and “workers in animal diagnostic and food testing laboratories … in institutions of higher education.”

Thus, USG institutions can continue distance learning and performing other essential functions [and] USG faculty, staff ... can conduct Necessary Travel for these purposes.

Furthermore, as USG entities are included as Critical Infrastructure for the purposes identified above, when there are necessary in-person operations, such Critical Infrastructure entities shall implement measures that mitigate the exposure and spread of COVID-19 among its workforce. These mitigation efforts include but are not limited to the 16 items identified on pages five and six of the attached Order and apply to USG entities when conducting in-person operations..."

   Accordingly, while EGSC continues to offer all of its courses wholly online this semester, Maymester and Summer Semester, a very small number of EGSC employees performing "essential functions" will continue to work on campus as needed when they are specifically authorized by the appropriate vice president or campus director. "Essential" does not include individuals who want to be on campus due to convenience or other nonessential reasons.
   That vice president or campus director will provide each of those authorized individuals with a letter each week verifying that they are authorized to come to campus to perform essential functions. This will enable the employees to keep with them a copy of the letter when traveling to and from campus (along with their EGSC identification card and other appropriate identification, such as a driver's license). These letters may not be transferred to any other person and may be used only for travel to and from campus.  

University System of Georgia Announces Plans to Return to Normal Operations for Fall Semester 2020

   University System of Georgia also made the following announcement:

“USG institutions will return to normal operations for fall semester assuming health conditions allow for it.”

Other Important Information
   Thank you for adapting to the new normal (wholly online classes) with a positive approach. Please continue to be patient and flexible to adjust to this new online environment and we will get through it together and we will all be better for it.
   As a review, here is a summary of this week’s activity:

  • A Declaration of a State of Emergency Emanuel County and Municipalities, 4/1/20
    http://www.ega.edu/announce/COVID-19-Declaration-and-Ordinance.pdf
  • Governor Kemp’s Executive Order, 4/1/20
    http://www.ega.edu/announce/Gov_Kemp_EO_04012020.pdf
  • Governor Kemp’s Executive Order, 4/2/20
    http://www.ega.edu/announce/Governor_Kemp_Executive_Order_040220001.pdf
  • Update/Message from Emanuel Medical Center 3/30/20
    http://www.ega.edu/covid19#emc-updates
  • To forward your calls from your office cell phone to another number (cell, landline) etc.
    Press *74 on your office phone then 9 for an outside line followed by the number you are forwarding to. If you are forwarding to a 10-digit phone number, after the 9, you must enter 1, then the 10-digit phone number.  You will hear 3 short beeps to confirm.
    To cancel call forwarding: Press *73 on your office phone. You will hear 3 short beeps to confirm.
    Instructions for accessing EGSC voice mail system from off-campus telephone:
    EGSC-Swainsboro campus:

       1. Dial 478-289-2189.
       2. You will hear the voice mail system message: “Welcome to Audix. For help at any time press star (*).
       3. Please enter extension and pound (#) sign. Enter your 5-digit EGSC office phone extension (e.g., 62004), then press #
       4. You will then hear: “Enter password and pound (#) sign.”
       5. Enter your voicemail password, then press #
       6. Follow the voice mail system message prompts to listen to new voice mail messages you have received
    EGSC-Statesboro campus:
       1. Dial 912-623-2498.
       2. You will hear the voice mail system message: “Welcome to Audix. For help at any time press star (*). Please enter extension and pound (#) sign.”
       3. Enter your 5-digit EGSC office phone extension (e.g., 62004), then press #
       4. You will then hear: “Enter password and pound (#) sign.”
       5. Enter your voicemail password, then press #
       6. Follow the voice mail system message prompts to listen to new voice mail messages you have.
    EGSC-Augusta is on a different telephone system and cannot be accessed in this manner.
  • Reminder from Ashley Woods about Fraud Attempts
       “I am recirculating this e-mail because a second USG institution received the phishing scam below requesting urgent purchase of gift cards. Unfortunately, the scam was successful at the 2nd institution.
       Remember that with the first institution, the employee engaged with the fraudster, but did eventually realize it was a scam; the second institution employee purchased $1,800 in gift cards and was asked to purchase an additional $3,000 before reaching out to the supervisor. In both cases, the employees receiving the phishing e-mails were in fiscal/finance positions.  We must stay alert and act in a vigilant manner to prevent fraud across our campus.
       While we are all working through COVID-19 issues, threat actors and fraudsters are busy too. Don’t let your guard down during this time! Here are two unsuccessful phishing attempts that recently occurred within the USG:
       1.  The USO Cybersecurity team was made aware of an unsuccessful phishing operation at a USG institution. An e-mail purporting to be from Sterling Infosystems requested payment for past due invoices. Sterling Infosystems is a legitimate vendor that was under system-wide contract for background checks through 6/30/2019. Be on the lookout for fraudsters impersonating legit companies. If you have any questions, or uncertainty about an email, please send it to me to verify before responding or providing any information.
       ***Note: The invoice was sent to Gordon State, but another USG institution received the phishing e-mail and invoices. Charges on the invoices were dated after 6/30/19, which is beyond the contract expiration. The alert employee recognized this and made their IT department aware.
       2.  Employees at a USG institution received phishing e-mails requesting an urgent purchase of gift cards. The e-mail example attached purported to be from the institution’s Comptroller, but the e-mail behind the name was a Gmail account. Be sure to look for the banner which indicates the email originated from a third-party email provider: ALERT: This email originated from an external source. Please use proper judgment before opening attachments, clicking links, replying, or providing information.
       ***Note that in the second scenario the employee engaged with the fraudster even though the e-mail contained the warning that it came from outside of the university. The employee eventually did come to the conclusion that the e-mail was a scam. All phishing e-mails were retracted by the institution’s IT department.”
  • Georgia Broadband Deployment Initiative
    https://broadband.georgia.gov/georgia-internet-access-covid-19-update
  • From the Library - Hotspot Map for Free Wi-Fi Access
    “Julie Walker, our state librarian, just forwarded along a link to a map of all library Wi-Fi available in parking lots around the state. The map is available here: https://georgialibraries.org/library-everywhere/ (a direct link to the map is here: Library Wi-Fi in Georgia). Scroll down the page just a bit and you'll see it. Please feel free to share with your students and campus colleagues.
  • Last week’s letter to faculty and staff may be found on the COVID 19 website.  It contains a wealth of information on D2L, Brightspace, Online teaching and learning.  Please continue to review.
  • EGSC Has a COVID-19 Website
       This website includes an abundance of information that will answer many of your questions.
       • Remember to complete the Travel Registry found on the website www.ega.edu/covid19.
       • The Student Health Center will remain open to serve students who will continue to reside in the residence halls on Monday-Thursday from 1-5 PM. Swainsboro students not living on campus may call the clinic during those hours at 478-289-2182.
       • All events scheduled with visitors on campus, including meetings, are cancelled for the rest of spring semester. No face-to-face meetings will be held. All meetings will be via telephone, Zoom or Skype or other electronic means.
       • 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 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.
       • EGSC is following the guidance of the NJCAA and the GCAA. All spring athletic games and practices are cancelled.
       • Study Abroad Programs have been cancelled.
       • Plans for Student Center Grand Opening are cancelled. This will be rescheduled for a date in early fall 2020.
       • The staff evaluation due date to HR has been extended until May 1, 2020.
       • Important information regarding internet service providers. Please follow the links below to learn more about COVID-19 responses and offerings from the providers/resources listed (offerings subject to change):
         Federal Communications Commission “Keep Americans Connected Pledge”
         Comcast COVID-19 Response
         Charter Communications COVID-19 Response
         AT&T COVID-19 Response
         Verizon COVID-19 Response
         Sprint COVID-19 Response
         T-Mobile COVID-19 Response
         Pineland Connect2PinelandFree Program
         Northland Communications COVID-19 Response
        Another very useful website to add to the list is www.broadbandnow.com which allows you to enter your zip code to determine internet options that are available in the respective area.
  • Message from Representative Butch Parrish, Georgia General Assembly
    To stay up to date on our state’s response to COVID-19 and explore options for financial relief during these uncertain times check out the following:
    https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
    https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report
    https://gov.georgia.gov/press-releases
    https://gov.georgia.gov/executive-action/executive-orders/2020-executive-orders
    https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela
    https://dol.georgia.gov/blog/new-information-filing-unemployment-partial-claims-and-reemployment-services
    It is also important to note that state and federal taxes will not be due until July 15, 2020. Stay safe and remain cautious!
  • Message from Senator Jack Hill, Georgia General Assembly, shared these key links about Fourth District Schools feeding children:
    FOURTH DISTRICT SCHOOL SYSTEMS FEEDING CHILDREN
       • Bulloch County Schools
         For information on free meals, visit here
       • Candler County Schools
         Food delivery site info available here
       • Effingham County School District
         School buses will deliver meals to designated locations; visit here for more information
       • Emanuel County School System
         School buses will deliver meals to designated locations; visit here for more information
       • Evans County School System
         Visit here for "Feeding Site Fast Facts"
       • Tattnall County Schools
         Feeding plan in place on Mondays and Wednesdays and will be suspended April 13-17 for spring break. More info on the school website

   This week presented us with many important decisions and developments in our ongoing response to COVID-19. Again, I thank you for your continued support as we adapt to our ever-changing environment. Every single one of you strengthens our Bobcat team with your unwavering commitment and your genuine concern for others.
   As we end another week, I want to share with you how proud I am of each one of you.  Your resilience and commitment are exemplary.  Thank you for everything you are doing to make this experience valuable to our students.  The days are challenging and uncertain, yet you all are facing it with calm determination.
   Stay safe, stay well and stay strong.
   Bob Boehmer
   President