I would like to begin my weekly communication with a simple and heartfelt thank you. Thank you for accepting and meeting the extraordinary challenge of adapting to wholly online instruction. Thank you for following the “rules.” There seem to be so many of them, but you have stepped up. Again, simply and humbly, thank you.
On a very somber note, we lost a dear friend of the college on Monday afternoon. Senator Jack Hill passed away very unexpectedly at his office in Reidsville. We will deeply miss our friend and supporter and his guidance with our mission.
“Our region has lost a champion. Our college has lost a powerful advocate. I have lost a friend. He was a rock. He was a model of integrity and selflessness. He was always there. Whether it was a community celebration, a public meeting or a college event, he was always there to demonstrate his personal interest in the people he represented. Mostly, he cared deeply and worked intensely and long to help the region and people he loved. He saw the promise in every one of our students and fought to assure they had the educational opportunities they deserve. East Georgia State College respected and loved Senator Jack Hill and will not forget the contributions of this model public servant.” May you Rest in Peace, Senator.
The following message from Butch Parrish, Representative from District 158, also expresses the feeling of loss for our Senator:
“As some of you may have heard, Senator Jack Hill passed away yesterday, Monday, April 6. Jack was not only my Senator for three decades; he was a dear friend.
He had a true servant's heart. He wasn’t interested in who got the credit, he was only interested in getting it done. You have only to look around his district, and indeed the entire state, to see his fingerprints on so many positive things.
Jack was a great man and a good friend. He will be missed by many. My sincerest condolences go out to his family.”
As has been the case for the past several weeks, the Covid-19 situation and our response changes rapidly. Following in a list of the high points of what you need to know this week,
• Information about how to access your online courses
• For quick access to your online courses via your cell phone, download the GeorgiaView Brightspace Pulse app to your iPhone or Android device.
• For quick access to your EGSC student email (CatMail) via your cell phone, download the Microsoft Outlook App.
• This website includes an abundance of information that will answer most of your questions.
Obstacles to your success
Your long-term success is critically important to me.
Please continue to be patient, flexible diligent and strong and successfully complete all your spring semester courses. Also, remember to register for next semester. If you are having difficulty, please talk with your instructor, advisor, someone in the ACE or the Counseling Center. This also includes not having access to the technology you need to be successful. There are options that can help alleviate your issues.
Graduates and Honors Night Recipients
Please pay close attention to your email and texts regarding the plans that are being made to make sure you are celebrated in the best possible way for these milestones.
Governor’s Executive Order April 8, 2020
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has renewed the Public Health State of Emergency to assist with the state’s response to COVID-19 as of April 8, 2020. The Order extends his previous Executive Orders, which were due to expire on Monday, April 13, for a further period of 17 days. They will then expire on Thursday, April 30, 2020. To read the Executive Order in full, click here.
University System of Georgia announces no tuition increase for 2020-2021 academic year
The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG) will meet Tuesday, April 14th, and will be asked to approve a recommendation of no tuition increase for the 2020-2021 academic year.
If approved, there will be no increase for any USG student. Students will pay the same tuition rates at all 26 USG institutions for the 2020-2021 academic year as they do now for the current 2019-2020 academic year. This includes East Georgia State College in Swainsboro, Statesboro and Augusta. Specifically, for EGSC students, there will be no tuition or fee increases in the coming 2020-2021 academic year.
In addition, the only fees charged to students in summer semester 2020 will be the Institutional fee and the Information Technology fee. With these fee reductions, a student on the Swainsboro campus taking four or more hours will see a reduction in their total summer cost of $178. EGSC-Statesboro and EGSC-Augusta students will also see reductions this summer.
In addition, students will benefit from the elimination of the online differential charged to undergraduate students. This change is effective summer 2020.
CARES Act – Stimulus Act III
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act became law less than two weeks ago. Understanding how this new law affects higher education is important to our region, East Georgia State College and students.
On April 9, 2020, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the first wave of CARES act funding. Funds will be distributed to colleges and universities to provide emergency aid to college students whose lives and educations have been disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak. Each college and university must now prepare its own plan describing how these funds will be used to meet emergency needs of students. The funding is available through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the CARES Act.
East Georgia State College and its students are included in the funding announced today. The specific terms of the EGSC plan for use of these emergency funds will be announced soon in order to assure that students and their families will have the opportunity to have these funds applied to achieve their educational goals.
As a reminder, USG institutions are receiving funds split 50/50 between funds that have to be provided directly to students (“Grant Aid”) and funds the institution can use directly (“Institutional Aid”) The first round of dollars is the Grant Aid that is limited solely for use as direct grant aid to students. The DOE specifically said institutions cannot use Grant Aid to fund refunds to students. The DOE noted that Grant Aid also cannot be used to reimburse institutions for purchases made on behalf of students.
Institutions must submit a form agreeing to use the Grant Aid funds in accordance with the law.
Guidance on use of Institutional Aid (the other 50%) is forthcoming from DOE and they anticipate guidance and funding being available in approximately two weeks. The DOE officials suggested that the Institutional Aid likely could be used to reimburse the institution for refunds and that they would grant “flexibility” in the use of these funds; however, we won’t know exactly what this means until DOE issues their written guidance.
Update from Emanuel Medical Center on 4/8/2020 from Damien Scott, CEO
As of April 6, 2020, we now have a testing site at our Meadows Building, 543 West Church Street, Swainsboro, GA. This testing site requires the patient to first contact their local Primary Care Physician. All our Clinics in Emanuel County have the option of Telemedicine visit over the phone or computer which will include a screening of symptoms. If the Physician foresees the patient should be tested, an order will be written to test the patient. The patient will then be given an appointment, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and will need to report to our testing site. As a reminder, our physicians are able to handle a wide array of services via telemedicine, which allows one to never leave home.
According to the CDC and DPH guidelines, the best practice is not to send a family member or employee to the Emergency Room for testing. If you suspect that you or a loved one or employee has been exposed to coronavirus, and you are showing correlating symptoms of COVID-19, please take these measures.
Unless you are experiencing a health emergency and need immediate health intervention, do not go to an emergency room. Call your primary care physician’s office to discuss your symptoms and your possible exposure. Your healthcare provider will determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
Be prepared to treat the common symptoms of COVID-19, which includes fever, cough, and possible respiratory congestion. Be sure to remain hydrated, drinking plenty of liquids. Sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade contain electrolytes that are effective in combating dehydration.
Thank you for your continued support to our community and hospital. Emanuel Medical Center and our physician offices are committed to caring for our community. We are pleased to now be able to test all patients that meet the criteria of COVID-19 testing guidelines. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at 478-289-1100 and ask for Administration.
STUDENTS – wherever you are located, make sure you know the protocol of what you should do in your county if you become ill.
Residence Hall Update: 4 students are residing in Bobcat Villas for due to hardship, 9 students are temporarily storing belongings in their spring room assignment because they could not get here to pick up their items.
From this point forward, we are communicating that no student is permitted to return to Bobcat Villas to remove any belongings until they have received permission from the college to do so, and that the Bobcat Villas are closed to students (other than approved hardship stays) until further notice.
A Covid-19 Relief Fund for students has been established and is being shared with donors: This is the message.
EGSC Coronavirus Relief Fund –As you know, many of our students come from backgrounds that don’t afford them all they need in the area of technology, resources and even basic necessities. To help these students as this transition takes place, your gift of any amount would be life changing. To give online, click here, or www.ega.edu/donate, or text EGSCCovid19 to 41444 or send your check to EGSC, c/o Institutional Advancement COVID19 Relief Fund, 131 College Circle, Swainsboro, GA. 30401
There will be no in store textbook pickup through summer 2020. Orders will be mailed to the student.
Other Critical Information
Please continue to monitor the www.ega.edu/covid19 website for information and updates.
Remember to check your CatMail, texts and Social Media for information regularly.
Remember to utilize all the cybersecurity tips that have been shared with you.
As we begin another week, I will say again, thank you for taking on this challenge and for your resilience as we navigate this new method of wholly online instruction. We will come out of this situation as a stronger institution, ready to face a brighter future. Stay well and stay safe. May we all continue to stay strong and stay in touch with each other.