Dear EGSC Faculty and Staff,
I know that, during the last two weeks, all of you have prepared intensely for the beginning of wholly online classes on Monday, March 30, 2020 and for maintenance of our core business operations once online classes begin. Thank you!
As I have told our students, assuring that they complete this semester successfully and registering for the next semester of their academic journey are critical steps in their success. In addition, these same steps are critical to the future of our beloved college. All of this will require each of us to develop new ways of teaching, learning, working and communicating. So, 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.
For the safety and well-being of all, we may be more physically separated right now than ever before. But one thing holds true: As East Georgia State College, we stand together, always. We are nearly 50 years strong, and we will navigate these difficult times together. No matter where you are right now, please know that our heartfelt concern is for every member of our Bobcat community. I sincerely appreciate everything you are all doing to meet these challenging times.
As you are aware, we have extended remote instruction for students and remote work for many of our faculty and staff through the end of the semester. In addition, all campus events are canceled or postponed for this time period, including commencement, honors night, athletic events and many other traditions that have helped to build our legacy. We will come through this and come out stronger than before.
I want to share some updates and resources that you will find helpful.
- Wholly Online Instruction of All EGSC Courses Begins on Monday, March 30, 2020
- Move-Out of Almost All Students from BobCat Villas Completed Sunday, March 29, 2020
- Student Fee Refund Plan Has Been Adopted
- Free COVID-19 Virtual Screenings through Augusta University Health System’s AU Health Express Care App are Available
- EGSC Has a COVID-19 Website
- Other Important Information About the COVID-19 Website May be Found Here
A message below was sent to all students from the IT department about being ready for these classes:
“Remember ALL classes resume online-only this Monday, March 30, via GeorgiaView D2L Brightspace. Before Monday, login to GeorgiaView D2L Brightspace to view any course announcements/updates.
http://www.ega.edu/help/details/how-do-i-access-my-online-courses-or-troubleshoot-problems-using-gaview-d2l for login steps and more information.
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.
Earlier, EGSC’s Director of the Center of Excellence for Teaching and Learning distributed the following EGSC Resources for Rapid Conversion:
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. (http://www.usg.edu/keep_teaching_usg)
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 the faculty can use. https://www.usg.edu/facultydevelopment/centers/program_spotlight/rapid_guide_to_teaching_online_in_d2l
Link to Infographics: https://www.usg.edu/facultydevelopment/centers/program_spotlight
There are some useful rapid-guides that other institutions have shared that seem quite applicable and transferable to different contexts, which might be a good place to start:
Georgia State University has an excellent online resource, including a checklist to guide us through the emergency, rapid transition: https://cetl.gsu.edu/resources/resources-for-remote-teaching-and-learning/
West Georgia has contributed to the conversation: https://sites.google.com/westga.edu/moving-quickly-to-online-teach/home and https://westga.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5BZrnTY1aQ0VDr7
John Gardner Institute Resource (Thank you, David Strickland) https://docs.google.com/document/d/1miAJ5JtZtLYw9QPSq_zsa9RSz7M1gjQVqlvZYDooIDA/edit
Staying Connected on the national and local level:
This Chronicle of Higher Ed webinar might be useful. You can watch it on-demand: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/1615845595580/WN_UTWVyDqURca9qHhIrge2vA
Your campus CETL, elearning center (Ren Denton, Terri Brown), Chancellor’s Learning Scholars (they have been at conferences that disseminate information about course design and active learning)
• CETL Faculty Advisory Committee: Dr. Ren Denton (Director), Dr. Jeff Howell, David Altamirano, Jason Lee, and Yelena White.
• Chancellor’s Learning Scholars: Breana Simmons, Yelena White, Lisa Yocco, Mary Waalkes, Ren Denton.
Note: Please consider following EGSC CETL on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, where I will post relevant articles and information about how to navigate the latest teaching environment. If you are following us, please send invites to your colleagues---as I cannot because it won’t let me “spam” people (send invites outside of my own network of friends).
Note: There are social media networks for support during this new challenge. I recommend “Online Teaching Collective.”
Resources for Virtual Classrooms or Digital Learning:
Teacher’s Guide to Google Classroom: https://www.commonsense.org/education/articles/teachers-essential-guide-to-google-classroom
Google Classroom: https://ditchthattextbook.com/the-google-classroom-quick-start-guide-tips-and-tricks/
Google Assignments: https://www.blog.google/outreach-initiatives/education/introducing-assignments/
Reduce Cheating in Google Classroom: https://www.techlearning.com/news/5-ways-to-prevent-cheating-on-your-google-form-quiz
Microsoft Teams for the Classroom: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/education/products/teams
Collaborative Learning with Microsoft Teams: https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/microsoft-teams/
Teacher review of Microsoft Teams: https://www.commonsense.org/education/app/microsoft-teams-teacher-review/4610411
Recording and Uploading Lectures: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUB34waaol0
Zoom Tutorial: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206618765-Zoom-Video-Tutorials
How to Use Zoom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9guqRELB4dg
Note: If students don’t use “landscape” video or if they are on audio only, it will avoid a lag or crash.
Note: There is a national conversation about Zoom and FERPA. Having students off camera during recordings that are uploaded may be the best option.
East Georgia State College’s Learning Management System: D2L
Terri Brown: Please contact Terri Brown for more information about how to maximize the tools on our D2L.
Also, an important announcement from Dr. Tristan Denley in regard to “Keep Learning USG and USG Learning Everywhere” encourages faculty to let students know about the following resources.
Keep Learning USG (https://www.usg.edu/keep_learning_usg) is a site designed to support student as they make the shift to virtual learning. The site is deliberately created to be easily accessed on a phone, with copy in an informal student-friendly style. The information leads students step by step through best practices to succeed in a remote instructional environment
USG Learning Everywhere (https://www.usg.edu/learningeverywhere) is a site designed to provide educational experiences for all learners, anytime, anywhere. Built on the foundations of the College 2025 initiative, this site brings together openly available educational resources, courseware and free courses from across the system into one easily navigated place. Currently the site links to Coursera MOOCs, ALG textbooks, Galileo materials for parents who are suddenly homeschooling and much more. We are sure that there is much more to be included, and look forward to this new resource growing. Please let me know if your school has a resource that you think should be added in.
I would appreciate it if you could let your students know about the KeepLearning site, and let your community know about LearningEverywhere.”
Over the last couple of weeks, our Housing Director and staff have worked closely with the USG and other key USG administrators to develop and obtain USG approval of a plan to move-out our housing residents from Bobcat Villas. This was, to say the least, a huge undertaking. The goal of this process was to implement the USG directions (applicable to all USG institutions) to promptly and safely implement the move-out of all housing residents (except a very small number allowed to stay for the rest of spring semester due to extraordinary reasons such as housing insecurity).
At the end of the day on Sunday, March 30, 2020, this plan has largely been carried out. A few remaining students, who scheduled appointments to move-out, early in the coming week remain in BobCat Villas and will move out early this week.
Implementation of this plan in a manner in an orderly, staggered manner, which assured health and safety of residents and our staff, required close cooperation among housing staff, our Police (who controlled the entrance to campus to assure that residents moved out only during scheduled times), plant operations and many others. It has been carried out in an excellent manner.
East Georgia State College has adopted the following student fee refund plan:
Refunds of Student Fees (All 3 campuses are included as described below):
East Georgia State College will implement a prorated refund of various student fees for spring semester 2020 as outlined below for the campus designated as your home campus.
Our goal is to disburse refunds by April 16, 2020. We will communicate with you directly if there are any delays in this process.
The refund calculation date is March 16, 2020. This refund plan was completed in coordination with the USG.
*Students who did not pay the above fees because of the fee structure for the program in which they are enrolled (nursing students and students in the Fire and Emergency Services Administration program) will not receive a refund.
Refunds of Swainsboro Campus Housing and Dining:
- A prorated portion of housing rent charges will be refunded based on the March 16, 2020 refund calculation date.
- You will receive a pro-rata refund of the unused portion of your meal plan based on a March 16, 2020 refund calculation date. The exact amount of your refund will depend upon the specific meal plan which you purchased.
- Unused flex dollars will be refunded. The unused portion of any commuter meal plans and all other declining balance meal plans will be refunded.
- Students who were granted an exception to remain in the residence halls during the remaining part of spring semester 2020 will not be refunded their housing rent or base meal plan.
Additional information about refunds:
EGSC Statesboro students who purchase a meal plan from Georgia Southern University should contact Georgia Southern University with any questions.
Refunds of these fees will mirror students' normal refund process via BankMobile Refund Selection. You must make a BankMobile Refund Selection.
Please see the following link on how to make your Refund Selection. http://www.ega.edu/announce/bankmobile-presentation-02-19-20.pdf
Fees, other than those described above, have been carefully studied and vetted with the USG and deemed to be essential to the continuity of instruction and business operations.
Any outstanding balances owed to East Georgia State College (e.g., parking fines, lockout fines) will be deducted from your refund.
Students will not receive refunds of fees paid by any need-based scholarship. However, the scholarship reversal will not exceed the refund amount and will not create a balance due from the student. Please note that the deadline has passed for a student to withdraw without academic penalty from the Spring 2020 full-term.
Students who have registered for the Spring 2020 Mini-Session II term can withdraw without academic penalty through March 26, 2020 (Augusta Campus) and through April 7, 2020 (Swainsboro/Statesboro Campuses).
Refunds for Mini-Session II withdrawals will be processed under normal refunding guidelines.
We understand that these uncertain times have left you with many questions. Please rest assured that we are working diligently to provide answers as fast as possible.
Please reach out via email to email@example.com with any questions or concerns you have.
All University System of Georgia employees and dependents are now eligible for free COVID-19 virtual screenings through Augusta University Health System’s AU Health Express Care app.
Screenings are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at no cost and no appointment required. You log into the app from home. Screenings are done by a provider who is a physician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant and trained to screen for COVID-19. Please note: A positive screening does not mean you have COVID-19.
Patients who screen positive will be told about appropriate next steps, which could include visiting a testing site. Patients who screen negative are provided their visit summary and will be given guidance on next steps for treatment of their symptoms.
AU cannot guarantee perfect screening results, but are confident their medical professionals are using the most up-to-date and latest COVID-19 screening practices.
The app is available for download on iPhone and Android. Links to the virtual screening app are available at www.augustahealth.org/COVID19.
For those without access to technology, please call AU Health’s COVID-19 hotline at 706-721-1852. A desktop version or application for download can also be found at www.augustahealth.org/COVID19.
This website includes an abundance of information that will answer many of your questions. www.ega.edu/covid19
- 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.
A message from IT regarding Cybersecurity follows:
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.
A message from Plant Operations:
Due to COVID19 concerns, we are taking precautions and making everyone’s safety our top priority. We continue to sanitize doorknobs and other surfaces in high traffic areas.
If you would like to limit traffic in your office, please place your trash can outside of your door at the end of each business day, and we will be happy to collect it.
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:
It is also important to note that state and federal taxes will not be due until July 15, 2020. Stay safe and remain cautious!
A message from Lori Burns, Director of Counseling to students:
I hope that each of you found a safe way to enjoy your Spring Break despite the serious impact that the Coronavirus Disease is imposing on the entire Nation.
As you already know, some very difficult decisions regarding the delivery of your education were made by the University System of Georgia in an effort to protect you during the next several months. Despite the recent change to wholly on-line instruction for the rest of the spring semester and strictly limited access to the East Georgia State College campuses, the Office of Counseling and Disability Services is here to help with this transition and any other needs that you may have. Due to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to practice social distancing, our office has suspended all face to face counseling and disability services. We will work primarily in a remote capacity for the remainder of the Spring semester.
Please be mindful that it is not uncommon for people to notice changes in mental well-being during major disasters such the Coronavirus Pandemic. Increased worrying, sadness, and fear are only a few of the symptoms that someone may experience. If there is a change in your mental well-being, it is very important that you cope in a manner that does not increase your stress level during a time that is already stressful. I can assure you that promoting student well-being and resilience will remain our focus.
If you would like to schedule an appointment to speak to a counselor, please contact us via email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). We will be monitoring our email accounts during normal operating hours, Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm. For emergencies, call 911 or the Georgia Crisis and Access Line by dialing 1-800-715-4225.
As we begin this next week, please remember you are a valued and essential partner in the life and future of EGSC, and we are grateful for you. Thank you for all you are doing.