UGA works to protect community against COVID-19

New steps build on last year’s comprehensive measures to protect students, teachers and staff

As students prepare to return for the fall semester, the University of Georgia is stepping up its measures to protect the university community from the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 virus.

These steps include new incentives to encourage vaccinations, continuation of COVID-19 testing, mandatory case reporting through DawgCheck, special cleaning and disinfection protocols that are now standard operating procedures, and major improvements to the HVAC system underway. are.

Of all these measures, getting vaccinated is paramount. UGA President Jere W. Morehead along with S. Jack Hu, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, Shelley Nuss, Campus Dean of the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership, and Jennifer Swails, Interim Executive Director for University Health Center, to to emphasize that point last week.

“We are especially grateful to the many faculty, staff and students who have chosen to be vaccinated to protect not only themselves and their families, but the entire university community,” they wrote in a memo to the university community. “However, to fully protect our campus community, we need everyone who can get vaccinated.”

Based on guidelines from the University System of Georgia, UGA cannot require students, faculty, or staff to be vaccinated to be on campus, but vaccinations are strongly encouraged.

UGA offers COVID-19 vaccines to all faculty, staff and students at the University Health Center (UHC) and encourages participation with T-shirts and gift cards advertised via social media. The university also offers vaccine appointments to incoming students during undergraduate orientation, with a shuttle service between the Tate Student Center and UHC for convenience.

Educators, staff and students can also take advantage of vaccine clinics offered at the Tate Center this fall. UHC is working with the Georgia Department of Public Health to administer COVID-19 vaccines at the Tate Center in Room 137 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 19, Aug. 23-26, Aug. 30, 31, and Sept. 2. Incentives will be available in vaccine clinics while supplies last.

UGA has also participated in and will continue to promote USG’s nationwide campaign to vaccinate students at any of the 15 participating campuses in the USG that may be closer to where they live.

The university will also continue to offer free testing for COVID-19 to all members of the UGA community at the University Health Center and will require any faculty, staff or student who tests positive to report their positive test through DawgCheck and follow the guidelines. follow provided.

“Protecting the UGA community from the spread of COVID-19 remains a top priority of the University Health Center as we prepare for the start of the academic year,” Swails said.

Residents of campus residences who test positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed to remain in their residence during their isolation period and will be encouraged to return home. If this is not a viable option, Student Care and Outreach (SCO) can arrange alternative housing and meal delivery on an individual basis.

Like last year, the university will maintain beds for quarantine and isolation needs of on-campus housing residents. SCO will continue to inform the faculty if students report a positive COVID-19 test result via DawgCheck.

Off-campus students may contact SCO directly if they require specific support with instructor notifications or require other assistance.

As the risks of COVID-19 remain high for people who are not fully vaccinated, the University System of Georgia encourages everyone to wear a face covering in campus facilities.

UGA still has free face coverings in different types and designs. Departments that want to have face masks on hand can order them for teachers and staff in their units. Students who require face coverings may collect them from the Information Desks in the Tate Student Center and Miller Learning Center.

In addition:

  • The dedicated cleaning and disinfection protocols introduced last year across the campus community will continue, with a particular emphasis on high-touch surface disinfection in all buildings. The Facility Management Department (FMD) will continue to supplement and supply the existing hand sanitizing stations and wipes for individual use in offices, canteens and classrooms.
  • The Plexiglas screens installed in classrooms, buses, point-of-sale locations and other settings will be preserved.
  • For the past 18 months, FMD has focused on improving ventilation and indoor air quality across the campus. This foot and mouth interactive website illustrates the location of buildings with completed, ongoing, or under design HVAC air quality improvement projects.
  • the foot and mouth website has been updated to include additional details on completed HVAC system changes made since Spring 2020. This work includes increased daily air exchanges in 5.1 million square feet of academic and research space and the installation of portable HEPA units in more than 50,000 square feet of classrooms. More than $7 million in targeted projects to improve on-campus HVAC systems will be realized in the 2021-22 academic year — all in compliance with CDC, DPH and HVAC industry standards.
  • Transport and parking services continue to use sprinklers to sanitize the stairwells of the parking deck at night and in every bus. The sprayers contain a solution that has been proven to kill COVID-19. All rails and handles on buses are wiped with disinfectant wipes between class breaks.

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