Fall 2020 Return to Campus FAQ

updated: August 3, 2020

How have classrooms and commons spaces in the Ecology building been configured to allow for social distancing?

During the past 2 months, we’ve reconfigured common spaces and classrooms to enhance safety and promote social distancing. We’ve moved furniture in common areas to meet social distancing requirements. We’ve completed an inventory of every instructional space in the building and determined how many socially distanced people can fit in each, and now our faculty are working with those new numbers to design instructional plans for every class on the schedule. We are thinking about entrances and exit points for our common spaces and classrooms. We hope people will remember to take advantage of outside spaces like the courtyard (seating arranged for distancing) and turtle pond.

image of classroom configuration

Can I move chairs around in a classroom? How will I know where to sit? 

Do not move furniture in classrooms or common spaces. Chairs, tables, and desks have been arranged to achieve social distancing goals. Seats will be marked using stickers to indicate how seating with 6’ distances can be maintained, and/or chairs removed to encourage distancing. Due to lack of storage, in some classrooms excess chairs have been stacked against the wall or marked with tape; please do not use them. 

image of adjusted seating for social distancing

Where can I work/study between classes?

Indoor space is limited. Seven students can be in the lounge at one time and ten students can use the lobby to study. Outdoor space, including the courtyard and turtle pond areas, are available. Tables and chairs have been rearranged in the courtyard to promote social distancing, and you must wear a mask while using outdoor areas if you are not able to maintain the required social distancing.

image of student lounge rearranged for social distancing

How can I avoid traffic jams outside classrooms during the transition between classes?

If the weather is nice, please wait outside until students from the previous class have left the room. Otherwise, please queue up on one side of the hallway/lobby far enough from the entrance to allow those exiting the classroom enough room to pass while maintaining social distancing. Time between classes has been expanded by 5 minutes (from 15 to 20 minutes). The Fall 2020 daily class schedule is available at reg.uga.edu/general-information/daily-class-schedule

What safety measures should I take to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Before coming to campus, take your temperature, self-monitor your health and use the University’s screening and notification tool called DawgCheck once it is launched. Additional information on this tool is forthcoming. Do not come to campus if you have symptoms (which include but are not limited to include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.) 

By coming to campus, you are acknowledging that you have completed the self-monitoring requirements earlier that day and are not aware that you have signs and/or symptoms of COVID-19.

Also, make sure you have your mask or face covering before coming to campus!

Wash your hands thoroughly (with soap and water for at least 20 seconds) often, use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Maintain social distance of at least 6 feet.

Wear a mask.

When should I wear a face mask?

Face masks must be worn indoors on campus, except when working alone in private offices, and must be worn outdoors when social distancing is not possible. Students and faculty need to wear a mask during classroom discussions.

image of signage indicating the requirement of face covering in buildings

What if I forget or lose my mask, can I get one in the building?

We’ve purchased extra masks, disinfecting wipes, gloves, and sanitization stations for every entrance in the building. Please see the main office if you forget or lose your face mask, as we may be able to provide one to you.

Would I have to wear a mask in my office or lab if I share that space?

Yes, unless you are the only person in the room. If you are in an area where work station dividers do not go all the way to the ceiling, you must wear a mask.

How are we ensuring our facilities are kept clean and sanitized?

Jennifer and Joshua (Ecology custodial crew) are working hard as well as all staff and faculty to maintain a clean and safe environment. General use space and classrooms will be cleaned each morning. Labs and office spaces are the responsibilities of the occupants. We’ve invested in cleaning kits for all instructors and office suites, so we’ll all be pitching in to clean throughout the day. We’ve purchased extra masks, disinfecting wipes, gloves, and sanitization stations for every entrance in the building. In cases of a known or suspected COVID-19 case in the building, the UGA Facilities Management Division will be notified to sanitize the affected area.

image of disinfecting wipe station in building

How do I ensure that my desk in the classroom is disinfected?

Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes will be located in hallways in Odum and SLC common areas.

Students will be responsible for disinfecting their immediate seating area (tabletop/desk, chair) upon entering the classroom/lab, by bringing a disinfecting wipe with them.

Faculty/TAs will be responsible for cleaning surfaces related to teaching when they arrive in the classroom/lab; this includes dry erase markers (if instructors do not bring their own), the instructional computer station, and any equipment used for class/lab demonstrations.

Am I responsible for cleaning my office and lab space? Where do I get supplies to ensure those spaces are clean?

Students, faculty and staff are responsible for keeping their own offices and lab spaces clean and free of debris. Sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer are provided in centralized locations, and many PIs have purchased additional supplies for their research spaces. Custodians won’t be picking up trash or recycling from offices or labs, so you are responsible for moving trash and recycling to receptacles in the hallways (or you can place your office/lab receptacle in the hallway to be emptied).

image of wipe station

Who is responsible for cleaning shared lab and field equipment?

Students will be responsible for disinfecting shared lab and field equipment/supplies before and after use with a disinfecting wipe.

How will classes be structured?

Each instructor will provide course policies and structure at the beginning of the semester, but most of our classes will follow the HyFlex model (faculty provide face-to-face and online/remote options, and students rotate between attending face-to-face sessions and completing course learning activities online without physically attending class). 

All classes will be designed to offer remote instruction as an option for those unable to come to campus. All classes will transition to online only instruction at Thanksgiving (or before if circumstances require it). 

Faculty will provide materials and assignments online, and are encouraged to not include attendance in their grading schemes.

image of ecology conference room

Who should I contact if I do not feel safe taking in person classes?

Students can request accommodations from the Disability Resource Center, and should communicate directly with faculty teaching their fall courses. Graduate students may need to apply for accommodations via UGA HR as well as DRC if they are both teaching and taking classes. If you have any questions, please contact the DRC, faculty instructor for your courses, or the graduate/undergraduate coordinator for Ecology.

Will my instructor/TA be holding office hours?

Most office hours will be online. Your TA and professor will inform you about their office hours policy at the start of the semester.

I’m a TA. I think I have to do HyFlex teaching, in which I meet face-to-face and also have to do a concurrent online module.  Am I going to get paid more?  Isn’t this like teaching two classes?

For ECOL 1000L and 3500/3505L, lab Coordinator Kait Farrell is providing all the online activities in self-contained modules, which are asynchronous and student self-directed. In our 2-TA labs, TAs will focus their teaching on half the enrolled students, including meeting face-to-face during half of the scheduled lab session each week. All TAs are encouraged to use the CTL Duties Specification Agreement to outline their duties, and discuss any concerns with their TA supervisor/course instructor.

Will ecology labs have field trips? 

For ECOL 1000L and 3500/3505L, group field activities will be very limited this semester. Any group field trip sites will be accessible by a campus bus, walking, or riding a bike. Students will also participate in some self-guided field experiences; details will be provided on lab eLC pages. Students in other labs (e.g., 4050/6050L, 4240L, 4310/6310L) should contact their course instructor for details about lab format this Fall.

Will labs require face-to-face attendance?

For ECOL 1000L and 3500/3505L, all required lab activities are available on eLC. Students also have the opportunity to participate in a half-length face-to-face lab session each week, within their scheduled lab session. Students should check eLC for their group assignment and corresponding face-to-face meeting time, and contact their TAs with questions. Students in other labs (e.g., 4050/6050L, 4240L, 4310/6310L) should contact their course instructor for details about attendance expectations.

I am arriving at UGA after international travel. Am I required to quarantine?

Students arriving from international travel should stay home and/or quarantine for 14 days after returning from travel, monitor your health, and practice social distancing.

During your 14-day quarantine period, please take the following steps to monitor your health and practice social distancing:
1. Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
2. Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not attend work or school in person.
3. Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares.
4. Keep your distance from others (at least 6 feet or 2 meters).
5. Use the DawgCheck monitoring and reporting app, once it launches.

What if my quarantine period overlaps with the start of classes?

Please contact Student Care and Outreach at sco@uga.edu for assistance with contacting and coordinating accommodations with your faculty.

What should I do if I live in campus housing?

For students with on-campus housing assignments, please contact University Housing at housing@uga.edu to receive guidance and assistance.

I am an international student. Who should I contact for more guidance?

International students may contact International Student Life at isl@uga.edu for guidance and assistance and immigration@uga.edu for assistance with immigration questions.

Who do I notify if I’m sick?

Please consult directly with your supervisor and/or instructor immediately and do not come to campus if you exhibit one or more of the symptoms identified by the CDC: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever >100.4 degrees, chills, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell (w/out a stuffy nose), fatigue, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea. All notifications for known or suspected COVID-19 cases in the Ecology Building or associated community of students, faculty and staff should be reported directly to Dean John Gittleman at ecohead@uga.edu.

Who do I notify if I have to quarantine?

Please consult directly with your supervisor and/or instructor immediately and do not come to campus if you exhibit one or more of the symptoms identified by the CDC: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever >100.4 degrees, chills, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell (w/out a stuffy nose), fatigue, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea. All notifications for known or suspected COVID-19 cases in the Ecology Building or associated community of students, faculty and staff should be reported directly to Dean John Gittleman at ecohead@uga.edu.

What accommodations will be made for me if I do get sick or if I have to quarantine?

 Contact professors and/or immediate supervisors to request accommodations and work that can be completed remotely. In most cases, faculty will make course materials available to students via ELC, and will be encouraged to have students submit assignments electronically.

Where do I go if I’m sick?

If you experience symptoms while at work, you should report to your instructor or supervisor that you are ill and should leave class or work immediately. Students showing symptoms should schedule an appointment with your University Health Care Primary Care Provider by calling 706-542-1162 (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m). Please do not walk in. All others, please contact your community healthcare provider.

What do I do if another student in my class (or my TA) gets COVID? Do I have to quarantine?

If you suspect/know a student in your class is sick (or you become sick), report that info (e.g., class and room; not the person’s name) to Dean Gittleman. Notifications of positive COVID-19 cases will be reported to the University Health Center and the Georgia Department of Public Health. The DPH will follow up with contact tracing and will reach out to individuals who are deemed to have encountered exposure sufficient to warrant further action.

A campus wide COVID-19 reporting tool is currently being developed and will be used to inform all related offices and teams for reporting COVID-19 related issues (e.g. reporting students diagnosed, informing Facilities Management Division about classroom sanitization etc.)

I’m a TA. What do I do if one of my students gets COVID-19? Do I quarantine? Do I report this to someone? What about HIPAA?

If you suspect/know a student in your class is sick (or you become sick), report that info (e.g., class and room; not the person’s name) to Dean Gittleman. Notifications of positive COVID-19 cases will be reported to the University Health Center and the Georgia Department of Public Health. The DPH will follow up with contact tracing and will reach out to individuals who are deemed to have encountered exposure sufficient to warrant further action.

A campus wide COVID-19 reporting tool is currently being developed and will be used to inform all related offices and teams for reporting COVID-19 related issues (e.g. reporting students diagnosed, informing Facilities Management Division about classroom sanitization etc.)

What if someone (student, faculty, postdoc, or staff) in my lab gets COVID-19? Will I be notified, and will I have to quarantine if that happens?

The Dean will notify the Odum School community following confirmed or highly suspected COVID-19 cases to inform those who may have been exposed. At no point in time should the affected person’s name be communicated. Quarantine will depend on follow up contact tracing enacted by the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

A campus wide COVID-19 reporting tool is currently being developed and will be used to inform all related offices and teams for reporting COVID-19 related issues (e.g. reporting students diagnosed, informing Facilities Management Division about classroom sanitization etc.)

Will professors and students still be conducting research on campus?

Yes, faculty PIs must submit a Resumption of Research Plan (RRP) and have this approved by the Dean to resume research activity. RRPs appear to be required for any research conducted on campus, including reading, computer simulations, and data analyses as well as bench activities (and for many off campus activities). Students who are named on an RRP are permitted to engage in research, so make sure that your presence and activities are covered by your advisor’s RRP. Social distancing and other safety measures must be taken to lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission. This will limit the number of individuals permitted in lab and office spaces during the fall semester.

 After phase 3 starts, do I still need permission/RRP to do research? Or can I conduct my research so long as I wear a mask and social distance when possible?

An approved RRP is required to participate in research during phases 1, 2 and 3.  PIs who have RRPs approved for Phases 1 and 2 can carry those over to Phase 3 (no need to submit a new RRP unless personnel or other parameters change).

Do I still need special permission to make purchases of research materials?

Yes, Dean’s approval is required to make purchases for research materials or other costs until further notice.

When can I be in my lab or office?

 Students, faculty and staff can occupy individual office areas provided that social distancing guidelines are met. Occupants must allow 6’ distance and wear face masks when indoors. Google or other group calendars can be used to schedule space use to allow for social distancing. Occupying lab spaces to conduct research requires individuals to be named on an approved RRP.

Can I conduct field research?

Yes, provided that the field research is covered by an approved RRP.

How will travel work?

A Travel Authority for all travel is required (in-state and out-of-state). Research-related travel should be approved via an RRP under the current OVPR guidelines. The RRP approving the research should be included with the Travel Authority request. Travelers from an area of significant activity (“hot spot”) will be required to quarantine upon return to campus according to CDC guidelines. Regardless if your travel is research-related or not, please obtain the Dean’s approval to spend university funds for travel until further notice.

Can I be in the student lounge? 

The student lounge can accommodate seven people at a time. The furniture has been rearranged to promote social distancing, and masks must be worn while in the lounge.

image of ecology lounge

Will we still have Waffle Wednesday?

There will be no in person waffle Wednesdays, but stay tuned for information about an alternative and other opportunities for interactions with fellow students. An email will be sent at the beginning of the semester with a list of ecology clubs that will host virtual activities throughout the semester.

Will there be coffee hour? Social events? Pizza lunches?

All departmental social events like coffee hour will be virtual.

Will there be Ecology Seminars? 

Yes, the Departmental seminars are going virtual. There will be no receptions following seminars. Meetings with seminar speakers will be virtual. If students are interested, we will host a virtual group lunch meeting with graduate students and speakers when schedules and other logistics allow.

How will undergraduate advising work?

Advising will be done both in person and remotely. Undergraduates can make appointments via SAGE for advising or professional development with Misha Boyd and Amanda Rugenski.

How do I set up a meeting with the Graduate Coordinator or Graduate Advisor?

Please contact Craig Osenberg or Julie Escobedo Gunby via email to set up a meeting (Zoom or phone call) or to ask any questions.