As the Georgia Tech community prepares to phase in a return to in-person teaching, learning, and working, we will keep you up to date on safety guidelines and information leading up to the start of the fall semester.
The coronavirus continues to affect communities across the country, even as we look ahead to the promise of a vaccine in the coming months. In order to have a successful spring semester during an evolving public health crisis, the Georgia Tech community must be focused and committed to staying as safe as possible when we return to campus. We learned a lot of valuable lessons in the fall. Now it’s time to put those lessons to use, and to rise to the challenge again — together.
When you return to campus: Test. Mask. Distance.
- Test twice. All students should participate in surveillance testing as soon as possible once they arrive on campus, and then 3 to 5 days after arrival. Testing sites will be open every day campus is open, with increased hours beginning Jan. 11. Check hours and locations.
- Keep your distance. Avoid close contact with others, including roommates, for 7 days after arrival. Note that the CDC recommends that you stay isolated for the full 7 days, even if your test results are negative, and to self-isolate for 10 days if you cannot get tested.
- Take precautions. After arriving on campus, maintain social distance, avoid group gatherings, and wear a face covering at all times when around others, including small friend groups.
- Previously positive, test again. Anyone who had Covid-19 early in the fall semester will be outside of the three-month window of relative protection, and should follow all of the recommendations for reducing the chance of exposure to Covid-19, including regular testing, wearing a face covering, social distancing, avoiding group gatherings, and handwashing.
To minimize the health risk to our community due to travel-related transmission, there will not be a weeklong Spring Break, and the first day of classes has been delayed to Thursday, Jan. 14. To allow students the opportunity for a mid-semester break from instruction, no classes will be held (also no assignments or assessments due) on Tuesday, March 16, and Wednesday, March 24. The dates of final exams have not been changed. Students will have the same number of instructional days as a typical academic semester and as required by accreditation norms.
The key dates of the Spring 2021 academic calendar are:
- Thursday, Jan. 14: Classes begin
- Monday, Jan. 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day (national holiday)
- Tuesday, March 16: No classes, assignments, or assessments
- Wednesday, March 24: No classes, assignments, or assessments
- Monday, April 26 – Tuesday, April 27: Final instructional class days
- Thursday, April 29 – Thursday, May 6: Final exams
This helpful graphic will provide instructors with direction for how to proceed when students report that they have tested positive, have symptoms, or have been exposed to someone who has Covid-19. Please encourage your students to contact you if they are a contact, symptomatic, or test positive so you will know if they need accommodations.
Georgia Tech is now offering campuswide Covid-19 testing for both asymptomatic and symptomatic students, faculty, and staff. This includes surveillance testing that will allow the Institute to test as many as 1,500 asymptomatic members of the campus community per day; diagnostic testing options for symptomatic students, faculty, and staff; and contact tracing and notification. All tests are free of charge.
For the Fall 2020 semester, the Institute has released guidelines for undergraduate research in laboratory spaces controlled by individual principal investigators (PIs):
- If the research can be performed remotely, it should be.
- Undergraduate researchers should be those who are already familiar with lab operations and infrastructure, including core facilities. Exceptions should be rare and under conditions of appropriate supervision, low density of personnel, and maintaining appropriate physical distancing and PPE requirements. Undergraduate training on core facilities is at the discretion of the facility staff and with approval of the PI. Undergraduate training within a PI’s lab is at the discretion of the PI, requires the consent of the trainer, and adheres to all campus and EHS safety guidelines.
- Undergraduate researchers count towards a PI’s lab occupancy with respect to the currently allowed level of research intensity on campus.
- Priority should be given to those who are completing a senior thesis or those with similar deadlines that impact academic progress.
- Student must be enrolled in research for credit or a paid student employee (including research fellowships, such as PURA). Exceptions (i.e. volunteers) must be approved by the School.
- The PI must have a plan to accommodate undergraduate researchers receiving course credit in the event that undergraduates have to revert to working remotely.
- Undergraduate researchers require the same “back to the lab” COVID-19 on-boarding as all existing researchers and must adhere to all lab safety and campus-wide PPE requirements.
Fall 2020 courses will be held in one of five delivery modes, from a traditional format (in cases where physical distancing is a viable option) to a variety of hybrid options that leverage online technology. Georgia Tech will prioritize certain classes for in-person delivery: lab classes, group project classes, senior design classes, small discussion classes, and classes that require interaction with physical projects and equipment in most or all sessions.
Cloth face coverings are important in preventing transmission from asymptomatic individuals who have Covid-19.
Effective July 15, 2020, University System of Georgia (USG) institutions will require all faculty, staff, students, and visitors to wear an appropriate face covering while inside campus facilities/buildings where six feet social distancing may not always be possible. Face covering use will be in addition to, and is not a substitute for, social distancing.
Anyone not using a face covering when required will be asked to wear one or must leave the area. Repeated refusal to comply with the requirement may result in discipline through the applicable conduct code for faculty, staff, or students. Reasonable accommodations may be made for those who are unable to wear a face covering for documented health reasons.
Effective July 13, Georgia Tech's Research Ramp-up is in Phase 2. This allows up to 50 percent of research personnel to get back to their laboratories subject to the continued ability to maintain recommended physical distancing. Researchers should come to campus only to conduct research activities that cannot be completed elsewhere. All other work should be completed remotely, and researchers should not come to campus to perform work that can be completed off-site. For researchers working in laboratories, all lab safety protocols must be followed. This includes all traditional lab safety protocols, as well as recent Covid-19 lab safety protocols that have been in place since March. Additionally, responsible faculty and lab managers must implement protocols for the following:
- Social distancing while researchers are working in lab or field settings
- Personal protective equipment (PPE), including face masks
- Lab cleaning protocols
- Requirements for personnel density in the lab (maximum of 1 person per 150 square feet of lab space). It is necessary that all PIs create work schedules to ensure their research labs work on schedules that will not exceed the space requirements, which will likely require rotation of working hours and/or days of the week.
The undergraduate advising staff will process permits, forms and petitions and conduct telephone and video-conference advising via BlueJeans. Students may also enroll in an advising course on Canvas to see announcements, make appointments, and communicate with advisors. To reach advisors:
You may also send general inquiries to email@example.com.
If you would like schedule an appointment to speak with Professor Kevin Haas (Associate Chair for Undergraduate Programs) | firstname.lastname@example.org.
The graduate studies staff can answer any questions about graduate program matters, process forms and petitions and conduct telephone and video-advising (via BlueJeans). Here are the contacts, and please feel free to reach out.
If you would like schedule an appointment to speak with Professor John Taylor (Associate Chair for Graduate Programs and Research Innovation) | email@example.com
Students with upcoming thesis defenses and proposals can continue these activities in remote form.
Guidance for Graduate Education | grad.gatech.edu/covid19
CEE IT, Computer Access, Hardware and Support Matters | firstname.lastname@example.org
Research Lab and Equipment Matters | email@example.com
CEE Building Access and Safety Matters | intranet.ce.gatech.edu/building-support
Other Georgia Tech Resources
Emergency Matters of Any Type: Georgia Tech Police | 404.894.2500
Stamps Health Services | 404.894.1420