The University of West Georgia is preparing for the full return of students, faculty and staff to campus in August for in-person instruction for the Fall 2020 semester.
UWG continues to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Georgia Department of Public Health and the University System of Georgia to comply with directives and guidelines to safeguard students, faculty, staff and visitors and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 on its campus, according to a release from the school.
“While online instruction is effective and important to maintain as an option for our students, we know the value of an in-person higher education experience, and it is important to see our students continue to grow in that environment beginning in August,” said Dr. Brendan Kelly, president of UWG, in a video address to the campus community.
Beginning June 15, UWG faculty and staff began a phased return to on-campus operations to prepare for the full reopening in August. UWG utilized seven working groups made up of cross-functional personnel to develop this approach, and these teams continue to work collaboratively to begin implementing the plan across the university.
Due to the fluidity of the COVID-19 pandemic, plans are subject to change, and UWG has developed contingency plans should it be necessary to shift back to remote delivery of instruction at any point during the semester. The full plan can be accessed on UWG’s website www.westga.edu .
“This fall, our campus will open to students, faculty, staff and the communities we serve as the vibrant, welcoming place that invites everyone to learn, grow and become,” Kelly said. “We are taking steps in this phased return to campus to make sure we are ready to offer that experience to our students in a fashion that promotes health and safety.”
Students, faculty and staff will be expected to follow the best practices recommended by state public health officials and the CDC to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to include:
- Monitor their health every day to report relevant information and whether they are exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19;
- Follow physical distancing guidelines; and
- Clean and disinfect shared and personal spaces.
Additionally, everyone is strongly encouraged to wear a cloth face covering over their mouth and nose in appropriate settings on campus.
The new guidelines will affect nearly all areas of campus life – from academics to social activities – and more details will be published soon on the UWG website. The university will balance the interactions that make a residential campus like UWG so valuable with a priority of creating a safe environment, according to the release.
“Our goal with all of the protocols we’re implementing is to build a culture of mutual respect for each other as we return to campus,” Kelly said. “We are so excited to be able to offer a full, dynamic experience to our students this fall in the safest, most considerate ways possible.”