Message from the President – April 10, 2020
We are now two weeks into our new fully online environment and I want to thank you for adapting, innovating, and connecting during these challenging times. Thank you also for supporting your professors as they work to provide you with a meaningful educational experience to close out this semester. As I said in my video message last week, I am inspired and encouraged by you! THANK YOU!
I wanted to let you know that the university’s leadership continues to meet daily to update each other, resolve issues, develop and implement response strategies, and provide real-time information. In each of those meetings, we ask what we are doing to help our students, and how we can help our students overcome any issues we have heard about.
I would like to share with you some important information and updates, as we know them today:
- Please make sure you are visiting the Online Learning Resources webpage for Faculty and Students at https://www.georgiasouthern.edu/online-learning-resources/. We have collected a wealth of information there to help you with this transition to online-only learning.
- The Governor’s Executive Orders on schools and shelter in place allows for continued access to remote education and maintaining minimal operations for students. At this point, it does not directly impact our current status or delivery of online instruction at Georgia Southern. Students are permitted to travel as necessary to engage in distance learning. It may be advantageous to you to keep your student ID with you.
- As you know, May and summer semester terms will be delivered online. This could present a great opportunity for our students to catch up or make great academic progress. We are working to update our course offerings with a goal of providing a full slate of opportunities for our students to continue their progress toward their degrees.
- Student refunds will be processed this week and should all be issued by the end of today (April 10). The combined refunds of housing, dining and fees will return more than $11 million to our students. We know how important it is to get these funds back into the hands of our students during this time.
- Operation Move-out was an emotionally difficult process, but operationally very successful as we quietly and quickly moved out more than 4,500 students from our residence halls. We have approximately 200 students remaining in housing. We are taking special care to accommodate social distancing and access to meals for those students remaining in housing. I want to thank the housing staff and volunteers for their incredible work in this effort.
- For those students still in housing, or who live nearby and are having trouble making ends meet right now, we have been stocking up our student food pantries in Savannah and in Statesboro. Look for more information soon on how to take advantage of these resources.
- Our Health Services, led by Dr. Brian DeLoach, continue to operate on both campuses screening students and providing testing if necessary. Additionally, our Counseling Center, led by Dr. Jodi K. Caldwell, is contacting clients and transitioning operations to telemental health.
- We have provided FAQs and MyHelp options to ensure our faculty, staff, and students are getting the answers they need — please keep the questions coming!
- Spring Commencement plans continue with different opportunities to engage our students. We are working on virtual ceremonies for each college on May 8 and 9 (graduating students need to provide their information through MyGS by April 10); we are scheduling a face-to-face ceremony at a date yet-to-be announced for late summer; and we are inviting graduates to walk at the fall commencement ceremony in December if they cannot participate in the rescheduled in-person ceremony. Details can be found at www.GeorgiaSouthern.edu/commencement. I do want to acknowledge the entire team that has been producing the virtual ceremony…it’s going to be really cool!
- We continue to monitor and interpret the guidelines of the Federal Stimulus packages, specifically the CARES Act funding, to help our students impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak. More information will be provided in the coming weeks.
Mostly, I want you all to know and acknowledge to each other that it’s okay to feel uneasy, unsure, and even a little disheartened. Personally, I miss you all so much…I’m a people person and I miss the face-to-face interaction with our students who bring our campuses to life.
I have no doubt Georgia Southern will be stronger and certainly more innovative as a result of this event. Our students and our communities depend on us! It will be our innovation, sustainability and dependability that will guide the economic recovery and future beyond COVID-19. Education will always be relevant but we must be ready to adapt, and I am the most proud of our adaptability accomplishments to date.
Please continue take the time to care for each other, support each other, and follow all health safety guidance. Remember, it is our people (you, our students), that make Georgia Southern great! So, take care of yourself! We need each other!
Last updated: 4/14/2020