The most current status updates from around Georgia Tech.
April 22, 2022 — Revised Mask Guidance for Campus Transportation Services
In light of the April 18, 2022, U.S. District Court decision and the subsequent decisions by major transportation providers to no longer require masks on public transit, the University System of Georgia will no longer require use of masks on campus transportation.
- January 10, 2022 — Additional Symptomatic Covid-19 Testing Available for Students, Faculty, and Staff
Starting Wednesday, Jan. 12, Georgia Tech will offer a drive-thru, symptomatic Covid-19 diagnostic testing site to address the immediate testing needs for students, faculty, and staff.
Located at the parking deck behind the Engineered Biosystems Building (EBB), the new drive-thru site provides saliva-based test kits that are sent directly to diagnostic testing. While no appointments are required, symptomatic individuals will need to register in mytest.gatech.edu as usual and show their barcode when visiting the site.
Symptomatic Diagnostic Testing Details
- Available to: Any symptomatic Georgia Tech faculty and staff, as well as symptomatic students who are unable to make an appointment at Stamps. Please note that asymptomatic students and employees may continue to test at any campus surveillance site.
- Location: Parking Deck W23, deck located behind EBB, 950 Atlantic Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30332 (Near State St. just south of 10th St.)
- Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Appointments: No appointments needed
- Process: Testers will enter the deck, register, and be able to pull into a parking spot to take the test from the privacy of their vehicle. Testers will then exit the parking deck, leaving their sample and any waste in appropriate bins placed at the exit. Staff will be available in case of any questions during the testing process.
- January 6, 2022 — Spring Return to Campus
Welcome back and Happy New Year!
Thank you for all the work in preparing for the return of students to campus as we resume in-person instruction on Monday, Jan. 10.
I wish I didn’t have to start my first message of the year like this, but, as you well know, once again we are beginning a semester amid a Covid-19 spike. I realize that, for many, this continues to feel concerning and at times, overwhelming. Over the last few days, we have received many questions from members of our community about our plans for the spring semester and I write to share some perspective about what to expect.
The reality is that it wasn’t easy the last three semesters and it won’t be easy this semester either. But our experience over the past two years has shown that the preparations we’ve made, together with high compliance in wearing masks indoors, a high rate of vaccination, and a community pulling together have made it possible for us to deliver a quality and safe in-person experience to our students, much better than the hybrid mode that dominated early in the pandemic, and much more aligned with the transformative learning for which we are known and that our students expect. Over the past two years we have learned just how important this in-person experience is to the growth of our students, and we have learned to deliver it safely.
The omicron variant is indeed more transmissible than prior variants and it is reasonable to expect a large number of cases in our community over the coming weeks. Fortunately, the vaccines at our disposal have proven very effective at preventing serious illness. And our accumulated experience, a better scientific understanding of the virus, and our own data put us in a robust position to successfully navigate this new phase of the pandemic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH), the same precautions that helped us deliver in-person instruction and sustain core student services before (wearing masks indoors, testing regularly, and full vaccination), are effective against the omicron variant as well, both in terms of reducing transmission and preventing severe illness. Our own data show how Covid-19 transmission occurs mostly in social settings, not in classrooms and laboratories. We need to therefore redouble our efforts to ensure that our classrooms continue to remain safe and to encourage students to socialize safely.
Given the increased transmissibility of the omicron variant, we need to be even more diligent in practicing the protective behaviors that have served us well thus far. So, I am personally asking everyone to do the following:
- Commit 100% to wearing a well-fitting mask while in class or other indoor group settings.
- Test immediately when you return to campus and at least weekly thereafter.
- Get fully vaccinated, including a booster shot (reach out to Stamps Health Services or your own health care provider if you still have questions about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine).
- Socialize outdoors whenever possible and find creative ways to de-densify events.
I can’t require you to do these things, but I ask you and I count on you to do your part, just as I know you will ask and count on one another to do the same — for your protection and for the protection of everyone around you.
The Covid-19 Task Force continues to work to enhance health and safety protocols guided by our data and experience. These enhancements include wider availability of masks in classrooms and laboratories (including KN95 masks for instructors and other cases), additional air scrubbers and air quality monitoring, expansion of symptomatic and asymptomatic testing capacity on campus, and new isolation and quarantine protocols in line with recent guidance from the CDC.
Everyone – students, faculty, and staff – should complete the Daily Self-Check protocol. If you have any of the symptoms on the checklist, stay home. Students should reach out to their professors or lab directors, and faculty and staff should work with their supervisors and school chairs to adjust schedules or delivery formats due to illness or exposure. Faculty and staff should also reach out to their supervisors about other Covid-19-related challenges and personal circumstances that might affect their ability to work on campus.
Most important as we continue to navigate this uncertain and challenging time is that we do what we do best as a community: treat one another with empathy, compassion, and respect, and be creative and resourceful to find ways to support one another. One of the things that has given me great pride in our community throughout this pandemic has been our ability to empathize with each other, support each other, and look out for each other’s health and well-being. We must continue to engage in that way, Jackets Protecting Jackets, as we face this latest pandemic challenge together.
- January 3, 2022 — Looking Toward Spring Semester
Georgia Tech reopens Tuesday after the holiday break that began on Monday, Dec. 27. As students, faculty, and staff return, there have been questions about how the recent increase in Covid-19 cases nationally and locally will affect campus operations.
The GT Covid-19 Recovery Task Force has been monitoring the state of public health in our community throughout the break. According to public health officials, the increase in Covid-19 cases nationwide has been primarily caused by the omicron variant of Covid-19.
Vaccination, wearing face coverings, and regular surveillance testing have allowed our community to operate safely for the past two years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), these same precautions slow the spread of the omicron variant and significantly reduce severity of illness.
What we know about omicron from the CDC and our own public health experts at Georgia Tech is vaccinated individuals, particularly those who have received booster doses of the vaccine, are much less likely to become seriously ill. In addition, wearing well-fitting face coverings with good filtration, even if you are fully vaccinated, and participating in regular surveillance testing is a strong defense against virus transmission.
Georgia Tech has a world-class, free surveillance testing program on campus and offers campus vaccine clinics. All students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to get fully vaccinated and get the booster dose as well. To find a vaccination site before campus vaccine clinics resume this month, visit vaccines.gov. We also recommend each person test on campus upon return. Campus testing sites will reopen at full capacity on Jan. 4 to accommodate those returning to campus, or you can find an alternate testing site.
The GT Recovery Task Force has been monitoring air quality in classrooms throughout the pandemic. With the addition of air purifiers in each classroom in August 2021, we have seen very positive results with recent reports showing that the air purifiers significantly reduce particulate matter during class times.
In addition, we encourage everyone to wear well-fitting face coverings while inside campus buildings and to only participate in social activities that encourage safe practices such as masking and good ventilation. We also encourage social events be held outdoors when feasible.
The Georgia Tech community has been very fortunate to maintain a healthy, vibrant academic and campus environment throughout the pandemic by taking these simple precautions and following testing and vaccine protocols. It’s the spirit of Jackets Moving Forward — every member of our community focusing on individual health and safety while also looking out for each other. We are confident that same focus will allow us to continue safe operations in 2022 despite the emergence of the omicron variant.