Covid-19 Institute Operations Updates

Tech Tower and the Atlanta horizon

 

Latest Update


March 5 — Survey Regarding Expanded Vaccine Eligibility 

 
To the Georgia Tech Community,
 
Based on last week’s announcement from Governor Brian Kemp, Georgia Tech is preparing to expand Covid-19 vaccine eligibility for our community members beginning Monday, March 8.
 
On that date, the following new groups will be eligible:
  • Educators and staff for Pre-K, K-12, Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) licensed or exempt childcare programs.
  • Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers.
    • An intellectual disability is a disability characterized by significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior, which covers many everyday social and practical skills. This disability originates before the age of 22.
    • A developmental disability is a physical or mental impairment that happens before the age of 22, is expected to last a lifetime, and affects at least three activities of daily living. Activities of daily living include self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, and economic self-sufficiency.
  • Parents of children with complex medical conditions who are at high risk for Covid-19 complications.
    • Malignancies requiring active treatment
    • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) including organ transplant (bone marrow or solid organ) within two years
    • Critical congenital heart disease
    • Asthma (moderate to severe)
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Diabetes
    • Obesity (BMI >95%)
    • Cystic fibrosis
    • Significant neurologic injury or condition (e.g. hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, traumatic brain injury, congenital anomaly, acute flaccid myelitis) with functional/developmental impairment (e.g. cerebral palsy, developmental disability, prematurity, mitochondrial disease)
    • Technology dependence (e.g. BiPAP, trach)
Georgia Tech is committed to working to ensure that everyone in our community who is eligible for a vaccine has the opportunity to receive it.
 
To help identify individuals in our community who meet the new criteria, we have created a short survey that we are asking everyone to complete.

Information gathered will be used to enable eligible individuals to schedule an appointment for a Covid-19 vaccination. Appointments for newly eligible individuals will be available starting next week.
 
We know you have questions, many of which are addressed at health.gatech.edu/coronavirus/vaccine/faq. For more information on Covid-19 vaccines at Georgia Tech, visit health.gatech.edu/coronavirus/vaccine.

 

 

 

Recent Updates 
 

March 1, 2021 — Looking Ahead to Fall 2021 
Members of the Georgia Tech Community:

I would like to share with you our plans to return to campus with full operations and a complete residential experience for our students this fall. This year hasn’t been easy on any count, but thanks to the dedication, ingenuity, compassion, and commitment of every member of our community, we were able to deliver a successful semester this past fall, and we are well on our way to doing the same this spring.

As Covid-19 vaccines continue to roll out to members of our community over the coming months, fewer public health restrictions will likely be needed for universities and workplaces, and we anticipate, by the beginning of the fall semester, being able to once again have full dorms and classrooms, fully productive labs, and the rich campus experiences that students have come to expect of us.

Like we have done in the past 12 months, we will continue to observe public health guidance from the University System of Georgia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Georgia Department of Public Health, and we will leverage the unique scientific knowledge of our faculty and the expertise of our staff to make sure everyone is safe while we deliver on our important mission.

For the time being, it is critical that we continue to test, mask, distance, and socialize outdoors. Georgia Tech’s comprehensive approach is working. Evidence from the fall semester indicates the virus did not spread in classrooms or labs, and that workplace transmission was very limited. These encouraging trends have held through the spring. We continue to sustain a positivity rate below 1% in our surveillance tests, and we have not detected any transmission in classrooms or other academic environments.

Our vaccine rollout also continues, and, as an official state distribution point, we will release information about the timing of future phases so more members of this community can be vaccinated. The new vaccines have demonstrated to be safe and extraordinarily effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death. And there’s growing evidence that they may reduce transmission of the disease to others too. I am planning to take whatever vaccine is offered to me, and I encourage you to do the same.

This past year has tested us in countless ways. But this community has stepped up time and time again and has showed its eagerness to solve problems and find a path forward. I’m incredibly grateful to all of you — students, faculty, and staff, but also alumni and friends who’ve supported us. I know it hasn’t been easy, but the lessons we’ve learned over the past year mean that we know more than ever about what we’re up against and how we can safely push forward. Innovation, collaboration, reliance on science, care for one another, transparent communications, and a focus on well-being have been our most effective weapons and will continue to be critical.

As we prepare for a return to full campus operations, please know that we will continue to listen to and engage all constituencies. We want to hear from you. I encourage you to participate in the listening sessions and surveys now open for feedback.

More details will be available in the coming weeks.

Thank you again!
Sincerely,

—Ángel

Jan 12, 2021 — Covid-19 Vaccine Availability to the Campus Community

To the Georgia Tech Campus Community:

Earlier today, Georgia Tech received its first allotment of Covid-19 vaccine: 975 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine and 200 doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine. Campus medical professionals will begin administering vaccinations to campus community members in Phase 1A+ immediately.

As we shared last week, Georgia Tech is working in coordination with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), which oversees the planning and distribution of vaccines. A cross-functional working group of staff and faculty has been established to plan the administration of vaccines for our campus.

This group is currently focusing its efforts on rapid distribution of vaccines under Phase 1A+ and working on plans to ramp up for additional phases, which will include faculty, staff, and students according to guidance from the DPH.  

Currently, we are in the initial phase of vaccine distribution. This includes:

  • Stamps Health Services staff
  • CARE staff and Counseling Center staff
  • Health Initiatives victim advocates and nutritionists
  • GTPD staff
  • Covid-19 surveillance testing personnel
  • Athletic Association medical staff and trainers
  • Those who are 65 years of age or older 

Notifications on how and when to register for a vaccine appointment will be sent directly to members of these groups. Additional groups will be notified of their eligibility upon completion of the previous phase.   

We thank you for your patience. This is an evolving process, and we will continue to keep the Georgia Tech community updated as additional information becomes available. In the meantime, please continue to test, mask, and distance. Handwashing is important too!

View frequently asked questions about the Covid-19 vaccine. For more information on the coronavirus, please visit the Tech Moving Forward website

January 8, 2021 - Faculty and Staff: Looking Ahead to Spring Semester

To Georgia Tech Faculty and Staff,

The start of the spring semester is right around the corner, and we want to take this moment to talk about what each of us can do to be as safe as possible, both on and off campus.
 
If you are returning to campus, it is important for you to participate in asymptomatic surveillance testing on campus. You should get tested as soon as possible once you arrive, and then again within 3-5 days. Georgia Tech will be increasing the number and hours of testing sites this semester, so be sure to get back into the routine of testing weekly. In addition, please complete the daily self-checklist before coming to campus each day.
 
Along with testing, we encourage you to continue the other practices that help slow the spread of the coronavirus: wear a face covering, maintain social distance and avoid gatherings, and wash your hands. Stick to it. Make these healthy practices a part of your regular routine.
 
As we announced earlier this week, Georgia Tech will soon be serving as a vaccine distribution point for students, faculty, and staff. While we wait for the phases of vaccinations to be carried out on campus, the very best thing we can do is what we’ve been doing all along during this long, difficult public health crisis: Test. Mask. Distance. It works.
 
We know how tough this has been. We are grateful to you for your resilience, your strength, and your ability to adapt to changing circumstances. The spring — and beyond — holds great promise. There is reason to look forward to a day when the pandemic will end. Until then, let’s keep doing everything we can to protect ourselves and our fellow Jackets.
January 7, 2021 - Vaccine Availability

With a new year ahead of us, many are anxious to learn about the availability of a coronavirus vaccine for the Georgia Tech community.

Georgia Tech has agreed to be a vaccine distribution point for our campus community of faculty, staff, and students and is awaiting the arrival of an initial batch of vaccines under Phase 1A, which prioritizes vaccinations for healthcare workers, long-term care residents, and (as of December 30) adults ages 65 and older.

We are working actively with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), which oversees the planning and distribution of vaccines.

A cross-functional working group of staff and faculty has been established to plan the administration of vaccines for our campus. We are currently prepared to rapidly distribute any vaccines we receive under Phase 1A and working on plans to ramp up for additional phases, which would include faculty, staff, and students based on guidance from the DPH.

The promise of a vaccine in early 2021 is exciting, and we will keep the Georgia Tech community updated as soon as next steps become clearer. In the meantime, please continue to test, mask, and distance. Handwashing is important too! You are also encouraged to get your seasonal flu shot if you haven’t done so. Information on flu shots may be found at health.gatech.edu/additional/flu.

For more information on the coronavirus visit the Tech Moving Forward website, health.gatech.edu/tech-moving-forward.

December 28, 2020 - Returning to Campus Safely for Spring Semester

To the Georgia Tech Community:

We hope you are enjoying a safe and fun holiday season, even though it might look a lot different than in years past. But with 2021 right around the corner and vaccines beginning to be deployed around the country, there is reason for hope.

We are not there yet. Until a vaccine is widely available at Georgia Tech, we want to remind you that it will take a united effort to ensure a safe return to campus in January and a successful spring semester. And we want to ask you to do your part over the next couple of weeks to protect yourself and your loved ones while you are away, and bring those practices with you when you come back to Tech.

Continue to practice social distancing, wear your face covering, and avoid gatherings, especially in higher risk settings such as restaurants, bars, and confined indoor spaces. During the week before you return, limit your interactions with people to those in your household.

When planning your return, whether you’re flying domestically or internationally, be sure to check your airline’s requirements for documenting a recent negative test result. You will need to find a test site in your area. Georgia Tech does not provide return travel testing, but we encourage you to plan ahead to avoid travel delays. Whether flying or driving, you should get tested 1-3 days before you depart for campus.

Once you’re here, get ready to jump back into the routine we shared in the fall: Test. Mask. Distance.

  • Please plan to participate in surveillance testing on campus as soon as possible once you arrive, and then 3-5 days after arrival. After that, regular weekly testing is encouraged.
  • Don’t forget your face covering! Be sure to wear one at all times when you’re around other people, including small friend groups.
  • Avoid close contact with others or self-isolate for 7 days after you arrive — and continue to maintain social distance and avoid gatherings after that first week.
  • Stick to it. Make healthy practices a part of your regular routine.

We know this might seem like a lot to ask. But we also know that these guidelines work. And we won’t have to follow them forever, but as a community we will only succeed if we can work together and stay committed to protecting ourselves and our fellow Jackets. Enjoy the rest of your break. We look forward to welcoming you back to campus.

Find more detailed information about planning your safe return to campus.

November 22, 2020 - A Message of Gratitude From President Cabrera

As Georgia Tech students, faculty, and staff pause for the Thanksgiving break, President Cabrera shares a message of gratitude — reflecting on the successes and challenges of the fall semester and looking ahead to the spring.

November 11, 2020 - Going Home Healthy

To the Georgia Tech Community:

The final instructional days of the fall semester, Nov. 23 and 24, will be here before you know it. There is a lot to prepare for — final exams, projects, and wrapping up what has been for all of us a challenging, and at times just plain unusual, semester.

But we’ve made it this far. And we’ve done it together. Now, as you make your plans for the Thanksgiving holiday and for an extended period away from campus, we remind you to stay vigilant in the coming days: Test. Mask. Distance. Don’t just do it for yourselves. Do it for your family, friends, and loved ones you may be spending time with during the break.

It is so important to lower your risk of exposure during these last weeks of the semester. Now is the time to reduce the number of people in your circle of contacts and to reduce the frequency of contact with them; to avoid gathering in groups; and to wear a mask whenever you are in the presence of others, even close friends. It’s time to redouble our efforts to be as safe as possible.

Before you leave, have a plan. Get tested 7-10 days before the break, and again 1-2 days before heading home. If you’re flying, you may need to provide documentation showing a recent negative Covid-19 test. Our surveillance testing is not diagnostic, and cannot be used for travel certification. Testing for travel will be available on campus using Vault kits. Find out what you need to know about travel testing.

We encourage you to bring home with you the positive health and safety practices you’ve been following here in our Georgia Tech “bubble” for the past few months. Maintain all of those practices that will help keep you and those you love as safe as possible over the holidays.

We want you to thrive, to finish the semester successfully, and to prioritize your well-being during less than ideal circumstances — whether you’re on campus or back home. We will continue to provide updates, resources, and regular communications surrounding Covid-19.

Find more detailed guidance on planning for a safe and healthy end of the semester and winter break.

November 9, 2020 - Finishing Strong, and Healthy

Members of the Georgia Tech Community,

As we near the end of the semester, I need to bring to your attention an increase in Covid-19 cases on campus.

This weekend, the seven-day moving average of daily reported cases surpassed 14 for the first time since September 9. There has also been a steady increase in positivity in our surveillance testing program, with the seven-day moving average reaching 0.77% as of November 8, a level we had not seen since September 7. While the average rate of positivity is still under 1%, it has increased steadily over the past few days. For context, the seven-day moving average was just 0.35% on November 1.

We must work together to stop the increase now. Health experts, including Dr. Benjamin Holton, senior director of Stamps Health Center, warn that much of this growth is driven by small student gatherings and interactions with people you might think are not at risk or who you believe follow more safety protocols than most. That false sense of security can lead to complacency. We’ve heard from many of you who have witnessed this on and around campus.

Even if you aren’t in a high-risk population, we know the virus spreads easily, can circulate quickly, and could lead to severe health problems. Most importantly, we want you to be able to finish this semester and return home or travel safely during the semester break, reducing any risk of spread to loved ones and people you may come in contact with.

There are simple ways to do this:

  • Practice distancing, wear face coverings when you are together, and wash your hands or sanitize often.
  • Spend time outdoors and meet others outdoors as much as possible.
  • Limit interactions with others in close quarters; get together with friends in larger spaces where you can spread out.
  • Do not participate in large gatherings without safety protocols in place.
  • Test weekly.
  • Quarantine if you feel you’ve been at risk of exposure.
  • Isolate immediately and participate in contact tracing if you’ve tested positive.
  • Continue all safety practices even if you’ve completed isolation after contracting Covid-19. This includes distancing, use of face coverings, and hygiene precautions.

I am so grateful to our community for banding together and getting us to this point. I urge you all to continue to stay the course so we can complete this semester successfully. Remember: Jackets protect Jackets.

—Ángel

October 28, 2020 — Spring Instruction Message for Students

Dear Georgia Tech Students:

Coming together as a community now is more important than ever. The pandemic continues to leave its mark on the personal, academic, and professional lives of each one of us, but the Georgia Tech community response has been tremendous. I am so thankful for the resiliency and spirit of our community this semester. Faculty developed innovative approaches to instruction, students demonstrated remarkable focus and flexibility, and our dedicated staff have continued to provide their critical support to our academic mission. The semester has been tough, but we know the campus community will continue to work together in the spirit of caring and collaboration.

Since the start of the pandemic, our own faculty and staff experts have been involved in all areas of our planning. Our campus surveillance testing program and contact tracing efforts, together with a consistent commitment to enhanced cleaning and community-wide use of face coverings and distancing practices on campus, have continued to keep transmission low throughout our community. The U.S. has seen a recent rise in cases, and as reported last week, we have also seen a small uptick in positive cases on campus. Persistence and a return to basics — Test. Mask. Distance. — are necessary to get us through the fall as safely as possible and will be key to all members of the Georgia Tech community going home for the holidays, healthy.

Spring Plan – Safely Increasing On-Campus Presence
Our efforts to keep our community safe this semester have inevitably reduced opportunities for social and academic face-to-face interaction. We have received feedback from students feeling at times isolated and missing a more engaged academic experience. We have learned much this semester about this disease and our ability to combat it, and our goal now must be to use that experience to safely improve our campus experience.

For spring, we believe we can safely increase on-campus presence and instruction, to include regular, prescheduled in-person meetings in hybrid courses. This plan is primarily guided by the following two principles: The physical, mental, and emotional well-being of every student, faculty, and staff member remains paramount and we will continue to keep instructional quality, academic progression, and quality of the student educational experience as critical to our mission.

This plan was developed in close coordination and consultation with students, faculty, staff, and members of academic leadership, including college deans and school chairs, among others, as well as feedback received from a student survey and focus groups conducted by the Academic Restart Task force. While we will increase personal engagement for our students, we will also maintain the necessary flexibility to balance health and safety with the pedagogical needs of each course.

Spring Plan – Course Modes and Key Dates
As in the current semester, classes will be offered in one of three modes — residential, hybrid, and remote. In all modes, instructors are asked to provide clear communication regarding course delivery and expectations. For the spring, however, we will take the opportunity to improve on the hybrid mode by substantially increasing the clarity of the in-person engagement that is expected within each offering.

We know this information is critical to help you select courses that best support your academic progression and allow you to make timely decisions around housing, travel, and other personal matters. For this reason, hybrid course instructors will clearly outline in-person expectations and be explicit about details regarding assessments, attendance expectations, and other pertinent course details. Note: attendance policies are set by individual instructors.

The primary components of our spring plan include a revised academic calendar and refined course delivery mode expectations that promote meaningful and regular face-to-face interactions for students with faculty, academic staff, and peers.

Student Accommodations
Students may request an accommodation through the Office of Disability Services (ODS) due to 1) presence of a condition as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or 2) identification as an individual at higher risk for Covid-19, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Visit the Campus Guidelines for more information about higher risk definitions and requesting an accommodation. Students already registered with ODS and approved for accommodations this fall term should contact ODS directly with any questions regarding their spring accommodations request.

International Students
Georgia Tech values and supports our international student community, and we know that current and newly admitted international students continue to face various issues related to travel restrictions or visa matters. The Office of International Education maintains several online resources, including virtual 1:1 advising sessions and FAQs, to assist in planning and decision-making and should be consulted with any detailed questions about a student’s specific immigration or visa situation. Visit the Office of International Education for more information.

Looking Ahead to Spring
Thanks to all of you who have shared your ideas and concerns, but also for your creativity and resourcefulness that have brought Georgia Tech’s unique character and problem-solving to our ongoing planning. We will continue to listen. As we approach the end of the semester, your instructors and advisors are ready to assist and support you in any way they can. Please know that if you need additional support, there are other student support services available through the CARE Center, Counseling Center, and Stamps Health Services. Above all, please take care of yourselves, your loved ones, and others during these challenging times.

Take care,
Steven McLaughlin, Provost
Georgia Institute of Technology

October 28, 2020 — Spring Instruction Message for Faculty and Staff

Dear Georgia Tech Faculty and Staff:

Coming together as a community now is more important than ever. The pandemic continues to leave its mark on the personal, academic, and professional lives of each one of us, but the Georgia Tech community response has been tremendous. I am so thankful for the resiliency and spirit of our community this semester. Faculty developed innovative approaches to instruction, students demonstrated remarkable focus and flexibility, and our dedicated staff have continued to provide their critical support to our academic mission. The semester has been tough, but we know the campus community will continue to work together in the spirit of caring and collaboration.

Since the start of the pandemic, our own faculty and staff experts have been involved in all areas of our planning. Our campus surveillance testing program and contact tracing efforts, together with a consistent commitment to enhanced cleaning and community-wide use of face coverings and distancing practices on campus, have continued to keep transmission low throughout our community. The U.S. has seen a recent rise in cases, and as reported last week, we have also seen a small uptick in positive cases on campus. Persistence and a return to basics — Test. Mask. Distance. — are necessary to get us through the fall as safely as possible and will be key to all members of the Georgia Tech community going home for the holidays, healthy.

Spring Plan – Safely Increasing On-Campus Presence
Our efforts to keep our community safe this semester have inevitably reduced opportunities for social and academic face-to-face interaction. We have received feedback from students feeling at times isolated and missing a more engaged academic experience. We have learned much this semester about this disease and our ability to combat it, and our goal now must be to use that experience to safely improve our campus experience.

For spring, we believe we can safely increase on-campus presence and instruction, to include regular, prescheduled in-person meetings in hybrid courses. This plan is primarily guided by the following two principles: The physical, mental, and emotional well-being of every student, faculty, and staff member remains paramount and we will continue to keep instructional quality, academic progression, and quality of the student educational experience as critical to our mission.

This plan was developed in close coordination and consultation with students, faculty, staff, and members of academic leadership, including college deans and school chairs, among others. While we will increase personal engagement for our students, we will also maintain the necessary flexibility to balance health and safety with the pedagogical needs of each course.

What We’ve Learned
As we prepare for the spring semester, we want to build on what is working well and use what we have learned this fall to make improvements where needed. This fall, we gathered more than 6,000 student survey responses and talked to more than 200 students, faculty, and teaching assistants (TA) through listening sessions. Among the highlights, and a true testament to Georgia Tech’s outstanding faculty and academic staff, the data revealed that on average nine out of 10 student survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that their instructors have been empathetic and flexible with them during the pandemic. Some of the feedback was not as positive. Feedback showed us very clearly that students want more in-person experiences. We also heard various reports of difficulties around the hybrid model, including inconsistent personal engagement that left students feeling isolated, technology challenges associated with both synchronous and asynchronous delivery, and an increase in the amount of time needed to prepare and deliver courses. Read the student survey and focus groups summary report.

The community has provided us with many valuable insights. For example, the data suggest that short, pre-recorded asynchronous lecture content combined with opportunities for engagement in synchronous sessions works well. We know how widely academic disciplines can differ in their teaching approaches so we will coordinate teaching recommendations that are collated at the unit/program level. So, while our principles and goals are discipline-neutral, the ways that instructors will teach are particular to their disciplinary expertise to meet the unique needs of each course, the discipline, and student populations.

With this community feedback in mind, we will approach the spring course modes with the following goals:

  • Continue to be guided by the scientific evidence concerning the transmission and mitigation of the coronavirus, including recommended personal hygiene and physical distancing behaviors, consistent participation in surveillance testing, and appropriate preparedness and responsiveness to any positive cases within the Georgia Tech community.
  • Maximize the number of courses offered in residential and hybrid course modes.
  • For hybrid courses, increase the number of meaningful and regular interactions to provide students greater opportunity for personal engagement with faculty, academic staff, and peers.
  • Maximize synchronous interaction whenever possible, even when combined with asynchronous lecture content, and engage students in high-quality remote instruction when in-person or hybrid instruction is not possible.
  • Be clear and consistent in all our communication about course and attendance expectations.

Academic Calendar, Course Modes, and Instructional Support

The primary components of our spring plan include a revised academic calendar; refined course delivery mode expectations that promote meaningful and regular face-to-face interactions for students with faculty, academic staff, and peers; and additional resources to support faculty and academic staff. These plans are consistent with the expectations of the Board of Regents as specified in the resolution approved on Oct. 13, 2020. 

Course Modes

Similar to the fall, classes will be offered in one of three modes — residential, hybrid, and remote. In all modes, instructors are asked to provide clear communication regarding course delivery and expectations.

However, as we move forward into the spring, we do need to take the opportunity to improve on the hybrid mode by substantially increasing the clarity of the in-person engagement that is expected within each offering as determined by the instructor in consideration of the unique pedagogical needs of the classes. This information is critical to help students select courses that best support their academic progression and allow them to make timely decisions around housing, travel, and other personal matters.

For this reason, any hybrid course instructor should clearly outline in-person expectations and be explicit about the attendance policies in those courses. To accomplish this, the faculty and instructors are to provide as much detail as possible in the Course Descriptions Tool on or before Sunday, Nov. 1.

These expectations should also be clearly communicated in the course syllabus. Please note that the Institute's attendance policies have not changed, and following standard practice, instructors will set attendance policies for their respective courses.

Instructional Resources and Development Opportunities

Several resources are available to faculty, TAs, and instructional staff to support planning and instruction during the current semester and as they plan for spring. The Georgia Tech Remote and Hybrid Teaching Academy (GTRHTA) can help instructors prepare for teaching in remote or hybrid environments. The GTRHTA provides asynchronous, self-paced resources in a Canvas course. Synchronous, expert-led sessions are also available to complement these resources, providing opportunities for deeper interaction with instructors on a variety of approaches and technologies.

Faculty, TAs, and instructional staff are encouraged to access these resources to learn more about available information on technologies for synchronous and asynchronous delivery; increasing student-content, student-student, and student-instructor interaction; optional digital proctoring; electronic assessment tools; student feedback tools; and insights on teaching effectiveness. One-on-one consultations and technology assistance are also available through our experts in the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Center for 21st Century Universities, Georgia Tech Professional Education, and the Office of Information Technology.

More broadly, the Center for Teaching and Learning offers many resources on a wide range of issues around teaching and learning. Visit ctl.gatech.edu to find helpful information on special topics as well as professional development opportunities for faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and TAs.

Looking Ahead to the Spring
We have consistently turned to our community of faculty, staff, students, and parents for guidance. Thanks to all of you who have shared your ideas and concerns, but also for your creativity and resourcefulness that have brought Georgia Tech’s unique character to our ongoing planning. Above all, please take care of yourselves, your loved ones, and others during these challenging times.

Take care,
Steven McLaughlin, Provost
Georgia Institute of Technology

October 23, 2020 — Sticking with New Habits

One of the hardest things in life is maintaining the energy and persistence it takes to sustain a change in habit. If you’ve ever tried to stick to a diet or exercise routine, you know how hard even healthy habits are to maintain.

The Georgia Tech community has accomplished a remarkable feat in adapting to a completely new campus and life experience over this semester. Since August, we have been wearing masks and adapting to new instruction modes and new requirements for research. We’ve joined in an entirely new system of testing for Covid-19 that requires everyone acting together to be successful.

And it has been a success. Our transmission rates have dropped and stayed below 1% for several weeks. But we are not finished. The race is not won.  

We have just four weeks left in the semester, and we have noticed some complacency setting in. A slight uptick in positive tests confirms these observations. Our success may have led to some relaxing, but this is no time to take a break. This is the time to redouble our efforts. Stay vigilant — for the good of yourself and those around you. 

For a quick and easy reminder of the steps you can take to keep transmission rates low, visit Campus Guidelines Overview.

As President Cabrera reminded us last month, “This isn’t the first time people have had to work together for health and safety, and to me it illustrates the resilience of the Georgia Tech community. Please stay the course — for yourselves, your friends, your colleagues, and your families.”

This call to action is simple. Go back to the basics. Test. Mask. Distance. We know this formula works. We must have the persistence to see it through.  

October 16, 2020 — Keys to Completing This Semester Safely

Members of the Georgia Tech Community,

I want to thank our students, faculty, and staff who have worked together to make the Fall 2020 semester possible. And I also want to remind all of us to continue to fight this fight. Your help and cooperation have helped slow the spread of the coronavirus on campus and have allowed our community to move forward. But the risk hasn’t gone away.

This week, we have seen a slight increase in cases. Between Oct. 12 and yesterday, Oct. 15, our moving seven-day average rose from an average of 1.85 cases per day to about 3.5. We cannot let our guard down.

The reality is that Covid-19 is still a significant health risk for our community. Whether or not we experience any symptoms, if we pass on the virus to someone else, other people’s health — and even lives — can be at risk. It is essential that we do whatever we can to avoid getting infected and, if we do, that we isolate to protect others.

I am exceedingly proud of what our community has accomplished over the past several months. By following all guidance and protocols, we have curbed the number of infections in our community. And by testing regularly, we’ve been able to isolate and quarantine and, therefore, protect others from getting infected. Let’s keep it up!

We still have several weeks ahead of us. Please stay the course — for yourselves, your friends, your colleagues, and your families. Let’s not be complacent. We can do that!

For our success to continue, it’s essential we all participate in our surveillance testing program every week. I’m delighted that so many of us are already doing this, and we need to keep it up. I am particularly grateful to our Greek organizations, which have been key in increasing testing numbers. However, we have to stay diligent and drive up campus participation as close to 100% as we can. We publish our data online every day, and I encourage you to monitor our progress.

I am grateful also to the Ramblin’ Reck Club, the Alumni Association, Athletics, Campus Services, and all student leaders who’ve helped keep our Homecoming traditions alive. I truly enjoyed last weekend’s parade, and I very much look forward to all the events this weekend.

I encourage you to participate in and celebrate our best Yellow Jacket traditions and to do so while adhering to our regular safety precautions. I know we can do that.

Whether it’s getting together with friends in a small gathering or attending the football game on Saturday afternoon, please remain diligent and continue to wear your face coverings, practice physical distancing, and maintain recommended hygiene practices such as using hand sanitizer and washing your hands.

For those of you who have completed isolation after contracting Covid-19, it’s important that you continue to practice all recommended distancing, face covering, and hygiene precautions for your own health as well as the health of others.

To date, we’ve exceeded all expectations this semester. Let’s continue to stay safe and productive, so we can complete a successful semester. Jackets protect Jackets.

–Ángel Cabrera

Campus Operations FAQs

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about campus operations and student services.

Town Halls

Institute leaders and experts answer your questions about our road to recovery in this series of virtual town halls. 

Task Force and Working Groups

Each group seeks ways to return to standard operations while prioritizing the health and safety of our community.

Student Resources

Resources and where to go for help with campus services or academic and financial issues.

 

Employee Resources

Where employees can go for answers to questions about health, well-being, and campus resources.

 

Space Usage Guidelines

Strategies to maintain social distancing in Georgia Tech facilities during the Covid-19 pandemic.