Spring Semester 2021 at Georgia Tech
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. During the Fall 2020 semester, faculty developed innovative approaches to instruction, students demonstrated remarkable focus and flexibility, and our dedicated staff continued to provide critical support for our academic mission. The fall semester was tough, but our community worked together in the spirit of caring and collaboration.
For spring, we believe we can safely increase on-campus presence and instruction, to include regular, prescheduled in-person meeting in hybrid courses. This plan is primarily guided by two principles: The physical, mental, and emotional well-being of every student, faculty, and staff member remains paramount. And we will continue to make instructional quality, academic progression, and quality of the student educational experience our primary mission.
We learned much in the fall about this disease and our ability to combat it, and our goal now must be to use that experience to safely return to campus in the spring. Our surveillance testing program and contact tracing efforts, together with a commitment to enhanced cleaning and community-wide use of face coverings and distancing practices on campus, must be maintained in the spring to keep transmission rates low.
Throughout the spring, we will continue to communicate clearly and consistently. The information below outlines our ongoing measures to keep our community safe and healthy, and how you can do your part as we move forward.
We have developed this electronic guidebook to help you find the information most relevant to you in one, easy-to-access place online. It will be updated regularly.
Campus Health and Safety
Each of us has a responsibility to ourselves and our fellow Yellow Jackets to be mindful of our shared commitment. To take concrete actions, day in and day out, to promote health and safety on campus. To look out for each other. To take care of each other. That's what we do at Georgia Tech. #JacketsProtectJackets
Please continue to test, mask, and distance as vaccines are distributed.
Recent guidelines from the CDC still recommend testing for fully vaccinated employees of non-healthcare, high-density settings and workplaces (such as campuses), following an exposure and through routine workplace screening programs. The CDC also recommends other prevention steps (wearing a mask, social distancing, and diligent handwashing) to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, even as vaccines are being distributed.
The coronavirus continues to affect communities across the country, and we cannot let our guard down. In order to have a successful spring semester during this evolving public health crisis, it is critical to stay vigilant on campus. We do this for ourselves, our loved ones, and our fellow Yellow Jackets.
The following links will take you to information we’ve prepared with guidance from the University System of Georgia (USG), the Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force, the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Take a moment to familiarize yourself with what you can expect from us, and what is expected of you on campus.
- Preventive Practices
- Social or Physical Distancing (6 feet of separation from others)
- Cloth Face Coverings
There is strong evidence that wearing a face covering protects both the wearer and those in close proximity to the wearer. Wearing a mask is one of the most effective ways of protecting yourself from infection, and of protecting those with whom you have close contact. Masks must be worn not only in public spaces and open office spaces but also in common areas within dorms, apartments, and Greek housing, as well as in small friend gatherings.
Cleaning and Disinfection on Campus
Cleaning and disinfection efforts on campus have increased. Building managers and Facilities Management are adhering to the following measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus and promote a safe campus.
Covid-19 Daily Self-Checklist and Thermal Image Screening
Another simple way Jackets Protect Jackets is by paying close attention to their own health. Each day, you can use the Covid-19 Daily Self-Checklist to help you take a quick self-inventory. You should do this every morning before arriving on campus or leaving your residence. If you answer yes to any of the questions in the checklist, stay home. The Covid-19 Exposure Decision Tree can help you decide what action to take from there.
On campus, we’ll also be using thermal screening in strategic locations.
Asymptomatic Surveillance Testing
Georgia Tech has a campus-based coronavirus testing program that tests saliva samples to detect the virus.
The success of this surveillance approach depends on asymptomatic students, faculty, and staff getting tested weekly. Broad testing is essential, and everyone is encouraged to actively participate.
All tests are free of charge.
Testing for Symptomatic Individuals
Students who have symptoms that could be due to Covid-19 can get free rapid testing through Stamps Health Services. Schedule an appointment.
Positive Test Notification and Contact Tracing
All individuals who participate in the surveillance testing program will receive a notification that they are either recommended or not recommended for a follow-up diagnostic test.
If an individual’s sample is recommended for further diagnostic testing, the original sample submitted for testing is retested as an individual sample instead of a dual pooled sample. Results of diagnostic testing will be communicated by Stamps Health Services through the Patient Portal.
Georgia Tech has a team of contact tracers who will reach out to members of the community who test positive for Covid-19. All members of the Tech community are asked to cooperate with the contact tracers to provide complete and accurate information about symptoms of Covid-19, time course of symptoms, and other members of the community with whom the individual may have had close contact. Successful contact tracing is an important part of the overall strategy to control spread of the virus on campus.
Georgia Tech is using NOVID, a pandemic radar app that will help students, staff, and faculty get ahead of the spread of the coronavirus. NOVID is an app that notifies you before you’ve been exposed to the virus so you can take the necessary precautions to avoid getting sick. Use of the app is voluntary, and it is available at no cost to members of the Georgia Tech community. Information about the app is available on the Covid Central portal.
If You Get Sick
If you test positive for Covid-19 or begin to have symptoms of Covid-19, you must take immediate action for your own health and the safety of others. These guidelines will tell you who to call and how to get help.
If You Are Exposed
If you know you have been exposed to someone who is ill, you also need to take action quickly. These guidelines will help you find the right people to contact and learn what you need to know about keeping yourself and others safe through good hygiene, social distancing, and quarantine if necessary.
If you have been diagnosed with Covid-19, you will need to isolate to avoid spreading the illness to anyone else. If you are exposed to Covid-19 by being in close contact with someone who has it, you may need to quarantine for a period of time until you can be sure you do not have the illness.
Isolation or Quarantine in On-Campus Housing
If you are living on campus and become exposed to or diagnosed with Covid-19, you may quarantine or isolate in a dedicated space provided by Housing for this purpose. Don’t worry – you will receive appropriate academic accommodations from your instructors. If you quarantine or isolate on campus, Georgia Tech will make sure that you receive your essential belongings and any health services you need. Individually boxed meals will also be delivered and transportation provided to your isolation or quarantine location.
After Home Isolation and Returning to Campus
Before you leave quarantine or isolation, make sure you meet all the health criteria found in the Campus Guidelines for After Home Isolation.
Students at Higher Risk for Severe Illness with Covid-19
Students may request an accommodation through the Office of Disability Services (ODS) due to either of the following:
- The presence of a condition as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- Identification as an individual at higher risk for Covid-19, as defined by the CDC.
Registering with ODS is a three-step process that includes completing an application, uploading documentation related to the accommodation request, and scheduling an appointment for an intake meeting (either in person or via phone or video conference) with a disability coordinator.
Students who work as undergraduate or graduate teaching assistants and graduate research assistants seeking an employment accommodation should also complete the Georgia Tech Covid-19 Higher Risk Alternative Work Arrangement Request Form.
Academics and Research
Spring 2021 Academic Calendar
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 (and no assignments or assessments due) on Tuesday, March 16, and Wednesday, March 24. The dates of final exams have not been changed.
Spring Class Delivery Modes
As in the fall 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.
Details on individual course modes are available in OSCAR. Most courses will have some in-person attendance.
International Students and Study Abroad
Current and newly admitted international students are facing various issues related to travel restrictions or visa matters, subject to guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). We continue to follow developments closely and will update resources as additional guidance is made available from SEVP.
Traveling to Georgia Tech for Spring Semester
According to the CDC, and effective Jan. 26, all air passengers traveling to the United States, including U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents ages 2 years and older, are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within 3 days before their flight to the U.S. departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline.
If you have had a positive viral test in the past three months and you have met the criteria to end isolation, you may travel instead with documentation of your positive viral test results and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official stating you have been cleared for travel.
Airlines must confirm the negative test result or documentation of recovery for all passengers before they board. If a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery, or chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger. Passengers must also attest, under penalty of law, to having received a negative qualifying test result or recovery from Covid-19 and medical clearance to travel.
We encourage everyone traveling to the U.S. to review the CDC guidance and consult your airline with any questions in advance of your flight.
Whether you are traveling to Atlanta from an international or domestic location, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends (but does not require) the following:
- 1-3 days before departure: Get tested for Covid-19.
- Within 3-5 days of arrival: Get tested for Covid-19 again.
- Quarantine for 7 days. Note that the CDC recommends you stay isolated for the full 7 days, even if your test results are negative.
- Quarantine for 10 days if you cannot get tested.
Georgia Tech is encouraging students to get tested for Covid-19 through the free surveillance testing program upon arrival to campus, and then again 3-5 days after arrival. Additionally, there are resources available to you if you develop symptoms of Covid-19 or think you may have been exposed to the coronavirus. Please visit the Stamps Health Services site for campus testing hours, locations, and options.
Following travel restrictions put into place by the U.S. government beginning in March 2020 in response to Covid-19, and the continued unpredictability of the pandemic, Georgia Tech has made the difficult decision to cancel upcoming international internships, exchange programs, and Georgia Tech-sponsored international curricular and co-curricular travel programs for spring semester 2021.
Please note that the cancellations do not include our campuses in France or China. For more information for international students and study abroad participants, visit the Covid-19 Information for International Students page.
Georgia Tech has developed guidelines for safely conducting research in the academic year 2020-21. All research activities must be consistent with safe operations, including all campus guidelines regarding use of personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing, and contact tracing.
- If you have questions directly related to a specific faculty member’s research or lab, please contact the faculty member or lab director.
- For all other questions and general information about undergraduate research, please visit Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.
- Additional guidance on Resident Instruction (RI) research activities can be found on the Covid-19 Information for Researchers page.
If you are working on design and class projects, you will have access to campus makerspaces. You can expect that all makerspaces will use virtual queuing and online scheduling when possible. There will be designated waiting areas for high-volume machines. Space managers will oversee lab and hand tool cleaning, ensuring that disinfecting processes are in place, that tools are cleaned after every use, and that all common areas are cleaned.
If you have questions about accessing and using a particular makerspace, please contact the individual space manager.
Academic Engagement Programs
- Academic Engagement Programs: Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, student innovation programs, the InVenture Prize, or Living Learning Communities.
- Advising/Academic Coaching: Advising, academic coaching, academic intervention programs and services for students who are experiencing academic difficulty.
- Summer iGniTe Program FAQ
- Serve-Learn-Sustain (SLS)
- Career Center
- Pre-Graduate and Pre-Professional Advising
Professional, graduate school prestigious fellowships advising (Pre-Graduate, Pre-Health, Pre-Teaching).
- Tutoring and Academic Support
For additional resources, including Campus Services, please visit the Student Services and Resource Guide.
Housing and Residence Life
What to Expect for Spring 2021
Housing and Residence Life will operate a little differently this year. We have eliminated all triple and quadruple rooms, increased cleaning and resources for our students, and modified residential programming. To keep everyone as safe as possible, we will also have a no-guest policy for at least the first eight weeks of the semester.
To learn more about all of the steps you can take to protect yourself and others, whether you’re in your residence hall or anywhere else on campus, visit Jackets Protect Jackets.
And to find out more about what to expect in Housing and Residence Life, visit the Housing and Residence Life FAQ site.
Dining Services has also made changes to protect the Georgia Tech community. Team members will serve students at all salad bars, buffets and soup stations. Reusable to-go containers are available for students to take items with them and trade the containers for a new one each time they return. Dining has also implemented more grab-and-go options and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols for all operations.
For more information, visit Dining Services.
CARE Center, Counseling Center, Stamps Health Services, and the Student Center
The CARE Center, the Counseling Center, and Stamps Health Services offer both in-person and virtual appointments. Face-to-face appointments require wearing a face covering and social distancing, with exceptions for medical examinations. Student Center services and operations are available on the Student Center website.
For more information on these and other student services, contact the Office of the Vice President and Dean of Students or the Division of Student Life.
For additional resources, including Campus Services, please visit the Student Services and Resource Guide.
Georgia Tech athletics adheres to protocols established by the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Medical Advisory Group to guide the safe return of intercollegiate sports to our campus.
Protocols outlined by the ACC Medical Advisory Group include Covid-19 testing standards for all student-athletes and staff members, guidance for quarantining and isolation in the event of positive tests (following guidelines from the CDC), and practices to mitigate the risk of transmission during athletic competition. Read the ACC Medical Advisory Group’s report.
Student organizations are required to follow social distancing guidelines. Depending on the needs of the student and staff member, staff supporting student organizations will offer appointments, meetings, and trainings both online and in person.
The Center for Student Engagement staff are available for consultation as student organizations create their plans and event strategies.
Socialize and Engage Safely on Campus
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we do things at Georgia Tech. We have redoubled our efforts to reduce the spread of the virus on campus — so that we can create a “new normal” that’s as safe as possible.
Through hygiene protocols, safety measures in facilities and operations across campus, weekly testing and contact tracing, and a shared responsibility of looking out for each other, our new normal is working. Learn about classroom safety.
For the Spring 2021 semester, here’s what you need to know about socializing and engaging safely on campus:
- Event planners have the responsibility of determining how to create safe events on campus.
- If your event cannot move to a virtual format, planners are required to follow Georgia Tech’s Spring 2021 Campus Event Guidelines.
- View detailed information and resources for Spring 2021 event planning.
- Georgia Tech has set up large, social distance tents in greenspaces across campus to encourage small group socializing. Find tent locations on the campus map.
- The Office of Undergraduate Education is hosting virtual events in Spring 2021.
- The Student Center Programs Council brings fun, thought-provoking programming to campus.
- The Ferst Center for the Arts is hosting performances and activities on a reduced capacity basis. More information: Georgia Tech Arts Virtual Events.
- The Career Center is offering virtual events throughout the Spring 2021 semester.