Covid-19 Information for International Students

international flags waving in the wind

International Student Updates

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

July 14, 2020 - Important Decision Dates, Student Accommodations, and International Student Resources

Dear Members of the Georgia Tech Community:

As the start of the fall semester nears, we know that many of our students and their families, as well as members of our faculty and staff, have felt growing frustration and apprehension as important deadlines loom and decisions must be made. We have heard from you through various channels, including the recent student survey, and we want to be responsive and supportive as you make these critical decisions.

Important Decision Dates
Decision dates around Phase 2 registration, deferral, and student leave of absence requests have been adjusted in the hopes of providing more flexibility and, ultimately, supporting academic progress and success for every student. Leaders from the colleges and schools are working with members of the faculty to determine the instructional format for all courses. These will be finalized by July 20.

Phase 2 Registration
To help you make decisions about your fall class schedule, Phase 2 registration will open earlier than previously announced, and will run from August 1-21 at registrar.gatech.edu/registration. Current students who wish to make changes to their schedules can do so during Phase 2 registration. Any student attending FASET Orientation between now and July 31 will also be able to make changes once Phase 2 begins. Note: New first-year or transfer students who are attending the final August 10 FASET Orientation session should plan on registering as part of that session.

Undergraduate Enrollment Deferral
First-year students who have paid an admission deposit are eligible to request an enrollment deferral. The deadline to request a deferral has been extended to August 3. For more details, please visit the Office of Undergraduate Admission. Any housing cancellation requests that were made after June 30 did forfeit the housing deposit, but that deposit is transferrable to a future term if a deferral request is granted.

Student Leave of Absence Requests
For fall semester, the deadline for students to submit a leave of absence request has been extended to August 3. Find eligibility requirements and more about requesting a leave of absence via the Registrar’s Office.

All incoming students, including summer start first-year and transfer students, are invited to attend the Incoming Student Town Hall, hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Admission, scheduled for Thursday, July 16, at 6:30 p.m. EDT.

Student Accommodations
Students seeking an academic or employment accommodation (including graduate teaching and research assistants) should start by contacting the Office of Disability Services (ODS).

Registering with ODS is a 3-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.

International Students — Resources and Important Dates
Last week’s guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) caused confusion and anxiety for our international students. We hoped to provide clarity on that guidance, but we recognize that we fell short in providing answers and reassurance. Please know that the well-being of our international students is paramount and we have engaged with the national higher-ed associations in order to advocate for our students.

We are very happy to report that a resolution of the issues has been reached and the government has rescinded the proposed guidelines. We will continue to engage with our peer institutions and these national organizations and follow developments closely.

As the Covid-19 situation continues to be fluid and the ground continues to shift, we are consulting with the agency to get greater clarity and to minimize the impact on our international students, where possible. For additional direction, a task force made up of faculty, student leaders, and administrators is now working diligently to develop resources and possible solutions that we will share with the community as quickly as possible.

Resources for International Students
We understand that there are many different challenges facing international students right now. We have several online resources available to assist in planning and decision-making:

  • International Student Housing Intention Form. If you are able to travel for the Fall 2020 semester, Georgia Tech Housing can accommodate those with a fall housing assignment as early as July 24. All international students must declare their intention by August 3 via the resources section of the My Housing portal. Additional guidance about move-in, late arrival, and housing cancellations for international students is available here
  • Fall planning, FAQ’s, and general guidance are available at the Office of International Education.
  • Immigration Information Sessions: 
  • Group Advising Sessions are held three times each week. Students should use their Georgia Tech email to sign up for a session here.

Inquiries With the Office of International Education
The Office of International Education (OIE) may need to be consulted with any detailed questions about a student’s specific immigration or visa situation. Note: OIE is currently experiencing a very high volume of email inquiries and phone calls. Response and wait times are longer than usual for individual inquiries, but additional guidance is coming together quickly to allow students’ questions to be answered as soon as possible. Students are encouraged to register for a group advising session. 

Moving Forward
The fall semester is now just weeks away and we eagerly await the day we are all able to be on campus again — together. Thank you for your commitment to your own safety and that of your fellow Yellow Jackets, and for your patience, resilience, and flexibility as we adjust to these changes and adopt new behaviors and practices.

We will continue to keep you updated as new information becomes available. Please consult our Tech Moving Forward website and our Frequently Asked Questions, and know that we remain committed to the safety and success of our students under the parameters established by state and federal guidelines.

Thank you,

Rafael L. Bras, Provost
Georgia Institute of Technology

July 10, 2020 - Supporting Our International Student Community

To the Georgia Tech Community:

Georgia Tech is a global institution and embraces a culture of global engagement that allows us to tap the contributions of the brightest scholars from the United States and abroad. Our international student population is of importance to Georgia Tech’s academic mission and we value our students’ contributions to our global campus community. 

On July 6, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced proposed modifications of Covid-19 temporary procedural adaptations and guidance for international students and institutions for fall 2020 in a SEVP Broadcast Message: COVID-19 and Fall 2020. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to publish the procedures and responsibilities as a Temporary Final Rule in the Federal Register on August 4. In addition, SEVP published an FAQ on July 7. Some key points of that guidance are:

  • All Georgia Tech F-1 student visa holders currently inside the U.S. will be allowed to remain inside the U.S. and attend a mix of in-person and hybrid course delivery during the fall semester. Georgia Tech is planning to operate as close to a traditional way as health and safety allows us. The plan foresees the majority of courses will be offered in a hybrid (requiring physical presence) or in-person mode.
  • New Georgia Tech F-1 student U.S. visa holders will be allowed to join the institution for a combination of in-person instruction and hybrid delivery in fall 2020.
  • It is unclear if Georgia Tech international students outside the U.S. engaging in coursework from abroad will be able to maintain an Active SEVIS status. We will continue to work with SEVP to clarify this.
  • F-1 student visa holders in the U.S. cannot take a full course of study completely remote/online, according to the published guidelines. Unfortunately, that would imply that, if for any reason the mode of instruction were to change to completely remote or online, the students would have to leave the country, or take other measures to remain in lawful status.

To reiterate, Georgia Tech plans to open the fall semester with as close to traditional in-person modality of instruction as possible. We also believe that the personal nature of research and thesis work will not be affected or changed this coming fall semester.

We understand the concern and apprehension the SEVP announcement is causing for the Georgia Tech community. Due to the shifting landscape around Covid-19, updates from the U.S. government, and developing institutional plans, we ask for your patience and sustained attention to current and upcoming guidance. We call upon our community to consider ways in which faculty, staff, students, or offices can provide support and flexibility to international students during this time. As an institution, we are strengthened when we come together as a community to support one another in times of uncertainty. 

Sincerely,

Rafael L. Bras, Provost
Georgia Institute of Technology

P.S.  For further discussion, we invite you to join us for an online information session during which will explain what this proposed guidance means to our international students. 
 
Immigration Information Sessions: Analysis of recent guidance from SEVP

 

International Student Resources

Student Resources

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

 

Student Guidebook

An electronic guidebook of the information most relevant to students in one, easy-to-access place online. It will be updated regularly.

Questions? Get Answers

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

Frequently Asked Questions

[Editor's Note: This page was reviewed and updated on January 15, 2020.]

Table of Contents
Travel Restrictions and Visas Academic and Financial Policy Updates Housing
Classes and Coursework Campus Operations Research and Labs
Health and Safety Campus Events  

FAQ

Travel Restrictions and Visas

What options are available for international students who do not have a visa or who are unable to travel and are currently outside of the United State?

If you are unable to obtain an entry visa or travel to the U.S. for the start of the spring semester, you have some options. 

  • Remote Courses – Under certain conditions, you may be able to enroll and take courses remotely while you are outside of the U.S. The applicability of the remote course option will depend on the availability of courses from a particular academic program and restrictions on Office of Foreign Assets Control-sanctioned countries.
  • International Campuses – Under certain conditions, you may also take courses at one of our two international campuses — Georgia Tech-Lorraine or Georgia Tech-Shenzhen.
    • Georgia Tech-Shenzhen (Shenzhen, China): For the Spring 2021 semester, new or current MS ECE (Electrical and Computer Engineering) students who do not need a visa to enter China can study at GT-Shenzhen. Unfortunately, we will not be able to accommodate other types of students at GT-Shenzhen during Spring 2021. Inquiries can be sent to gtshenzhen@ece.gatech.edu
    • Georgia Tech-Lorraine (Metz, France): For the Spring 2021 semester, both the undergraduate and graduate programs will run with a modified calendar (students will arrive several days early to allow students to be tested and receive PCR test results prior to departure). International undergraduate and graduate students who are unable to get a visa for the U.S. may be able to obtain a visa to study in France. Students are advised to review Georgia Tech-Lorraine’s course schedules for Spring 2021. (See  Undergraduate Schedule or Graduate Schedule) If transferring to the Lorraine campus, students may only enroll in those courses listed on the Lorraine course schedule. (Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis by contacting the Academic Program Director (Catherine Bass for undergraduate students and Bertrand Boussert for graduate students). All interested students should email GTL-France@gtl.gatech.edu as soon as possible for more information.
  • Late Start to Spring Semester – The current Department of Homeland Security Student and Exchange Visitor Program’s guidance allows F-1 students to arrive in Atlanta up to 30 days after the start of the semester. New students who cannot arrive at the start of the spring semester and are enrolled full-time should complete the iStart "Arrival Confirmation" e-form to request support with the late arrival approval process.
  • Deferral – Graduate students may request a deferral of an admission decision for up to one year. Graduate students who were offered financial support must contact their academic program office to determine if their financial support package can be deferred, as well. To request approval for either of these options, graduate students should contact their academic program coordinator who will make the final determination. 

We understand that the current environment has created a great deal of uncertainty, and we hope that you will be able to join us in Atlanta for Spring semester 2021. 

Need Help?

  • Please reach out to your academic program to discuss your individual situation and to discuss next steps.
  • Please consult the Office of International Education’s list of frequently asked questions for international students on immigration updates for F and J visa holders. The FAQs will continue to be updated as new information is received.
  • You can also attend virtual drop-in advising or a 1:1 appointment with OIE advisor. More information is available at https://oie.gatech.edu/isss/home.

 

What health documentation is required for international air passengers traveling to the United States?

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.

 

Will I be required to quarantine when I arrive in the United States?

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.
  • Self-isolate for 7 days. Note that the CDC recommends you stay isolated for the full 7 days, even if your test results are negative.
  • Self-isolate for 10 days if you cannot get tested.

Visit the CDC site for recommendations around testing and international travel, as well as considerations before domestic travel. Do be aware that public health guidance is subject to change.

Georgia Tech is encouraging students to get tested for Covid-19 through the free surveillance testing program upon arrival to campus, and then again 5-7 days after arrival. Additionally, there are resources available to you should you develop symptoms of Covid-19 or think you may have been exposed to Covid-19. Please visit the Stamps Health Services site for campus testing hours, locations, and options. Testing information and registration can be found at mytest.gatech.edu.

  • If you develop symptoms of Covid-19 or think you may have been exposed to Covid-19, refer to the Decision Tree for information on next steps.
  • Follow the health and safety Campus Guidelines, including wearing a face covering, social distancing, and washing hands regularly.
  • Download the Daily Self-Checklist. Complete this checklist each morning before leaving your residence.

 

I’m a current international student outside of the U.S. Do I have to return to keep my F-1 visa? What if I cannot return? Can I take online courses?

Students who left the U.S. and plan to maintain their F-1 student visa status in the spring should plan to be in residence in Atlanta.

F-1 students unable to return to the U.S. within 30 days of the start of the term need to submit an iStart Intent to Depart e-form to notify OIE of their spring plans to remain outside the U.S. OIE will then review current guidance from SEVP to determine if the student’s SEVIS record can remain Active or will need to be terminated for Authorized Early Withdrawal.

  • During the Spring 2021 semester, the student may still elect to enroll in online or remote courses as no visa or Active SEVIS record is required for the purpose of online enrollment while outside the U.S. The opportunity for remote course options will depend on the availability of courses from a particular academic program and restrictions on Office of Foreign Assets Control-sanctioned countries.
  • If the student is not maintaining an Active SEVIS record, the student will not be automatically enrolled in health insurance coverage or assessed the international student fee for the semester. Nor will the student be required to enroll in a minimum number of credits to maintain their visa status.
  • If not approved by SEVP for the SEVIS record reactivation, the student will receive a new SEVIS record, a new I-20 form, and will be required to re-pay the I-901 fee. If the student still holds a valid F-1 visa, the student will not need to apply for a new visa. If the student’s F-1 visa is expired, they will need to apply for a new F-1 visa with the new SEVIS record before attempting to re-enter the U.S.
  • Additionally, in the scenario where a SEVIS record cannot be reactivated, the F-1 student visa holder’s academic time towards the one-year practical training clock will begin again upon re-entry to the U.S. The student will become eligible for practical training after 30 weeks of full-time instruction inside the U.S.

 

I’m an international student participating in an exchange program. Can I still come to Georgia Tech for Spring 2021?

Georgia Tech will proceed with hosting incoming exchange students for Spring 2021. The relatively small number of incoming exchange students will be required to live in on-campus housing and to purchase student health insurance. 

More information is available from the Office of International Education.

 

FAQ

Classes and Coursework

How is the Spring 2021 semester calendar changing?

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 (also no assignments or assessments due) on Tuesday, March 16, and Wednesday, March 24. The dates of final exams have not been changed.

The mid-semester break days from instruction are intended to provide students with a mental break from coursework, and as such, faculty are encouraged to not schedule exams or align major homework due dates for the day or two immediately following the break days.

The key dates of the Spring 2021 academic calendar are: 

  • Thursday, Jan. 14: Classes begin 
  • Monday, Jan. 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day (national holiday)
  • Tuesday, March 16: No classes, assignments, or assessments
  • Wednesday, March 24: No classes, assignments, or assessments 
  • Monday, April 26 – Tuesday, April 27: Final instructional class days
  • Thursday, April 29 – Thursday, May 6: Final exams

Students will have the same number of instructional days as a typical academic semester and as required by accreditation norms. The Faculty Executive Board, acting on behalf of the Academic Faculty Senate, has approved these changes, as required by the Faculty Handbook.

Other relevant dates for spring include: 

  • Monday, Jan. 11 – Tuesday, Jan. 12: FASET orientation for incoming first-year, transfer, and exchange students.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 13: New spring resident housing move-in.

For a full list of Spring calendar dates, visit the Registrar’s Office.  

 

Will Spring 2021 classes be delivered in the same modes as fall classes?

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.

Hybrid course instructors will clearly outline, in the syllabus and Course Description Tool, the expectations for regular and pre-scheduled in-person engagement and be explicit about details regarding assessments, attendance expectations, and other pertinent course details. Please 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.

Visit the Registrar’s Office to learn more about the course mode definitions and for detailed instructions on accessing specific course information in OSCAR.

 

Will Spring 2021 final exams be delivered remotely?

For the Spring 2021 semester, final exams and assessment will be delivered in a format that is consistent with the course mode and as selected by the instructor to appropriately assess mastery of the course. This means residential and hybrid courses may have traditional in-person finals, and remote and some hybrid courses may have finals delivered remotely.

 

How will I know which of the delivery modes apply to my classes?

Students can access course mode designations in OSCAR. Course mode definitions are available on the Registrar’s website.

 

Why are you increasing on-campus interactions for the spring?

This fall, we gathered more than 6,000 student survey responses and talked to more than 200 students, faculty, and teaching assistants through listening sessions. 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. It 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.

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.

 

I will be taking classes remotely overseas. Do I need permission to register for a class that is listed as hybrid or residential? Can I register for a synchronous remote class?

If you cannot travel to the U.S., contact your faculty members, explain your situation, and discuss the potential for taking hybrid or residential courses in remote mode.

In some cases, there may be compelling educational or instructional reasons a hybrid or residential course cannot be taken remotely. If this is the case, your faculty member will explain, and you and your academic advisor should work to find a suitable alternative.

If you will be attending synchronous classes remotely from overseas, be aware that time zone differences may make it difficult to attend synchronous sessions.

 

If officials order another shutdown because of a spike in Covid-19 cases, will classes move to a remote delivery approach similar to Spring 2020? How much notice will be given?

Given the uncertainty of Covid-19, we have prepared to move seamlessly from one method of instruction and operations to the other as public health guidance and conditions dictate. We’ve developed plans that respond to multiple scenarios outlined by the University System of Georgia.

We are evaluating multiple contingency measures under the current plan. For example:

  • Residential-spread and hybrid courses will be designed to move to remote delivery if necessary.
  • Supervisors in every department across the Institute will have their own contingency plans in place that align with guidelines from USG, CDC, GDPH, and the Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force.
  • All undergraduate projects that require on-campus resources will have a contingency plan in case on-campus research operations must be suspended.

As always, we will continue to monitor the pandemic situation closely and will make adjustments, if needed.

 

What are the guidelines for in-person undergraduate research?

Guidelines for in-person undergraduate research for the Spring 2021 semester are available on the Research website.

 

Do faculty/instructors need to ask permission from students to record classes?

Faculty/instructors are not required to obtain permission to record a class if the recording will not be shared with persons outside of students enrolled in such class. Faculty, however, should inform students prior to recording.

More information about class recordings are on the Office of the Provost website.

 

May faculty/instructors share a recording of class activities with students enrolled in the class?

A recording of class activities may be shared with enrolled students. Students may not share the recording with persons outside of the class.

More information about class recordings are on the Office of the Provost website.

 

What is the policy if students want to record part of their classes? 

Faculty/instructors may prohibit students from making their own recordings unless required as an Institute-required accommodation. Faculty/instructors may allow recordings but prohibit sharing. Suggested syllabus language is available on the Office of the Provost website.

 

Will Georgia Tech offer digital proctoring options for tests?

Yes. Digital proctoring refers to controlling the test-taking environment and the real-time audio and video surveillance of test-takers to detect unauthorized behavior. Starting in Fall 2020, faculty members had access to Honorlock for digital proctoring  at Georgia Tech. However, we strongly recommend that faculty review the decision diagram for assessment approaches and technologies before selecting digital proctoring for assessments.

For information and instructions for using Honorlock, please see the Honorlock Student Guide and the Honorlock FAQs for Students.

 

Can I still get teaching assistant training from the Center for Teaching and Learning?

Yes. We will transition teaching assistant (TA) orientation sessions to a combination of synchronous remote or small-group sessions and asynchronous remote delivery using existing modules. The rest of the training programs, workshops, and academic courses for TAs will use a combination of remote delivery when appropriate and small gatherings with social distancing.

 

Will I be able to study, work, or hang out in community spaces around campus?

Georgia Tech has several academic buildings with larger open spaces designated for our community to gather, including:

  • Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons
  • Crosland Tower
  • Price Gilbert Memorial Library
  • The atriums of West Architecture
  • Klaus Computing
  • IBB
  • Scheller

These buildings will be open to the Georgia Tech community following USG guidelines.

Study spaces, reading rooms, collaboration and rehearsal rooms, recording studios, and group study spaces will be reviewed on an individual basis to determine capacity and whether social distancing can be achieved. Most reservable rooms have the revised capacity listed in the Event Management System and can be reserved per the guidelines outlined on that site. Some small rooms or spaces may be limited to individual study.

Effective July 15, 2020, University System of Georgia (USG) institutions will require all faculty, staff, students, and visitors to wear an appropriate face covering while inside campus facilities/buildings where 6 feet social distancing may not always be possible. Face covering use will be in addition to, and is not a substitute for, social distancing.

 

Are the makerspaces on campus available for students?

Yes. Makerspaces will use virtual queuing and online scheduling when possible and designate 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.

 

Will I still be able to get help with co-ops, internships, and career advising from the Career Center (formerly the Center for Career Discovery and Development)?

Information and answers to questions about co-ops, internships, and career advising from the Career Center in Spring 2021 are available in the Career Center FAQs.

 

May students and faculty engage in online learning outside the United States without approval from the Office of General Counsel?

Students and faculty who plan to engage in online learning physically from any of the following countries need to first gain approval from the Office of General Counsel (asklegal@gatech.edu): Cuba, Crimea Region of Ukraine, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.

 

Can I get help with online registration and academic advising?

Advisors are meeting with students virtually. Advisors also are creating online resources for students and posting those resources in Canvas. Incoming students will meet with an advisor during your virtual FASET. For current students, Find Your Advisor.

 

Will study abroad programs continue as planned for the spring?

Because of the continued unpredictability of the pandemic, including the myriad of international travel restrictions and uncontrollable decisions by third parties, we made the difficult decision to cancel upcoming international internships, exchange programs, and Georgia Tech-sponsored international curricular and co-curricular travel programs for Spring 2021.

Please note, this does not apply to Georgia Tech’s international campuses. Georgia Tech-Lorraine and Georgia Tech-Shenzhen will be open and operating in Spring 2021.

Please see the Office of International Education website for more information and detailed FAQs.

 

What’s the plan for Georgia Tech-Lorraine and Georgia Tech-Shenzhen?

Georgia Tech-Lorraine and Georgia Tech-Shenzhen will be open and operating in Spring 2021.

 

Can I enroll at one of Georgia Tech’s international campuses for the spring?

Under certain conditions, you may take courses at one of our two international campuses — Georgia Tech-Lorraine or Georgia Tech-Shenzhen.

  • Georgia Tech-Shenzhen (Shenzhen, China): For the Spring 2021 semester, first-year undergraduate students who do not need a visa to enter China can study at the GT-Shenzhen campus. New or current MS ECE (Electrical and Computer Engineering) students who do not need a visa to enter China can also study at GT-Shenzhen. Unfortunately, we will not be able to accommodate other types of students at GT-Shenzhen during Spring 2021. Inquiries can be sent to gtshenzhen@ece.gatech.edu
  • Georgia Tech-Lorraine (Metz, France): For the Spring 2021 semester, both the undergraduate and graduate programs will run with a modified calendar (students will arrive several days early to allow students to be tested and receive PCR test results prior departure). International undergraduate and graduate students who are unable to get a visa for the U.S. may be able to obtain a visa to study in France. Students are advised to review Georgia Tech-Lorraine’s course schedules for Spring 2021. (See Undergraduate Schedule or Graduate Schedule) If transferring to the Lorraine campus, students may only enroll in those courses listed on the Lorraine course schedule. (Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis, by contacting the Academic Program Director (Catherine Bass for undergraduate students and Bertrand Boussert for graduate students). All interested students should email GTL-France@gtl.gatech.edu as soon as possible for more information.

 

Where can I find additional information on classroom policies during Covid-19? What about guidance on course modes?

Please see the Academic Restart FAQs.

 

FAQ

Academic and Financial Policy Changes

Will the institution allow flexibility with the receipt of required application documentation including transcripts and standardized test scores?

Please visit the Undergraduate Admission Standardized Testing page for details on documentation submission requirements.

 

Will my financial aid be affected if I change my enrollment plans for Spring semester?

Financial aid eligibility is always affected by enrollment status. Students should contact OSFA directly via email and consult with an OSFA advisor about their specific situation.  

Because students do need to apply for aid for each academic year, it is important to make sure you have applied for the 2021-22 year so that you will be prepared for returning. 

 

Will the instructional modes appear on student transcripts? How would this affect graduate or medical school admissions?

There is no current plan to record instructional modes of courses on transcripts. Many medical schools have already indicated they are aware of the move to remote learning and are showing flexibility under the current circumstances.

Specific questions about medical and graduate school applications or related issues may be directed to the Office of Pre-Graduate and Pre-Professional Advising.

 

FAQ

Health and Safety

I’m feeling isolated. Are there safe opportunities to socialize and engage on campus?

Even in our “new normal,” there are plenty of opportunities on campus. Details are included in the Campus Life section of the Student Guidebook.

 

What additional safety measures are in place for classrooms, specifically?

  • Hand sanitizer stands are provided in every building at the entrances and in restrooms and classrooms.
  • Disinfectant and wipes are available in classrooms and for workspaces.
  • Supplies of disposable face coverings for students are available in many buildings across campus. See where you can pick up a face covering if you need one.
  • Classrooms have been configured to maintain 6 feet social distancing. The tables have been numbered to allow for assigned seating.
  • If classrooms have two entrances, they have specific designations for entering and exiting.
  • All classrooms are cleaned by Building Services staff and fogged daily.
  • Facilities Management has upgraded air filters to MERV-13 filters where possible, and ensured all systems are operating optimally.
  • Air purifiers have been installed in classrooms in Skiles and D.M. Smith, where HVAC systems could not be upgraded to MERV-13.
  • Air quality sensors have been installed in various classrooms across campus, and the data is being captured and monitored.

 

Will testing be available to Georgia Tech students, faculty, and staff?

Georgia Tech is taking an aggressive, multi-pronged approach for limiting the spread of the coronavirus on campus, a strategy that will depend heavily on support and participation from members of the campus community.

  • Asymptomatic Surveillance Testing Program – Relying on saliva to obtain samples used to detect the virus, this program employs a pooled testing approach that combines samples from multiple individuals and tests them as a group in an on-campus lab. Pooled testing dramatically increases the number of community members that can be sampled with a single coronavirus test. All students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to undergo frequent testing as part of this program. Several testing sites are offered for asymptomatic Georgia Tech students, faculty and staff: Covid-19 Testing Locations and Hours.
  • Tests for Symptomatic Students – Testing for currently enrolled students with Covid-19 symptoms is available at the Stamps Health Center.

More details and FAQs are available on the testing web page.

 

Will students be required to wear a face mask or face covering?

Effective July 15, 2020, University System of Georgia (USG) institutions require all faculty, staff, students, and visitors to wear an appropriate face covering while inside campus facilities/buildings where six feet social distancing may not always be possible. Face covering use is in addition to, and is not a substitute for, social distancing.

Face coverings are not required in one’s own dorm room or suite, when alone in an enclosed office or study room, or in campus outdoor settings where social distancing requirements are met. 

Anyone not using a face covering when required will be asked to wear one or must leave the area. Repeated refusal to comply with the requirement may result in discipline through the applicable conduct code for faculty, staff, or students.

Reasonable accommodations may be made for those who are unable to wear a face covering for documented health reasons.

 

How will the face covering mandate and social distancing requirements be enforced, and by whom? What about events that violate campus guidelines?

Each member of our community must take responsibility for their actions and adhere to the guidelines of the Georgia Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as guidelines issued by the University System of Georgia and Georgia Tech, to protect themselves and others while helping to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Adherence to these new measures is vital, so the Institute has established new formal and informal processes and recommendations for incorporating accountability into safety guidelines.

Students and Student Groups

Led by the Division of Student Life and the Office of the Provost, the Georgia Tech Covid-19 Student Educational and Response Team (GT CO-SERT) is a temporary collaborative team charged with reviewing reported questions and concerns related to students or student groups and adherence to Covid-19 health and safety guidelines.

The CO-SERT will review reported concerns or questions regarding students or student groups and Covid-19 health and safety guidelines, communicate with individuals or groups, and determine further response or referrals, as necessary. Its actions may include follow-up with campus community members; clarification of current guidance and campus expectations; additional informational or educational efforts; and if necessary, referral to applicable campus resource or office to consider enforcement processes. CO-SERT does not to alter or supersede any existing campus enforcement processes; the team will be disbanded as circumstances related to Covid-19 dictate.

Note: Georgia Tech’s student code explicitly prohibits behavior that endangers any person(s), including self. Hosting on- or off-campus events of any size that do not allow for social distancing or don’t take precautionary measures, such as additional hand sanitation stations and disinfecting protocols, and required face coverings, will be considered violations of the Non-Academic Misconduct Policy

Questions and concerns from faculty, staff, and community members related to students and Covid-19 health and safety guidelines may be submitted to cosert@gatech.edu.  

Faculty and Staff

Equally important to helping to contain the spread of the coronavirus at Georgia Tech is ensuring that faculty and staff adhere to the guidance around preventive practices and cloth face coverings provided by the Institute.

Communicating with your co-workers – Keeping campus safe means recognizing that simple, individual actions affect everyone, and so responsibility also lies with individuals. The key to this guidance is recognizing that feelings and comfort levels vary.

A few recommendations for employee interactions:

  • Be mindful that your colleagues may not feel the same way you do about returning to campus. Some people will be eager to return, while others may be nervous and hesitant.
  • Be respectful of others’ feelings as you return and in your interactions with others.
  • Reinforce and remind other Yellow Jackets and visitors of the requirements and guidelines, where they can access face coverings in buildings, and to follow best practices to the extent you are comfortable.
  • Be mindful of language when addressing social distancing. Using words like “us” or “we” in the request to distance may help keep the situation from escalating. For example, “Let’s put a little more space between us at this table.”
  • Please step away from others or leave any situation if you feel uncomfortable.
  • Building signage should also be clearly displayed to assist other students, faculty, and staff in following expectations in different scenarios.  

If you are not comfortable speaking to any person directly, remove yourself from the situation and contact your supervisor and/or HR Business Partner/HR Director.

If the situation becomes a workplace dispute requiring conflict management, please work with your HR Business Partner/HR Director. You can also visit hr.gatech.edu/employee-relations/workplace-disputes for tips, recommended next steps, and resources.

 

How often are classrooms cleaned?

All classrooms are cleaned by Building Services staff and fogged daily. More information is available on the Facilities Management website.

 

How often are high-traffic areas and frequently touched surfaces cleaned?

Georgia Tech’s staff disinfect door handles, railings, countertops, and other frequently touched surfaces at least once daily. They have also increased restroom cleaning, targeting four cleanings per day.

 

How can I request an academic or student employment accommodation related to Covid-19?

Students seeking an academic or employment accommodation (including graduate teaching and research assistants) should start by contacting the Office of Disability Services.

Students may request an accommodation due to the presence of a condition as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or  identification as an individual at higher risk for Covid-19, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Registering 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. 

 

What should students do if they develop symptoms of Covid-19?

If you start to feel sick on campus, you should notify your faculty members and contact Stamps Health Services for guidance on medical evaluation.

If you’re at home and start feeling sick, or if you answer “yes” to any of the questions on the Covid-19 Daily Self-Checklist before coming to campus, stay home. Please notify your faculty members and contact Stamps Health Services for guidance on medical evaluation.

Please also refer to the Covid-19 Exposure Decision Tree to help you plan your next steps.

 

What will happen if a student gets sick or shows symptoms? Will you notify their classmates and faculty members?

If a person received a test at Stamps or through the CLIA-certified surveillance testing on campus, positive results will automatically be reported to Stamps Health Services.

Students and employees who utilize non-Georgia Tech-sponsored testing will be required to notify Stamps Health Services of their positive result through an online portal. All test results reporting will be conducted in compliance with HIPAA and other privacy regulations.

Optional Covid-19 Radar App 

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 the only 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

First, download the NOVID app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Enter the community code “JACKETS” when prompted, or at the top of the Settings page. 

  • NOVID anonymously detects nearby users to build a web of people connected to you. If any of them reports an exposure or positive test result, you will receive a notification through the NOVID app. 
  • NOVID captures no personally identifiable information from users.  
  • The app exchanges information with other phones also running the app. It records a frequently changing code to other devices so they can be alerted if necessary — but without sharing any personally identifiable information.  
  • Pairs of code interactions are stored on the NOVID server for a limited period of time. 
  • If a student receives a positive Covid-19 test at Stamps Health Services, they will be given a one-time code that they can enter into the app, which will send a notification to other phones the app has recorded as potential exposures. 
  • If a student has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and is contacted by a contact tracer, they will be given a one-time code that they can enter into the app, which will send a notification to other phones within their network. 
  • Community members who have received positive tests elsewhere on campus or off campus are required, as part of public health regulations, to report this to Stamps Health Services. They will also receive an app notification code after they have contacted Stamps. 
  • Researchers from the Georgia Tech Research Institute’s Software Assurance Branch evaluated NOVID for privacy protections to make sure it doesn’t record personal information that could identify users — and for cybersecurity issues to make sure it protects the device. 
  • More details about the NOVID app are available on the Covid Central portal and at novid.org. 

 

How does the NOVID exposure notification app work?

First, download the NOVID app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Enter the community code “JACKETS” when prompted, or at the top of the Settings page. 

  • NOVID anonymously detects nearby users to build a web of people connected to you. If any of them reports an exposure or positive test result, you will receive a notification through the NOVID app. 
  • NOVID captures no personally identifiable information from users.  
  • The app exchanges information with other phones also running the app. It records a frequently changing code to other devices so they can be alerted if necessary — but without sharing any personally identifiable information.  
  • Pairs of code interactions are stored on the NOVID server for a limited period of time. 
  • If a student receives a positive Covid-19 test at Stamps Health Services, they will be given a one-time code that they can enter into the app, which will send a notification to other phones the app has recorded as potential exposures. 
  • If a student has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and is contacted by a contact tracer, they will be given a one-time code that they can enter into the app, which will send a notification to other phones within their network. 
  • Community members who have received positive tests elsewhere on campus or off campus are required, as part of public health regulations, to report this to Stamps Health Services. They will also receive an app notification code after they have contacted Stamps. 
  • Researchers from the Georgia Tech Research Institute’s Software Assurance Branch evaluated NOVID for privacy protections to make sure it doesn’t record personal information that could identify users — and for cybersecurity issues to make sure it protects the device. 
  • More details about the NOVID app are available on the Covid Central portal and at novid.org. 

 

What do I do if I get a notification through the NOVID app that I may have been exposed to Covid-19?

Persons being warned through NOVID of a potential exposure will be encouraged to isolate themselves, monitor for symptoms, and be tested for the virus. The app will provide directions for how to contact relevant campus services when alerting a user that they have potentially been exposed.  

Persons being alerted that Covid-19 is in their network are encouraged to keep a close eye on their NOVID app and take proper precautions to avoid contracting Covid-19, including following all campus protocols. 

 

If I need to miss class to self-isolate or quarantine due to Covid-19, what will my instructors do?

During the semester, some students may be required to quarantine or self-isolate to avoid the risk of infection to others. Quarantine occurs when a person has been exposed to the risk of contracting the virus but has not tested positive; self-isolation is when they have tested positive. If you are required to quarantine or self-isolate, you may feel completely well during this period, ill but able to work as usual, or you may be too ill to work until you recover. 

Remote courses and remote class sessions during hybrid courses

Unless you are too ill to work, you should be able to complete your remote work while in quarantine or isolation. 

In-person courses and in-person class sessions during hybrid courses

When in isolation or quarantine, you will be unable to attend in-person course sessions, but your instructor may require you either to participate in the course remotely, complete some complementary work that parallels what you are missing in class, or make up some classwork when you return. 

If you are ill and unable to do coursework while in isolation, you will be treated the same as any other time a student is ill. The Dean of Students will have been contacted when you report your positive test or are told that it is necessary to quarantine and, with your permission, will notify your instructor(s) that you may be unable to attend class events or finish your work as the result of a health issue. Your instructor(s) will not be told the reason. 

We have asked all faculty to be lenient and understanding when setting work deadlines or expecting students to finish work, so you should be able to catch up with any work that you miss while in quarantine or isolation. Your instructor(s) may make available any video recordings of classes or slides that have been used while you were absent and may prepare some complementary, asynchronous assignments that compensate for your inability to participate in class sessions. Ask instructors for details about how they will handle this situation. 

 

Will Georgia Tech’s student health insurance cover Covid-19-related expenses? Where can I get more information about the plan?

Please visit the Stamps Health Services Student Health Insurance Page for details about the plan.

 

FAQ

Campus Events

FAQ

Campus Operations

FAQ

Housing

Do international students already in the U.S. need to quarantine before returning to campus?

Whether you are traveling to Atlanta from an international or domestic location, the 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.

Visit the CDC site for recommendations around testing and international travel, as well as considerations before domestic travel. Remember that public health guidance is subject to change.

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 Covid-19. Please visit the Stamps Health Services site for campus testing hours, locations, and options.

 

I am arriving early due to my international travel. What options do I have to access my on-campus housing?

International students may move into spring on-campus housing as early as Jan. 6, 2021, if needed. Please go to Resources under My Housing and complete the Early Arrival form.

 

Will Georgia Tech provide refunds of housing deposits and payments if students are unable to arrive in the U.S.? Will flexibility be granted with deadlines for international students currently unable to make travel arrangements?

Please visit the Housing and Residence Life FAQs for more information.

For questions not addressed through the Housing FAQs, please email information@housing.gatech.edu or call 404.894.2470.

 

Will Georgia Tech provide on-campus residents with face coverings and any other preventative supplies?

All residential students will receive a wellness kit upon move-in that includes a thermometer, a cloth mask, health information, hand sanitizer, and tips for accessing other campus services.

 

Are there designated areas to isolate or quarantine students who live on campus?

Yes. Here is how the quarantine, isolation and potential exposure process is working for our on-campus residents.  

  • If a student is tested and diagnosed with Covid-19, the individual has to isolate. These students are given the option to return home to isolate or to take advantage of the isolation housing Georgia Tech Housing and Residence Life provides. The student must remain there until medically cleared to return to campus housing and normal campus activities.
    • Georgia Tech’s isolation housing – for people positive for Covid-19 – is located at an off-campus hotel and overflow is in a student apartment building at 10th and Home streets used only for this purpose. Housing and Residence Life helps with transportation to the off-campus location and provides meal delivery during the isolation period. 
  • If a student has not tested positive, but is still worried about exposure or illness, that student is directed to get tested through surveillance testing (if asymptomatic) or Stamps Health Center (if symptomatic). 
    • If the student becomes concerned about exposure or illness after hours, the individual should remain in place and away from others until tested. 
    • In these cases, there are two options:
      • They may be allowed to stay in their room if they do not share a bedroom or bathroom.
      • They may be placed in temporary housing as a precaution until they can seek testing the next business day
        • The temporary housing may be an empty, apartment-style space with its own bathroom in on-campus housing. This apartment space may be in a building where other residents may also live.
      • In both cases, meals are delivered to them so they do not have to leave the room until testing reopens or they can be moved to one of the designated isolation/quarantine locations. 
  • If a student is exposed to a person who has tested positive, the exposed student must quarantine for 14 days from last contact with the positive person. The student may choose to return home to quarantine or move to the off-campus hotel or overflow space in the empty building at 10th and Home streets.

Some social media posts have suggested that Georgia Tech has knowingly placed individuals who have tested positive for Covid-19 into empty dorm rooms that are next door to or share common space with healthy residents. To be clear, that is not taking place. 

 

How will you handle housing move-in?

Move-in will be spread out over several days to limit the risk of crowding in hallways and elevators. New residents and their moving party must wear a mask or face covering during the move-in process, and all Housing staff will be in proper PPE.  

 

 

I have additional questions that are not answered in these FAQs. Who can I contact for more information?

For questions not addressed through the Housing FAQs, email information@housing.gatech.edu or call 404-894-2470. Due to high call and email volume, we will respond within 24-48 hours at the latest. For Georgia Tech communications regarding the coronavirus pandemic, please visit health.gatech.edu/coronavirus.

 

FAQ

Research and Labs