By: Thuy-Linh Dang, Editor-in-Chief
Georgia Southern University reopened all campuses and welcomed students back to school on Monday, Aug. 17 for the Fall semester amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
To ensure the safety of returning students, GSU administrators made necessary physical changes to all three campuses to best comply with safety regulations for COVID-19, such as 6-feet distancing markers on the floors throughout the campuses.
In addition to social distancing markers, students are required to wear masks or face coverings at all times while on campus and in classrooms where social distancing may not be possible.
Entrance and exit signs are put up on all the buildings to encourage students to keep one-way traffic in and out of buildings as well as one-way access for stairs. Elevators now limit students and faculty to two persons in the elevator at a time.
Hand sanitizer stations are set up at entrances of buildings for the convenience and safety of students and faculty on campus. Students are strongly encouraged to utilize the hand sanitizing stations to lower the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Students will also notice changes made to campus dining areas, such as Starbucks, Southern Cafe and Chick-fil-A. Starbucks has closed off the option to dine-in for students. The food court, where Chick-fil-A and Southern Café are, still offers in-dining options for students; however, the food court dining area now has fewer tables for dine-in and spreads out dining tables to comply with social distancing. There is now a limit of two persons per dining table in the food court.
In addition to the physical changes GSU has made, Financial and Academic Advisement are just two of the offices now offering appointments to students via Zoom or Google Meets. Professors are also offering virtual office hours in respect to social distancing. Students who want to meet in-person at these venues must make an appointment in advance.
Many of GSU’s face-to-face courses are holding lectures in the classroom, as well as via Zoom. Every classroom has a “Covid cap” which limits the amount of persons permitted in each room. More often than not, the Covid cap is smaller than the amount of students taking the course. Many professors have opted to split their classes into two smaller groups, to allow students to continue to have class meetings in person, as well as Zoom.
For example, a course meeting Mondays and Wednesdays has Group 1 meet in person on Mondays, and Zoom into the lecture the following Wednesday so that Group 2 can meet in person on Wednesdays and Zoom in on Mondays.
Each day, the general news and public understanding of the COVID-19 virus changes. Stay tuned to the George-Anne Inkwell Edition for the latest news surrounding the pandemic on the GSU Armstrong campus.