A coronavirus update from EGSC
By Whitley Clifton | April 1, 2020 1:33 pm
by PRESIDENT BOB BOEHMER
Dear Friends of East Georgia State College,
During these unprecedented times, the events of each day remind me repeatedly of the importance of East Georgia College to the region we serve and to our amazing students—and the importance of each one of you to our future. Thank you for all you have done for the college and for your continuing support.
At this time of year, Joyce Boehmer and I would ordinarily be preparing furiously for things like Honors Night, Commencement, events at our home with students, faculty, staff, and alumni, baseball and softball games and graduation events for our student leadership and staff leadership development program. Sadly, the COVID-19 situation changes everything. Our focus instead is on assuring that residents in Bobcat Villas are moved out safely, that the conversion to wholly on-line classes for spring semester goes smoothly, that our business operations remain sound and that we are prepared for the eventual return to normal operations. As you do, we look forward to that day when we can share time with our Bobcat community face-to-face. We are confident that we will get there because so many people are focused like a laser on maintaining an excellent learning environment in the face of COVID-19 and preparing for the college’s bright future.
For the safety and well-being of all, we may be more physically separated right now than ever before. But one thing holds true: As East Georgia State College, we stand together, always. We are nearly 50 years strong, and we will navigate these difficult times together. No matter where you are right now, please know that our heartfelt concern is for every member of our Bobcat community. I sincerely appreciate everything you are all doing to meet these challenging times.
The college remains open for business with minimal staff and faculty on campus. All classes will resume in a wholly on-line format on Monday, March 30, 2020. Most of our employees are working remotely from home. Commencement in May and Student Honors Night in April have been cancelled. We are actively planning, however, for creative, alternative means to recognize student achievements. All spring graduates will, also, be encouraged to participate in the fall 2020 commencement.
There is only one entrance open at the Swainsboro and Statesboro campuses. The EGSC Police Department is only allowing authorized personnel to enter the campuses. No visitors to campus are allowed.
Other important information regarding changes includes:
• The process of moving out all residents of BobCat Villas will be largely complete on Sunday, March 29, 2020. A few residents will move out in scheduled slots early during the days immediately following and a few with exceptional needs (such as food insecurity) will remain with us for the rest of spring semester 2020.
• All events scheduled with visitors on campus, including meetings, are cancelled for the rest of spring semester. No face-to-face meetings will be held. All meetings will be via telephone, Zoom or Skype or other electronic means.
• All events at the Fulford Community Learning Center and The Morgan House of East Georgia State College are cancelled. There will be no visitors to the Fulford Community Learning Center.
• The gym and fitness center, and our athletic facilities including outdoor basketball courts, playing fields and tennis courts are closed. EGSC’s dining hall, bookstore, campus café, and Common Grounds Coffee Shop are closed.
• The guidance of the NJCAA and the GCAA is being followed: all spring athletic games and practices are cancelled.
• Study Abroad Programs have been cancelled.
• Plans for Student Center Grand Opening are cancelled. This will be rescheduled for a date in early fall 2020.
I know that right now, many of you have questions about what the college is doing to support students as we launch remote education, which will continue for the remainder of the semester. I encourage you to visit the college’s COVID website (ega.edu/covid19) regularly for updated information on student services and support.
Here are a few of our efforts:
The faculty and staff have worked tirelessly over the past two weeks to prepare for the transition to wholly online courses. There will bumps in the road as instructors and students adapt to new methods of teaching and learning. Problems that may arise will be addressed by instructors with flexibility and fairness.
Resources for students are posted on the college’s website, through regular text messages to students and social media.
If you would like to dig deeper and see the type of resources being made available to students, please visit the following sites:
• Keep Learning USG — Keep Learning USG (https://www.usg.edu/keep_learning_usg) is a site designed to support student as they make the shift to virtual learning. The site is deliberately created to be easily accessed on a phone, with copy in an informal student-friendly style. The information leads students step by step through best practices to succeed in a remote instructional environment. We know that many of you have also created similarly focused resources, and we have linked to many of those as additional resources guides.
• Mental health and well-being
In a time when students must distance themselves physically from each other, it’s more important than ever that they keep in touch with their campus community in other ways. Our Student Affairs Division is working diligently to develop resources and keep communication open. The Counseling center has established an open online dialog with students to keep them informed of what is accessible to ensure their mental well-being.
• The Student Health Center will remain open to serve students who will continue to reside in the residence halls on Monday-Thursday from 1-5 PM. Swainsboro students not living on campus may call the clinic during those hours at 478-289-2182.
• Refund Policy
The fee refund policy has been established and is posted on the www.ega.edu/covid19 webpage for students.
• Internet Service Provider Resources in Response to COVID-19: Students have been provided with options for internet services. These are posted on the website.
• Cybersecurity Issues for Everyone — While we are all working through COVID-19 issues, threat actors and fraudsters are busy too. Don’t let your guard down during this time! Be careful and if in doubt, don’t click and don’t open.
• EGSC Coronavirus Relief Fund — Many of you have asked how you can help. As you know, many of our students come from backgrounds that don’t afford them all they need in the area of technology, resources and even basic necessities. We also have students that must remain on campus because they have nowhere else to go. Some are international students; some are from the foster system and some are homeless. To help these students and others as this transition takes place, your gift of any amount would be life changing. To give online, visit www.ega.edu/donate, text “EGSCCovid19” to 41444, or send your check to EGSC, c/o Institutional Advancement COVID19 Relief Fund, 131 College Circle, Swainsboro, GA. 30401.
As we begin this next week, remember you are a valued and essential partner in the life and future of EGSC, and we are grateful for you. Thank you for all you are doing.
Please be safe!
Bob Boehmer, President