Last year around this time, Georgia College and the University System of Georgia’s (USG) other 25 member institutions had transitioned students to a virtual learning model due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Citing wider availability of the COVID vaccine, USG last month asked all of its respective campuses, Georgia College included, to plan on resuming normal operations for the fall 2021 semester. GC is defining normal operations as having in-person instruction inside the classroom, residence halls open at full capacity, and dining facilities open for full service.
“We want our current and future students and their parents to know that it is our goal to return to normal operations for this upcoming fall semester,” said Dr. Costas Spirou, provost and vice president of academic affairs, in a GC press release Friday. “However, the health and safety of our campus community is and will continue to be a top priority.”
Georgia College’s announcement comes at a time when the COVID vaccine has been made available to all Georgians. That decision took effect a couple of weeks ago. The local liberal arts university has also seen a significant decrease in reported COVID cases each month since the start of 2021. Numbers were extremely high once students and staff returned last fall, and those statistics earned GC some attention on a national scale. Cases dropped in October, November and December, though students were off-campus from Thanksgiving break through the end of the semester. Reported cases reached 69 in January, according to information on the GC website, but dipped to 35 in February then again to 23 last month. There were zero reported cases through the first four days of April.
Like with many plans in the pandemic, Spirou said GC will be ready to shift should conditions worsen.
“Although these are the current plans, we will be prepared to make changes to our campus operations according to the guidance and information we receive from relevant health authorities and the USG,” said Spirou.
Information on what COVID preventive measures will be in place on the GC campus come the fall is not available yet but will be detailed in the coming months, according to the university.
Georgia College’s academic calendar for fall 2021 says residence halls will open for move-in Aug. 12, and the first day for classes is currently set for Monday, Aug. 16.