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COVID-19 Response and Updates

Return-to-Campus Plan Overview

Because of the fluid nature of the pandemic, we are continuing to engage in conversations with our campus partners and reviewing best practices and guidelines from the University System of Georgia and the CDC about how to continue to maintain a healthy on-campus environment in preparation for your arrival in the fall.

Here are some of the major changes you need to be aware of and some frequently asked questions:

  • Current schedule for returning to campus, which outlines the four stages for faculty, staff and students to return this fall: https://www.columbusstate.edu/covid-response/schedule.php
  • Adjusted Fall Semester Schedule: https://www.columbusstate.edu/covid-response/docs/Fall-2020-Academic-Calendar.pdf (PDF)
    • We eliminated the fall break on Oct. 9.
    • We will conclude classes on Monday, Nov. 23 for the full semester and Nov. 24 for the second-half semester.
    • Study Day has been rescheduled for Monday, Nov. 30 (previously Thursday, Dec. 3).
    • Final Exams will begin (online) on Tuesday, Dec. 1, and continue through Saturday, Dec. 5 (previously Dec. 5-10).
    • The graduate hooding ceremony and commencement ceremonies have been rescheduled for Dec. 10-12 (previously Dec. 17-19).

Per USG guidelines, students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors will be required to wear face coverings while inside campus facilities where physical distancing may not be possible. You are also encouraged to:

  • Practice good hand-washing hygiene by either washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or by using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick or have symptoms associated with COVID-19.
  • Stay home if you’re feeling sick and contact the Student Health Center regarding any possible symptoms.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • And practice physical distancing strategies, where possible

Although Columbus State University has put in place preventative measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the university cannot guarantee that you will not become exposed to or infected with COVID-19 while studying and living on campus. We are working to reduce the risk of infection, but we cannot completely eliminate the risk.

Furthermore, living on campus could elevate the risk of contracting any contagious illness simply due to the dense populations in our residence halls. First-year students with compelling circumstances related to COVID-19 have the option to complete an exemption request on the Residence Life Website from the First Year Live-on Requirement, https://life.columbusstate.edu/.

Frequently Asked Questions

Our usual mix of instructional options, including in classroom, online, hybrid, and eCore courses, will be available this fall. Check with your academic advisor to see what distance learning options may be right for you. Not all classes will be online, but many in-classroom sessions will be live-streamed. If a course is offered in an in-person format, you may talk with your instructor to discuss the option of attending the class virtually.

Signs and floor markings in classrooms, labs, and studios will establish recommended physical distancing boundaries. For example, placards and floor markings have been placed in classrooms, labs, and studios to indicate where students may sit and walk to help students remain physically distanced. Based on social distancing guidelines, room type, and varying room configurations, the number of seats allowed to be occupied in classrooms, labs, and studios will be reduced by approximately 50% to 65%.

In-Person Courses: These courses will be taught in traditional instructional settings where students will be required to wear face coverings. Seats in the courses have been reduced to permit physical distancing.

Completely Online Courses: Utilizing technological and pedagogical advances in distance learning. These courses have been developed and can be accessed solely through online delivery.

Hybrid Courses: These courses, also known as blended courses, replace a portion of traditional in-person instruction with web-based online learning (e.g., video lectures, online discussions, or activities).

Extended Classroom: Adhering to physical distancing guidelines, the number of physical seats in our in-person courses are limited. Therefore, some courses will have an extended classroom with virtual seats. The extended classroom model requires that some students join the in-person class virtually while other students are physically in the class. Faculty will rotate students’ virtual and in-person attendance to provide equal access to the course. Faculty will notify students of the schedule and provide instructions on which method to engage with the course on the assigned days.

Alternative Instructional Delivery: Courses that were initially scheduled as in-person courses may be transitioned to an alternative delivery method, using various options. Students will be notified of these changes.

Yes. The shuttle service will run with safety precautions in place, including adhering to physical distancing guidelines. These include hand-sanitizing stations on each bus and plexiglass barriers between each row of seats.

Yes, the Library and its computer labs will be open with safety precautions in place, adhering to physical distancing guidelines. These include plexiglass barriers and enhanced directives flow for library and computer lab traffic.

Currently, Student Life and Development, Residence Life, and Campus Recreation are planning a variety of events to host virtually. Student organizations, SGA, Fraternity and Sorority Life, etc. will primarily host their events and meetings virtually, however, there will be some opportunities for small-group gatherings.

If hosted in person, these events will, of course, be required to meet physical distancing guidelines and not exceed the maximum number of attendees recommended by the CDC and government agencies at that time. Campus Recreation will continue to host wellness events online, and in person when possible. We are planning to open the Recreation Center, complying with physical distancing guidelines, and incorporating a number of sanitation practices and procedures.

Effective July 15, 2020, USG institutions will require all faculty, staff, students, service providers and visitors to wear an appropriate face covering while inside campus facilities/buildings where six-foot physical distancing may not always be possible. Face covering use will be in addition to and is not a substitute for physical distancing.

Face coverings are not required in a student’s own dorm room or suite, when alone in an enclosed office or study room, or in campus outdoor settings where physical 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 disciplinary action through the applicable conduct code for students, faculty or staff. Reasonable accommodations may be made for those who are unable to wear a face covering for documented health reasons.

CSU will provide students with reusable face masks upon their return to campus in August during Stage 4 of our Return-to-Campus plan.

Yes, but there will be limits to the number of students allowed in the cafeteria at one same time. The seating will also be arranged to promote physical distancing. We will be adding additional outdoor seating arranged to promote physical distancing as well.

There will also be a to-go option for those who would rather not eat in the Café or Ranking dining facilities. Chick-fil-A and Einstein's will also be open, but with no inside seating. Subway will remain closed until further notice.

Yes, the Student Recreation Center will be open as part of our Return-to-Campus plan. There will be some capacity limits in certain areas, and our staff will be taking extra care and time to ensure that all areas are cleaned regularly throughout the day and after closing.

Residence Life is strategizing, cleaning, programming and initiating distancing initiatives to prevent the spread of disease, while still providing the community and support you expect from us. Our plans include:

  • Increasing touchpoint cleaning in common area spaces.
  • Providing resources for students to self-clean or wipe down bathrooms and common areas, if desired.
  • Adjusting the Guest Policy; guests will not be allowed inside personal living space. Persons are not allowed to enter a building or housing area that they do not have CSU card access to.
  • Encouraging residents physical distancing and other personal hygiene practices.
  • Discontinuing large programs indoors and experience trips for this year.
  • Focusing on small programs that can be delivered in multiple formats and utilize outdoor venues when possible.
  • Relocating any affected students to their permanent residence or a designated isolation room in the event of a required self-quarantine or isolation as determined by the Student Health Center or Georgia Department of Public Health.

Columbus State University’s Student Health Center has partnered with the Georgia Department of Public Health for testing. Their office is located at 5601 Veterans Pkwy., and GDPH staff can be reached by calling 706-321-6130. For more information on the Student Health Center’s services or to schedule an appointment, call the Student Health Center at 706-507-8620 or visit https://healthservices.columbusstate.edu.

Because of the unpredictability of this situation, we were required to prepare plans that include three basic contingencies: in-person instruction (with physical distancing expectations); 100% online instruction; and beginning the semester with an in-person instruction opportunity, but if needed, a transition to 100% instruction during the semester.