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Columbus State University

General Frequently Asked Questions

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General FAQs

Columbus State University will be hosting mobile vaccination clinics during the summer. Please see our vaccination opportunities page for more information.

Effective May 18, 2021, fully vaccinated individuals may now attend class, perform workplace duties and participate in university activities without wearing a face covering or physically distancing. This applies to both indoor and outdoor situations.

Unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to get a vaccine, to continue wearing a face covering, and to continue physically distancing from others when possible. The vaccines are safe and effective; however, obtaining one is a personal decision and vaccinations will not be required to study on, work at or visit our campuses. Vaccinations continue to be administered throughout Georgia for those wishing to be vaccinated.

We understand that you have concerns, and we want to do all we can to help you stay safe. As a result, CSU will be taking the following measures in accordance to guidelines set forth by the CDC and Georgia Department of Public Health. Please keep in mind that guidelines can change over time, and we will adjust accordingly.

  • Hand sanitizer will be available in all high traffic areas and in all buildings. Please use it regularly.
  • All employees will receive at least one face covering as they return to campus. Per directives of USG, CSU cannot require employees or students to wear masks. However, we strongly encourage everyone to wear a mask. Additionally, it is expected that all community members act in a responsible fashion by coughing and sneezing into their elbow or a tissue and properly disposing of tissues after their use.
  • Department heads are asked to arrange office, groups, and meeting areas, and stagger time in the office for employees so that social distancing is possible.
  • Department heads and supervisors are asked to stagger employee break and meal times to encourage socially distancing.
  • Temperature checks for employees are available prior to entering work areas at the beginning of the work day. These checks are strongly encouraged, but not required.
  • All credit card usage on campus will be touchless for customers.
  • Attention will be given to disinfect high touchpoint areas – such as light switches and door knobs - in heavily used buildings on a daily or more frequent basis.
  • Signs and floor markings have been added around campus to establish recommended social distancing boundaries.
  • Sneeze shields have been installed where applicable.
  • Employees who are sick or who have been exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19 must stay away from campus until they have been approved by a medical provider to return to work.
  • Employees who are at higher risk of developing severe illness and who have concerns about returning to campus should contact the office of human resources.

Effective May 18, 2021, fully vaccinated individuals may now attend class, perform workplace duties and participate in university activities without wearing a face covering or physically distancing. This applies to both indoor and outdoor situations.

Unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to get a vaccine, to continue wearing a face covering, and to continue physically distancing from others when possible. The vaccines are safe and effective; however, obtaining one is a personal decision and vaccinations will not be required to study on, work at or visit our campuses. Vaccinations continue to be administered throughout Georgia for those wishing to be vaccinated.

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 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.

We strongly encourage you to take the additional following steps to help protect yourself and others:

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Wear a face covering.
  • Stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people.
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
  • Implement virtual meetings, email, and phone conversations as much as possible.
  • Keep face-to-face meetings at a minimum.
  • Do not share office equipment or work tools. Where and when this is not possible, sanitize the shared office equipment and/or work tools before and after each use.
  • Do not shake hands or have body-to-body contact with another person.
  • Stay away from campus if you are sick.
  • All employees are strongly encouraged to wear a cloth face covering on campus.

Masks and face coverings are important in preventing transmission from asymptomatic individuals who have COVID-19.

Effective May 18, 2021, fully vaccinated individuals may now attend class, perform workplace duties and participate in university activities without wearing a face covering or physically distancing. This applies to both indoor and outdoor situations.

Unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to get a vaccine, to continue wearing a face covering, and to continue physically distancing from others when possible. The vaccines are safe and effective; however, obtaining one is a personal decision and vaccinations will not be required to study on, work at or visit our campuses. Vaccinations continue to be administered throughout Georgia for those wishing to be vaccinated.

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 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.

We strongly encourage you to take the additional following steps to help protect yourself and others:

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Wear a face covering.
  • Stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people.
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
  • Implement virtual meetings, email, and phone conversations as much as possible.
  • Keep face-to-face meetings at a minimum.
  • Do not share office equipment or work tools. Where and when this is not possible, sanitize the shared office equipment and/or work tools before and after each use.
  • Do not shake hands or have body-to-body contact with another person.
  • Stay away from campus if you are sick.

In an effort to make the ordering process, be it for custodial supplies, services, or signs, more efficient for all parties involved, we have updated our website’s homepage with easy to follow ordering guides as well as informational packets about the safeguards we are putting in place to protect the campus.

Employees who have tested positive or who have symptoms of COVID-19 should seek medical care, notify their supervisor, and stay at home. These employees are required to leave campus until released by a medical provider, and they are eligible to use up to two weeks paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and can use any other available leave.

Employees who have been exposed to a person who tested positive to COVID-19 are required to leave campus and should self-quarantine by following the recommendations of the CDC and GDPH. They should notify their supervisor and may telework if their job duties allow. These employees are eligible for up to two weeks paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and can use any other available leave.

If an employee tests positive for or is diagnosed with COVID-19, the institution will follow the direction of the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH).

GDPH will begin contact tracing as soon as possible and individuals with whom the affected employee have come into contact will be notified. HR and the Office of Legal Affairs will work with employees and supervisors on a case-by-case basis. Medical documentation will be stored in a confidential file. The USG is currently working with GDPH to establish the most responsive plan for contact tracing on campuses. Additional guidance for institutions will be forthcoming.

Custodial services will clean and disinfect all areas used by the person who is sick. Signs will be placed on campus to notify staff that they are entering a possible hazardous work space and to follow proper protocol.

Columbus State University will continue to work on every possible option for its faculty, staff, staff, and students to return to campus in a safe manner. All individuals outside of those who fall into the higher risk population are expected to return to a normal work schedule as outlined in the campus plan, or as directed by their supervisor. Those who fall into a high risk category are encouraged to work with their supervisors and the office of human resources for possible reasonable accommodation.

CSU will do everything possible to provide the safest campus environment for our faculty, staff, and students. Upon request, employees who are at higher risk for severe illness with COVID-19 should be given an opportunity to continue to work remotely or be given arrangements to ensure they can work with limited face-to-face contact with other individuals. Employees who live with or care for an individual who is considered higher risk should discuss with their supervisor and the office of human resources any possible accommodations, including eligibility for leave.

All employees outside of those who fall into the higher risk population are expected to return to a work schedule as outlined in the campus plan. Employees who care for or live with individuals at higher risk for severe illness with COVID-19 should plan to return to campus as scheduled and work with their direct supervisor to ensure that their work environment allows for social distancing and the ability to practice the behaviors known to reduce the spread of the COVID-19. Employees may utilize appropriate leave options as necessary. Employees should contact the campus human resource office to identify appropriate leave options.

Individuals who fall into one of the GDPH and CDC categories for higher risk for severe illness with COVID-19 may request alternate work arrangements. For a current list of high risk categories, please refer to the CDC webpage. To request alternate work arrangements, employees should consult with their supervisors and human resources.

You may qualify to continue to teach online or telework if you are at higher risk for severe illness. The current CDC advises that those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are:

  • People 65 years and older
  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:
    • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
    • People who have serious heart conditions
    • People who are immunocompromised
    • Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications
    • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
    • People with diabetes
    • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
    • People with liver disease

For the most up-to-date information on who is considered high-risk, please refer to the CDC website.

Contact your Dean, Department Chair, supervisor or the HR office (Venus Frank or Tamara Wade) to discuss your individual situation. If, after this discussion, it is determined that your situation may qualify for accommodation, you will be directed to complete the USG Reasonable Accommodations Request Form. Note that any health information you share with the HR office will be placed in a HIPAA compliant file to preserve your privacy. Information may be shared with your supervisor on a need-to-know basis only. HR reviews the form and any supporting documentation, makes a determination, and relays relevant information to your supervisor. From that point forward, HR's role is to facilitate the interactive dialogue process between you and your supervisor in order to ensure compliance with the ADA, and any other relevant laws and policies.

There is no deadline, however, we do ask those who are teaching to submit their requests at least 6 weeks in advance of the academic term start date to allow for adequate planning.

The best starting point is to contact your supervisor or HR, as there may be another type of leave or policy that may apply to your individual situation.

Contact Tracing/Self-Reporting FAQs

Students, employees, or anyone who visited or performed a service on campus should complete CSU's online self-reporting form if they:

  • have any symptoms of COVID-19;
  • feel they may have been in close contact with someone testing positive for COVID-19; and/or
  • have received a positive COVID-19 test.

They should also isolate themselves, and if symptoms are severe, contact their health care provider or the Student Health Center at 706-507-8620.

Someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period* starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.

* Individual exposures added together over a 24-hour period (e.g., three 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes). Data are limited, making it difficult to precisely define "close contact;" however, 15 cumulative minutes of exposure at a distance of 6 feet or less can be used as an operational definition for contact investigation. Factors to consider when defining close contact include proximity (closer distance likely increases exposure risk), the duration of exposure (longer exposure time likely increases exposure risk), whether the infected individual has symptoms (the period around onset of symptoms is associated with the highest levels of viral shedding), if the infected person was likely to generate respiratory aerosols (e.g., was coughing, singing, shouting), and other environmental factors (crowding, adequacy of ventilation, whether exposure was indoors or outdoors). Because the general public has not received training on proper selection and use of respiratory PPE, such as an N95, the determination of close contact should generally be made irrespective of whether the contact was wearing respiratory PPE. At this time, differential determination of close contact for those using fabric face coverings is not recommended.

CSU's well-outlined response plan includes personalized case management for the individual involved as prescribed by the CDC (depending on his or her exposure or health situation), contact tracing (notifying anyone who might have been within close contact of the sick person), and temporary closure and rigorous sanitizing and disinfecting of the spaces that may have been involved.

Georgia Department of Public Health guidelines specify that only individuals who have been within six feet of a person sick with or testing positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more are at risk of exposure. CSU, therefore, will research, identify and notify those who fit that description as part of our contract notification protocols.

The CDC and Georgia Department of Public Health recommend being tested for COVID-19 only if you exhibit symptoms, or you believe or have been notified you've been in close contact with an infected individual. It is important to be aware that, due to the virus' incubation period, a negative test is not an "all-clear," and self-isolation may also be required, depending on the type of exposure.

COVID-19 FAQs

The World Health Organization describes coronaviruses as a "large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV or now COVID-19) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

There are common coronaviruses that circulate throughout the year, which usually cause upper respiratory tract illnesses much like the common cold. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.

According to the CDC, COVID-19 is spread like any other respiratory illness, such as the common cold or influenza. Coughing or sneezing by those who already have symptoms spread coronavirus to others.

If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness (such as a cough or shortness of breath), the CDC suggests that you should call ahead to a healthcare professional and mention your symptoms and recent travel. Students showing symptoms should schedule an appointment with your Primary Care Pro.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer as much as possible if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid people who may be sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick, especially if you have a fever.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.

Because of the ever-expanding global outbreak, the federal government recently announced that all individuals (which may include students, faculty, or staff) who have traveled to a Level 3 Country in the past 14 days and returned on or after February 3, 2020, will be requested to remain at home and be monitored for 2019-nCoV symptoms by the Georgia Department of Public Health. Students, faculty or staff who's family members have traveled from a Level 3 Country in the last 14 days (and who are already being monitored for symptoms) do not need to be excluded from school.

Yes. The Columbus State University Police Department is operating at normal capacity. In the event you need assistance, please call 706-507-8911. For additional information on the Columbus State University Police Department go to: https://police.columbusstate.edu

If you are a student, call the Student Health Center at 706-507-8620 prior to coming in if you have: a fever, a cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, or have traveled outside of the country in the last 14 days, or have been in close contact with someone who has. A nurse will review your symptoms and determine if you should come in to the Center, and will guide you as to what time and what to expect. We are asking this in order to treat you as quickly as possible and to protect other students who may be in the Health Center.