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Columbus State University

December 29, 2020 - COVID-19 Update: Kicking off the spring semester

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

As we noted before the end of the fall semester, our Executive Leadership Team and COVID-19 Response Team have been monitoring the pandemic's effects on our region - and specifically its implications for the Columbus State University community. As a result, we are adjusting some of the elements of our spring semester return to campus.

Our revised strategy includes maintaining a lower campus density during the first couple of weeks of January as we remain in contact with regional and statewide public health officials. It also includes proceeding optimistically toward our goal of both a safer and more engaging learning environment for the semester ahead.

Campus Staffing

Our campuses will reopen on Jan. 4 to serve students as planned, but we will maintain our staggered pre-holiday staffing strategy. This means employees, upon the guidance of their supervisors, will continue staggered or virtual work schedules - or a combination of the two. Employees essential to reopening campus and readying for spring instruction should prepare to report for work in person and upon the advice of their supervisors. Currently, university leaders anticipate maintaining this staffing approach through the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday observance on Monday, Jan. 18.

Jan. Term Courses

I am excited to report that Jan. Term 2021 has set new records for enrollment, which signals to us that many of our students crave a vibrant campus experience and personal interactions. Many among our faculty and staff have indicated they do too. Some of those classes will remain virtual, but others mark our return to a more traditional, in-person learning environment. Keeping overall staffing density lower through the first two weeks of January will provide more space and support for those studying on campus during Jan. Term.

Spring Semester Forecast

We continue to plan optimistically for all the opportunities the spring semester will offer - more in-person learning in the classroom, engagement through our student life and development programs, and fan spirit on the courts and fields where our student-athletes compete.

The university will do its part: employing the most prudent public health guidelines and the strictest sanitizing practices in our classrooms, residence halls and other facilities.

We need you to do your part too, both before and after you return to campus: remaining in your "COVID bubble," wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance from others, avoiding crowded venues and events, and washing your hands often. If your holiday travel and celebrations placed you at a higher risk of exposure or you begin experiencing COVID-like symptoms, please get tested. Free testing is available through the Georgia Department of Public Health and its counterpart in other states if you are currently outside Georgia.

Even while we are on break, please complete our online self-reporting form if you begin experiencing COVID-like symptoms, test positive for COVID, or are exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID. This information is invaluable to our COVID-19 Response Team as we evaluate the pandemic's potential impact on the CSU community.

Despite the twists and turns along the way, I am proud of all we achieved in 2020 by working together. The pandemic's future and the seriousness with which we take this public health challenge is up to each of us. We continue to monitor the situation and will share additional updates during the week of Jan. 4. Until then, do all you can to keep yourselves - and your friends and loved ones - healthy and safe.

Please continue enjoying your well-earned semester break and embracing all the optimism that accompanies the start of a new year. We look forward to a 2021 that affords us all increased opportunities to work collaboratively, productively and safely together.

Sincerely,

Chris Markwood
President