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Columbus State University

March 13, 2020 - President Markwood's Coronavirus Update

We take very seriously the responsibility to make prudent and well-informed choices for the well-being of our campus communities and the public. We continue to prepare for all scenarios in this rapidly evolving situation.

I am sure you have heard by now, but effective Monday, March 16, 2020, all 26 USG institutions will temporarily suspend face to face instruction for two weeks to allow time for us to test our business continuity plans and for state officials to continue to assess the current situation regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) in Georgia. Columbus State University will be moving all instruction to a distance format after spring break.

We will use the week of March 23 as a trial and practice run, and will formally restart all classes online on March 30. The week of March 23 will be used for faculty and students to experiment and use our instructional systems. Faculty and students, please be on the lookout for communication about accessing course materials in CougarView and make yourself available beginning March 23. Current online classes are not affected by this directive and will continue as normal. We also plan on modifying the finals schedule so that we may use May 5-11 for instruction. More information on that will be coming shortly.

All students are asked to stay away from campus until at least March 29 and perhaps longer. We are not directing students to vacate the residence halls, but to pack whatever equipment and instructional materials they will need to follow their courses online and be prepared to be away from campus for an extended period. We will accommodate those students who, for any reason, cannot move away from campus. If you are unable to leave campus, please contact Housing at housing@columbusstate.edu.

Our Student Health Center will remain open. Please note, our campus is still open for business and staff members will receive information from their supervisors on the impact of this directive on their work schedules. Working remotely, telecommuting, and staggered schedules are options we are exploring, when possible.

We are suspending all non-essential travel – This includes travel to conferences, training, site visits, field trips, and any non-essential activities. Because of the new travel restrictions put in place by the federal government, we are currently planning to bring back students at the Spencer House in Oxford, and students in Manchester, England. We also made the decision to cancel all of our summer study abroad programs.

With Spring Break being a major travel time, Columbus State University has created a Travel Registry for any faculty, staff, or student traveling out-of-state or internationally, either for personal or university-related business. Please visit https://columbusstate.formstack.com/forms/travel_registry and complete the online form. This is voluntary and not mandatory; however, it does allow Columbus State to better assist you, if needed. For the most current travel advisories for countries outside the United States, visit: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices.

Please take care of yourselves while you are away from campus and be mindful of the various safety measures you should take to avoid and prevent illness. We will keep in touch with you via email, social media channels, and on our webpage, https://www.columbusstate.edu/covid-response/ as the situation changes and additional decisions are made.

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Chip Reese, reese_aaron@columbusstate.edu, or submit your questions to, https://columbusstate.formstack.com/forms/returning_to_campus_ideas_and_questions

I would like to thank every member of our campus community for doing your part in creatively managing this issue. I know that this is a heavy lift and something we were not expecting, but I have full confidence in you and us to navigate these challenging times.

Thank you for what you do for our students, our community, and each other.

Dr. Markwood's Signature

President Chris Markwood