As students prepare to return to campus, Institute leaders held a virtual town hall on July 30 to answer questions from undergraduates.
President Ángel Cabrera was joined by Rafael L. Bras, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs and K. Harrison Brown Family Chair; Kasey Helton, associate vice president of Campus Services; Benjamin Holton, senior director of Stamps Health Services; Colin Potts, vice provost for Undergraduate Education; Tina Rousselot de Saint Céran, director of International Student and Scholar Services; and John Stein, vice president of Student Life and the Brandt-Fritz Dean of Students Chair. Brielle Lonsberry, president of the undergraduate Student Government Association (SGA), moderated the event.
The undergraduate town hall and a town hall for the graduate and postdoctoral community (held Friday, July 31) will be archived here.
Campus leaders fielded questions from viewers, some submitted in advance and others in real time. Here is a sampling.
If I decide to take all of my classes online, do I still have to come to campus? (Question is from an out-of-state student.)
Colin Potts: If you’re taking classes that are listed as remote, then there are no in-person attendance requirements. If you’re taking a class which is hybrid and largely remote, then you need to check with the instructor because we will have spaced out attendance requirements. Usually students will attend different classes in order to maintain physical distancing. Remote classes won’t have any sudden residential requirements dropped on you that you don’t know about when you register.
What actions will Georgia Tech take for anyone who refuses to wear a face covering on campus?
John Stein: As a community we should really reinforce Jackets Protect Jackets by supporting each other and reducing risk. Still, we may have a situation where someone may refuse to put on a mask. The first thing is to have a conversation with the individual, and offer them a mask if they don’t have one. They may be asked to leave the class or leave the building if they don’t put it on. The goal is to not escalate situations, but to calmly respond and get to a resolution. We are creating a response team of individuals who will be available to discuss these situations. In the most extreme cases, repeated disregard for guidelines can become a code of conduct violation, which is failure to comply. But that should be a last resort. We want to be able to figure this out together.
I will be living in my sorority house. If I were to get Covid-19 would I still be eligible to stay in one of the on-campus quarantine locations?
Kasey Helton: Our plan is to have space for any students needing to quarantine or be in isolation. We have allocated that space based on our on-campus population. But we’ve also anticipated that some of our off-campus population might also need space. So, if it happens that students that are not on campus need to isolate or quarantine, we would be able to provide space for them. Our first choice for those students — if it’s an option for them — is that they go home to their permanent residence or stay in their off-campus residence. It that is not an option, we will do everything we can to isolate or quarantine them in the on-campus space.
Will students be tested upon arrival, regularly thereafter, and upon request?
Benjamin Holton: Georgia Tech will have several avenues for testing, including Stamps Health Services, where we will focus on students who are symptomatic. We are working on a broader based surveillance testing strategy [for] students, faculty, and staff who are not symptomatic. We want to keep a pulse on what’s happening in the community and try to identify ill individuals early. We will make an effort to test students on arrival as much as we can. We also will be working with the Fulton County Health Department to have testing focusing on faculty and staff.
Will students be required to sign a liability waiver prior to classes beginning or moving into the residence halls?
Kasey Helton: No, they will not. We sent to a letter to all resident students outlining expectations as a good community member. But there was no signature required. Part of what we want to champion at Georgia Tech is that we all want this to work. That’s going to require us taking care of each other and being mindful of our behavior and our choices. It’s not about liability. It’s just about care.
Ángel Cabrera: It is up to all of us to make this work. It’s not about who is responsible. We all share the responsibility. Clearly, it starts with me, the provost, and everybody on this call. Then the senior team, the deans, and the school chairs, the faculty and every employee and student at Georgia Tech. I am confident that we can make it work. This is teamwork, and everyone has a role to play.
A town hall for graduate students and postdocs took place Friday, July 31. View the archived event in Microsoft Teams.
Last revised August 3, 2020