COVID-19 Update: 8/19/20

Weekly update from the Oglethorpe COVID-19 Task Force

Academic Hiatus

Despite current obstacles, Oglethorpe remains confident in plans for an enriching and vibrant academic and student experience for the upcoming Fall 2020 semester. However, not everyone is comfortable with the conditions, and some students and families face distinct challenges to remaining enrolled. We respect the difficult decisions everyone must make. Some may elect to take a short break from their Oglethorpe career, and a COVID-19 Hiatus process has been developed to make this as smooth as possible if you are in this situation. This form will be available until classes start on September 8 for students who need to take a brief step away from their Oglethorpe studies. During your time away, Oglethorpe will keep in touch with you to make sure you are prepared when it is time to return.

Move-in

Move-in dates for students who have elected to live on campus are September 4 for first-year students, and September 7 for returning students. Residence Life is finalizing move-in procedures to account for reduced capacity in the residence halls. Visit the FAQ page for further move-in questions and answers, and continue to check your Oglethorpe email for additional details regarding move-in for those living on campus.

Testing

The following only applies for students living on campus this fall:

Students who develop symptoms of COVID-19 prior to moving on campus should seek medical attention and be tested for COVID-19 immediately. If a positive test results in these circumstances, the student must fully recover before traveling to campus.

Students without symptoms should not seek a test prior to arrival, as all students living on campus will be tested for COVID-19 once on campus to determine potential asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic cases. Testing will be administered by Peachtree Immediate Care. Additional guidance will be forthcoming from Residence Life.

Residence Halls

Low capacity residence halls allow for each student to have their own bathroom. Eliminating these close quarters could help to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread on campus. Additionally, students needing to quarantine due to contracting COVID-19 or due to exposure through a high-risk encounter will be able to stay in their own room rather than moving to a separate quarantine space on campus. If a student is quarantined, meal delivery will be provided.

Campus Access and Facilities

Campus remains closed and will continue to be closed to non-resident students as remote classes begin this fall. While some facilities, such as the Turner Lynch Campus Center and dining services, will be open to those on campus, many will remain closed due to remote operations and low staffing. Procedures and policies for access to campus for faculty and staff are being reviewed.

Policies, Procedures and Protocols

The COVID-19 Task Force is in the process of finalizing policies, procedures and protocols for Fall 2020 for students, faculty and staff. Masks will be required in common spaces on campus and for students coming and going from residence halls. There are also mask ordinances in place in the surrounding community. Masks will be provided and should be washed regularly.

The policies, procedures and protocols are being reviewed by public health consultants from Canton & Company and Dr. Michael Consuelos. As mentioned in the previous update, Dr. Consuelos is a pediatrician and U.S. Army veteran who has held several leadership roles in emergency preparedness and pandemic response.

Please continue to check your email for important updates as we approach the start of the semester!