Health Topics

Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)

Update: 6:45pm, March 16: The University System of Georgia (USG) has decided that all 26 institutions, including MGA, will move to online instruction for all courses for the remainder of the semester with extremely limited exceptions. 

Our University offices, departments and schools remain open; however, the University is currently closed for in-person traffic. As we work remotely, email will likely be the best method of communication for most individuals and areas. Visit Offices and Services (contact info for that area will be on their right menu). You may also search individuals via the Directory.

We appreciate the patience of our Knight community during this rapidly evolving health crisis. Please reach out to faculty/academic areas for academic-related questions and to individuals within offices for support services. If you have questions related to our COVID-19 response, please email

Information on COVID-19 refunds for fees can be found here.


Keep Teaching - Keep Working

Resources for working and teaching remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic:
  • Keep Working: Information for telework - including online access, telephone and email info, and more
  • Keep Teaching: Information for continuing instruction online - including Brightspace/D2L, student communications, and more

Campus Updates

Campus Update, March 20 

To: Students

From: Ana Evans, Bursar

Middle Georgia State University is working as quickly as possible to issue pro-rated fee refunds to students, especially those required to move out of on-campus housing and those who no longer have access to dining services. More information will be forthcoming soon to our MGA community.

Thank you for your patience as we work through these issues, and please continue to check your MGA email for updates.

Campus Update, March 18 - Postponement of May Commencement Exercises

To: Students, Faculty and Staff

From: Christopher Blake, President

One of the great institutions and ceremonies of academia is Commencement, and its Exercises of Graduation. Commencement is truly a great moment in the lives of our students and our University. For me as President, it is a special honor and privilege to share Commencement with our graduates and to shake the hand of each participant at the ceremonies. For our faculty, their day-to-day work is dedicated to helping students reach this momentous day.

So it is with great disappointment that I am announcing that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Middle Georgia State University is postponing all Commencement Exercises for this coming May. This postponement is in alignment with the guidance and directives given by the University System of Georgia and public health authorities. We know how devastating this decision is to students scheduled to graduate, and we deeply regret the inconvenience and disappointment this decision causes our spring graduation candidates and their families.

I have asked our leadership to review options to reschedule Commencement for a later date, so that we shall still be able to celebrate and honor our graduates’ achievements in the traditional manner of Commencement – enjoying all the honor and festivity that the Class of 2020 has earned. Postponing and re-scheduling will take some time to plan, and so I ask you for your patience as we work out the details. Further information will be sent from the Registrar, which will include options for refunds for cap and gown expenses.

Please be reassured that postponing Commencement is a postponing of the ceremony only, and not a postponement of your degree award. Students who satisfactorily complete all degree requirements this spring are full degree recipients and graduates in May.

This is a challenging time for all of us. Please know that MGA is committed to investing its collective energy and creativity into helping our students continue moving forward with their degree programs and toward the ultimate prize of their diploma. Thank you for your understanding, and please continue with essential good health practices at this critical time, so that each and every one of us may BE WELL.

Campus Update, March 18

HR and Travel Guidance

To: Faculty and Staff

From: Nancy Stroud

As the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, I want to communicate the following information to you regarding employees and student workers during this period of telework to support social distancing. In support of President Blake’s email yesterday, people are indeed the heart of our University, and we must work to keep our people at the center of the actions we take.  

  • Telework and Pay - The University is not currently closed. We must continue with our mission of educating students regardless of whether our work or the work of our students occurs in a remote format. Because the mission and work continue, we are committed to ensuring employees are able to work and provide meaningful contributions to the institution. There may be some employees whose jobs are not suitable to telework, but are not considered essential for on-campus work.  There may also be employees who do not have access to an internet connection. For these employees, supervisors are to work with their leadership to find alternative work/projects for them to complete remotely or to utilize flexible scheduling. The University may decide to redeploy some employees, when possible, into jobs that can be performed remotely or for other departments. Employees will be expected to be flexible in accepting assignments in these cases. The institution will continue to compensate employees at a normal rate for work performed while teleworking or working a flexible schedule.
  • Student Workers - It is also encouraged that current student workers be extended telework options, and their assignments may need to shift during this time as well. Supervisors should consult with their student workers to determine their individual status and telework assignments.  Student workers who are teleworking should continue with teleworking assignments that are at a minimum of the average number of hours they usually work each week.  As determined by the U.S. Department of Education, Federal Work Study students who are currently enrolled will be paid without the requirement to work, but they are encouraged to be assigned telework as possible.
  • Leave – All available leave will be allowed due to COVID-19 illness or to minimize exposure for those who are high-risk as defined by DPH and CDC and unable to telework.
  • Staff Performance Evaluations – Completion of staff performance evaluations will be suspended at this time.  A new due date has not yet been determined, but we encourage those who have not yet completed the performance evaluations to continue working on them.
  • Travel and In-Person Meetings - All non-essential business travel is suspended in order to comply with the Governor’s directive. Managers have the authority to rescind prior travel approval. Required in-person meetings should be transitioned to an electronic format or rescheduled. USG official travel to a CDC Level 3 or higher country is not authorized and will not be reimbursed.

Reminder: Timesheets for bi-weekly employees are to be submitted/approved this Friday, March 20, 2020 by 10:00 am.  More detailed information about time reporting will be issued soon.

Thank you for your cooperation during this challenging time.  Please contact your supervisor with any questions, and supervisors should consult with their vice presidents or deans. 

Campus Update, March 17

As We Continue to Telework

To: Faculty and Staff

From: Christopher Blake, President

As we continue to telework this week, I am grateful for your many efforts, completed and ongoing, to take care of our University community.  During this rapidly-evolving health crisis, we are having to adjust quickly and make decisions across all areas of the University that impact not only the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students, but also our well-being.  People are the heart of our University, and we must work to keep our people at the center of the actions we take.

While the University remains open to its core mission of learning and continues to provide essential services, only designated essential staff should physically be on any of our campuses.  Most employees should be working from home as coordinated and directed by their supervisors where possible.  Please contact your supervisor if you have continuing questions about teleworking issues, and your supervisor will work with your respective Vice President to support your teleworking.  For those employees who are not able to telework, please talk to your supervisor about work schedule flexibility as needed.

Please be assured that regular monthly and bi-weekly employees who are teleworking will receive their usual, full salary.  Also, any telecommuting student workers should be assigned work by supervisors, including if necessary re-assignment to other areas of operation, so that they too can receive their usual wages while teleworking.  Nancy Stroud, EVP of Finance and Operations, will be sending out details to those with direct reports.


While we are all are learning to practice health consciousness, it is important to remember our emotional and psychological health too at this time of global stress and uncertainty.  Please remember that as employees of the USG we have the availability of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), administered by KEPRO, to provide emotional guidance and support, with no cost and in strictest confidence.  The call line operates 24/7, and the number is: 844-243-4440.

As you know, at MGA our fourth and culminating institutional value is “Learning”.  I have reminded us that this value applies to us as professionals and as an institution, and not only to students.  We are tasked at the moment with learning how to be and live well as a University, at a time of great change and challenge.  Thank you for your patience and efforts as we learn as a community to adapt our work to this new situation.

Campus Update, March 16 - MGA Moves to Online Instruction for Remainder of Semester

To: Faculty, Staff, and Students

From: Christopher Blake, President

This evening, in light of the evolving COVID-19 crisis, the USG has determined that all its institutions, including MGA, will be moving to online instruction for the remainder of the semester.  I am enclosing the USG Press Release.  Further operational details from the USG will be forthcoming tomorrow and in the coming days.  It is important tonight for us to realize that we will indeed find the right solutions to this challenge.

 For now we know the following.  Teaching and learning will need to continue totally via a remote/distance/online modality, and we must prepare academically for that reality.  Additionally, residence halls will close and students are not permitted to return to campus.  Instead, we will develop a plan for staged, phased, small-group visits of students to campus to retrieve their possessions in the coming days.  Only exceptional circumstances, such as lack of alternative housing for students, will permit students to continue to reside on campus, and we shall continue to accommodate those students who simply cannot leave campus.  Our teleworking strategy will also continue for our faculty and staff for the remainder of this semester.  Finally, the USG is reviewing plans for refunds to students, and it will keep our Business Office updated on those plans.

 In all these issues, further details and guidance will be forthcoming, so please be patient while this plan and process unfolds.

 I have called a meeting of the President’s Cabinet online first thing tomorrow.  The USG will also be providing further details and guidance tomorrow.  As your president, I shall work to keep you informed and to provide you with the context and support to continue your work as faculty and staff in these unique times.

 Please stay well and utilize the CDC guidelines on how to stay well.  Thank you for being part of the MGA family, and let us together telework to address this challenge and continue to teach our students remotely for the remainder of this semester. 

Campus Update, March 16

Online Instruction to Resume March 23

To: Students
From: Jon Anderson, Provost

The USG has approved Middle Georgia State University to resume online instruction the week of 3/23 for courses that are currently offered fully online. We understand this is a change from previous communication that suspended all instruction through March 29.  Be assured that  faculty will not hold students in those online courses accountable for late work before the original date the classes were scheduled to resume (March 30).

  We know many of you may be home as your spring break plans have been cancelled or as your places of work move to support social distancing. We want you to have the opportunity to use this time to continue your online coursework – particularly those of you in eight-week courses, where the pace of the coursework moves quickly.

 T hank you for your flexibility as we navigate the stages of this rapidly evolving public health challenge together. Please contact your faculty member directly if you have any questions or concerns.

MGA Teleworking With Immediate Effect

To: Faculty and Staff
From: Christopher Blake, President

Dear Faculty & Staff:

In light of the Governor’s declaration of a state of emergency and guidance from the System Office, I am instructing all faculty and staff to telework from off-campus with immediate effect.  Middle Georgia State University is not closing; however, we will be conducting limited operations in an effort to reduce the number of employees physically on campus to the minimum required.  Emergency, public safety, and essential personnel who fulfill unique roles on campus may report to campus, upon approval of their supervisor and Vice President. The names of those individuals who have special authorization to come to campus must be reported to my office by each Vice President.

 Further details regarding teleworking will be issued on Monday. For now, please plan on working off-campus with immediate effect. 

Campus Update, March 13

COVID-19 Task Force Update - March 13, 2020

To: Faculty and Staff
From: COVID-19 Task Force

Dear Faculty and Staff,

The COVID-19  pandemic is a moment in time that we have never experienced and is challenging all of us in different ways. The situation remains dynamic, but please be assured that we have a team of leaders that has been working tirelessly – consulting with experts in public health, emergency management, and the USG on implementing decisions and policies on wide range of issues. The COVID-19 Task Force will continue work to provide updates as information becomes available.  

  At this time and in coordination with guidance from the USG, we offer these operational updates:

Instruction

  • All MGA instruction – in-person, online, clinical and off-site – is temporarily suspended through March 29.
  • eCore and eMajor instruction will continue as currently scheduled.
  • Faculty have been asked to use the next two weeks to prepare to move in-person coursework to a distance format in the event that becomes necessary.
  • Faculty and academic units have been encouraged to find creative solutions to help students complete their courses and progress academically should they need to transition to a distance format due to illness or isolation. 

Students and Student Events

  • Student workers may continue to do work on campus and should follow the same employee protocols related  to COVID-19 symptoms and exposure.
  • The New Student Orientation scheduled for Thursday, March 19 , 2020, will be cancelled, and prospective students will be contacted. It will be rescheduled for a later date.

Telework, Travel , Large Events/Gatherings

  • The system office has develoed guidance for teleworking, travel, and the status of large events and other gatherings.
  • MGA areas have already developed plans or should be finalizing plans for teams to telework.
  • Staff should continue to report to work as usual until any teleworking plans are implemented. 

 Operations

  • As a precautionary measure, the Hatcher Conference Center will be suspending operations and cancelling upcoming events until further notice. 

Communication

  • Offices, divisions, departments and schools are working through a number of issues. Please bring any concerns you have to your manager  so they can consult with the COVID-19 Task Force for clarity.
  • Check your email frequently or visit the Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Campus Updates on the MGA website. The site can be easily accessed by clicking on the slider from the homepage of our website.
  • Follow the USG’s coronavirus updates (also on our information webpage)
  • FAQs are being developed and will be posted to the MGA coronavirus webpage.
  • Email if there are  questions that cannot be answered by managers within your area. 

Thank you for your patience and collaboration as we work through this evolving situation together.

Campus Update, March 12

Update on Coronavirus - March 12, 2020

To: Students, Faculty, and Staff
From: Christopher Blake, President

 As you each know, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to be an evolving and volatile situation. Within the last hour, the Governor’s Coronavirus Task Force and the Georgia Department of Public Health have issued new guidance on the coronavirus that will immediately impact the University System of Georgia. Based on the latest information, system leaders have made the decision that effective Monday, March 16, 2020, all University System of Georgia institutions will temporarily suspend instruction for two weeks to allow time for USG institutions to test their business continuity plans and online instruction modules and for state officials to continue to assess the current situation regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) in Georgia.

 Students who are currently on spring break are strongly encouraged not to return to campus. Students on campus are asked to depart campus by close of business Friday, March 13, 2020, and to remain away from campus until March 29, 2020.  At this time, students are not being asked to move out of their residence facilities for the remainder of the semester. For students who are unable to leave campus, please immediately contact the Office of Residence Life.

 We know there are many questions that may arise. Be assured that we are working right now to make the necessary arrangements, and more information will be shared as it becomes available. Also, please take the recommended CDC precautions for your health and those of others whom you meet, and I thank you for your patience as we navigate forward with this situation.

Update on Coronavirus - March 11, 2020

To: Students, Faculty, and Staff
From: Christopher Blake, President

As Spring Break approaches, many of us will be taking a break from tests and papers. The University continues to monitor the coronavirus outbreak and wants everyone to be safe and healthy during their break and upon their return to campus. If you are planning to travel during Spring Break, here are a few important things to keep in mind:

  • Check the travel information on the CDC and State Department websites and talk with your family and travel companions to make an informed decision about travel plans.
    • The CDC strongly advises that you should not travel to a location with a Level 3 or higher Travel Health Notice.
    • In an abundance of caution and consistent with guidelines from the CDC and Georgia Department of Health, all travelers originating from, returning from, or connecting through a CDC Warning Level 3 or higher travel notice area MUST NOT return to a Middle Georgia State University campus or facility until they have been asymptomatic for a period of 14 days from the date of entering/reentering the United States. Travelers should self-quarantine and follow CDC and local health authority guidelines.
    • Guidelines for self-quarantine from the CDC include:
      • Restricting activities outside the home except for appointments with a medical professional for evaluation
      • Limited contact with others in the home, including pets
      • Frequent hand washing
      • Regular cleaning of all high-touch surfaces including tables, countertops, doorknobs, keyboards, tablets, bathroom fixtures, television remotes, and phones
      • Limiting the sharing of household items like drinking glasses, plates, utensils, bedding, towels, and clothing. Washing dishes, clothing, and bedding regularly.
  • The status of countries or regions regarding coronavirus may change while you are traveling and affect airport or other travel processes. Stay connected to the CDC and State Department websites to ensure you have the latest information.
  • The State Department has  recently alerted travelers of an increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment.  
  • At this point in time we are not transitioning to an online format for current face-to-face instruction, and we are planning on resuming normal class operations on Monday, March 23 rd.
    • We have encouraged all faculty members to prepare for online instructional delivery should unfolding circumstances require this approach to accommodate our students. 
    • Similarly, we encourage all students to prepare for the possibility of an online learning environment by accessing their Brightspace/D2L accounts.  
  • If, at any time, you experience symptoms similar to coronavirus, take the above self-quarantine precautions, and call ahead to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider or other appropriate health care facility.
  • For all students, faculty and staff:  if you are traveling in any capacity, whether for university business or personal travel, we encourage you to register your travel through our online  Travel Registry Form.

As a reminder, coronavirus information/resources and campus updates are available on our Health Topics webpage. Thank you for staying informed and working to stay healthy. Enjoy a well-deserved Spring Break!


COVID-19 Resources

USG Coronavirus Information Page
https://www.usg.edu/coronavirus

How Is The Virus Transmitted?
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html

What Are The Symptoms?
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html

What Precautions Can Be Taken To Reduce The Risk Of Exposure?
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html

What Are The Current Travel Advisories For Countries Outside The U.S.?
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

World Health Organization (WHO)
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Georgia Department Of Public Health (GPH)
https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus
https://dph.georgia.gov/document/document/information-schools-and-universities/download

Contact Us

If you have questions or concerns about MGA’s planning or response to COVID-19, please email the COVID-19 Task Force at .