Ian prompts Georgia universities to switch to online classes

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Some South Georgia colleges and universities are moving to online instruction as Ian winds through Florida, and possibly to the Georgia coastline.

Georgia Southern University closed its campuses starting at 1 p.m. Thursday, officials said. All in-person activities are canceled until officials can ensure campuses are safe, they said.

“Until that ‘all-clear’ is issued, only essential personnel should be on campus after 1 p.m. on Thursday,” the university said in a statement. “Employees should check with their supervisor if they are unsure about their status as an essential employee. Faculty who are toggling over to online learning should do so from their homes. If they are hosting an in-person class close to 1 p.m. Thursday and wish to transition to online instruction, that is an authorized option.”

Georgia Southern has more than 27,000 students last year, the largest enrollment of any school in South Georgia. It has campuses in Hinesville, Savannah and Statesboro.

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Savannah State University has also moving to online instruction. Access to its campus will be limited to residential students and essential personnel only from Thursday through Saturday, university officials said.

The SAT exam scheduled for Saturday on campus is also canceled, officials said. An art exhibit opening reception scheduled for Sunday has also been canceled.

Savannah State had about 3,400 students last year.

East Georgia State College is closing its Statesboro and Swainsboro campuses Thursday afternoon. They will remain closed through Friday. The college had about 2,000 students last fall.

Hurricane watches and tropical storm warnings have already been issued along the Georgia coast.