JASON GETZ / AJC file
Photo: Jason Getz
Photo: Jason Getz

Kennesaw State announces reopening plans; finals to be done online

Kennesaw State University announced this week its plan to bring students back to campus for the fall semester that includes COVID-19 testing for students, faculty and employees and having students take final exams remotely after the Thanksgiving break.

KSU, which has the third-largest enrollment in the state, with about 38,000 students last year, plans to give cloth masks to everyone on its two campuses and will clean most areas several times a day to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, President Pamela Whitten said in a message Tuesday.

KSU students and faculty, like other University System of Georgia institutions, will be encouraged to wear face coverings. Many students and faculty, though, want University System institutions to require face coverings in classrooms and other places on campuses. More than 3,000 people have signed a Change.org petition created by the United Campus Workers of Georgia demanding the state’s Board of Regents require face coverings, among other measures, on University System campuses.

> RELATED: Opinion: Georgia should reopen campuses in fall with COVID-19 testing, masks

> RELATED: UGA to students: We look forward to seeing you on campus soon

KSU’s fall semester will start, as previously scheduled, on Aug. 17. Students will not return to campus after Thanksgiving. They will do a “virtual wrap-up” of instruction the week after the break and take their finals the following week. Several colleges and universities, such as the University of Georgia, are planning to end in-person instruction after Thanksgiving.

“While there is still work to be done, we have made immense progress. I look forward to seeing everyone back on campus in August,” Whitten wrote.

Also Tuesday, the United Campus Workers’ KSU chapter shared a petition with more than 200 signatures asking the university not to lay off any employees as part of a state-required plan to cut spending.

“Saving those jobs ultimately benefits the Cobb County region,” said chapter member Heather Pincock. “It means those employees who were once in jeopardy can now continue to contribute to the economic well-being of our community, and KSU can continue to be a good neighbor. This is a case where the right thing to do could not be more clear.”

KSU’s campuses are located in Kennesaw and Marietta.

KSU spokeswoman Tammy DeMel said Wednesday its plan will not be finalized until the Georgia Legislature passes its budget, which is expected by the end of this week.

> RELATED: Georgia’s public universities propose cuts to meet state budget gap

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