Students navigate Georgia State University’s main campus in Atlanta, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. Georgia State University students are urging the campus to follow the example of scores of colleges around the country and move to online classes in the face of the mounting coronavirus threat. ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

AJC On Campus: The latest on Georgia college reopening plans

Will they reopen their campuses this fall semester?

The leaders of Georgia’s colleges and universities are having internal discussions with campus administrators to determine what they should do as the coronavirus pandemic continues and if there is an uptick in new cases this fall. Several schools throughout the United States have said they want to have in-person classes in August.

Meanwhile, some schools, are considering other options. The California State University system has said it plans to mainly hold online classes this fall. Boston University has said it may not reopen their campus until January 2021.

The University System of Georgia has teams working on plans that could allow all 26 of its colleges and universities to have in-person classes this fall, with approval from state public health officials.

Here’s a breakdown of the current plans and specific statements from some Georgia colleges:

University of North Georgia: The school is planning abbreviated orientation dates at each of its campuses in August. Here’s the schedule: Cumming – 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday, Aug. 3, and Tuesday, Aug. 4; Oconee – 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 6 and Friday, Aug. 7; Gainesville – 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11, and Wednesday, Aug. 12; Blue Ridge – 9 a.m. Friday Aug. 14. Orientation will feature online and in-person elements. 

Oglethorpe University: President Larry Schall said in a message to students and others on May 5 that they plan to delay the opening of the fall semester, with in-person classes, to Sept. 8. First-year students would arrive on Sept. 4. Campus officials said they are looking into ways to limit the number of people in any space at any given time, Schall said.

Berry College: Officials said on May 5 that they plan to have a regular schedule of on-campus classes for the fall semester. Faculty and staff will start returning to campus in a phased approach beginning May 18, they said. 

Georgia Southwestern State University: President Neal Weaver said on May 4 the 3,000-student school plans to reopen in June and resume face-to-face instruction in August “should guidance from Governor Kemp's office and public health officials allow it.” 

LaGrange College: The school said on May 4 it plans to hold in-person classes in August for the fall semester. Summer courses will continue to be offered online.

Clark Atlanta University: Leaders of Georgia’s largest historically black university said in an April 30 alumni virtual town hall meeting once they reopen the campus, possibly this fall, they plan to limit access to the campus and the number of students in buildings. They may use larger lecture halls instead of smaller classrooms.

University of Georgia:

May 10, 2019 Athens - Jere Morehead, president of the University of Georgia, and Deborah Ann Roberts (second from left), commencement speaker, leave after UGA's 2019 spring undergraduate commencement ceremony at Sanford Stadium in Athens on Friday, May 10, 2019. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

President Jere Morehead wrote an April 29 message to students, faculty and staff that he anticipates reopening its campuses for the fall semester. Morehead wrote that he and other University System of Georgia presidents are considering “a staggered, phased-in approach.” 

Georgia College & State University: President Steve Dorman said in an April 29 message to students, faculty and staff Wednesday he does not have a specific timeline for in-person instruction, but the school has several teams working on various aspects of how the campus, located in Milledgeville, would reopen.

Georgia State University: The state’s largest university is considering a plan that includes teaching some courses “entirely online if necessary, while others could be offered in different formats or on different timetables,” Provost Wendy Hensel said in an April 16 message on its website. President Mark Becker said his goal is to reopen for the fall semester.

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