COVID-19 Guidance for Summer and Fall 2021
As you know, COVID restrictions are steadily evolving as more individuals receive the COVID-19 vaccines. In light of these changes, we have now received additional guidance from the USG regarding Summer and Fall operations. Please note that in some cases, this guidance may be different than what was initially planned by your department or college. However, VSU will be making the following changes.
FACE COVERINGS AND SOCIAL DISTANCING
Effective immediately, masks and social distance protocols are no longer required within VSU buildings. Fully vaccinated individuals may resume classes and other campus activities without a face covering or the need to social distance, if they so choose.
Unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated. Until fully vaccinated (two weeks after receiving the last vaccine dose), such individuals are strongly encouraged to continue wearing a face covering, and to continue socially distancing from others when possible. Vaccines remain available for all members of the university community from Student Health Services.
Please note that VSU will not be tracking vaccinations for the greater university community. Therefore, adherence to this guidance is based on personal responsibility. Some subgroups of our community (such as student athletes, student health professionals, student teachers, etc.) may be subject to vaccination reporting at the direction of an affiliated organization.
ALTERNATE WORK ARRANGEMENTS (EMPLOYEES)
Alternate Work Arrangements (AWA) or accommodations granted to employees for Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 due to increased risk for severe illness with COVID-19 will end no later than June 30, 2021. All employees are expected to return to their previous work arrangement at that time. Current summer teaching assignments are excluded from this transition deadline and arrangements for teaching assignments will end August 1. Lack of vaccination is not grounds for a request for continuing an AWA or accommodation.
***Please note that qualified individuals with a disability can submit requests for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) work accommodations through the Office of Human Resources.
ALTERNATE EDUCATIONAL ARRANGEMENTS (STUDENTS)
Alternate Educational Arrangement (AEA) or accommodations granted to students for Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 due to increased risk for severe illness with COVID-19 will end no later than June 30, 2021. All students are expected to return to their traditional educational arrangement beginning with the start of the Fall 2021 semester. Lack of vaccination is not grounds for a request for continuing an AEA or accommodation.
***Please note that qualified individuals with a disability can submit requests for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) academic accommodations through the Access Office.
With limited exceptions, employees with current COVID-19 related telework assignments should begin transitioning back to their pre-COVID-19 work arrangements and all such arrangements will end no later than June 30, 2021. Pursuant to policy, Directors, Department Chair, or other management staff may recommend teleworking arrangements on job classifications/positions that have been designated as eligible for telework. In no circumstance should telework be considered an employee right or entitlement. All telework requests and designations are based upon management discretion and in accordance with a determination of what best serves the institution and students. Valdosta State University requires that telework arrangements be approved by the appropriate Cabinet member and documented with Human Resources.
USG institutions will continue to ensure vaccine availability to faculty, staff, and students either through vaccination opportunities on campus or in partnership with a local provider. Institutions are not responsible for assessing current COVID-19 vaccination rates for their institution.
The Student Health Center remains open during the summer and available to offer COVID testing and vaccination services to all employees and students. For COVID Vaccines, please use the link below to schedule an appointment or call 229-333-5886.
QUARANTINE AND ISOLATION
Students, faculty, and staff who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated against the virus and show no symptoms. Individuals who have not yet been fully vaccinated and who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, show symptoms, or anyone diagnosed as COVID-19 positive should continue to self-report in the MyVSU Portal.
STUDENT ACTIVITIES AND ENGAGEMENT
VSU will resume traditional student life activities beginning Fall 2021. The recommended mitigation practices by the Georgia Department of Public Health should be practiced and observed during these activities and within the physical spaces these activities take place.
EVENTS AND GATHERINGS
VSU will follow the most recent Executive Order from the Governor related to events and gatherings as well as follow appropriate mitigation practices recommended by the Georgia Department of Public Health. Event reservation policies will include additional mitigation guidelines as needed.
VSU will follow the state government position on travel. As of May 2021, travel is limited to essential travel as approved by the appropriate Cabinet member.
VSU will continue to follow NCAA and Gulf South Conference guidelines for COVID-19.
All guidance listed here is subject to change based on recommendations from the Georgia Department of Public Health. Valdosta State reserves the right to adjust plans as necessary.
REPORT HEALTH CONCERNS
Key term: Close Contact - this is defined as being within six (6) feet of an individual for more than 15 minutes regardless of whether a face covering is worn.
EMPLOYEES DO NOT come on campus if you believe you have been in close contact with a person having COVID or yourself having symptoms or receiving a positive diagnosis. Instead, notify your supervisor of your absence, seek medical services from your primary care provider, and self-report your information by completing the online form or contacting HR directly at 229-333-5709.
STUDENTS DO NOT come on campus nor go directly to the Student Health Center if you believe you have been exposed to COVID. Instead, call the Health Services at 229-333-5886 to speak with a triage nurse over the phone. Additional guidance will be provided on how to access the health center facility. The health center remains open for walk-in patients with non-COVID medical needs.
Members of the campus community should report all instances of close contact with a person having COVID or themselves receiving a positive diagnosis of COVID. To assist with reporting, a COVID Self Reporting link has been added within MyVSU.
If you have been instructed to self-isolate or quarantine, you should do so at your permanent home for the period given unless it should be extended due to remaining symptoms.