Reopening FAQs

Updated July 8, 2020

The current situation is still very fluid. Much can and will change as we move forward. As a result, please be aware that as new information emerges or if we receive additional guidance and directives, we may need to adjust and react accordingly. In those situations, we will make every effort to update this FAQ section whenever it is appropriate.

 

Return to Campus FAQs

  • Health Services

    Will the Health Center be open?

    Student Health Services and the Counseling Center will be open with the following procedures:

    • Guests entering the facility must be wearing a mask. (If they do not have a personal one, a disposable one with be provided by a sanitation kiosk at the front door.)
    • Only guests receiving services from Health Services, Counseling, or Wellness should enter the building. Friends or family of clients should not enter.
    • Health Services patients showing symptoms common with COVID-19 should call 229-333-5886 to speak with a Health Service representative and be escorted inside.
    • Counseling and Wellness guests with symptoms of COVID-19 should not enter the facility. Instead call to schedule tele-counseling or virtual wellness visit.
      • Counseling Center: 229-333-5940
      • Wellness: 229-219-3191
    • The general waiting area furniture has been arranged to promote social distancing.
    • Pharmacy will offer curb-side pick-up of pharmaceuticals with routine medication refills, and over-the-counter medications can be requested by phone.
    • Temperatures will be taken when patient enters Health Services area.
    • A separate entrance and waiting area will be established for guests with fever and/or respiratory symptoms common with COVID-19.

    Will the university be providing testing for staff and faculty?

    The CDC does not recommend testing everyone for COVID-19. However, if you are a VSU employee who is sick or becomes sick with COVID-19 symptoms, you will be required to either provide a physician’s note in order to return to work from any illness related absence or meet all of the following criteria:

    • fever free for period of 3 days without the use of antipyretics (fever reducing medication),
    • improved symptoms, and
    • there have been at least 10 days since the onset of symptoms.

    Employees should communicate any changes in their work status and their ability to perform their job duties to their direct supervisor to determine needed documentation for a return to campus.

    Will the university be conducting screening of staff and faculty before individuals come to work each day?

    We are encouraging all faculty and staff to self-monitor and log their temperature before coming to work each day, as well as monitor for symptoms and report those to their immediate supervisor. Student Health Services will not conduct screenings daily for staff and/or faculty.

    Will the university be providing masks or face coverings to staff who come to work?

    Yes. Although it is encouraged that employees bring their own masks for use on campus. Each employee will be provided with a washable, reusable cloth masks with a space to insert a disposable or washable filter. If you have returned to campus and have not been provided a mask by your supervisor, please contact Shauna Branch in Student Success (slmorris@valdosta.edu).

    What should I do if an employee or colleague comes to work with COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath)?

    All employee and human resources FAQs can be found in the Employee Return to Work Guide.

    What should I do if I find out several days later, after a staff member or colleague worked, that they were diagnosed with COVID-19?

    All employee and human resources FAQs can be found in the Employee Return to Work Guide.

    How do staff who interact with other university staff/stakeholders/vendors stay safe?

    Practice social-distancing where possible, wear a mask, practice handwashing hygiene, self-monitor for symptoms, and refrain from touching your face. These are best practices for staying safe while interacting with others.

    How can I help protect staff/colleagues who may be at higher risk for severe illness?

    Be alert for symptoms. Self-monitor for signs of illness, stay home when you are sick, wear facial coverings, clean surfaces that you touch, maintain 6 feet of distance from others, and practice recommended techniques, handwashing to protect others, especially our vulnerable population.

    Do staff need to wear cloth face coverings or personal protective equipment (PPE) (such as N95 respirators, gloves) to protect themselves while working?

    Face coverings help minimize the spread of viruses and bacteria. Staff are encouraged to wear them outside of their office and personal spaces. Your supervisor will provide guidance on what Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) may be required for your area of work.

    How often should staff wash their hands while at work?

    Handwashing is vital to help slow and stop the spread of illnesses. It should be conducted whenever you come in contact with someone new, before you eat, after using the restroom, if you cough or sneeze, and after touching objects outside of your personal space.

    What can I tell staff or colleagues about reducing the spread of COVID-19 at work?

    Stay home if you are sick, wear facial coverings when in public, encourage coworkers to stay home when sick, and wash your hands frequently. Other employee and human resources FAQs can be found in the Employee Return to Work Guide.

    Should the university be screening employees for COVID-19 symptoms (such as temperature checks)? What is the best way to do that?

    Staff, faculty, and students will be encouraged to use thermometers before coming to campus to aid in self-monitoring, in addition to handwashing and facial coverings to help prevent the spread of illness.

    What is social distancing and how can my workplace do that?

    Social distancing is staying at least six feet apart from others. Your supervisor will determine how to do that best within your department. Additional resources can be found in the Employee Return to Work Guide.

     

    See the full plan here.

  • If a student tests positive for COVID-19

    Students who test positive for COVID-19 should immediately notify the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at 229-333-5941. If after office hours then the student should call campus police at 229-333-7816 to be transferred to the on-call Dean.

    If the student lives on campus

    Students living on campus will be asked if leaving campus and returning to their primary home residence (preferred) is an option.

    • If yes:
      • The student will be asked to gather their academic materials and clothing needed for two weeks and immediately leave campus for home.
      • The student’s roommate(s) will be contacted and asked to self-isolate in their residence hall and await further instruction from a Student Health Services staff person.
    • If no:
      • The student will be asked to gather their academic materials, clothing, towels and wash cloths needed for two weeks and will be provided access to an isolation suite in Georgia Hall.
      • The student’s roommate(s) will be contacted and asked to self-isolate in their residence hall and await further instruction from a Student Health Services staff person.


    A designated Health Services staff member will contact the COVID-19-positive student’s roommates to discuss testing options, cleaning and disinfecting recommendations, and guidance on self-isolation as appropriate.

    A designated Health Services staff member will contact the COVID-19-positive student and begin the Contact Tracing protocol. (More information will be shared soon).

    Notifying faculty and managing absences

    The VPSA/DOS office will use the current absence notification process to make professors aware that the student will not be able to attend class due to medical reasons and should work with students to provide online access to course assignments and offered flexibility in meeting deadlines. Students are encouraged to email their professors also to ask for missed work.

    Returning to campus for housing and/or classes

    Following GDPH guidance on discontinuing self-isolation, students must meet the following:

    • IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS: You must remain under self-isolation precautions until:
      • You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers)
        AND
      • other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
        AND
      • at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
    • IF YOU DO NOT HAVE SYMPTOMS: You must remain under self-isolation precaution until:
      • 10 days have passed since the date of your first positive COVID-19
        AND
      • You have had no subsequent illness.

    Note: asymptomatic persons who test positive and later develop symptoms should follow the guidance for symptomatic persons above.

    When students have met the requirements for discontinuing self-isolation, students should do the following:

    • Contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at 229-333-5941.
      • A message will be sent to professors to notify them the student will be returning to class via the current absence notification portal.
    • The student should wear a facemask or proper face covering and maintain social distancing at all times when returning to campus.
    • Students should adhere to proper hygiene etiquette.
    • Students should self-monitor for symptoms and seek re-evaluation from Student Health Services should respiratory symptoms recur.
  • Facilities

    Will the university be cleaning copiers, doors, elevators, computers?

    Custodial Services will clean high-touch areas such as doors, elevators, electrical switches, etc on a regular schedule, which can be found in our Return to Work guide. Departments will clean their own high-touch equipment such as copiers, computers, phones, etc. Contact Facilities at facilities@valdosta.edu or at 229-249-4860 for information on cleaning supplies distribution for your department. 

    Will the university provide cleaning and sanitation supplies for self-cleaning in my department and my workspace?

    Yes, Plant Operations will provide cleaning and sanitation supplies.

    In addition to cleaning, what else can be done to decrease the spread of disease in my workplace?

    We should continue to stress proper hand hygiene, telework and alternate work schedules, social distancing (whenever possible), and the use of facial coverings. You can also download signage for your workspace here.

     

    See the full plan here.

  • Dining

    Are the restrictions currently in place for dine-in restaurant service applicable to the dining services on campus?

    Although the restaurant restrictions shared in the governor’s executive orders are not directly applicable to university food service operations, we intend to follow these guidelines. 

    Are dining services typically available to staff on campus going to be open?

    Yes, we will open dining facilities following most current governmental guidelines regarding sanitation and social distancing with limited service hours and very limited seating. Faculty and staff may dine in any of these locations. Operating schedules and locations can be found at Blazer Dining's website. 

    What precautions are being taken for COVID-19?

    All recommended and required precautions are being implemented, including but not limited to:

    • Disposable items will be used whenever feasible such as paper products, cutlery, cleaning towels, etc.
    • All food will be served by dining staff.
    • Counters and equipment will be modified to accommodate dining staff serving items that are typically self-serve such as salad, ice cream, etc.
    • Meal periods will be specified for breakfast, lunch and dinner allowing time to disinfect high touch surfaces and restroom spaces in dining facilities between meal periods.
    • Take out options will be highly encouraged and marketed
    • Social distancing guidelines/reminders will be marketed on signage
    • Entrance doors into dining locations will be staffed to control occupancy of food service areas.
    • Online ordering (GrubHub) will be expanded to all retail dining options and more menu options and will be highly encouraged and marketed for utilizing retail options for dining.
    • In addition, a ticketing system will be used to accommodate Starbucks orders, with no one standing inside of the closed in glassed space waiting on an order.

    See the full plan here

  • Human Resources

    DCOVID-19 SYMPTOMS/TESTING DECISION TREES

    In an effort to help employees and managers determine next steps due to COVID-19 symptoms or testing, we have provided the attached decision trees.  We will post these trees to HR’s webpage and will update them as new information arises.  Please view them as they may address questions that you have as well as help guide you better in providing important information to HR and allow managers to respond more quickly. Please note that employees must notify either HR or their supervisor and managers must contact HR as they are notified about potential exposure, symptoms, decisions to test, and final results.

    If you print a COVID-19 decision tree, please make sure you continue to frequently check our page to ensure you have the most current information available. Please contact Catherine Wills at croark@valdosta.edu or Marley Holcomb at mmburke@valdosta.edu with any questions.

    All employee and human resources FAQs can be found in the Employee Return to Work Guide.

    See the full plan here.

  • Campus Events

    Will campus events still happen?

    Valdosta State University will follow Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) to make public health-informed decisions affecting the status of any of our campus’s activities. We will also follow instructions and/or guidelines issued from the Governor’s office and University System of Georgia (USG).

    Every effort will be made to continue to provide the traditional student experience by connecting students to our institution through activities, programming, events, recruitment, and meetings. This includes public service events, outreach events (Homecoming, Family Weekend, Fall Explosion) or any other activities hosted by our university departments and student organizations.

    What resources are available to meet virtually?

    VSU offices will work with student organizations to support their efforts in continuing to provide alternate activities, meetings, and events that incorporate social distancing and usage of on-line methods if deemed necessary.

    Will the university still hold Greek Life recruitment?

    Student organization recruitment activities must adhere to the current social distancing requirement in place. If an organization cannot ensure social distancing, the organization should consider deferring recruitment to the spring semester.

    • All councils are encouraged to host virtual recruitment events throughout the summer and fall to increase engagement and interest in their groups.
      • Sorority Recruitment – takes place prior to Fall classes beginning when campus is less occupied. (CPC)
        • Developed based on recommendations from national NPC Recruitment Contingency Task Force
        • A fully structured recruitment (FSR) hosted with social distancing guidelines in place (a hybrid model of virtual and in-person). Students are back on campus but with limitations on the size of gatherings. The College Panhellenic uses a fully structured recruitment with a combination of events conducted virtually in the early rounds and in-person during later rounds in compliance with local health and safety recommendations. The College Panhellenic coordinates recruitment registration, schedule, and Bid Day.
        • Bids and Chapter reveal activities will be virtual.
      • Fraternity Recruitment – takes place in September (IFC)
        • Men will complete rounds 1-3 virtually and plan to complete the final round in person depending on the size of each round determined at the start of recruitment week.
        • If the rounds are determined to be larger than the allotted number by the CDC for gatherings, the final round will be virtual as well.
      • MGC/NPHC
        • If a chapter is required or deems it necessary to postpone intake to the spring, that chapter will need to provide documentation and a plan for spring intake.
        • All chapters are encouraged to complete intake in the fall if that was the original plan.
        • Interest meetings, Rush meetings and interviews will be held virtually through teams.

    See the full plan here.

  • Athletics

    Will VSU Athletics resume in the Fall?

    Valdosta State University plans to participate in intercollegiate athletic competition during the 2020-2021 academic year. Our projected start date is July 1, 2020, beginning with a return of student-athletes for voluntary summer workouts.

    What protections are in place for student athletes?

    The Valdosta State University Athletic Department is using the NCAA Sport Science Institute’s “Core Principles of Resocialization of Collegiate Sport” along with guidance from local and state officials in the creation of our plan. These procedures and plans will be communicated to student athletes by their coaches and athletic department officials.

    How will we encounter social distancing as spectators?

    The Athletic Department will have a plan in place for athletic competitions that will allow for regular attendance and a separate plan for competitions that will have reduced or no attendance. Plans have been implemented for social distancing by closing off seats, spacing out spectator areas, and increasing the use of hand sanitizer stations, cleaning schedules, PPE, and other CDC-recommended practices.

    See the full plan here.

  • Requirements for Face Coverings

    Effective July 15, 2020, all USG institutions, including Valdosta State, will require all faculty, staff, students, and visitors to wear an appropriate face covering while inside campus facilities and buildings. Reasonable accommodations may be made for those who are unable to wear a face covering for documented health reasons.

    How to Select and Wear a Face Covering

    According to the CDC, "COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice (e.g., while shouting, chanting, or singing). These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Recent studies show that a significant portion of individuals with COVID-19 lack symptoms (are “asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (are “pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. 

    "To reduce the spread of COVID-19, CDC recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. A cloth face covering may not protect the wearer, but it may keep the wearer from spreading the virus to others.” (Source).

    Full time faculty and staff will be provided with a cloth face mask as part of the Summer 2020 Return to Work Plan. If you have returned to campus and have not received your mask, please let us know.

    Selecting a face covering:

    • It is not known if face shields provide any benefit as source control to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles. CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings, according the the CDC website (Source).
    • Cloth face coverings are NOT surgical masks or N95 respirators. Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.
    • Cloth face coverings can be made at home from bandanas, old t-shirts, or other fabric, with or without a sewing machine.

    How to wear your cloth face covering 

    • Wash your hands before putting on your face covering.
    • Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
    • Don’t put the covering around your neck or up on your forehead.
    • Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face.
    • Make sure you can breathe easily.
    • (Source)

    Don’t have a face mask yet? The US Surgeon General will show you how to make your own. This video is also available in ASL

    Private areas and outdoors

    Face coverings are not required in one’s own residence hall room or suite, when alone in an enclosed office or study room, or in campus outdoor settings where social distancing requirements are met. When leaving these private areas, individuals should wear an appropriate face covering while inside campus facilities and buildings on campus or outdoors on campus when social distancing of six feet or more isn’t possible.

    How the use of face coverings will be monitored and regulated

    Face coverings will be required in all campus facilities and buildings beginning July 15, 2020. Anyone not using a face covering when required to do so will be asked to wear one or they must leave the area. 

    Repeated refusal to comply with the requirement may result in discipline through the applicable conduct code for faculty, staff, or students.

Virtual Town Halls

Virtual town halls are planned for the week of July 6 with university administrators. Sessions will be offered for:

  • Faculty
    • Tuesday, July 7, 2020 [Completed]
    • Hosts: Dr. Richard Carvajal, president, and Dr. Robert Smith, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
    • To watch the recording, faculty members should check Blazeview's VSU 1101 shell for a secure link to the virtual town hall. 
  • Staff
    • TBD :: Details coming soon
  • Students and families:
    • Tuesday, July 28, 6:00pm – 7:00pm
    • View on Facebook or YouTube
    • Focus: Updates on the Return to Campus Plan “Taking Your Questions”

Terms to Know

Self-Monitoring - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Georgia Department of Health (DPH) defines self monitoring as continuing to perform normal functions while taking everyday preventative steps, and to be alert to the development of symptoms.

Quarantine - In order to quarantine, a person must stay at home for 14 days, and monitor their health by checking their temperature 2x/day and watch for symptoms of COVID-19 as defined by the CDC and DPH. Return-to-work date will be provided by Human Resources.

Isolation - According to the CDC and DPH, isolation is staying at home, and separating from others within the household by staying in a specific room or area and by using a separate bathroom (if available). You can be around others after 3 days with no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fever, AND after symptoms improve, AND 10 days since symptoms first appeared. Consult with Human Resources on return-to-work date based on symptoms subsiding.

Exposure - As defined by the CDC and DPH, exposure to COVID-19 may occur by living in the same household as a sick person with COVID-19, caring for a sick person with COVID-19, being within 6 feet of a sick person with COVID-19 for about 15 minutes, and being in direct contact with secretions from a sick person with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.).

PPE - Personal Protection Equipment such as gloves, medical masks, respirators (N95 or FFP2 standard, or equivalent), eye protection, gowns and aprons. Certain situations call for different PPE. Right now, masks should be worn by all employees in public spaces, but speak with your supervisor to determine if additional PPE may be needed for your area of work.


Report Health Concerns

Students who test positive for COVID-19 should immediately notify the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at 229-333-5941. If after office hours then the student should call campus police at 229-333-7816 to be transferred to the on-call Dean. For more information, read the FAQ section of the coronavirus website.

All VSU Employees: If you are feeling sick or have tested positive for COVID-19, do not report to work; contact Human Resources immediately. For more employee resources on safety and prevention, please visit our Return to Campus plan. Please contact your Primary Care Provider (PCP) for your medical needs.