In anticipation of the expanded availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, the University of West Georgia is preparing for a return to full operations for the Fall 2021 semester.
Cases of COVID-19 among the students, faculty and staff of the university have remained relatively low for the entirety of the Spring 2021 semester. Dr. Brendan Kelly, UWG’s president, addressed the forthcoming return to full operations in a message to the campus community earlier today.
“We anticipate our instruction and student-life experiences that are part of a holistic university education to be much closer to ‘normal’ this fall,” Kelly said in the message. “Given the availability of vaccines and the success we have had in preventing the spread of COVID-19 on our campus, we intend to open in the fall with a full complement of in-person classes and an enhanced suite of student services, activities and events.”
Since moving to exclusively online instruction in mid-spring 2020, the university has continuously monitored the COVID-19 pandemic and has developed and implemented plans based on the latest information and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Georgia Department of Public Health and the University System of Georgia.
The university has also recently been approved to serve as a distribution site to provide COVID-19 vaccinations directly for all students, faculty, and staff during the spring and summer semesters of 2021. UWG is currently awaiting the requested allotment of vaccination doses from the state of Georgia and will administer vaccines to students, faculty and staff when they are deemed eligible by DPH.
“Our strategy to address the pandemic – designed to keep our community’s health and safety our top concern – has proven to be successful,” Kelly said. “I appreciate everyone’s commitment to staying healthy and protecting the health of others. Even though we look forward to many members of our university community receiving the vaccine when they are eligible, we must not become complacent on the other methods that have been proven to be effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19.”
These methods, implemented university-wide, include instructional modalities that allow for appropriate physical distancing; the requirement for everyone to wear a face-covering while inside campus facilities/buildings where 6 feet of physical distancing may not always be possible; and enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols.
For more information about the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the Information on COVID-19 webpage.
photography by Miranda Daniel and Julia Mothersole