Georgia Southern planning ‘full return’ to campus for fall 2021 semester

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV)- Georgia Southern students can expect some sense of normalcy come the fall semester. on Friday, administrators announced a tentative plan to bring faculty, staff, and students back on campus full time.

The upcoming summer semester will look much like this spring, with our normal mix of online and in-person instruction. Dr. Carl Reiber, GSU’s vice president of Academic Affairs says there will be some additional lab and studio delivery options for students.

Reiber says COVID vaccines and low infection rates have cleared the way for a full in person return come fall.

Upon return, students will have full access to social events, service activities, dining and housing.

“We’re anticipating pretty much, with masks probably, but having as much face-to-face instruction as we possibly can under a standard schedule of course options,” said Reiber, “really starting day one of the fall.”

Since the pandemic hit, ‘the college experience’ has taken on a whole new meaning.

Students are learning from a distance and essentially deprived of their social network.

“I prefer in person because you’re having that relationship with the professor and other students as well,” said Monica, a senior at GSU, “and you’re definitely not getting that if it’s only online.”

Georgian Southern administrators are hoping to finally restore that connection back to students and faculty. They say the pandemic has bread innovation, but students are ready to get back to class.

“They’re really desperate for it frankly, that’s why they want to go to college,” said Reiber, “yes it’s important to learn, but that’s where you develop your network and that’s where you develop your friends and you’re social structure for decades to come.”

Monica says the announcement to return full time did come as a surprise. She says while she’s excited to get back to normal she has her doubts.

“I just hope that we practice good social distancing, being sanitary, all that kind of stuff,” said Monica.

Reiber says under the Americans with Disability’s Act, exceptions will be made for students and professors at high risk for COVID-19.

Reiber says vaccines could help ease concerns. The school have frequently set up on-campus pods to vaccinate those who meet criteria.

“From the vaccine we are going to see a lot more faculty comfortable being here that might have had some issues this semester,” said Reiber.

Reiber says their plan to return to campus will be based upon advice from state and local health departments.

He says GSU’s public health team will continue to monitor infections and handle any on-campus covid exposure.

“We will wait the pandemic out, so to speak,” said Reiber.

For more information on the guidance and safety protocols in place visit  https://www.georgiasouthern.edu/covid-19-information/.

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