Augusta University admin, students discuss phased reopening

CSRA News

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Augusta University staff and students can expect to head back to campus starting next week in a phased reopening.

Starting July 1, Augusta University will begin welcoming back staff to its Health Sciences Campus. A month later, the full reopening takes place to include students at the Summerville Campus.

Second year grad student Daniel Langston told NewsChannel 6 he’s not worried at all.

“I believe that Augusta University, when it comes to health, medical I believe that they will create an effective plan,” Langston said.

And that’s exactly what leaders have set in place for Jaguar Nation; a socially distant campus complete with educational reminders and tools to keep people safe while physically learning together.

Executive VP for Academic Affairs and Provost Gretchen Caughman told us, “They are in the process of putting a sign on every space, every classroom, but also other spaces what the maximum number of persons can be in that room for social distancing.”

Provost Caughman said everyone can expect to see taped signs on the floor encouraging social distancing too. She also said there will be more hand sanitizer stations throughout campus. You can already see communication in the halls telling people to wear a mask, especially in tight spaces such as elevators.

“They do much more intensive cleaning throughout, cleaning of doorknobs, hard surface spaces,” she explained. “You will see a lot of the obvious things with tape markings on the floor, moving out furniture so people don’t have an option to sit as close in common spaces.”

Caughman also said classes officially start August 10.

Senior Communication major Tamaria Alexander told us she is apprehensive about returning during a pandemic, but excited to see familiar faces.

“One of my sad realizations now that we’ve got more information about our campus reopening is that a lot of the foreign language classes are going completely online,” she said. “I understand, but it also makes me kind of sad.”

“I definitely want to advocate for them having their own housing. Sharing a room with another person is a big difference and them coming out going back and forth from home can be a tragedy,” Langston added sharing his little sister will be new to campus soon.

Caughman added, “Roommates, once they are established, will become essentially family, close contacts. They will be treated in terms of their social distancing, which wouldn’t be possible.”

There is a plan in place to go back to online only learning if COVID-19 numbers continue to rise, Caughman added.

To learn more about the phased reopening, click here.

Additionally Paine College has similar plans to reopen. President Cheryl Evans Jones said the campus will reopen to staff and students August 3. Lions will be expected to attend while being socially distant. Evans Jones added that there is currently a task force looking at COVID-19 numbers and what staff and students need upon reopening.

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