AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Augusta University has requested for all residential students to leave both the Health Sciences and Summerville campuses due to novel coronavirus threats.
At this time, no student, faculty or staff member is stricken with the illness but AU administration is taking extra steps to ensure every Jaguar is safe.
“We will continue to be overprepared so that none of us will have to overreact,” said Augusta University President Dr. Brooks Keel.
Spring Break is coming early for AU students and all others that are enrolled in the University System of Georgia. The Board of Regents issued an extra week off due to threats of COVID-19. Although, business at AU will keep rolling.
Dr. Brooks explained, “There will be some faculty and staff here because it’s imperative for them to carry out their jobs they just simply have to be here. But we’re really encouraging everybody, that’s possible, where they can, to go home.”
“Man, coronavirus is crazy! As a young person, I’m not worried at all but I am worried about the older population because it does affect them,” said EJ Mitchem.
Right now, students are scheduled to return to both AU’s Health Sciences and Summerville campuses on March 29. During the two weeks off, professors will adjust lesson plans to online.
“We know that every single course we have doesn’t automatically convert to an online course. We know that and there’s going to be some exceptions. We’re working on that,” said Dr. Keel.
While you may spot faculty and staff on the campuses in the coming weeks., some students will have to stay behind. Like some international students.
Dr. Brooks said, “We’re going to make sure that their dining and food is taken care of. And they’re safe and comfortable.”
Both Dr. Keel and Mitchem see the silver lining with this coronavirus pandemic.
“The good thing about Augusta University is they’re known for their medical side, medical views, so having great nurses that are about to graduate, learning about this, I think is a good thing for them,” said Mitchem.
Dr. Keel added, “This is going to give our faculty an opportunity to say, ‘wow I never really thought about doing online education but this is pretty cool. It works really well.’ We know the future of education is to be more online.”
As for suspending construction projects at AU, it’s up in the air.
“That’s a great question. We don’t, to my knowledge, other than the college of mathematics and sciences building which is well on schedule, there shouldn’t be any interruption there. But we’ll have to let those companies make those decisions whether they’re on campus or not,” said Dr. Keel.
While students are gone for the next two weeks, crews will be extensively cleaning classrooms, big lecture halls and pretty much every corner of both Augusta University campuses.