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UGA planning 'gradual' and 'staggered' reopening of campus

Officials anticipate a resumption of in-person instruction for the fall semester beginning in August for all USG institutions.

ATHENS, Ga. — In a letter to faculty, staff and students, University of Georgia president Jere Morehead admits it's not going to be easy to reopen the campus when the time comes, but said he anticipates in-person instruction for the fall semester.

"All of us want to get back to an open and vibrant campus and resume normal operations, but that path will not be easy," he said. "There are many questions to be answered." 

While UGA plans to continue its May and summer semester courses online, he said planning is underway to consider how reopening the campus might look over the summer.

Morehead, along with four other presidents in the University System of Georgia (USG), have been working together to determine the best approach. 

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He said USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley accepted their recommendation to consider a "staggered, phased-in approach" that is "appropriate for the unique needs of each campus" in the coming weeks.

In the letter, he went on to say: "I have established nine working groups to begin evaluating a smooth transition to full operations here at UGA. These working groups will address workplace and health safety, instruction, research, public service and outreach, student life, enrollment management, athletics, communications, and fiscal impact. The groups are being led by senior administrators and involve nearly 140 members of our faculty and staff."

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He said that while they are planning for in-person classes in the fall, beginning in August, the situation remains fluid. 

"As the USG monitors developments related to COVID-19 and receives counsel from state public health officials," Morehead said. "Guidance could be subject to change, even after our plans are put in place. We will need to remain flexible and patient as we move forward."

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He went on to thank the faculty, staff and students for all the work that has taken place in the past several weeks. 

"We still have much to do before we emerge from this crisis, but together we are heading in the right direction. The determination of the Bulldog Nation makes all of us proud."

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