UGA Taking Major Steps to Prevent COVID Outbreak, Protect College Football
The Southeastern Conference has made it clear it is determined to play college football this fall. It is moving forward with camps all across the conference, and ramping up for a Sept. 26 start date.
Though the football programs themselves are taking incredible steps to prevent and control the spread of COVID inside their program, there's one major hurdle coming their way... students returning to campus.
The University of Georgia starts classes on Aug. 20. We've contacted several students at the school to not only see what their feelings are about returning to campus, but also the measures the school is taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Just like athletes are being required to go through a list of possible symptoms on a daily basis, UGA is asking students to do the same. DawgCheck is an app that not only provides students an opportunity to self-report their own symptoms, but also with the use of the app, students are giving consent to the tracing of their whereabouts to provide the school an easier path to contact tracing if and when a student tests positive for COVID-19. The app is even supposed to be able to notify you when you are "too close" to an individual that has tested positive.
The application comes with the following consent message:
"By completing the Check for Symptoms survey and submitting your responses, you understand that the information collected can be used by the University of Georgia to provide a safe environment for you and the University community."
International Students Quarantine
International students will be asked to quarantine for 14 days once they arrive back on campus. In an email sent to students, UGA says it knows how difficult it can be to be forced to quarantine for two weeks upon arriving in a new country so they offer "remedies" such as GrubHub food delivery. And if you need to furnish your new apartment, Amazon, Best Buy, Ikea, and several others can deliver furniture there.
Mandatory Face Coverings
UGA will require all of its students and faculty members to wear adequate face coverings while on campus and placed in a position where social distancing is not made possible. The school has stated that masks are not an alternative to social distancing, and that, when able, students should attempt to distance and wear a mask while on campus. Students that don't adhere to the mask requirements will be asked to leave.
There was also an email sent to students that had COVID-19 considerations for sexual interactions between students.
Dawgs Daily was told this email, in particular, was a tipping point for several students and their parents which lead to them pulling from the school.
In-Person Student rotation
There won't be the usual in-person classes at UGA this fall. Students will rotate between in-person and online courses throughout the semester. One student we spoke to stated that she's only allowed to take an in-person session 12 times throughout the semester for one of her classes.
This is the school's way of attempting to limit the number of students in one space. Some students already have the majority of their classes online anyways.
Student Transit Limits Number
The UGA transit system is the primary source of transportation for a lot of students on campus. However, they will be limiting the number of students allowed on the buses. This has caused many students to have a concern about their ability to make it to their classes on time. In response, the school has provided more time between classes for students to walk to class.
Students voice their concern
UGA can put in place any and all measures it wants for its campus in hopes of controlling and preventing the spread of the virus, but downtown Athens is still downtown Athens. I spoke to the manager of Little Italy Pizzeria, which sits on the corner of Lumpkin and Broad Street, and when asked what the nightlife scene looks like, he responded, "At 9 p.m. you'd think no one's heard of a pandemic. It's business as usual."
Most students we've spoken to share one singular opinion: Once the add/drop period ends two weeks after the beginning of the semester and they are locked in for the semester, the school will go fully online.
As for the impact on football, the staff at UGA and several other programs across the SEC have made it clear the importance of remaining inside your dorm when not at the facility and the importance of essentially quarantining away from the regular student body. Though, these are still college students.
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