Gwinnett College COVID-19 Response – March 15, 2020

Orlando Campus

We are aware that Orange County decided late on Friday, March 13th to suspend classes until March 30th.  We have been preparing and are prepared to transition our courses to a virtual format, however, we are waiting for guidance from the Florida CIE giving us approval to make that transition on a temporary basis.  We have been in communication with the CIE and hope to receive that guidance very soon.  Until then, we do plan to hold class on Monday on campus.  We will be in classes with updates on Monday and will be available to make sure you are all also prepared for when the courses transition to the virtual format.  We are also aware that those of you with school-aged children may have conflicts with class.  Please communicate with the campus during this time.  We plan to work with students during this time. 

Atlanta Campuses (Lilburn, Sandy Springs, and Marietta) and Raleigh Campus

We have continued to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak closely and have been in communication with our various agencies in an attempt to be sure we make the best decisions possible on behalf of our students, faculty, and staff.  As you are all likely aware, most of the Atlanta area public schools have now made the decision to either suspend classes or transition to a virtual environment beginning next week.  Additionally, Wake County Public schools made the decision to cancel classes until at least March 27th in the Raleigh area. Our Atlanta and Raleigh campuses will begin the official transition next week.  That transition will proceed as follows:

Monday, March 16, 2020 and Tuesday, March 17, 2020 – Classes will be held on campus.  While normal course material will be covered, instructors and staff will also devote time to ensure that students are comfortable accessing course material on our learning management system, Canvas.  They will explain and demonstrate videoconferencing during this time. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 and Thursday, March 19, 2020 – There will be no class sessions on these days.  Instructors will report to campus during normal class times and will be available to students to help troubleshoot any remaining issues you may be having.

Monday, March 23, 2020 and moving forward – Classes will be conducted in our virtual environment AND instructor lecture will occur during its normally scheduled time.  Updates and information pertaining to the class will be communicated through the class in Canvas. 

Our plan and our hope is that we are able to quickly return to holding classes on campus.  We will communicate additional plans as we receive additional information.  For now, we anticipate that the Spring quarter will begin on campus and as scheduled on April 13, 2020 (April 4th for Sandy Springs) although we will certainly be prepared to begin the term in a virtual environment if necessary. Our faculty and staff will report as normal during this time so we do not foresee any interruption in our student services.

Regulatory Notes:

For Georgia students, we have two outstanding items in terms our ability to offer coursework via distance education. 

Georgia Board of Massage Therapy – At present, the Georgia Board of Massage Therapy rules do not allow for ANY coursework to be offered in a format that is not “face-to-face”and “at the physical location.”  We have spoken to the board and they have indicated that any temporary relief would have to come from the Governor’s office and that they cannot make any allowances.  Earlier this week, we submitted requests to the Governor’s office as well as the Lieutenant Governor’s office.  As of the writing of this notice, we have received no response.  We will continue to move forward in providing material online for massage classes but if the Board and Governor’s office are unable to help, we will simply need to make-up those hours in class when we are able to reconvene.  Staff will be in class on Monday to provide additional details as it relates to clinic hours, graduation, and certification.

Veterans’ Administration –  To this point, veterans would not be able to receive full benefits if attending distance education courses.  We received guidance from the Department of Veterans Affairs just after lunch that they are meeting on this and that we should have updated guidance by Wednesday.  Should the rule remain as it is, we will provide the opportunity to our veteran students to attend these classes on campus during this time.