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On Aug. 20, 2020 the University of Georgia begins classes, welcoming students on campus as they initiate reopening after being closed since March and moving all classes online due to COVID-19. Inside the Tate Student Center tables and chairs have been removed to allow for social distancing. Signs and ground markers have been placed around the building to encourage students to use masks and remain 6 feet apart. (Photo/Caroline Head, chead@randb.com)

Student organizations at the University of Georgia must conduct and host events differently in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The department of Engagement, Leadership and Service Center at UGA released guidelines on July 20 about how student organizations should proceed this fall semester. 

Although the guidelines state organizations should abide by social distancing measures, it does not state organizations cannot host events, meetings or other social gatherings.

“While social distancing will change the nature of many experiences, the University encourages each group to continue its work to the extent possible, while at the same time promoting the health and safety of group members and the larger community,” according to the COVID-19 guidelines document.

Below is a summary of the guidelines.

Contact tracing

Organizations are encouraged but not required to update their rosters in the Involvement Network in order to track participation in face-to-face events or in the event that a member of the organization tests positive for the coronavirus.

Organizations can view how to track participation here

Campus reservations

Student organizations are encouraged but not required to host meetings online, specifically when social distancing cannot take place and “to continue to engage with students who choose not to attend in-person activities for personal and/or health reasons.”

Organizations have the option to use Zoom, which is free for UGA students, faculty and staff to hold unlimited time for meetings instead of meeting in person. The guidelines offer Zoom assistance and resources for organizations. 

If an organization wants to host smaller face-to-face meetings, reservable meeting spaces and buildings are available through Campus Reservations, Events and Technical Services. Reservation requests were opened on Aug. 31.

The rooms will be adjusted to meet social distancing requirements for the clubs and organizations who submit a reservation request. At all meetings, events and common group activities, students will be “discouraged from having common food and drink distribution sources, favoring individually portioned and pre-packaged containers.”

This semester, indoor tabling reservations will not be available. If clubs want to table outside, it is “strongly encouraged to not have more than two student organization representatives per six-foot table, distanced from one another at each end of the table horizontally.”

Events

CRETS will accept requests for large event space, but they must be tailored to accommodate social distancing practices by either using large and open-air spaces. Events and activities must include a contingency plan that will be used in case of cancelation. Options could be to reschedule, cancel completely, use a hybrid model or offer online delivery.

Organizations should limit activities and shared items that require physical contact such as sharing pens or sign-in sheets.Students are encouraged but not required “to self-clean following all organization meetings, events, and activities. Cleaning supplies will be provided, as needed.”

For off-campus events and activities, student organizations are asked to follow current guidance in place from state and local officials and health leaders.

The Involvement Fair will take place virtually this semester, but the ELS is still evaluating the possibility of hosting smaller, socially-distanced events, according to the guidelines. Organizations are encouraged to update their information in the Involvement Network and add photos and videos to their individual page.

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