Spring Semester 2020 FAQ

Updated: April 2, 2020

Helpful Links

For University-Wide Updates: https://www.uga.edu/coronavirus/info.php

University Health Center Operations: https://www.uhs.uga.edu/healthtopics/coronavirus 

Research Operations: https://research.uga.edu/coronavirus/ 

Preparation for resuming classes on March 30, 2020: https://mailchi.mp/ad36aa348d09/nominations-opened-for-creative-teaching-awards-394429?e=eba7eb0c44  

Housing FAQ: https://housing.uga.edu/site/notices#faq (NEW!)

Travel Planning and Cancellations: https://busfin.uga.edu/accounts_payable/guidance_travel_plan_and_cancel.pdf  

EITS Continuity Plan: https://eits.uga.edu/continuity/

Maymester and Summer Courses to be Offered Online: https://www.uga.edu/coronavirus/messages/archnews-2020-04-02-2.php

Graduate School Memos

March 13

March 18

Applicant & Admitted Students FAQ

Assistantships & Funding

Should students on Assistantships still come to campus for work?
As UGA moves to online instruction for the remainder of spring semester on March 30, 2020, graduate students on an assistantship will be expected to continue to fulfill their work responsibilities during the suspension of instruction (March 16-27) and until the end of their assistantship contract for this year. Graduate assistants and other graduate students employed as student workers on campus must contact their supervisors as soon as possible to determine the safest way to accomplish to accomplish their work expectations remotely. Students should not be expected to come to campus for work unless they are considered essential employees. All graduate students on a research assistantship must be allowed to telework to fulfill their work expectations. This work can include, but is not limited to, completing literature reviews, data analysis, drafting manuscripts, working on dissertations and theses, etc. Because the cessation of research activity is mandated by the University of Georgia, graduate students on a research assistantship must continue to be paid during the period in which they will be teleworking, regardless of the source of funding for their assistantship.
As a TA, is there advice about how to work with my faculty supervisor?
The Center for Teaching and Learning has provided a guide for faculty about working with TAs for the move to online learning. You can use this as a guide for conversations with your supervisor.
Are there resources available to help me prepare for online instruction?
Yes. Refer to the March 23 memo from the Office of Instruction. While many of you are familiar with the Teaching and Learning Continuity website as a resource to help you transition to remote teaching, we also continue to receive new suggestions and hear some concerns from faculty and students.

Will students on an Assistantship get paid?
Students on assistantship will still receive paychecks as long as they meet the expectations for their assistantships as outlined in their award letter (e.g., register for 12 credit hours, and appointed at 33-50% FTE)All graduate students on an assistantship must be allowed to telework to fulfill their work expectations.

How will this affect students who use Kaba Clock?
Student can still clock in/out as normal. The punches will be stored in the clock and will flow into OneUSG Connect as soon as the system is available. The Kaba Clock may show “offline,” but students will still be able to record their hours.
How will this affect students who use Web Clock?
Students will need to record hours on a paper timesheet. Supervisors will need to enter the hours for their employees once the system is back online.
Will students still receive stipends?
Yes. As long as they remotely meet the work expectations for their assistantships as outlined in their award letter.
If students have internships with companies outside of the University, should they still report to those jobs?
Students on internships should contact their supervisor for information

How will students who have received funding from outside institutions be impacted?
SPA will be providing information soon from funding agencies about continuing to pay personnel on grants during COVID-19 related work disruptions. Regardless of funding source, graduate students will be paid for work remotely done to meet their assistantship.

Will my tuition waiver be impacted by a reduction in my course load because of the shift to online instruction?
Course load should not be reduced by the suspension of instruction. Students should still maintain their full time 12-credit hour load to maintain their tuition waiver.
Will the transition to online courses this semester affect my current financial aid?
Based on guidance received from the Department of Education (ED), the Office of Financial Aid does not believe there will be any adverse impact on aid received by our students due to the transition to online learning for the remainder of the 2020 spring semester because they are still enrolled. Should that change, the Office of Financial Aid will alert the University community immediately. However, should any student choose to withdraw, standard financial aid policies apply (https://osfa.uga.edu/policies/enrollment-and-financial-aid/dropping-courses-vs-withdrawing/). For additional questions, contact The University of Georgia Financial Aid Office at https://osfa.uga.edu/pandemic/

Academics & Research

If students are enrolled in a course that is already online, will they be expected to attend those classes during the suspension of instruction?
Per the March 13, 2020 ArchNews, the only instruction that will continue during this two-week period will be courses that are currently operating online. Per an exception granted by the University System of Georgia, these courses will continue as scheduled to minimize disruption.
Will the Course Withdrawal deadline be impacted?
The Office of Instruction has extended the course withdrawal deadline to April 17 to allow students time to re-assess their coursework and preparation and to make an informed decision regarding continuing in their classes.
What is the current status of ongoing research and scholarship activities at UGA?
All routine research not conducted remotely from UGA campuses should wind down and come to a stop as soon as possible, ideally by 5 pm Friday, March 20 (research on COVID-19 may be exempted; contact Vice President David Lee at dclee@uga.edu).

Only essential activities should continue beyond the deadline. Essential activities include ensuring the viability of living organisms and maintaining unique reagents and essential equipment. Investigators should immediately develop plans to ramp down their research and communicate these plans to everyone on their research teams. In developing these plans, faculty and all other research personnel are encouraged to view the COVID-19: Research Operations at the University of Georgia FAQ, which is updated as new information becomes available.

SPA will continue to submit proposals prior to agency deadlines and will conduct other business, but some delays should be anticipated.

Research support units (Sponsored Projects Administration, Proposal Enhancement, Research Integrity and Safety, Innovation Gateway) will remain operational. https://research.uga.edu/coronavirus/

Health Services

What do I do if I am returning from International Travel?
Any students, faculty or staff who have returned from international travel in the past 14 days must self-quarantine until they have been without symptoms for a period of 14 days from the date of entering/reentering the United States before returning to the University of Georgia. This requirement is issued in the best interest of the health and safety of our entire campus and surrounding community. It is necessitated by the U.S. State Department’s declaration of a Global Level 3 Health Advisory.
What does it mean to self-quarantine?
You must stay home for 14 days from the time you returned to the United States and practice social distancing. You will need to:

  • Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school for this 14-day period. Discuss your work situation with your employer before returning to work. 
  • Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing. 
  • Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares during the time you are practicing social distancing. 
  • Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters), and limit your activities in public. 
  • Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).
If a student experiences sickness with fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher), cough, or have trouble breathing, what should they do?
  • Seek medical care. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. 
  • Tell your doctor about your recent travel and your symptoms. 
  • Avoid contact with others. 
If a student exhibits these symptoms, and does not pay Health Center Fees, can the student still go to the University Health Center for testing?
Yes. The University Health Center will see students who do not pay the Health Center fees. Students must call the Health Center prior to arriving so that their symptoms can be screened, so that proper precautions are taken to receive students properly and be as protective of others as possible.
Does the University Health Center charge office visit fees to students on the Student Heatlh Insurance Plan?
All students are charged an office visit charge. For students enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP), if the student has paid the Health Center fee, then the primary care office visit charge is covered by the Health Center Fee. If a student enrolled in SHIP has not paid the Health Center Fee, then the student is responsible for paying 100% of the primary care office visit charge since the SHIP does not cover services normally covered by the Health Center Fee (see exclusion #17 in the SHIP policy’s Exclusions and Limitations section).
What do I do for other healthcare concerns?
Even during the temporary suspension, the excellent professionals at the University Health Center will continue to serve as a resource for students who are unsure as to how best to seek medical assistance.  Faculty and staff are best served by your primary healthcare provider.

If you need to seek medical care for other reasons, call ahead to your doctor and tell them about your recent travel to an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19. You must call ahead to schedule an appointment (706-542-1162). No walk-ins will be accepted. Employees are required to abide by these requirements as a condition of their employment. For students, failure to abide by these requirements may result in a temporary bar from campus, exclusion from University activities, and/or referral to the Office of Student Conduct.

Should you or those with whom you have come into contact test positive and are diagnosed with COVID-19, please be sure to notify the University Health Center so that we are aware of your illness (Main UHC Phone: 706-542-1162, Web: www.uhs.uga.edu, or, UHC Administration 706-542-8715).

For updates from the University Health Center, visit https://www.uhs.uga.edu/healthtopics/coronavirus.

What if I have mental health concerns during the suspension?
Please call Counseling & Psychiatric Services: Phone: 706-542-2273 (during regular business hours). Other resources are listed below:

  • After hour mental health crisis (24/7/365) please call 706- 542-2200. CAPS has an after-hours crisis line that funnels through UGA PD. Students may ask to speak with a CAPS clinician if they are feeling at risk to self. 
  • RSVP (24- hour) support continues to be available – 706-542-SAFE 
  • CAPS is available for phone consultations—please call 706-542-2273 (M-F 8am-5pm). 
  • Health Promotion will be offering limited Wellness Coaching via phone—please call 706-542-8690 to speak to someone (M-F 8am-5pm). 
  • Health Promotion – phone consultation services available: 706-542-8690 (M-F 8am-5pm) 

On-Campus Housing 

What is the status of on-campus housing during the suspension?
University Housing has created a list of answers to frequently asked questions. The room sign-up and apartment sign-up processes for fall 2020 have been postponed. Participants in those processes should check their email for information and revised dates. The room change request process for fall 2020 will open on March 30. Same room apartment sign-up will begin April 1.

Whether or not a resident has already been approved to remain on campus during the suspended learning period, if they need to live on campus through the end of the spring 2020 semester due to extenuating circumstances, they should log into The Dawg House to make a request by 12 p.m. (noon) on March 20. Although Housing is able to accommodate most students who have a need to remain on campus, residents who choose this option will not be able to have guests during this time.

Please note, students who have been traveling outside of the United States during spring break are not permitted to return to a UGA campus or facility and would not be eligible to live on campus during this suspended instruction period. 

If you require assistance, please contact housing@uga.edu or the staff in your housing community.  


Will fees be refunded?
Please read the entire memo for complete details about the refund plan.

  • 46% of the Athletic, Green, Recreation, and Transportation Fees will be refunded. 
  • The University will refund 46% of the portion of the Student Activity Fee that supports programming and events (25% of this fee supports student programming and events). 
  • In recognition of reduced in-person access to the University Health Center, UGA will refund 10% of the Health Fee. The University Health Center will remain fully staffed and operational throughout the Spring semester, continuing to serve all UGA students through remote and telemedicine platforms for those away from campus as well as in-person access for students who remain on campus and in the local community. 
  • Students with parking permits will receive refunds based on days remaining on the student’s permit from March 16 forward. 

Degree Completion 

Will deadlines be adjusted/will there be extensions for comps, theses, programs of study, etc.?
The Graduate School will extend the deadline for the final defense approval form and final ETD submission. The current published deadline for defense approval forms and final ETD submission is April 20th. We will extend the deadline to May 1st. This policy exemption and deadline extension will apply to spring semester 2020 only. The Graduate School will evaluate the need to make further changes/extensions at the beginning of the summer semester. There are no additional pending deadlines that need to be extended for spring.
How will thesis and dissertation defenses be conducted?
To increase flexibility, the Graduate School will make some exceptions to policies that govern the final thesis and dissertation defense exams for the spring semester 2020. Current policy requires the defending student and major professor to be physically present on campus for exams but allows other advisory committee members to participate remotely. The Graduate School will allow all members of the advisory committee including the supervisor and the student to participate in defense exams remotely. To facilitate defense exams, we require the use of Zoom or Skype platforms for videoconferencing. Information on Zoom can be found here: https://eits.uga.edu/learning_and_training/zoom/. Skype for Business is available within UGAMail online accounts.

The announcement form for a defense requires a Building and Room Number. The Graduate Coordinator’s office can put in a location and then explain in the comments section that the defense will be held by Zoom or Skype. For those already scheduled, the approval form the student submits does not require this information.

How will comprehensive exams be conducted?
The Oral Comp Announcement form (G118) will be reopened on March 23. Exams should only be scheduled for March 30th or later. Any exams scheduled during spring semester should be conducted remotely. It is the major professor and advisory committees’ responsibility to ensure the integrity of the exam. We appreciate your patience and flexibility as we navigate this transition.
Will the deadline to apply for spring 2020 graduation be affected?
No. The deadline to apply for graduation for spring will remain this Friday, March 20.
Will the deadline for ordering graduation regalia be impacted?
UGA’s May 8, 2020 Undergraduate and Graduate Commencement ceremonies have been canceled.
In keeping with directives from the state and federal government to suspend large events and promote social distancing due to COVID-19, the University System of Georgia has directed that all public events for the remainder of the Spring semester have been canceled, including Spring Commencement.

Students will still earn their degrees and be able to graduate this semester, consistent with academic standards.

These decisions are not made lightly, but with the best interests of our campus community and our students’ families and loved ones in mind. We realize that the cancellation of Spring Commencement is extremely disappointing. Therefore, we are exploring other ways to honor our graduates and will communicate when those plans are known.

How do I prevent ZoomBombing during my Defense?
The Graduate School and the Department of Geography have created a document with guidelines to successfully prevent unwanted interruptions to your defense.

International Students 

The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State have issued guidance to schools allowing flexibility in changes to academic programs so as to allow international students to maintain status during a temporary suspension of classes, and or the transition to an online course of study, as a result of the Covid-19 virus.  If you have international students in your classes or departments, please reassure them that their immigration status during this time is valid.  Please call the Office of Immigration Services if you have any questions or concerns (immigration@uga.edu / 706-542-2900). 

During the suspension of classes, individuals holding non-immigrant visa statuses such as J-1, H-1B, O-1 and TN, are also maintaining valid status so long as the employment relationship with the employer (UGA) remains active and unchanged. If the work-site of an international employee or scholar changes in any way (such as a change of office location, or a work-at-home period), you must report this to our office in advance of this change.  If you decide to depart the U.S., please also let us know (706 542-2900). Immigration FAQ 

How will taking online classes affect my visa status?
After the two-week suspension of classes, you will be able to maintain legal status when UGA implements online courses. Normally international students are limited to only 3 credits of online courses toward their fulltime course load. Updated guidance issued from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (eff. March 9, 2020) and the U.S. Department of State, (eff. March 11, 2020) allow a temporary relaxation of the limits on international F-1 and J-1 students’ enrollment in online classes. The guidance allows international students to enroll fulltime in only online classes as opposed to in-person classes, if this is required by their institutions due to Covid-19 concerns. The students must still maintain full time enrollment and must complete all online classes.
I want to return home, but I need advice and information about my visa. Who can help?
International students who decide to depart the U.S. and return to their home countries will also be able to maintain their active immigration SEVIS records while they are full-time enrolled at UGA.  Students must be sure to update their physical address in the Immigration Services office “Compass” system (formerly “iStart”.

If you choose to return to your home country, you may still participate in any online course offerings, as determined by the academic department and or the Registrar’s office. Please inform the UGA Immigration Services office of your departure, by emailing immigration@uga.edu.  Note that depending on worldwide travel restrictions, and U.S. embassy closures, if you depart the U.S. you may have difficulties returning in a timely fashion, and may require a new I-20 or DS-2019 form issued from UGA Immigration Services, and a new student visa application at a U.S. embassy.

International students who hold assistantships or work assignments with UGA need to contact their supervisor prior to making decisions regarding travel. International students approved for F-1 Optional Practical Training, or J-1 students approved for Academic Training, should work with their employers to ensure they can continue to perform their work, in the event of employer shutdowns.

Immigration Related Questions:
  • 706-542-2900 or email immigration@uga.edu
    After hours immigration-related emergencies, call 706-202-2546  
General questions or concerns
  • International Student Life
    706-542-5867 or email isl@uga.edu 


Will admissions decisions be impacted?
Applications and materials are still being submitted and processed. Departments can still review and make decisions.


If you have a meeting with someone at the Graduate School, are those meetings still scheduled?
The Graduate School will be conducting meetings virtually. Please confirm with the individual about specifics for the meeting.
Will students be refunded for tickets purchased for cancelled UGA sporting events?
For those that purchased tickets through the Georgia ticket office for any event canceled, we do plan on issuing a refund.  Ticket holders who purchased tickets via the secondary market or other sources must contact the seller or secondary source directly.
Will the dining halls be open for those students on meal plan and unable to leave campus?
Starting Saturday, March 14, Bolton Dining Commons will provide modified service Monday – Sunday 8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. All meals will be to-go as customer seating areas will be closed. Faculty, staff, and any visitors on campus may purchase a to-go meal ($9.20 for breakfast and $10.00 for lunch and dinner).

All other retail locations will be closed starting Wednesday, March 18.

Dining Services is also taking the following preventative measures:

  • Converting all self-service areas to full-service lines 
  • Supplying hand sanitizer at locations 
  • Providing additional hand-washing stations at locations 
  • Increasing the frequency of cleaning and sanitation of all areas 
  • Increasing the frequency of cleaning and sanitation of serving utensils 

Locations, serving times, and menus are subject to change. Further dining updates will be provided as they become available. Dining notifications can be found at uga.edu/notifications

The USG will be providing guidance to campuses on refunds for housing, dining, and other services. Students should wait for their campus to contact them.

Will I be able to access the Ramsey Center?
The Ramsey Center will be closed.


Should I plan any travel for the near future?
All non-essential travel—including travel to conferences (particularly those held internationally and out-of-state), training, site visits and any non-essential activities—is suspended during this period. We encourage you and your supervisors to consider online opportunities for professional development and scholarly activity.

For guidance on travel plans and cancellations, click here

Emergency Support

Does the university have resources to support students experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19?
Yes. You can find a list of resources on the Graduate School’s website Due to the impact of COVID-19 on our community, students who have previously received assistance from the Graduate Student Emergency Fund will be allowed to apply again to cover needs associated with the outbreak.

Ready to apply?