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Updated: 08/3/2020

COVID-19 Safety
Richmont Graduate University

Richmont Graduate University is making plans to be fully operational with students returning to campus for face-to-face classes in fall, along with additional virtual course attendance options.   All modifications made to schedules, policies, and practices will be aligned with CDC recommendations. This webpage contains information regarding university safety precautions and processes related to COVID-19. Periodic updates may be added or updated as needed.

Safety practices will include measures to create physical distance, enhanced cleaning, and use of disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, and required face coverings.


Here’s what you need to know:

  • Required face masks on campus
  • Required temperature checks upon entrance to campus
  • One entrance to enter and leave the campus
  • Socially-distant classrooms
  • Limited occupancy in common spaces at a time (e.g., student lounge, library)
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures
  • Disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer available in all common spaces

Physical Distancing

Classrooms have been reconfigured to increase physical distance among students and professors. Unnecessary furniture has been removed, and fixed seating is marked to show where students should sit in order to stay socially-distant. Classrooms now include defined instructional space to indicate boundaries between students and instructors for appropriate physical distancing. Plexiglass, and other physical barriers, will be used in a few spaces in the university, but the primary protective barrier will be face coverings, which will offer more flexibility for movement.

Libraries

Libraries will limit the number of students in the library to 4 students at a time in the front areas and 5-7 students in the stacks/study area. “Entrance Cards” will be provided outside of doors in the library and will be replaced as students leave.  Students are encouraged to spend no more than 1 hour in the library so that other students are able to enter safely. Tables for quick pickup and drop-off of books and printed materials will be outside each main entrance of the library.  Social distancing protocols will be enforced, but especially by the service desk and copier/printers. For students needing extra help, appointments for research consultations with the librarians can be arranged.  

Many services and questions can be answered online by contacting libraries@richmont.edu.

Student Lounges and Student Spaces

All rooms on the university campuses will be labeled with a maximum room occupancy. Students are encouraged to follow these requirements and appropriately socially distance in all areas.  Some spaces also may be divided into “zones” in order to physically indicate safe physical distancing.

Common areas and student lounges on both campuses will limit the number of students in the lounge at a time. “Entrance Cards” will be provided outside of the lounge doors for students to grab as they enter the lounge. Students are encouraged to spend a limited amount in student spaces so that other students can have access to these spaces safely. Social distancing protocols will be recommended, but especially in the kitchens and by the copier/printers. The furniture will be transitioned and re-grouped to support social distancing protocols. Students are asked not to rearrange furniture on campus. 

The student lounge will only provide microwaves and refrigerators for student use. All other shared food space (Honor Bar, Coffee, etc.) has been temporarily removed.  Students are asked to bring only enough food for one day and not to store personal food/condiments/etc. items in the lounge area or refrigerators.  There are additional spaces outside of each campus where students can enjoy their lunch.

Use of Technology

Classes will be taught as on-ground, hybrid, virtual, or fully online. The use of virtual attendance which allows on-campus courses to be attended virtually in real-time, is a substantial change. Some courses also may be conducted in a hybrid format for all students. Hybrid courses provide some in-person instruction while helping enhance physical distancing across campus.

The Office of Information Technology is installing equipment to support real-timevirtual and hybrid instruction. The technology will also enable lectures to be recorded so that if a student must miss class, the course content will be available to view on demand.

Enhanced Cleaning

The university has implemented enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Classrooms and common areas will have increased frequency and enhanced cleaning.

Disinfecting Wipes and Hand Sanitizer

Disinfecting wipes will be available in all classrooms and high touch areas.  Students and professors are encouraged to pick up a wipe on the way into classrooms and wipe down their work areas and classroom technology such as wireless microphones, keyboards, and podium touchpads. Hand sanitizer will be conveniently located in all classrooms.

Face Coverings

Face masks will be required for all faculty, staff, and students in classrooms and all areas on campus. Those in a room with a closed door will not have to wear a face covering.

Face shields are not required for general use, but provide added protection when combined with a face mask.  A shield protects the entire face, is easy to clean, and prevents the person wearing it from touching his or her face. Face shields (alone) can be used by professors while teaching without a mask, but professors will wear a mask at all other times.  Students are not permitted to ONLY wear a face shield, but can combine it with their face mask if they choose to do so.

I am high-risk or I live with someone who is high-risk and do not feel comfortable with traditional coursework. What are my options?

The university is taking measures to help protect faculty, staff, and students who are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19 or who are living with or caring for someone at high risk. University efforts include:

  • Continued development of remote learning and teaching options for students and faculty who need to stay home or quarantine if suspected positive diagnosis.
  • The option to take an on-ground class in a virtual format can be requested (this is addressed in the next question).
  • Availability of protective measures for those on campus.
  • Expectations for advisors and professors to be understanding of the needs of those at high risk and to work with them to develop options for flexible scheduling, protective measures, online coursework, etc.

How do I apply to virtually attend lectures/class meetings for my on-campus courses?

  • The option to attend on-campus lectures via Zoom can be requested. The application can be found here: Application to Transition to Online Class Attendance
  • Once your application to request virtual attendance of lectures/class meetings for your on-campus course has been evaluated, you will receive a notification from the Office of the Dean of your respective school within 48 hours.
  • Once a student’s application is approved, any student requesting this option will need to attend all lectures/class meetings via Zoom for all on-campus classes (including intensives) for the rest of the semester.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to apply to attend lectures via Zoom by August 21, 2020, in order to facilitate a smoother semester. However, applications will be accepted later if necessary.

What happens if I decide I want to attend lectures via Zoom for my on-campus classes after the declaration deadline has passed?

  • These requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis if they are submitted after the deadline.

I had to watch a class meeting/lectures via Zoom for a week or two because of self-isolation, quarantine, COVID-19, or childcare-related issues. How did the professor count my attendance?

  • Students who attend classes in-person, attend live via Zoom (virtually), or watch the recorded lecture online at a later date are considered to have attended the course. Communication with your professor is very important in documenting any coursework completed so that your attendance is counted. Helping Relationships and Internship I will not be recorded in the School of Counseling because of the nature of the coursework.

How will students attend class in the event of illness or need to quarantine?

  • Richmont faculty who are teaching on-campus courses will provide remote instructions through live and recorded lectures (via Zoom). Assignment submission, etc. will be handled on a class-by-class basis per instructor preference. Except for attending lectures/class meetings virtually, all assignments and requirements of the course will be the same as stated in the syllabus. There may be occasional changes for the rare occasion when a class activity cannot adequately be completed if the student is not live-streaming the course.
  • Students will have access to their course content even if they are sick or spending time in self-isolation/quarantine. Richmont will respond with flexibility and safe practices to promote our community’s health as well as our students’ academic, clinical, and personal well-being.

What should I do if I have concerns about another student, faculty member, or staff member who maybe be exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or is not abiding by the campus expectations (not wearing a mask, not social distancing, etc.)

  • Richmont recognizes that returning to campus this Fall semester will require a shared commitment to caring for those with whom we are living and working in the community by following the specified health guidelines and separate ourselves from others at the first sign of any illness.
  • We will also be required to show healthy charity to others. Richmont asks that each individual join us in our efforts to keep everyone in the Richmont community safe by taking personal responsibility.

I was just sent home with a temperature of above 100.4.  What happens next?

  • Richmont will be communicating via email to your professors that you have been sent home because of your fever and will not be present in class for the specific date.
  • You should also immediately communicate with your professor about your condition.  All classes are being recorded for situations such as these.  Students will need to acquire information regarding making up the seat time in your course from your professor (i.e. video of class time, assignments, etc.). 
  • You can find uploaded videos from your course(s) at your university Office 365 Microsoft Stream site:
  • You can return to campus 10 days after symptom onset if :
    • You have been fever-free at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications and other symptoms have improved.

What test should I take if I think I have COVID-19 or am sent home with a 100.4 or above temperature?

  • Only a COVID-19 viral test showing a negative result will be accepted. Serology COVID-19 Tests (also known as a COVID-19 “antibody tests”) will not meet the testing requirement.

How will the campus be notified if a student, staff, or faculty member on my campus tests positive for COVID-19?

  • The local public health department conducts contact tracing, and as part of that process the health department will notify the university when necessary. Following this notification, the Office of the President will notify the students, staff, and faculty on that campus of the possible interaction with someone who tested positive and next steps for the campus

Where can I find information about COVID-19 viral testing?

If I take a COVID-19 viral test and test positive, what should I do?

  • Alert your advisor along with emailing your designated COVID campus coordinator:
    Atlanta: Philip Burns – pburns@richmont.edu
    Chattanooga: Roxie Shellabarger – rshellabarger@richmont.edu
  • Alert your professors of your diagnosis and find out details about how to proceed with your current assignments and where to find videos of your coursework. This information will remain confidential per FERPA and HIPAA standards.
  •  You can return to campus 10 days after symptom onset if :
    • You have been fever-free at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications AND other symptoms have improved.

I tested positive for COVID-19, but I have no symptoms.  When can I return to school?

  • You can return to classes once it has been 10 days since you received your positive COVID-19 diagnosis.  This information will remain confidential per FERPA and HIPAA standards.

How will courses continue if the Georgia or TN see a resurgence 0f COVID-19 and sheltering-in-place is implemented again?

  • Faculty and administrators are preparing their fall courses with the possibility of this scenario in mind. If Richmont needs to pivot to remote learning due to increased COVID-19 spread, the university and faculty will be prepared to transition 100% online.

I have further questions about COVID-19 and Richmont’s response. Who can I direct these questions to?

Philip Burns at pburns@richmont.edu

COVID-19 Safety