SGA Updates on Coronavirus

SGA Updates on Coronavirus

Coronavirus Resources

Please refer to https://health.gatech.edu/coronavirus for all official Institute updates on the Coronavirus outbreak.

Students who would like to reach SGA about the impact of COVID-19 on students can email covid19@sga.gatech.edu

April 13, 2020 – Message from Pooja Juvekar

Good evening Yellow Jackets,

Earlier this month, student government presidents from across the University System of Georgia (USG) sent a letter advocating for reconsideration of optional pass/fail policy.

This past Thursday, seven of us student government presidents had a meeting with USG Leadership to express once again how we feel that an opt-in policy is in the best interest of students for a myriad of reasons. 

At this time, I have no indication that this policy will change. I, along with other student leaders, feel disappointed. We will continue advocating for students and doing all we can to ensure student voices are heard in this conversation.

These times are more than difficult, and although this update is not good news, we wanted to send this. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or want to express your thoughts or concerns.

In Progress and Service,

Pooja Juvekar
Undergraduate Student Body President

March 27, 2020 – Message from Pooja Juvekar

Dear Yellow Jackets,

As we gear up to get back into the class routine next week, I want to provide updates on all things Georgia Tech. I know there is a lot of valid frustration and sadness surrounding the uncertainty of these times — current and summer classes, commencement, and your connectedness with others — just to name a few.

There was a cheesy quote that I read recently: “You do not have to make sense of it all in order to be worthy of peace.” I want each of you to know that the complexity of the emotions you feel are valid. If there is anything that brings me hope, it’s that our resilience as students to be there for each other — to check in, ask for help, and cheer each other up — will get us through this period.

Over the last week, SGA has heard from many of you asking how Georgia Tech can contribute face masks to hospitals and those in need. You have offered your fresh produce and cans of food. You have asked questions and brought your frustrations and concerns to us. Because of all this, we are stronger. Thank you.

COVID-19 Emergency Fund

Since the creation of this new Emergency Fund, over 170 students have applied. Regardless of whether you think your expense is small, this fund was created to assist students.

The Student Emergency Fund has been created by the Division of Student Life with support from the Alumni Association and Office of Development. This fund allows for students who are in need of financial assistance to receive up to $1,000 for travel assistance, housing assistance, medical expenses, moving costs, financial support, and food insecurity. Click here for the application.

Housing and Dining

I want to reassure you that students will be receiving prorated housing and meal plan refunds. For those who cannot move their belongings out of their dorm or apartment before the end of the semester, you will still receive the prorated housing refund. For students who remain on campus, Ferst Place is open and provides the option to deliver meals to Brittain Dining Hall and Woodruff Residence Hall. Here are links to information about meal delivery and other campus services hours.

Academic Support

To support our students academically, 1-on-1 tutoring will continue on BlueJeans, and students can schedule appointments by visiting http://success.gatech.edu. PLUS Leaders will develop and distribute weekly study guides for their courses and host weekly two-hour remote sessions via BlueJeans where students may work collaboratively on problems. More information can be found at http://success.gatech.edu/plus-sessions

We have heard that many instructors have been adapting well to these circumstances and are providing greater flexibility. We encourage you to communicate and work with your instructors to voice your concerns and needs during this time. SGA is here to support you in instances where these accommodations are not made.  

What is SGA doing?

We have advocated for the extension of the withdrawal (W) deadline to the end of the term, increased financial support for students on and off campus, extended airport/grocery shuttle operations, and added delivery options for on-campus meal plans. 

For those who are graduating, we will continue to meet with Institute leadership to express the desire to hold a commencement ceremony. We are advocating for seamless reimbursements for summer study abroad programs and for more information on what summer class offerings will look like. In addition, we are working to better understand the exact amount of prorated fee reimbursements. We are working on allocating funds from the newly formed Joint Governing Board. Please continue submitting your feedback to us with this link so we can better understand your needs. 

Looking Forward

Next week, we officially begin the term in a very different way. Because of the unifying way I have seen students ask what they can do for others, I am confident we will come out of this stronger than before. The selflessness of my peers gives me hope that we are indeed a school full of brilliantly kind students. That is the Georgia Tech I know. 

In Progress and Service,

Pooja Juvekar
Undergraduate Student Body President

March 22, 2020 – Message from Venkatesh Muppaneni and Divyesh Gutta

Good afternoon student leaders, 

We hope all of you have been able to stay safe over the last week. In our previous message, we promised an update on how SGA funding for registered student organizations will continue for the rest of the semester. Given the changes to Georgia Tech’s environment since our last email, here is how we are evaluating funding until the end of this fiscal year (FY2020): 

  1. How will existing allocations and new funding requests be treated for the rest of FY2020? 
    1. Organizations should refrain from making purchases with any unspent funds for the remainder of the fiscal year (until June 30, 2020). If there are any necessary operational expenses (e.g., storage fees, equipment replacement, etc.) that still need to be paid, please reach out to us before moving forward with that purchase. 
    2. In most cases, we will not allocate new funds to organizations in bills for the remainder of FY20. If there are any necessary purchases for which funding has not been allocated to your organization, please reach out to us, and we will work with you on a case-by-case basis to determine funding. 
  2. Can I rollover already allocated funds for an event my organization was planning to host during Spring ‘20 that we now intend to postpone to Fall ‘20?
    1. At this time, we cannot commit to automatically rolling over funds that were allocated for Spring ‘20 events that are now being rescheduled to Fall ‘20. Georgia Tech is currently evaluating student fee reimbursements, and the student activity fee (i.e., the pool of funds that SGA allocates) is part of those discussions. As there is no clarity on the amount of funding that will be returned to students from this fee, we will only be able to approve rollovers for events through our normal rollover process at the end of the fiscal year. By then, we will have more clarity on the funding outlook for FY2021. 
  3. How has the FY2021 budget timeline changed? 
    1. Over the next few days, we will reach out to organizations that submitted an FY2021 budget via email to get any additional information the legislative bodies need to make a final determination on your organization’s budget allocation. 
    2. The final budget allocation to each organization will be decided in approximately two to three weeks. Once this decision has been made, all organizations will be emailed with their final allocation amount for FY2021.

As always, we are available as a resource for you, should your organization need any support. 

Thank you again for your patience during this complicated situation. Given how much this COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on our campus, we know that many of your organization’s members are relying on you to feel like they are still part of the Georgia Tech community. Please let us know what we can do to help support you in those efforts and stay safe.  

Yours in Progress & Service, 

Venkatesh & Divyesh

Venkatesh Muppaneni | Joint Vice President of Campus Organizations | campusorgs@sga.gatech.edu

Divyesh Gutta | Joint Vice President of Finance | finance@sga.gatech.edu

March 20, 2020 – Message from Narayan Shirolkar

Good afternoon Yellow Jackets,

Happy Monday! I hope you’re staying home and taking good care of yourselves. Over the last few days, I was heartened to see many of you reach out, in the true yellow jacket spirit, wanting to help those in need in these uncertain times. I write to you today to answer some of your questions, provide some useful resources, and update you on what SGA has been working on. If you have any questions that you’d like us to bring to the attention of the COVID-19 task force please email us at covid19@sga.gatech.edu

Georgia Tech Student Relief Fund: APPLY HERE

This fund has been established to support Georgia Tech students who have ANY financial need related to the COVID-19 crisis and campus closures. Awards from this fund are currently limited to $1,000 per student. Possible examples of needs that this fund can address are: 

COVID-19 screening tests and other COVID – 19 medical expenses, Financial support if you lost an on-campus job, Travel expenses related to campus closure, Other expenses directly related to COVID-19.

Klemis Kitchen: Food and personal care supplies for students in need 
Klemis Kitchen serves as a food pantry for Georgia Tech students with financial concerns that limit their access to proper nourishment. Due to the current circumstances, we have worked with the administration to make sure that ANY student can request access to Klemis Kitchen. You may also DONATE any unopened food, personal care items to the kitchen. Please contact steve.fazenbaker@gatech.edu for further assistance.  

Lab PPE Donations:

Many of you have expressed interest in donating PPE to healthcare professionals in need of these equipment. Georgia Tech has formally received requests from the national stockpile and the Governor’s office, and we are currently working with EHS and the EVPR’s office to coordinate these efforts. I encourage you to have a conversation with your PI about the possibility of lending extra PPE in your lab. More guidance on this will follow in the next few days. 

Insurance coverage for COVID-19 testing, Telehealth services: 

Stamps currently does NOT have the capability to test for COVID-19. However, if you are enrolled in the GT provided student health insurance plan, COVID-19 testing is covered. Please refer to the USG website https://www.usg.edu/coronavirus/ for more detailed information on the services available to you if you are on the student health insurance plan. 

Research and Academics:

You may visit https://research.gatech.edu/coronavirus-response for the latest updates on research activities.  Online instruction begins March 30th. In case of any academic or research grievances, please contact Dr. Kyla Ross, Assistant Vice Provost for Advocacy and Conflict Resolution at kyla.ross@gatech.edu.  

SGA commits $50,000 in response to COVID-19: 

Last week, in a special legislative session, SGA passed a resolution to allocate $50,000 to fund COVID-19 response efforts. These funds will be allocated by a Joint Governing Board with representation from both undergraduate and graduate students to provide student support, such as stocking Klemis Kitchen with additional items, and exploring innovative ways to help all students. Here you can read more about the charter of this board. To submit your ideas for funding, please fill out this form. For more information, please reach out to SGA’s Joint Vice President of Finance at finance@sga.gatech.edu. General resources put together by SGA: sga.gatech.edu/coronavirus

SGA’s priority remains advocating for student health, safety, and well-being, and we will continue to do this through this unique time. 

In Progress and Service,

Narayan Shirolkar

March 20, 2020 – Message from Pooja Juvekar

Dear Yellow Jackets,

This time at Georgia Tech has been difficult. I am writing to provide you with a recap of what SGA has been working on, as well as to address the frustration with communication across the Institute.

SGA has created an updated resource guide that includes information about the Georgia Tech grocery shuttle, airport shuttle, financial support, housing, dining, other campus services, and support for your mental and physical well-being. You may find the guide here or at sga.gatech.edu/coronavirus.

We have heard and understand that communication from Housing regarding move-out created confusion, and we are actively working with Housing and Residence Life and the Residence Hall Association (RHA) to advocate for increased flexibility with move-out parameters.

Housing and Residence Life is currently processing requests from students who intend to stay on campus for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. Residence Life is working with Student Life in reviewing these applications. If you feel that your situation at home is not conducive to your health and well-being, we encourage you to state this in your application. If you are still waiting for confirmation, email information@housing.gatech.edu. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any further assistance. 

We understand the many questions in regards to capstone and lab classes, grading changes, and extensions for assignment deadlines. We anticipate that decisions about changes to withdrawal deadlines will be made shortly. Should there be any changes, please be on the lookout for an email from the Registrar’s Office. We will continue to follow-up and advocate for students’ interests. 

If you have any concerns or grievances with your academic experience, click here or contact Dr. Kyla Ross, Assistant Vice Provost for Advocacy and Conflict Resolution at kyla.ross@gatech.edu.  

Klemis Kitchen — Georgia Tech’s on-campus food pantry — will be fully stocked and open for students who will remain on campus through the end of semester. Additionally, we are working to expand Klemis Kitchen’s pantry to include household items, like paper and sanitary products.

Yesterday in a special legislative session, SGA passed a resolution to allocate $50,000 to fund COVID-19 response efforts. These funds will be allocated by a Joint Governing Board with representation from both undergraduate and graduate students to provide student support, such as stocking Klemis Kitchen with additional items, and exploring innovative ways to help all students. Here you can read more about the charter of this board. To submit your ideas for funding, please fill out this form. For more information, please reach out to SGA’s Joint Vice President of Finance at finance@sga.gatech.edu.

We are continuing to ask questions to understand how to best support student employees, including those under the Federal Work Study program, during this time and through the rest of the semester.

SGA’s priority remains advocating for student health, safety, and well-being, and we will continue to do this through this unique time. 

I want you each to know that SGA is here for any and all questions, thoughts, concerns, and feedback. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at covid19@sga.gatech.edu. This email inbox is being used to gather concerns and issues from students, to answer your questions, and provide you with resources. 

In Progress and Service, 

Pooja Juvekar
Undergraduate Student Body President

March 14, 2020 – Message from Pooja Juvekar

Good afternoon Yellow Jackets,

I want to candidly express that this time has been uncertain and trying for many reasons. The lack of certainty has been stressful to say the least.

All in all, this circumstance is less than ideal. I want each of you to know that I am here and always available to chat over phone, in person, and over email about how we can best support and advocate for you. 

SGA has been in contact with administration from the Office of the Provost, Campus Services, Student Life and the Office of President in advocating for student’s best interest. At this time, as we have all been informed, the decision following March 29th regarding virtual online classes is unknown.

The Institute FAQs on this site have been populated with questions, and if you have any specific further questions contact us at covid19@sga.gatech.edu. From here, we can help escalate these questions to the specific campus department they pertain to and share with the rest of the campus community. 

SGA has created this resources page to provide students with Georgia Tech and national resources. 

SGA’s website has been updated to contain updates with the above linked resources. Please refer here for more information.

I know it has been quite a difficult few days, and once again want you each to know that we are in this together and here for you. 

Yours in Progress and Service,

Pooja

March 14, 2020 – Message from Narayan Shirolkar

Fellow grad students,

I hope that you are taking care of yourself and those around you. These are challenging  times for all of us, and I understand the additional stress you may be facing with the currently evolving situation regarding changes to the instruction, campus operations, housing etc. We are diligently working with the campus services to ensure the necessary resources are available to all the students who continue to remain/ work on campus. We will be communicating more on these resources in the coming days. 

In the meantime, please feel free to email us your questions, concerns, or comments to covid19@sga.gatech.edu. We will be bringing these questions to the coronavirus task force that meets MWF every week, and try to get answers to your queries, and come up with a possible resolution to address your concerns. To find the most updated information on the developments in the situation, please visit health.gatech.edu/coronavirus

Stay safe and take care. 

Sincerely,
Narayan Shirolkar

March 13, 2020 – Message from Venkatesh Muppaneni and Divyesh Gutta

Dear student leaders,

We hope everyone is staying safe and preparing appropriately for the many changes occurring on campus. On behalf of the Student Government Association, we wanted to send this communication to give an update on how COVID-19 will affect SGA funding. While the situation is constantly evolving, here is how we currently plan to evaluate all financial requests: 

  1. Organizations should refrain from making purchases with any unspent funds for any programs, activities, or events occurring before March 29th. All of these funds are required to be encumbered back by SGA, and may not be used for any reimbursements.
  2. For purchases that have already been made, most reimbursements will occur as normal. 
    1. For any event/logistics purchases that incur a cancellation fee, please work with your SOFO point of contact for the possibility of a waiver. 
    2. For flights that have been canceled, please refer to the travel section below for more detailed clarification about flight reimbursements.
  3. For programs and events occurring on-campus or nearby: 
    1. We intend to make a final decision on whether we will accept new funding requests for event spending after the March 29th spending freeze by March 23rd, 2020. Until then, please do not make any financial commitments with an expectation that you can receive funding from SGA. We acknowledge that this may affect relationships you have with vendors, so please plan accordingly.
    2. Refer to the Center for Student Engagement and Special Events websites for additional guidance. We echo their concerns about the public health risks of large gatherings and encourage you to make the best decisions for the health of your members.
  4. For travel:
    1. Based on guidance from the Georgia Tech administration, we are not able to reimburse expenses for travel that was planned to occur before March 29th, 2020 as those trips are considering non-essential travel expenses. Please cancel any trips planned before this date that were funded through SGA, and reach out to your SOFO point of contact if there any issues with cancellation fees. 
    2. For expenses associated with travel after March 29th that have already been paid, we will work on a case-by-case basis to manage reimbursements. We expect that many of you will receive electronic travel vouchers for flights that need to be canceled, and still need to decide how we plan to evaluate reimbursements for those vouchers.
    3. We intend to make a final decision on whether we will accept new funding requests for travel occurring after March 29th by March 23rd 2020. 
  5. For other expenses: 
    1. Please reach out to us before spending any SGA funds on other expenses that do not fall under the above categories. We will work with you on a case-by-case basis to make a determination about whether we can support that purchase after March 29th.

As always, we are available as a resource for you, should your organization need any support. 

We are doing everything we can to collect updated information and advocate on behalf of all students. Thank you for your leadership during this complex situation, and stay safe. 

In Progress & Service, 

Venkatesh Muppaneni | Joint Vice President of Campus Organizations | campusorgs@sga.gatech.edu
Divyesh Gutta | Joint Vice President of Finance | finance@sga.gatech.edu

Updates from SGA