AU getting ready for fall semester amid latest COVID spike

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 11:22 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Augusta University held a town hall meeting Thursday to talk about plans to combat coronavirus. Right now, masks are not required on the main campus.

There are different policies on AU’s hospital campus from their academic campus. Masks are now required everywhere in the hospital setting, but masks are optional everywhere in the academic setting. That could change as we get into the semester and it could change based off what the state of Georgia does and the university system does.

Along with optional masks, all classes are back in person. AU has set up a team for contact tracing along with dorms for isolation and dorms for quarantining students. Vaccines, those are not mandated, but again encouraged. And Dr. Keel made it clear that no one with the university is allowed to ask your vaccination status except the contact tracers.

“It’s also about individual rights. We sort of want to respect that it is a person’s own body that were talking about here. But at the same time we just want to strongly encourage people to do so,” said Dr. Brooks Keel, Augusta University president.

Very strongly since vaccine rates are lagging in the college age group.

According to DPH, in Georgia 34.7 percent of teens 15-19 are fully vaccinated. 37.7 percent of those 20-24 are fully vaccinated, both age groups trailing Georgia’s already low vaccination percentage rate of 41 percent.

“If it would make a difference I would get on my knees right now and beg...please get vaccinated please please,” said Keel.

And they plan to make that process as easy, and available as they possibly can to students.

Augusta University will not require students or staff to get the vaccine, they say ultimately it’s a personal decision but they highly recommend it.

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