In keeping with new CDC guidance and an improved public health situation, many Covid-related policies have been adjusted. The past year has been a challenging one for all of us and SLS looks forward to resuming campus activities and operations that were affected by the pandemic. Recently updated Covid Guidance includes:
- Distancing: “Plans for summer semester, which began May 17, included social distancing. We will continue that practice inside classrooms to honor the schedules and classroom assignments that have already been set.”
- Face coverings: “Individuals who are vaccinated do not have to wear a face covering. Individuals who are not vaccinated are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering while inside campus facilities.”
- Testing: “We will continue surveillance testing throughout the summer.” Testing times & locations information here.
- Vaccine: “Georgia Tech’s vaccine distribution clinic will continue to operate on campus throughout the summer.” Vaccine information here.
Guidance for students and faculty interested in, enrolled in, or teaching SLS Affiliated Courses is available below. If we can be of additional help, please be in touch. We are here to support you!
Guidance for Students
We are happy to talk with students one-on-one. Please feel free to contact us at any time with questions or to arrange a time to talk:
SLS Program and Operations Manager
I have questions about one of my SLS Affiliated Courses. Who should I talk to?
Please talk to your instructor.
I am interested in taking some SLS Affiliated Courses. Where can I find that information for Summer and/or Fall 2021?
You can search for SLS Affiliated Courses on our website here: https://serve-learn-sustain.gatech.edu/affiliated-courses
I would like to meet with an SLS advisor. How do I do that?
SLS will resume advising sessions during fall semester on the following dates, and will have both in-person and virtual options:
- Thursday, August 26
- Tuesday, September 14
- Thursday, September 23
- Tuesday, October 12
- Thursday, October 28
- Tuesday, November 9
All sessions on these dates will be held from 10:45am - 11:45am. All advising dates and a link to register may be viewed here. You may also email SLS at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions if you are unable to attend an advising session.
I want to help out in my community. What can I do to help?
As challenging as all of this has been for Georgia Tech, many communities are facing even more serious challenges, as Covid-19 has exacerbated existing inequities and creating new ones. If you're interested in taking a course where you can learn about these issues - and in some cases, work with a community partner - check out these SLS Affiliated Courses. Also make sure to subscribe to the SLS Newsletter, which regularly features opportunities to learn and engage. Also, research ways to help and contribute to your local community, as Georgia Tech students may be in a unique position to provide assistance, both virtual and in-person.
How can I learn more about current issues?
Here are some resources that can help you get started:
From USG Faculty: Towards an Emergency Housing Response to Covid-19 in Georgia
From the New York Times: “Why the Virus is a Civil Rights Issue”
- From SLS: Covid-19 Pandemic and Racial Justice Resources
Guidance for Faculty
We are happy to help any faculty think through how to adjust their courses, through one-on-one conversations. Please feel free to contact us at any time for assistance with courses or any other questions:
Rebecca Watts Hull, Service Learning and Partnerships Specialist
Ruthie Yow, Service Learning and Partnerships Specialist
I have an ongoing student project with a community partner that is continuing from a previous semester. How should I proceed?
First and foremost, it’s important to communicate with your partner about changes in your course associated with Covid-19. If your course is designated residential, keep in mind that your partners may not feel comfortable visiting campus or interacting in a shared space off campus. Many organizations continue to operate remotely, so you should discuss with your partner their preferred interactions. Keep in mind that our partners’ lives, families, and communities are being impacted by Covid-19 and partnership with Georgia Tech may no longer be a possibility for them at this point. Additionally, access to quality internet may be a consideration for virtual interaction.
If you are substantially changing the nature of the project/engagement with the partner, please revise your Scope of Work with the partner (or if you have not created one, these dynamic circumstances due to Covid-19 are motivation to use a Scope of Work - SLS’s template is available here).
If the project is far enough along for students to work on it with no or minimal engagement with the partner, that may be an option to consider. If you do this, you will likely have to adjust project expectations and outcomes accordingly. For example, in place of additional in-person engagement with the partner, you could consider asking the course or project partner(s) if they are willing to participate in an online conversation with their team or the class. Or, in place of any additional partner engagement, you could require the students to do more research on the partner and/or their field (e.g., on the issue; on other organizations around the country doing similar work; etc.) and then to frame their final project in terms of that research.
If you think that it’s best to discontinue partner engagement, that is what you should do, even if your partner expresses interest in continuing. Your partner will likely understand - and may even be relieved. Also, consider picking the project up again in a future semester with another group of students; SLS might be able to help you figure that out. Just make sure to communicate the status of the project (as well as sending any relevant documents) to your liaison in SLS.
I usually incorporate a student project/multiple projects with a community partner in my course, but I'm not sure it will work virtually. How should I proceed?
During the Summer 2021 and Fall 2021 terms, SLS continues to encourage faculty to approach partnerships for their courses with flexibility and respect for community partner preferences. If in-person engagement is central to the project, or if the project will require more than one or two phone calls or virtual meetings, please being your conversations with your partner with a candid exchange about their comfort and preferences. If your partner prefers not to engage in person yet, but you would like to work together, consider what learning objectives could be pursued through online resources. For example, you could require the students to do more research on the partner and/or their field (e.g., on the issue; on other organizations around the country doing similar work; etc.) and then to frame their final project in terms of that research. Or there may be video options (such as TED talks) that speak to some of the themes you and the partner had intended to address.
If you feel a virtual partnership with a community organization would be valuable and would like to be connected to an appropriate partner, please contact Ruthie (email@example.com) or Rebecca (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss options. Like many programs at Georgia Tech, SLS is currently facing budget constraints. Please get in touch so that we may advise you on partners as well as the availability of funds for community partner compensation.
If you are able to move forward with a virtual partnership, there are many resources that can help you and your partner determine the best way to interact virtually. The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at Georgia Tech has a number of resources to support online instruction. In addition, Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE) has led the development of additional guidance for faculty on virtual teaching, available here. See also: Five Tips for Moving Courses Online Quickly, from an OMSCS Instructor.
Beyond the platforms available to you through Canvas and other tools, like Bluejeans, in some cases “low tech” options may work well. For example, some communication could occur through group phone calls or by having a guest speaker join by speaker phone, while you share slides or other visuals through Canvas. Another consideration is student familiarity with the conferencing tools in Canvas. Some students may not have experience using the web tools available through Canvas. Again, please consult these CTL resources for guidance on helping your students adjust to the changes in class format.
I am restructuring the syllabus and would appreciate some ideas for online resources to use about sustainability or community engagement. What do you suggest?
The SLS Teaching Toolkit has lots of great teaching resources that are ready to use. Some of them may not work well for virtual teaching, but many can be easily adapted to online platforms. If you’re looking specifically for resources related to community engagement, here are two we suggest. We’d be happy to help you figure out how to tailor them to be used online:
How can my students and I learn more about how COVID-19 is affecting partners and frontline communities? How can we help?
As challenging as all of this is for Georgia Tech, many of our community partners are facing even more serious challenges, as COVID-19 is exacerbating existing inequities and creating new ones. If you are working with a partner, ask them how they’re faring and how your course and your students can help from a distance. If you are interested in learning more about these challenges, read and share with your students these resources:
From USG Faculty: Towards an Emergency Housing Response to COVID-19 in Georgia
From The New York Times: “Why the Virus is a Civil Rights Issue
- From SLS: COVID-19 Pandemic and Racial Justice Resources.
Also you can encourage students to research virtual ways to help and contribute to their local communities. Partners such as New American Pathways are seeking volunteers to engage in online conversation practice with newly arrived individuals seeking to practice English. If you are interested in exploring opportunities, please let us know and we can help you.