USG e-clips for April 27, 2021

University System News:

The Red & Black

UGA freshmen give advice for incoming freshmen

Martina Essert | Contributor

As National Decision Day approaches, high school seniors are finalizing their college plans. On May 1, these students will commit to their home for the next four years — and the University of Georgia could be that place. Freshmen across the country have dealt with an unprecedented first year of college. As they move onto their second year, they imparted some words of wisdom for the incoming class.

Tifton Gazette

Rare 1899 mandolin has ABAC connection

When the Martin Guitar Company shipped out five new harp mandolins on Oct. 21, 1899, there was no way to know that 122 years later one of those instruments would have a connection to Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. “It’s an incredible story,” Polly Huff, curator at ABAC’s Georgia Museum of Agriculture, said.  “When I first saw it, I knew we had something special on our hands.” When longtime ABAC professor of art Donna Hatcher passed away Aug. 9, 2020, she left a key to a safety deposit box, college officials said in a statement. When Hatcher’s parents found the mandolin in the safety deposit box, they brought it to ABAC to be examined by Dr. Matthew Anderson, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, and Dr. Susan Roe, fine arts department head. Anderson and Roe immediately called on the curatorial expertise of Huff.


Georgia Cyber Center works to bring broadband to rural parts of state

By Jacob Peklo

The Georgia Cyber Center is working to bring broadband access to a place where cell towers and fiber optics are hard to come by. “It’s impossible to ask a child to go home and further their education and dream about being an entrepreneur, if they don’t have access to technology at their own home,” said Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, R-Georgia. “We realized that half the state does not have access to broadband at all, so they can’t get to the range, even if they wanted to,” said Chris Apsey, the cyber range director for the Georgia Cyber Center, who’s leading the initiative. “So, with that in mind, we started thinking about what are some ways that we could help the state overcome this barrier.” The Georgia Cyber Center has a simple goal in mind: make high-speed internet accessible to everybody. But that’s proven challenging especially in rural parts of the state.


Isolation and mental health concerns for adults and children

by: Marlena Wilson, “The Means Report” Executive Producer

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives, and our mental health is no exception. During the last 12 to 13 months, there is been a lot of isolation and other factors that can impact our mental health. How can people deal with that? And what about suicide rates? Has the pandemic affected them and how can we make sure those rates and behaviors are properly addressed? The Means Report tackles all of those questions, first with Dr. Vaughn McCall, the chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia, and then with Dr. Dale Peeples, a child psychiatrist at the Medical College of Georgia. Brad Means: Dr. Vaughn McCall is up first. He chairs the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at Augusta university. He is a means report veteran and we sure do appreciate you joining us today Dr. McCall.

Medical Xpress

Pandemic significantly increases insomnia in health care workers

The COVID pandemic appears to have triggered about a 44% increase in insomnia disorder among health care workers at a medical-school affiliated health system, with the highest rates surprisingly among those who spent less time in direct patient care, investigators say. Another surprise was that about 10% of the group of 678 faculty physicians, nurses, advanced practice providers, like nurse practitioners and physician assistants, as well as residents and fellows, reported in a 17-question survey that their insomnia actually got better in the early months of the pandemic, says Dr. Vaughn McCall, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.

The Gainesville Times

Walk-ins allowed starting April 27 at University of North Georgia COVID vaccination site

Nick Watson

District 2 Public Health said it would begin allowing walk-ins Tuesday, April 27, for people seeking the COVID-19 vaccine. Though appointments were still recommended, District 2 spokesman Dave Palmer said walk-ins would be allowed each day from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at the University of North Georgia site in Gainesville.

Forsyth County News

Georgia Highlands Medical Services will have a mass vaccination event Friday

From staff reports

Cheyanne Reyome has been working with the rest of the Georgia Highlands Medical Services staff to provide  Free Moderna vaccines courtesy to patients 8:30 a.m. until 4:45 p.m., Friday, April 30

Augusta CEO

Georgia Southern President Dr. Kyle Marrero on Looking Past the Pandemic

Staff Report

President of Georgia Southern University Dr. Kyle Marrero talks about the challenges of 2020 and the importance of being a community partner during difficult times.

The Brunswick News

Credentials, not politics, should decide next chancellor

What does one have to be or achieve to be chancellor of Georgia’s state universities and colleges? In 2021, apparently not Republican. That is the battle going on in Atlanta right now as the University System of Georgia ponders its next leader. The name that quickly surfaced, of course, was former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, who served as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under the presidency of Donald Trump. Few question the credentials of the former governor, who served in the state Senate as a Democrat before switching political parties. The veterinarian and businessman is even a product of the university system, having earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. Few with any knowledge of his accomplishments question his connections. By now he ought to have plenty of them, or at least more than the average Joe or Jane. And connections count.


Hinesville to partner with Georgia Southern University to open small business incubator

By Amanda Aguilar | April 23, 2021 at 7:10 PM EDT – Updated April 23 at 7:19 PM

Hinesville is one step closer to building its small business incubator. The city is partnering with Georgia Southern University, which already has incubators in Statesboro and Metter. Georgia Southern University’s Liberty Campus will soon have a new building sitting right across Memorial Drive. The .72-acre area will be the home of Hinesville’s small business incubator, the first of its kind in the area. Georgia Southern University and the City of Hinesville broke ground on the incubator in January, and now officials are looking to start construction. City leaders say an invitation to bid on the project will go out in the next few weeks. Once the Hinesville city council selects the contractor, construction can begin.

Other News:

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Federal funds aimed at easing front-line worker burnout, depression

By Yamil Berard

Tens of millions of dollars to improve mental health of front-line workers

At the peak of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Georgia, Dr. Deepak Aggarwal pulled into the driveway of the home he shares with his wife and two school-aged children. In his years as a kidney doctor, the chief of the medical staff at Northeast Georgia Health System had never witnessed such a ruthless disease. As was habit throughout the pandemic, he refrained from entering the house until he removed his clothes in the garage to avoid exposing his family. But on this day, just as the garage door opened, he saw his son dash outside to meet him. Behind the boy appeared his panicked wife, shouting: “Don’t touch him! Don’t touch him!” “I have to take a shower and then I’m allowed to touch my kids,’’ the physician said. “There’s that feeling in the back of your mind, that feeling of fear.” …Since the pandemic began over a year ago, thousands of front-line workers and first responders have been going to work each day – and carrying with them the fear of bringing home a deadly virus. Now, as Georgia presumably enters the final leg of the threat, concerns are growing about the impact on the mental health of those who have lived through the worst, and whether they will have at their disposal the resources to address their psychological scars.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia to wind down state-run mass vaccination sites by May 21

By J. Scott Trubey

First Pfizer doses no longer available after April 30.

The state of Georgia on Monday said it expects to close its eight mass vaccination sites before Memorial Day as demand has waned at the temporary facilities and as more COVID-19 vaccines are available through private providers. The state-run facilities, which are scattered across Georgia, helped rapidly expand access to COVID-19 vaccines. To-date more than 300,000 doses, or about 5% of all doses, have been distributed through them. The state-run facilities are shifting to single-dose Johnson & Johnson shots and providing second doses of the Pfizer vaccine to complete vaccinations of as many people as possible before their expected closure May 21. First doses of Pfizer vaccine will no longer be administered at the sites after Friday.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Map: Coronavirus deaths and cases in Georgia (updated April 26)

An updated count of coronavirus deaths and cases reported across the state

CONFIRMED DEATHS: 17,421 | Deaths have been confirmed in every county. This figure does not include additional cases that the DPH reports as suspected COVID-19-related deaths. County is determined by the patient’s residence, when known, not by where they were treated.

CONFIRMED CASES: 876,146 | Cases have been confirmed in every county.

Higher Education News:

Inside Higher Ed

Provosts Face the Pandemic

By Scott Jaschik

Provosts are confident in the academic quality of their institutions, despite negative changes brought about by the pandemic, according to the 2021 Survey of College and University Chief Academic Officers, published today by Inside Higher Ed and Hanover Research. While expressing confidence, the provosts were not blind to the costs of the pandemic and academic leaders’ choices about how institutions should respond. About one in four provosts said that their institution had cut faculty positions during the pandemic. They said most of the positions were adjuncts (67 percent), but also cut were nontenured, tenure-track faculty (19 percent). More provosts from private institutions than public ones said that the humanities disciplines were disproportionately cut (33 percent versus 4 percent).

Inside Higher Ed

Students Want Online Learning Options Post-Pandemic

The experience of learning remotely during the pandemic left students with a positive attitude toward online and hybrid courses, a new survey suggests.

By Lindsay McKenzie

When colleges switched to emergency remote instruction last year, some online learning advocates feared the hasty transition would leave students with a negative impression of online learning. While more pre-pandemic online courses resulted from months of careful planning and significant financial investment, few instructors enjoyed these luxuries last spring. Despite the challenges and shortcomings of this emergency transition to remote instruction, a majority of students want the option to keep studying online, according to new survey results.

Inside Higher Ed

College Database Bill Raises Concerns About Student Privacy

A bill intended to close the data gaps on student outcomes in higher education is widely supported, though some are hesitant about how it handles personal information.

By Alexis Gravely

The reintroduced College Transparency Act is receiving broad support across the political spectrum and from professional organizations, but opponents of the bill in higher education are concerned about how students’ information would be shared with the federal government. The bipartisan bill — spearheaded by Senator Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana — would create a student data system within the National Center for Education Statistics to track student outcomes at colleges throughout the United States. …Colleges would be required to collect and submit data to the Department of Education regarding student enrollment, persistence, transfer and completion measures for all programs and degree levels. The data would also be disaggregated by demographics, including race and ethnicity, gender, and age.

Inside Higher Ed

No Change in Guidance on Foreign Students and Online Learning

By Elizabeth Redden

The federal Student and Exchange Visitor Program announced Monday that is extending its current guidance on online learning and international students for the 2021-22 academic year. The guidance, which cites pandemic-related public health concerns, allows international students continued flexibility to enroll in online classes by suspending a rule that typically limits them to counting just one online class per term toward the requirement that they maintain a full-time course of study.