Photo of ‘questionable plexiglass barrier’ at Univ. of Georgia raises COVID-19 safety concerns

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“This is the one of the barriers against COVID-19 that the University of Georgia set up,” Colette Arrand tweeted. The person who took the photo wishes to remain anonymous.

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A photo of a plexiglass barrier taped to a desk at the University of Georgia has sparked concern online about the school’s COVID-19 safety measures.

Colette Arrand, a graduate student at the university, shared the picture on Twitter Wednesday, writing: “To say this is inadequate is generous.”

By Thursday, the photo had been retweeted nearly 2,000 times.

Other Twitter users quickly identified the classroom as one in Park Hall. One person suggested that the building’s vents haven’t been properly updated in decades.

As for the photo in question, Arrand wondered if the size of the barrier would offer much protection for someone standing up or seated in a classroom desk on either side.

UGA Interim Senior Executive Director for Marketing & Communications Greg Trevor says the school is aware of the “questionable plexiglass barrier.”

“Many measures to prepare rooms and facilities are still in progress,” he said. “Our teams are working to correct the height and effectiveness of the barriers in classrooms as needed.”

Trevor said the university is spending nearly $6 million in preventative measures, including installing more than 2,000 plexiglass barriers across campus.

Other safety measures include:

  • 24,000 surveillance tests to be conducted by Thanksgiving on samples collected from volunteers among our faculty, staff, and students.
  • The creation of a notification tool — called DawgCheck — that will prompt all faculty, staff, and students to perform a quick symptom check.
  • The purchase of more than 150,000 face coverings — two for each student, faculty and staff member.
  • The purchase of 4,300 gallons of hand sanitizer and 4,000 sanitation stations.

“We have been working diligently — with the engagement of faculty health and medical experts — to prepare our campus for the resumption of in-person instruction this fall in a manner consistent with federal and state health and safety guidelines,” Trevor said.

UGA classes will begin on Thursday, Aug. 20, and in-person instruction is available. But face-to-face courses will conclude at Thanksgiving break, moving online for remaining work or final exams.

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