Friday, March 13 turned into a bit of a nightmare for some students as they scrambled to make accommodations after receiving an email from Savannah State University (SSU) Housing in the evening of March 12 that all students are instructed to depart campus by close of business Friday, March 13.
Though some students think this is just a SSU decision, it is not. The University System of Georgia (USG) made this decision to temporarily suspend instruction for two weeks at all 26 institutions. Also in the email to the students it said, “Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, all University System of Georgia institutions, including Savannah State University, will temporarily suspend instruction for the next two weeks, until Sunday, March 29. There are no known reports of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) reported on our campus.”
The announcement left some students frustrated by the sudden inconvenience. In another email sent from the university to students they explained why students weren’t given more notice and said they notified students as soon as they learned of the news for USG. “While the notice to vacate residence halls was sudden and maybe an inconvenience, it’s the right decision and speaks to the importance of protecting your health and safety from COVID-19," the email said.
Sophomore Redon Gainey disagrees if it was the “right decision” from SSU since he didn’t know at first how he would make accommodations. “If it wasn’t for my roommate Donovan offering me a ride I wouldn’t have anywhere to go,” said Gainey.
Donovan Matthews, Gainey’s roommate, was frustrated because he feels that communication between USG and SSU are not connecting. “I’m confused because I don’t know to listen to the university system or to leave at 5p.m. like the RD’s (residential directors) want us to do,” said Matthews.
The first week of the two week shut is SSU’s spring break but many events, including the city of Savannah’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival and Parade, were cancelled or postponed. All SSU’s athletics competitions are cancelled for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year and suspended practices until further notice.
Matthews also said, “I had to reschedule my spring break plans and work schedule not only due to the decision made by USG but because of most people are taking things out of proportion.”
Tiger’s Roar reach out to the vice president of marketing and communications on Friday afternoon for answers to specific questions and have not received a response yet but SSU administrators are working with student affairs to assist students. Other information in the email to the students said STAR (Students are Rising) program participants, are designated as homeless or housing insecure and are receiving assistance should contact Jacquelince Awe, director of Development at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 912-358-3114.
Other students who are in need of assistance should contact Bonita Bradley, assistant vice president and dean of Student Affairs at email@example.com or at 912-358-3114. They are working with community partners to assist students. Students should also continue to monitor your student email and go to www.savannahstate.edu for updates.