Georgia universities protesting Covid policies

Photo: Getty Images

BySarah Winkelmann

Published:Sep. 13, 2021 at 6:45 AM EDT

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Across Georgia, faculty at various universities will be speaking out in what they’re calling a COVID policy protest beginning Monday, Sept. 13.

The protest is targeting the University System of Georgia and the Board of Regents. They are asking for things like an immediate mask mandate.

Starting at 10 a.m., Georgia Southern University’s Statesboro and Armstrong campuses will join 16 other campuses as they fight to ensure the appropriate health and safety measures are being taken. The University System of Georgia is not allowing universities to make their own policies, like mandating masks.

Associate Professor of Sociology Ned Rinalducci at Georgia Southern University’s Armstrong campus says the majority of his students, in very filled classes, are not wearing masks. He says he and many of his colleagues wish the universities could be like the K-12 schools who do get a say in mask wearing.

Anyone who wants to take part in these protests will gather in the free speech zones on campus. Organizers stress that it’s not a walk out or strike, and instructional time won’t be disrupted.

The president of the Georgia American Association of University Professors says, “by taking action, we can prevent illness and save lives.”

“We are universities. We are filled with scientists. We are filled with health professionals and we are ignoring the very things that we’re teaching. We have a college of health professions that is focused, that really drives into our students evidence based practices, and the Board of Regents is, at the same time, telling us to ignore evidence based practices,” Rinalducci said.

Other schools taking part in this protest include the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech. Again these protests start Monday at 10 a.m. and each day thereafter at the next hour. For example, they’ll start at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

The following schools are expected to participate:

  • University of Georgia
  • University of North Georgia
  • Augusta University
  • Georgia Southern University - Statesboro & Savannah campuses
  • Kennesaw State University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Georgia State University
  • Columbus State University
  • University of West Georgia
  • Georgia College & State University
  • Clayton State University
  • Dalton State College
  • Georgia Gwinnett College
  • Albany State University
  • South Georgia State College
  • Georgia Southwestern University
  • Savannah State University

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