From the Dean's Desk – Aug. 21, 2020

Dear GT Computing community,

Georgia Tech Dean of Computing Charles Isbell

Here we are at the end of the first week of the new term. It’s been eerily quiet on the student complaint front so far, so I’m happy about that. I’m also very happy—as I’ve said before—to see that the members of our community are taking our collective safety seriously by wearing masks and social distancing. There is another key pillar of our safety plan, though: surveillance testing to catch and trace any incidences of Covid exposure on campus.

In order for this testing to work, the Institute plans to test each person who comes to campus about once a week. But we need your help to make sure that happens. Please plan to make testing a part of your weekly routine. Also please, if you work with students, encourage them to get tested weekly as well. The more we know, the safer we are.

Along these lines, I also encourage you to download NOVID, which is the exposure identification app that Tech is using. The app does not collect any personal data; it merely looks for other phones with the same app on it nearby. If the owner of one of those phones tests positive for COVID, they can notify other app users with whom they have been in contact without identifying themselves or sharing personal information.

Now, the Institute and the Department of Public Health will still be doing manual contact tracing for those who test positive. Still, exposure identification apps like NOVID can help fill the gaps by identifying people you may have been close to but don’t remember interacting with… someone working in a nearby maker space or lab, for example.

Finally, I’d like to remind everyone that our research density will be remaining at no more than 50 percent for the entire fall semester. Our labs should already be operating this way, so please just remember that no changes are planned.

And that’s it for the week. Do have a good weekend. Shake off the stress, dance like no one is watching[*], and enjoy any moments of sun that come our way. Stay safe.



Charles L. Isbell, Jr.

John P. Imlay, Jr. Dean
College of Computing
Georgia Tech

EA: Alicia Richhart,, 404-894-8357

Don't just adopt opinions,  develop them

[*] Because they aren’t. They’re on their phones texting, playing games, and most importantly, doing contact tracing, just like you should be doing.

Members of our community:
Make testing part of your weekly routine:

Shake off: