From the Dean's Desk - Sept. 29, 2020

Dear GT Computing Community,

Georgia Tech Dean of Computing Charles Isbell

Now that we’ve reached the end of September, the Institute is beginning to look forward to plan our spring operations. There is a lot to do, and it beings with accepting new requests from faculty and graduate teaching assistants for accommodations due to Covid.

If you were granted an accommodation in the fall, you do not need to file a new request. Your existing accommodation will be extended until May 2021. You will receive a signed addendum from Georgia Tech Human Resources (GTHR) documenting the extension.

Of course, we do have some folks who weren’t teaching in the fall for various reasons and may need to request an accommodation for spring. To learn more about those in high-risk categories, and how to request an accommodation, please consult the Return to Campus Manager’s Toolkit. Requests for new accommodations must be filed by October 9.

In other Covid-related news, the Institute has also adjusted its contact-tracing process. The existing process has been to notify faculty if a student in one of their classes tests positive. Unfortunately, the result has been that the faculty tell the students in the class—a noble impulse truly—and inevitably allows them to figure out who is affected. This is a violation of any sick student’s right to privacy.

As a result, the Institute will no longer notify faculty members when a member of one of their classes tests positive. If a student discloses their positive test to you, please resist the urge to divulge this information. Even if you don’t name the student, you could be violating their legal rights.

I realize some of you may find this change disconcerting. I know that we all want to stay informed and keep ourselves safe. I ask you to remember that the Georgia Tech contact-tracing program has been doing a remarkable job all semester, and we can trust that program to notify the right people even without our knowledge. We will take care of ourselves and respect the privacy of our students at the same time, and in the end everyone can feel good about this balance.

Stay safe, end the last two days of September.



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

EA: Alicia Richhart,, 404-894-8357

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