University of North Georgia officials said they were “disappointed” with reports and videos showing large swaths of students partying in Dahlonega just days before classes start Monday, Aug. 17.
“We are aware that a large outdoor party was held at a privately-owned, off-campus apartment complex located near our Dahlonega campus Saturday night,” UNG spokeswoman Sylvia Carson wrote in an email Sunday, Aug. 16. “We are disappointed that many of our students chose to ignore COVID-19 public health guidance by congregating in a large group without social distancing or face coverings.”
“The University of North Georgia continues to emphasize to our students and university community that everyone has an individual responsibility both on and off campus to follow guidance from the Georgia Department of Public Health and the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to prevent the spread of the virus.”
Videos posted on social media and sites such as TMZ show dozens of students partying in close proximity.
UNG Students Flood the Streets & Party Before School Starts https://t.co/DLjAMRbQlJ— TMZ (@TMZ) August 16, 2020
Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Alan Roach said there were four calls for service to Lumpkin County 911, though there were no arrests.
“Usually when it starts back, people try to throw block parties at University Heights in the past,” Roach said.
There were three UNG Police reports made at a Dahlonega property between 11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, and 2 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 16.
The first was at 11:13 p.m. at the Dahlonega recreation center for a report including disorderly conduct, public intoxication, theft and false imprisonment. An arrest was made in that case.
The other two calls were at 11:50 p.m. Saturday and 1:05 a.m. Sunday, both at University Heights. The first call was an EMS response, and the second call was “discharging a firearm on private property,” according to the UNG Police log.
No arrests were made in either University Heights report, according to the UNG Police log.
DCN Regional Staff obtained an email sent by UNG Faculty Senate chairman Jamie Mitchem to the faculty.
“While we all hoped everyone would behave responsibly, it might be a good idea to remind students in our classes that we remain in a pandemic the likes of which our country hasn’t seen since 1918,” Mitchem wrote. “The usual behavior won’t cut it now, and while activities on our campus have adjusted to this new reality it’s probably wise to remind our students that activities off campus need to adjust, too.”
UNG President Bonita Jacobs’ office sent an email to students Sunday, Aug. 16, reminding them they are expected to do a “daily self-screening" for COVID-19 symptoms.
Those symptoms include:
Fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
Loss of smell or taste
Shortness of breath
New or unusual headache
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or loss of appetite
Anyone experiencing those symptoms is instructed to complete a health reporting form and not come to campus.
“Out of respect and concern for others, please remember that everyone has responsibility to help protect others and prevent the spread of the virus,” according to Jacobs’ email.