During an information session for students and parents on Thursday, July 9, 2020, CofC leaders highlighted details of Back on the Bricks: The College of Charleston Plan for Fall 2020, offering more specifics on how the institution will handle academics, health and wellness, and the student experience amid the coronavirus pandemic. A separate information session regarding residence life and dining will be held on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, starting at 5:30 p.m. (EST).
“What it will take for us to be successful in the fall is it will take a commitment from every single member of the College of Charleston community,” said Alicia Caudill, executive vice president for student affairs, during the the information session.
The three “most powerful resources” the CofC community and the community at large have to control the spread of COVID-19, said Caudill, is practicing social distancing, washing your hands regularly and wearing face coverings that cover both the nose and mouth.
“These are things I would encourage all of us to start practicing this summer,” she said, adding that wiping down frequently touched surfaces will help students get used to wiping down desks when they return this fall. “We know that practicing and doing things repetitively makes things a habit and positive habits start to feel natural to us.”
Bridget McLernon Sykes, director of Student Health Services, Mark Staples, chief information officer and senior vice president for information technology, Suzanne Austin, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, Christine Workman, director of student life, and Bucky Buchanan ’08, assistant director of fitness, also spoke during the information session. Topics discussed included campus life and activities, health and wellness, and academics and the classroom. Below are some specific details shared about each of those areas.
- The College is working to partner with agencies that can provide COVID-19 testing at no cost to students, faculty and staff. Insurance will be used if feasible and at this time the cost of testing will be covered if no insurance is available.
- At this time students will not be required to take a COVID-19 test prior to returning to campus, but that could change based on guidance from local health officials and medical experts. At no time should students, faculty or staff experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 come to campus.
- Anyone arriving from abroad for the fall semester will need to quarantine for 14 days before participating in any on-campus activities. Students arriving from international locations who plan to live on campus will need to arrive by Aug. 9, 2020, to allow for proper time to quarantine. Domestically traveling campus members will not need to quarantine, however this guidance could change.
- In-person classes will be delivered in a hybrid format of both classroom time and online instruction. For example, with a class that meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays, half of the class will attend on Tuesdays in person and the other half will attend online. On Thursdays, the other half of the class will attend in person and the other half will attend online.
- In order to meet social distancing guidelines, occupancy of classrooms will be reduced by 30 – 40 percent. All 270 classrooms on campus will be outfitted with high quality cameras and microphones to allow for remote instruction to occur alongside in-person classes.
- Students can work with their major advisors to see what options are available if they want to enroll in all online courses for the fall semester. For additional assistance, students may also work through their department chair or program director to explore all options. In most cases, students who want to or need to attend remotely should be able to do so.
- Student support services, such as tutoring, disability services and academic advising, will be offered both virtually and in person. Appointments for various campus services will be required to ensure social distancing.
- Weeks of Welcome, the College’s six-week series of events at the start of each semester, will include virtual and in-person events. Details on those events and programs will be shared on the webpage cofc.edu/wowevents.
- The College of Charleston Panhellenic Council will host sorority recruitment events Sept. 30 – Oct. 5, 2020, in both virtual and socially distanced in-person rounds. The Interfraternity Council will also run a hybrid model of recruitment Sept. 4-12. Registration for both will open on July 15 and can be accessed through the Higdon Center website. Intake for culturally based sororities and fraternities and National Pan-Hellenic Council sororities and fraternities will take place on a case-by-case basis.
- Campus Recreation Services will offer exercise and physical activities in the fall, with physical distancing, reduced capacity and increased cleaning practices of equipment and spaces. Close-contact sports and activities will be curtailed to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.