The College of Charleston will delay the start of in-person instruction for fall semester until Sept. 14, 2020, President Andrew T. Hsu announced to the university community Tuesday, July 28, 2020.
Fall semester classes will still begin on the originally scheduled start date of Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, but instruction will initially take place in an online/remote environment. Housing, dining and parking costs will be partially refunded to reflect the online learning period up until Sept. 14.
“We had hoped to resume a blend of in-person/remote learning classes starting in late August,” Hsu said in a message to students, parents, faculty and staff. “Unfortunately, even with the many precautions that we are taking in the classroom and around campus to lessen the chance of the spread of COVID-19, we feel we must take this step to delay in order to best protect and ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff members as well as the greater Charleston community.”
Hsu said several factors contributed to the College’s decision to delay the start of in-person instruction. In addition to the prevalence of COVID-19 cases in Charleston and other areas of South Carolina, he also expressed concern over the high number of tests that are positive, the number of available hospital beds, delays in testing and healthcare staffing shortages.
The College will also delay move-in for residential students, which was previously scheduled to take place Aug. 20-23. New move-in dates and procedures are being finalized and will be announced soon by Campus Housing.
Students who have extenuating circumstances and require on-campus housing to begin the semester may apply for an exemption. The limited number of students who receive this exemption will follow strict face covering and social distancing protocols and would not be eligible for discounted housing, dining and parking costs. More details will be provided to residential students by Campus Housing.
The College originally announced its fall return plan Back on the Bricks on July 1, but at the time stated that the plan was subject to change based on conditions surrounding COVID-19 in Charleston and elsewhere. The Back on the Bricks plan lays out requirements for face coverings and social distancing on campus, establishes occupancy for classrooms and other instructional spaces and cleaning and sanitization protocols.
“While I’m certainly disappointed that we have had to delay our return to campus, I am confident that our faculty and staff have developed an extremely robust online and remote learning environment for our students that will provide them with a high-quality academic experience until our campus community can safely return to in-person instruction,” Hsu said. “This summer, many of our faculty have undertaken specialized distance-education training, proving that learning never stops on our campus! While the mode of instruction may be slightly different, the content and expert teaching behind it will be the same.”
The College suspended in-person instruction effective March 23, 2020, through the end of spring semester 2020; Maymester and summer sessions were also conducted online. New student orientation continues to take place virtually this summer.
Featured image by Heather Moran