College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu shared the following message regarding the spring 2021 semester with the campus community on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020:
As we close one chapter in 2020, we begin a new one in 2021. After a successful fall semester, our intention is to start the spring semester on time and in person. In many ways, the spring semester will look very similar to the fall semester: especially in terms of testing protocols, de-densified classrooms, mask and social distancing requirements and size limits on gatherings.
We are all aware COVID-19 remains a complicating factor and many of the measures we put in place for fall semester will continue into the spring semester; however, during the second half of the fall semester, we have already opened up more in-person options for extracurricular activities and will continue to do so during the spring semester as the situation allows.
Of course, the national and state responses related to the pandemic may dictate that we must pivot, but, right now, based on lessons learned and the safety and health precautions and protocols we have in place at the College of Charleston, we are fairly confident that we will begin in-person and hybrid classes on Monday, January 11, 2021.
IMPORTANT NOTE: For students and families not comfortable returning or unable to return to Charleston for in-person and hybrid classes for the spring semester, we encourage you to explore the College’s online options for your coursework so that your academic progress is not interrupted. As studies show, gap years during a college career can have significant negative impacts on students’ abilities to eventually reach their goal and progress to a degree.
Please take a moment and review these updates about the spring:
· Classes (full term and Express I) begin on Monday, January 11, 2021, and go through Wednesday, April 21, 2021 (with exams running from Friday, April 23 to Friday, April 30).
· Registration for spring semester classes is now open. However, registration will be unavailable on December 16 and 17, 2020, and January 7 and 8, 2021, during New Student Orientation sessions. For questions on registration, please contact the Office of the Registrar at email@example.com or call 843.953.5668.
· Please remember that we will work through the traditional time of a spring break – the idea being to limit travel away from campus once the academic semester begins. But, we have also built in days off into the spring schedule for “de-stressing.”
· The College is allowing students to choose a PS/NS option for one class during the spring semester. Students will be provided more information about this option after winter break. As we did in the fall semester, faculty have been encouraged to be flexible with their assignments, attendance policies and grading.
· Graduation ceremonies have been scheduled for Friday, May 7 and Saturday, May 8, 2021. (Note: these are the scheduled dates for spring commencement, but the ceremony format and/or dates are subject to change based on virus spread and any local/state restrictions in place at that time.)
Campus Services (which includes Campus Services HQ, dining services, Cougar Card, parking, campus housing, the Copy Center and mail services) will resume all services on Monday, January 4, after the College’s winter break.
· Residence halls reopen on January 7, 2021.
· Between Thursday, January 7 and Sunday, January 10, students will return/move into residence halls by appointment.
o Students should sign up for their move-in timeslot by logging into the MyHousing/Dining portal, clicking on the “Requests” tab in the blue banner and selecting “Appointments.”
o IMPORTANT NOTE: All students who live in campus residences (residence halls and/or historic houses) must provide documentation of a COVID-19 test.
· For questions about the move-in process, please visit the Move-in/Move-out section of the Campus Housing website (housing.cofc.edu/about-campus-housing/move-in-and-move-out-information.php) or reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org or 843.953.5523.
· Various dining facilities on campus will open on Thursday, January 7.
· Spring 2021 meal plans begin Thursday, January 7, with dinner.
· For questions about meal plans and dining options, please reach out via email@example.com or 843.953.1100.
· Due to the unusual circumstances surrounding COVID-19, the College has extended parking eligibility to residential students with at least 30 credit hours (normally 60 credit hours in previous semesters) for spring 2021.
· All commuters and eligible residential students (including students who missed the payment deadline from the early registration process) may purchase permits online beginning Friday, December 4, on a first-come, first-served basis.
· Spring permit sales will remain open through winter break and will close Thursday, January 7, 2021.
· For questions about parking, please reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org or 843.953.1100.
· On-campus residents will be required to provide COVID-19 test results as we begin the spring semester. Please watch for communication with detailed information coming from Campus Housing.
· All students are strongly encouraged to test prior to returning to campus for courses and other activities.
· Community testing efforts will continue throughout the spring semester, and the College’s testing protocol will continue to evolve based on guidance from federal, state and local health officials and experts.
ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS
· To begin the spring semester, the College will maintain the same protocols for on– and off-campus College-affiliated events. This includes limiting the number of people who can attend events in person and employing face covering and social distancing policies.
· The College will offer more in-person events that follow COVID-19 guidelines. Keep up to date on student events and activities by monitoring Cougar Connect.
· More common spaces in the residence halls will be open, and plans are in the works for in-hall visitation.
I hope these updates provide you with more information to finalize your plans for the spring. Of course, things may have to change due to the dictates of the pandemic; however, as conditions allow, it is our intention to hold in-person and hybrid classes as outlined in our spring 2021 academic calendar.
Safety remains our top priority. Our ability to keep the College of Charleston safe and focused on our mission is a credit to our students, faculty, staff and community partners. Together, we have kept cases relatively low and the College operating. Our health and safety efforts are working, and we, the entire campus community, must continue to work together to keep the College safe. So, now more than ever, I encourage us all to stay vigilant: wear a mask, practice social distancing, limit gathering sizes and wash our hands frequently.
Thank you for all of your hard work this past semester, and I hope you enjoy your holiday and winter break. You deserve it!
See you in January, and go Cougars!
Andrew T. Hsu, Ph.D.
College of Charleston