College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu shared the following message regarding the spring 2021 semester with the campus community on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021:
Dear Faculty and Staff:
Happy New Year! As we approach the start of classes next week, Monday, January 11, I want to make sure you are aware of the College of Charleston’s ongoing mitigation efforts regarding the COVID-19 pandemic during the spring semester.
Of course, the current positive COVID-19 numbers are alarming, both across the country and in our state. And as a university, we are doing and will do whatever is necessary to maintain the health and safety of our campus community.
As you did in the fall, faculty and staff members will continue to work with your respective department chairs, deans, direct supervisors and division heads on your individual classes (i.e., teaching modalities) and work schedules. The College continues to encourage all employees who can work remotely to continue doing so while also ensuring that all university operations and services remain fully staffed, accessible and responsive to students, families and the campus community.
Also, like we did last semester, the College continues to gradually resume normal operations to the extent possible while adhering to social distancing and other public health–related recommendations. That means we are still trying to, when and where appropriate, stagger employees’ return to workplace schedules or rotate teams of employees into the workplace on different days to promote social distancing. Also, when and where feasible and appropriate, work-from-home is still strongly encouraged to limit disease transmission. Please remember to review the Back on the Bricks plan, which contains our COVID-19 Dashboard, our Self-Report form, our Report a COVID-19–Related Health and Safety Concern form as well all the latest developments.
In addition, I want to share some key points about the spring semester that I sent to our students and families earlier today:
- COVID-19 TESTING: Perhaps the biggest change we are making this semester is around testing – both its frequency and sample groups. This spring, the College will host weekly testing events in partnership with the Medical University of South Carolina and the South Carolina Department Health and Environmental Control. The College will select students at random from the entire student population. Participation will be mandatory, and for those students selected who do not comply, their Cougar Card access will be suspended until they have been tested. Students who continue to be non-compliant may be charged with a student conduct violation and potential conduct action. Students who do not come to campus for any reason will not need to participate in the mandatory testing. With increased testing, combined with our current health and safety protocols inside and outside of the classroom as outlined in our Back on the Bricks plan, we hope to create and sustain an environment that allows our students to have an enriching college experience and keep them on track for their academic goals.
- MOVE-IN: Many students will be moving into campus housing later this week and over this weekend. During this time, the College’s Residence Life and Campus Housing teams will continue the same protocols we had in place in the fall. Move-in for campus housing is set up around appointment times so that we are able to ensure social distancing and minimize crowd sizes. As in the fall, residents of campus housing are required to submit negative COVID-19 tests before moving in.
- CLASSES: Once classes begin, instruction will be delivered in four modalities: in-person, hybrid, online synchronous and online asynchronous. We will host a virtual information session on Thursday, January 14 at 5:30 p.m. (EST) for students and families so that they may learn more about each learning modality directly from our professors. A link to that event will be shared early next week.NOTE FOR STUDENTS: please check with your individual professors regarding each class’s mode and meeting schedule because they may change at different times throughout the semester. For example, depending on positive case counts on campus or an individual professor’s health situation, an in-person class may temporarily meet online (synchronous or asynchronous).For our in-person and hybrid classes, students and faculty will continue to observe our face covering requirements and practice social distancing in the classroom, laboratory and shared work spaces.
- GRADING: Students will receive a grade or status indicator for every course in which they enroll. However, as we announced last semester, students will have the ability to apply a “pass-fail” option (PS/NS) to one of their courses during the spring.
- STUDENT EVENTS: The College will continue to limit the number of participants for on- and off-campus events. However, at the same time, we will look to have more in-person student events and activities available throughout the spring. Please check Cougar Connect regularly.
In closing, I just want to say how proud I am of all of you – our faculty and staff – for all of your hard work and your unwavering commitment to creating an experience that is still special and still very rewarding for our students.
There is no doubt that this semester is going to have its difficulties, but I am confident that we have a great team in place to navigate those challenges and to make this semester a success. As always, we do this together!
Andrew T. Hsu, Ph.D.
College of Charleston