College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu shared the following message regarding the transition back to normal operations with faculty and staff on Thursday, March 11, 2021: 

Dear Campus Community:    

In a follow-up to Governor McMaster’s executive order issued last Friday evening which mandates that all state agencies expeditiously return all non-essential employees to the workplace on a full-time basis beginning March 15, I wanted to let you know that the College of Charleston has received approval of its plan to phase in employees’ return to campus over the course of several weeks.  

While I share many of the concerns that you may have with the timing of this mandate, my efforts with fellow state university presidents to seek a delay or exemption from the mandate have been unsuccessful. That being said, the College, as a state agency, will comply with the governor’s orders.    

I know this return to campus raises many questions – and many of your questions will be specific to your individual needs. Rather than try to address them all in a single email, I encourage you to review our FAQs for employees, which can also be found on our Back on the Bricks site. The College’s Office of Human Resources will hold open forums for supervisors and division heads on Friday, March 12 (details to come from the HR office).

Let me use this space to address a primary question you may have regarding vaccine eligibility and also provide you a general sketch of our phased-in approach in fulfilling the governor’s executive order.  

First and foremost, as employees of the College of Charleston, you are eligible to participate in Phase 1B of the vaccine distribution, as you are essential personnel within the state’s education category who come into close contact with others due to your job.  

The College’s COVID-19 leadership team continues to work with the Medical University of South Carolina and the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to set up a time for vaccination distribution on our campus. In fact, the College has applied to DHEC to be a distribution site for the vaccine, specifically for our campus population, and we should have an answer in the coming weeks. However, in the meantime, I encourage all employees – both faculty and staff – to take advantage of other distribution sources available in the state (such as Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy, local pharmacies, your primary care physician, Harris Teeter and Publix). 

It is important to note that, under Governor McMaster’s executive order, vaccinations are not required for an employee to return to work (either due to availability or by choice).  

At this time, the College’s policies regarding the wearing of face coverings and the practice of social distancing remain in effect.    

As for our return-to-campus-to-work plan, here is a general outline and summary of what the state approved for our phased-in approach:  

During the Week of March 15 

  • 50-60% of workforce back on campus 
  • The College will bring back all supervisors and those necessary to plan for and make certain campus spaces are ready for a full complement of employees. 
  • Additionally, the College will bring back employees who can easily maintain 6 feet social distance and do not have any other barriers to returning (i.e., serious health risks, childcare). 
  • This phase does not include employees who are seeking medical-related temporary accommodations or have childcare concerns as detailed below. Employees who are seeking a temporary accommodation related to their medical condition(s) should complete the Temporary Accommodation Request to Work Remotely FormPlease refer to the FAQs for additional details on the accommodation requirement. 
  • Meetings that have been virtual will remain virtual in order to accommodate social distancing.    

During the Week of March 29 

  • 75% of workforce back on campus 
  • Employees who have not applied for a temporary accommodation to work remotely based on their own medical condition are expected to return to campus. 
  • Those employees without childcare concerns are expected to return to campus. Employees with childcare concerns should be working on making other arrangements and may continue to work remotely. 
  • Meetings that have been virtual will remain virtual in order to accommodate social distancing. 

During the Week of April 5 

  • 80–90% of workforce back on campus 
  • All employees who have not received a temporary formal accommodation to work remotely are back on campus. 
  • All employees will return to campus who have been permitted to work remotely due to pre-school or school-age children whose daycare or school is not operating on a full-time or in-person schedule.  
  • Childcare barriers will need to be addressed and, therefore (per direction from the state’s Department of Administration), a lack of childcare is no longer a reason to remain in a remote working status. 
  • Meetings that have been virtual will remain virtual in order to accommodate social distancing.   

During the Week of April 26 

  • 90–100% of workforce back on campus 
  • Only those employees with approved accommodations may continue in a remote work status. 
  • Employees with telecommuting arrangements formally approved in accordance with the Telecommuting Policy prior to March 5, 2021, may continue to work in a remote status. Per the directive of the South Carolina Department of Administration, the College is temporarily suspending the approval of any new requests for telecommuting arrangements. 
  • Meetings that have been virtual will remain virtual throughout the spring and summer in order to accommodate social distancing. 

  Faculty and Instruction 

  • Class schedule and teaching modality do not change for spring 2021. 
  • The College currently has 36% of its sections entirely online and 64% in hybridand in-person. 

I know this is a lot of information to absorb and a lot of change happening very rapidly. And like we have done this past year, we, as a campus community, will pivot and we will do the best we can – by assisting and always supporting each other.   



Andrew T. Hsu, Ph.D.
College of Charleston