College of Charleston finalized COVID-19 fall changes, housing reductions

Updated: Jul. 1, 2020 at 2:26 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Leaders at the College of Charleston are announcing many changes to student and academic life this fall to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including reducing housing capacity by more than a third.

“Certainly students coming back will see a very different campus. It will not be the same experience that they’ve had last fall for example,” College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu said. “Their safety is our first priority so we’re trying everything we can to keep the virus from campus.”

One of the most notable changes will be to housing.

Amy Orr Director, director of business and auxiliary services said the school is reducing the residence hall capacity by 35 percent, that means 800 to 1,000 less beds for students on campus. The majority of rooms will now be single-occupancy while some will have two beds.

"Our regular occupancy is about 3,300 to 3,400 students," Orr said. "We are in the process of trying to secure some bedding off campus. We are going to give incoming students priority for on campus beds."

Officials said they will be reaching out to families and students this week to discuss next steps for housing.

Chief of staff Paul Patrick said campus leaders are actively looking options for any students who now may not be able to stay on campus due to the changes.

"It is our intention right now that anyone who has applied for and made a deposit for housing, if they want that bed, we will get them that bed," Patrick said.

Orr also noted there will be 200 rooms for students who may need to quarantine due to COVID-19.

Students will be required to wear face masks and practice social distancing on campus. Additionally, all students and staff will be required to pass a daily health self-screening via a mobile app or individually.

Alicia Caudill, the executive vice president for student affairs, said parts of campus will only be accessible after the student or faculty member shows they passed their daily screening.

“I think the enforcement by looking in classrooms or for access in facilities that they’d like to be in will be our main way of encouraging students to do that each day,” she said.

In addition to other changes on campus, most classes will be a “blended instruction” format with both in-person and online teaching.

The college will be holding “virtual town halls” tomorrow for faculty, students and families to further discuss the plan and answer questions. More information about the “Back on the Bricks” plan can be found here.

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