CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The College of Charleston plans to delay the start of in-person instruction for the fall semester until Sept. 14, its president said Tuesday.
Fall semester classes will still begin as scheduled on Aug. 25, but those classes will initially be conducted only in an online/remote environment, CofC spokesman Mike Robertson said. Housing, dining and parking costs will be pro-rated to reflect the online learning period through Sept. 14.
“We had hoped to resume a blend of in-person/remote learning classes starting in late August,” CofC President Andrew 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, including 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 also plans to 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.
Students who have extenuating circumstances and require on-campus housing to begin the semester may apply for an exemption, Robertson said, adding that the limited number of students who receive this exemption must follow strict face covering and social distancing protocols.
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.
That 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 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.