CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Students in the Lowcountry are returning to the classroom and Wednesday is the first day of classes for those at Charleston Southern University.
However, the university says there are some big changes being implemented because of the Coronavirus Pandemic.
One of the first things leaders at CSU did was determine which courses could be moved to a hybrid or fully online format so they could reduce the number of students who were physically on campus.
CSU says a little more than 50% of classes will be online, but for those students going to a classroom, there will be some changes.
Starting this semester university officials say:
- Masks are required in all facilities at all times, unless in one’s own dorm room or office.
- Classrooms have been modified to allow for six-feet social distancing and plexiglass barriers have been added for faculty.
- All courses will be recorded for students who do not feel comfortable attending in-person and for those who may feel ill.
CSU leaders say their goal is to keep students safe and offer a great education while also hoping students have a positive experience.
“Our student body has proven to be adaptable and pretty open to change,” CSU’s Infection Control Coordinator Laurel Glover says. “I think there is going to be a learning process, particularly as we enter the semester and we kind of establish a new normal.”
Over the last few days, officials say more than 1,000 students moved onto campus. Before they were allowed to do that however, Glover says they were required to have a COVID-19 test to help in minimizing exposure to other students.
School leaders say they have come up with a “Return to Campus Guide” to highlight changes in all areas of campus, including housing, dining, academics, health, student life and athletics.
Within the guide are requirements for screening, physical distancing, face coverings, hand hygiene, disinfection modifications and a clear approach for infection control.
Glover says one of the main things that’s being implemented because of COVID-19 is students and employees are required to monitor their health on a daily basis via the LiveSafe App.
The app reports results to the university infection control and COVID-19 coordinator and students will display the app results to professors upon entry to classrooms, Glover says.
In talking with students about the changes, there were some mixed emotions.
“I’m a little nervous,” Sophomore at CSU Myranda Reppart says. “I feel like everyone is excited but I’m a little worried about how it all is going to work.”
CSU Senior Taylor Barnes says she’s trying to look at it with a positive attitude.
“My classes are going to be online so I’ve just kind of looked forward to that,” Barnes says. “I’ll have a lot of other time to volunteer and do other things. I’m looking forward to grad school so it’s kind of a blessing in disguise.”
“Different is the key word to this semester, that’s for sure,” another CSU Senior Seth Wolfe adds. “I think it’s a really good opportunity for CSU to shine as a campus.”
CSU leaders say they’re keeping an eye on everything that’s going on around the greater Charleston area in terms of the pandemic on a daily basis. They says they’re responding to that accordingly and if they have to return to remote learning, they’ll make that decision in real team based on the situation around the area.
“Although 2020 typically indicates ‘perfect vision,’ our experience in the year 2020 has been anything but,” CSU President Dondi Costin said in a video to the CSU community. “We may not have foreseen how this year would unfold, but I’m comforted by the fact that God placed the right people at the right time in the life of Charleston Southern University—as it says in [the book of] Esther, ‘for such a time as this.’”
All decisions by the Charleston Southern University Pandemic Task Force, comprised of more than 40 campus representatives, are influenced by the research and guidance from agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. For more information on the BUCSAFE campaign or to view the full campus guidelines, go to charlestonsouthern.edu/BUCSAFE