CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - After about three weeks of online instruction, some students at the College of Charleston will be back in the classroom Monday.
CofC Executive Vice President for Student Affairs Alicia Caudill says about 20 to 30% of classes will be staying virtual. She says while they are trying to give students as much of a normal college experience as possible, strict guidelines will be enforced.
“Students are very interested in having the experience that they come here for, which is the opportunity to connect. It’s why they really want to be here, and they want to move in,” Caudill said. “So I think the most important thing that we’re sharing with them is you know, the face coverings, the social distancing, the staying in small groups, are critically important for us to be able to have an experience where we’re in person.”
All students moving on campus have been required to show a negative test result within the last 14 days.
Masks are required at all times on campus and on campus residence visitation is not allowed. Unapproved social gatherings will be monitored by campus officials and police.
Students will be asked to follow the college’s code of conduct. If a student is repeatedly found not wearing a face covering or at on-campus or off-campus social gathering with more than 10 people, they can be suspended until the conduct process is complete. This includes videos and training about COVID-19 and the risks of spreading it.
If a student does not complete it, they can be suspended for the remainder of the semester.
CofC President Andrew Hsu says about 90% of the college’s enrolled students are planning to learn through in-person or hybrid classes starting Monday. Hsu says many professors and teachers have the option to stagger the number of students coming to class and how many days a week they come verses working online.
Caudill says the average student to faculty ratio at The College is 14:1. While she says that number hasn’t really changed this year, each classroom is only operating at about 40 to 50% of capacity.
To monitor the health and safety of every one on campus, the College of Charleston is adding wellness checks to its Everbridge Phone App. This is the app they previously used for emergency notifications on campus.
Students and faculty are asked to complete a self-check on the app every morning before going to class or leaving their residence. It asks if they have a fever or any other COVID-19 symptoms, as well as if they’ve been exposed to someone with the virus.
If a student or staff member responds yes to any of the questions, student health or Human Relations will reach out with further questions.
This is not a requirement, but Hsu says for the safety of a class, a professor could ask students to show them a completed wellness check before entering class
“I think our students, majority of them, want to be safe and they want to stay here because they have learned from other campuses that student behavior really dictates whether they can have a successful in-person semester on campus or not,” Hsu said.
The college’s “Back on the Bricks” website provides a COVID-19 dashboard that anyone in the community can access to see the number of positive cases in isolation and current active cases in quarantine.
Caudill says they will also start random testing in about two weeks.
The College of Charleston is using a random email generator to select students and faculty for random testing. They will receive an email with a date to show up for a test.
The college has partnered with MUSC for these mobile testing clinics on campus.