UofSC plans return to normal operations this fall

Updated: Mar. 8, 2021 at 5:35 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - The University of South Carolina released its plan for fall operations Monday morning that signals a return to normalcy as vaccinations ramp up against the COVID-19 pandemic.

UofSC leaders say they will return to face-to-face classes and expect residential life and campus activities to resume.

The university will continue to employ appropriate COVID-19 mitigation strategies, robust on-campus COVID-19 testing and other measures based on up-to-date public health guidelines, spokesman Jeff Stensland said.

UofSC was the first public university in South Carolina to announce last spring that it would switch to virtual classes in order to address the pandemic, he said. It also was the first to put in place “a comprehensive mitigation strategy allowing for a return of students to campus and a mix of face-to-face, hybrid and virtual classes during the 2020-21 academic year,” he said.

“I want to thank our faculty, staff and students for their flexibility, patience and creativity as we’ve navigated through this unprecedented time together,” UofSC President Bob Caslen said. “Our goal from the very beginning was to safely deliver a world class education to students, no matter the challenges. I’m excited to see that continue with full face-to-face instruction in the fall, as well as a return to the engaging and vibrant campus environment our university is known for.”

A release from the university states many faculty and staff are already eligible to receive vaccinations against COVID under the state health department’s vaccine rollout.

University officials are continuing to coordinate with public agencies and monitor the spread of the virus and its new variant strains.

But while Caslen called the announcement “great news,” he urged the UofSC community to continue to remain vigilant.

“As I’ve said throughout the pandemic, our ability to return to normal depends on members of our community doing the right things to protect themselves and others,” he said. “That includes wearing face coverings and getting the vaccine when you’re eligible to receive it.”

The university instituted a mandatory COVID testing program for any student, faculty or staff member who frequents campus this spring.

Stensland said the current positivity rate on campus is 1.3 percent, far below the state and national averages.

The university has conducted more than 70,000 tests in 2021.

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