College of Charleston announces plan for fall 2020 semester

The College of Charleston on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, released its plan for reopening campus to students amid the coronavirus pandemic. Back on the Bricks: The College of Charleston Plan for Fall 2020 outlines the institution’s protocols and procedures to ensure the health and safety of the campus community as well as the continuity of academic instruction.

Developed in consultation with students, faculty, staff, deans, senior administrators, parents, trustees, alumni and health professionals, among others, the plan focuses on a series of policies and actions designed to address the coronavirus pandemic and provide a positive student experience through safety measures and practices implemented throughout all areas of campus.

“As you look through the plan, you will see that every decision and directive made, including the structure of the academic calendar and limitations on travel, were data driven, based on science and current health and safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control,” said College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu in a message Wednesday to the campus community. “Of course, there are many unknowns. But no matter what, student and employee safety is our number one priority.”

The College will hold virtual town hall meetings for faculty/staff and students/families on Thursday, July 2, 2020, to discuss the plan further and answer questions.

Details of the Back on the Bricks plan include:

  • Face coverings  are required  at all  times  while  on  campus.
  • Students, faculty and staff must always make every effort to maintain at least six feet or more between people.
  • Campuswide  sanitization  stations will be  installed  in  high–traffic  areas  to promote frequent hand-washing.
  • All students, faculty and staff will be required to pass a daily health self-screening using a free smart phone application or an alternative method prior to coming on campus or entering campus facilities.
  • The College will require COVID-19 testing for anyone who is symptomatic or for anyone who is asymptomatic and has come into direct contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Most classes will be converted to a “blended instruction” format that includes a mix of in-person and online instruction to limit population density in classrooms.
  • The College will reduce residential density of on-campus housing and increase the number of single bedrooms available to students.
  • All dining facilities will observe physical distancing guidelines and decreased capacity. All dining employees will wear appropriate personal protection equipment in compliance with federal and state guidelines.

Following the diagnosis of COVID-19 cases in South Carolina, the College in March 2020 moved to online instruction for students, most of whom moved out of the residence halls during that time. The university has spent the past three months developing rigorous sanitizing protocols, technology improvements in classrooms for the delivery of hybrid online/in-person instruction and health policies aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus on campus.

Although the College is working toward in-person classes on campus this fall, the institution, said Hsu, is also making contingency plans and will adjust if conditions regarding the pandemic worsen.

The ultimate goal, said Hsu, is to make sure every member of campus feels safe and supported.

“The College of Charleston’s commitment to our academic mission is unwavering,” he said. “From technology and facilities to academic and residential support to physical and emotional support, every member of campus will be made aware of and have access to the services and resources they need to be successful.”

Read the full Back on the Bricks plan at go.cofc.edu/bricks.