Message from President Hsu to College of Charleston campus on March 12, 2020:
Dear Campus Community:
As we all watch what is happening with the Coronoavirus pandemic in the U.S. and around the world, it’s probably safe to say that this situation will, unfortunately, get worse before it improves.
In consultation with our academic leadership, our emergency management team, other state higher education leaders, S.C. Governor’s Office and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, I have made the decision to suspend in-person classes the week following spring break and to extend our international travel prohibition through June 30, 2020.
All academic instruction, without exception, will be held online Monday, March 23 through Friday, March 27. Campus will remain open and operational during this e-learning week. However, all campus events (i.e., performances, conferences, guest lectures, student gatherings) are canceled starting March 16 through March 29.
Students are strongly encouraged to return home or stay home during spring break and the e-learning week (March 23-27). For those for whom this is not a realistic option, students are welcome to stay on campus as detailed below.
Important Details for Spring Break/E-Learning Week
- Today (Thursday, March 12) is already scheduled as a test day of our e-learning capabilities. It is important that everyone participate in this test so that we may identify and address any technology issues before we go into an actual e-learning environment beginning March 23.
- Friday, March 13, is a regular in-person class day.
- Faculty have the option to conduct their e-learning classes on campus or remotely during the week of March 23-27.
- Staff are expected to report to work as normal during the week of March 23-27. The campus will be operating on its regular schedule, with the exception of in-person classes. However, the College has a telecommuting policy for employees, and individual staff members should work with their immediate supervisors to make any adjustments to their work schedule as appropriate.
- As stated above, from Monday, March 16, through Sunday, March 29, all campus events are cancelled and/or postponed. The Colonial Athletic Association has suspended spring intercollegiate athletics competition.
- In order to be prepared for the College’s e-learning week, students should take any items they may need to continue classes online (i.e., textbooks, class materials, laptops, chargers) before they leave campus this week.
- The College will work individually with any students, faculty and staff who may have access and resource needs that would prevent them from participating in online learning, teaching and/or working (i.e., computer, software, internet connection). Please contact the College’s IT Service Desk by phone at 843.953.3375, via email at email@example.com, or online at chat.help.cofc.edu or help.cofc.edu.
- Student employees should coordinate with their supervisors for their work hours during spring break and the e-learning week.
As you prepare to leave for spring break, I urge you to take all necessary health and safety precautions and to be mindful of the following travel advisories and the potential for further changes to our academic instruction.
Students remaining on campus
- All residence halls are open during spring break and will be open during the e-learning week.
- Campus dining facilities will operate on a modified schedule during spring break and the e-learning week. Please refer to Campus Dining website (https://charleston.campusdish.com/en) for the most up-to-date information on locations and hours.
- Addlestone Library will remain open during spring break and e-learning week. Check the library website for hours of operation.
- Student Health Services will be on its normal operating schedule throughout spring break and during the e-learning week.
International travel (change to policy)
- The College is suspending all College-sponsored international travel through June 30, 2020. This suspension applies to all faculty, staff, students and incoming international visitors.
- The College also strongly advises that students, faculty and staff avoid all personal non-essential international travel.
- The CDC specifically recommends avoiding all non-essential travel to countries under CDC Warning Level 3 Travel Advisories. The latest CDC travel advisories are available on the CDC website.
- Any students, faculty and staff returning from countries under a CDC Level 3 Travel Advisory must self-quarantine off-campus for 14 days before they can return to campus and could be subject to additional assessment and screening by health officials. Students who need to self-quarantine and do not have an off-campus residence or are unable to self-quarantine at their permanent address should contact Campus Housing at 843.953.5523 or firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Possible further changes to classroom instruction
- There is a possibility that conditions in South Carolina and/or in Charleston could change rapidly over the next several days/weeks and that the College could extend its e-learning period beyond the week of March 23-27. The College will closely monitor the situation daily and will announce any changes regarding the extension of the e-learning period via email and Cougar Alert as soon as a decision is made.
- Students should take any items they may need to continue classes online (i.e., textbooks, class materials, laptops, chargers) before they leave campus this week.
- The College has established a website (continuity.cofc.edu) with information and resources for online teaching, learning and working.
Domestic travel (advisory)
- Currently, there are no government restrictions on traveling within the U.S. However, the College urges students, faculty and staff to exercise caution if traveling domestically over the break on common carriers such as airlines and trains.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends travelers, particularly those with underlying health issues, defer all cruise ship travel at this time.
- Many U.S. cities are experiencing rapid increases in the number of positive cases of Coronavirus. It’s possible that circumstances could change quickly while you are away visiting another city/state over the break and that your plans to return to campus could be disrupted.
- Check on your travel arrangements regularly for any changes, pay attention to local media in the area where you are staying and keep an eye on the latest CDC travel advisories and guidance.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptoms and Prevention
The symptoms of coronavirus may be flu-like, ranging from mild to serious, and include fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
The following general actions can help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
Andrew T. Hsu, Ph.D.
College of Charleston
66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424
Twitter and Instagram: @CofCHsu