Weekly Coronavirus Update from President Hsu (Friday, April 3)

By | April 3, 2020

President Andrew Hsu sent the following message to the campus community on April 3, 2020:

Dear Campus Community:

For our English majors and many of you who have already taken your intro to literature courses, you may have a new appreciation of T.S. Eliot’s oft-quoted line from The Wasteland: “April is the cruelest month.”

Why is April so cruel? As blossoms burst out in bright colors and the Charleston sky is a seemingly perfect blue, the campus is, for the most part, empty of our students, faculty, staff and community partners. It is too, too quiet – as it should be, as it has to be right now.

The silence of campus is a false front, fortunately. I know how much hard work is taking place all across the country – in our living rooms, bedrooms, even porches that are now makeshift study and work spaces. I applaud our entire College of Charleston community for not giving up in the face of so much uncertainty … for our faculty and staff working just as hard to deliver instruction and support to our students … for the dedication of our students to master lessons and subjects that serve as critical building blocks in their greater understanding overall. Thank you and keep up the good work!

As you may know, a lot happened at the College this week, and I want to make sure you are aware, in case you missed previous communications, or just forgot (I know, it happens!). Here are a few things you need to know:

  • Earlier this week, the College shared with students and families its revised grading policy for the spring semester. The policy includes a new pass-fail grade-type for this semester. Students will be able to choose between the standard grade type (A-F) or the new pass-fail grade type (PS/NS) for each course completed in Express II or full-semester Spring 2020.
  • All summer school classes, including Maymester, will be held online this summer. As this process unfolds, some face-to-face sections still on the summer schedule will be canceled, some will be converted to online delivery and new online sections will be added.
  • After working with the S.C. Commission on Higher Education and the other state higher education institutions, the College announced thatrefunds will be calculated based on a prorated daily rate beginning the week after spring break when the College moved to online instruction. Refunds will be processed and issued by the College over the next two weeks and will be posted to students’ MyCharleston accounts.
  • While the College of Charleston has no contractual authority regarding off-campus housing, I did send a message to some of the privately operated student housing entities around town to ask them to work with students and families regarding their leases as we all deal with this pandemic and the disruption it has caused.
  • The College is working to provide emergency aid through the Student Emergency Fund. To learn more about how to donate to the Student Emergency Fund, please visit giving.cofc.edu. Students may apply to receive support from the Student Emergency Fund through the Division of Student Affairs.

I would also like to touch upon a terrible hoax that was circulating around Charleston on Thursday, April 2. A few of our Charleston-area students received a falsified note reporting to be from the City of Charleston regarding a request for them to participate in a vaccine test group. This note was a complete fabrication. If you received this note asking for your participation, please discard and ignore it.

In closing, I want to remind all of us about social distancing. What that really means is that we need to be physically apart. I know it is tempting to gather together – whether it is to enjoy the good weather with friends or just to alleviate the stir craziness brought on by cabin fever – however, I ask you to resist that urge.

We, as an entire community, are trying to buy time for our healthcare system so that they will be able to help those who are sick and thus, will not be overwhelmed with numbers. We beat this entire situation by doing our best to stay apart right now. I encourage everyone to stay connected with your loved ones through technology instead of in person. Because if we do, we can really make a difference – not only to your own health, but to those around you.

Be well and go Cougars, wherever you may be!




Andrew T. Hsu, Ph.D.