UofSC extends spring break, then using online classes to prevent coronavirus spread

Updated: Mar. 11, 2020 at 6:27 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The University of South Carolina extended its spring break another week to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, school leaders said.

Classes and all campus events from March 16 to 22 are canceled.

When students return from spring break March 23, all classes will be held online until Friday, April 3.

“We’ve made the right decision in this because we don’t know where our students have been domestically too, like where they’ve traveled in the last couple of days. It is just better to be prepared," explained Kay Banks, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity of the Honors College

During this time, the university will be open and students who live on campus can stay in their residence halls and get meals on campus, school leaders said.

However, they are encouraging students to not return to campus between March 16 and April 3.

“Please use your best judgment when making this decision, taking into account any preexisting health conditions and alternative housing options," UofSC President Bob Caslen said in a letter to students.

Caslen said sporting events are expected to continue, but fans will be alerted if that changes.

Read the full letter from the president below:

"Dear Students,

"As we continue to monitor the spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), our first priority remains the health, safety and security of our students, faculty, staff and community. After meeting today with our university senior leadership and continuing to work closely with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Centers for Disease Control, we are taking a measured response to mitigate risk and have made the following decisions about our Columbia campus schedule.

  • Classes will be canceled for the week after spring break (March 16 – 22).
  • All campus events next week will be cancelled.
  • From Monday, March 23 through Friday, April 3, we will suspend all face-to-face instruction in lectures, discussion sections, seminars and other similar classroom settings and move to virtual instruction.
  • The university will remain open, including residence halls, food services and limited transit.
  • We encourage you not to return to campus during the periord of March 16 through April 3, although you will not be forbidden from doing so. Please use your best judgement when making this decision, taking into account any preexisting health conditions and alternative housing options.
  • All intercollegiate athletics competition is expected to continue. We will alert fans if anything changes. Regardless, per guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control people over the age of 60 with preexisting medical conditions should avoid attending events with large crowds because they have a greater risk of complications related to Covid-19.

"Students, I realize that changes of any kind to our normal schedule are inconvenient, but I am confident that our plan for the next three weeks will help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This unprecedented public health challenge demands that all of us do our part for the public good. It is in this spirit that we ask each of you to rise to the occasion and remain flexible over the coming weeks.

"Guidance for preventing the spread of COVID-19 continues to be updated on the university’s COVID-19 landing page. For additional questions, please contact our dedicated hotline: 803-576-8511.

Thank you,

Bob Caslen"

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