The University of South Carolina announced Thursday that it will extend remote learning for students through the remainder of the spring semester. Students will begin online instruction as previously scheduled and it will continue through the completion of final exams in May. This applies to all institutions across the university system (Columbia, Aiken, Beaufort, Upstate, Lancaster, Salkehatchie, Sumter and Union).
In addition, traditional May commencement ceremonies on all campuses will be postponed. The university is committed to and actively exploring options for rescheduled in-person ceremonies when it is safe to host them and will be planning experiences for graduates to celebrate their achievements. Note: cancellation of the May commencement ceremony will not impact students’ degree completion status for those scheduled to graduate in May.
The university’s leadership team, faculty and staff are working to assure to the best of their ability that students can progress towards degree completion and graduate as anticipated, according to UofSC officials.
In addition to moving to remote instruction, instructors are working to modify courses that typically require experiential learning to develop alternative methods of instruction to meet the learning objectives of the course. Accredited academic programs are working with accrediting agencies to develop alternative ways to meet degree requirements. After the health of the university community, student learning and success is the university’s top priority.
UofSC representatives said that the decision to extend remote learning and postpone graduation came as a response to the need of social distancing, for safety purposes.
“I realize that these actions will be deeply disappointing to our students, particularly those who are about to graduate and were looking forward to a final semester on campus,” said UofSC President Bob Caslen. “The coronavirus presents a serious risk to public health, and we must take these actions in order to best protect our students, faculty and staff. The nation, and the world, are facing an extraordinary challenge. I believe that it is precisely during such challenging times that we often see the best of each other. I am proud of the entire UofSC family for rising up and meeting this occasion with strength, compassion and resiliency.”
Students previously granted permission to remain on campus due to extenuating circumstances will be allowed to stay. All other students residing in residence halls will have an opportunity to retrieve their belongings at a later date.
University Housing is developing a schedule for retrieval and will update students as soon as possible. Plans also are being developed for a reimbursement schedule for students who paid for university housing, parking and meal plans. The state’s Commission on Higher Education also is coordinating with colleges and universities to ensure student investments are protected.
In accordance with Thursday’s executive order from Gov. Henry McMaster, only essential, mission-critical employees will be reporting to campuses for work.
Please visit the university’s coronavirus website for up-to-date news and information for students, parents, faculty and staff.