As the University of South Carolina begins the recovery process from the devastating floods that affect Columbia and the surrounding areas, the Office of the Provost, in conjunction with the Division of Student Affairs and Academic Support, has compiled important information for faculty and staff to prepare for students returning to class next week.
Discussing the Disaster with Your Class
Losing a week during the middle of the semester can be difficult. Even though faculty may feel behind, it is important to carve out some time next week to help students process the disaster. Talking points and information to consider have been provided, courtesy of Student Health Services’ Dr. Jennifer Myers and Dr. Toby Lovell.
University policy indicates that weather-related emergencies are potentially excusable absences. Faculty should not penalize students for class cancellation due to rain and flooding.
Course Schedule, Grading & Assignments
With a full week of classes cancelled, it is critical that faculty and staff come together as a team. The Office of the Provost asks for creativity and flexibility in how faculty deliver content and assess performance when making up for this lost time. Options could include: “doubling-up” on material in subsequent classes, offering material online or in handouts for student self-study or offering an extra class session to make-up the missed session. Faculty should not penalize students for failure to attend a make-up class session outside of the regularly scheduled time slot. Make-up classes cannot be required on Reading Day. CTE, Facilities, the Student Success Center and other offices across campus will strive to build resources to assist as the University adjusts.
For those who have assignments due this week or next, you may also consider flexible and creative ways to work with new deadlines.
Withdrawal Date Change
Due to the cancellation of classes this week, the deadline for dropping a course with a grade of "W" will be extended by one week to October 19 (first day W/F assigned will be October 20). The Office of the Registrar will adjust the deadlines for smaller Parts of Term affected by the cancellation. Please check their website for this updated information.
Student Services and Assistance
As our community recovers, UofSC continues to offer all students essential services, dining, academic support services, events, activities and a number of volunteer opportunities. Community resources and USC assistance are available for off-campus students.
Students of Concern
To report serious concerns about students who are exhibiting unusual behavior and other signs of distress or mental health issues, please contact the Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) online or at 803-777-4333. In an emergency, call 911.
For students who did not go home, please encourage them to spend their time wisely. In addition to getting ahead on reading, projects, papers, and studying, encourage them to help, as they are able, with relief efforts. USC has the best students, with kind and caring hearts. A group of students has started UofSCRelief as a way to organize other students to volunteer with recovery and relief. Faculty can direct students to the UofSCRelief.
Faculty and staff cooperation and adaptability is an important and appreciated facet of the recovery process. We respectfully request that all faculty and staff teaching this term reach out to their students through every available communication channel as soon as possible with as much information as possible. Please keep in mind that the storm may be affecting students’ ability to connect in the traditional ways, but the more the university communicates with our students, the easier it will be for us to collectively recover.