microscopic example of a coronavirus

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The University of South Carolina is working with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to actively monitor the novel coronavirus outbreak and any potential impact to our campus community.

Latest Updates

Updated April 2, 2020 at 6 p.m.

  • In the interest of maintaining the health and safety of students, faculty and staff, the University of South Carolina will extend remote learning through the end of the Summer II semester (Aug 1) for the Columbia and Palmetto College campuses. See President Caslen's message for more information.
  • The university’s Faculty Senate voted to expand the pass/fail scale for undergraduate students and make it applicable to Spring 2020 classes. See more details in the message from Interim Provost Harding.
  • Under the guidance issued by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (CHE), the University of South Carolina will begin issuing prorated refunds to students for meal plans, parking permits and on-campus residential housing. See the Refund Statement for more details.
  • The university hosted two virtual town halls on March 30 and 31. If you were unable to join live, you can now view the recordings from the students and families session and the faculty and staff session.
  • May commencement ceremonies have been tentatively rescheduled for August 7 and 8, 2020. The Schools of Medicine in Columbia and Greenville are also planning alternate ceremonies, dates to be determined.
  • Students with belongings in residence halls will have the opportunity to retrieve them at a later date when it is determined by state health officials that it is safe to do so. See University Housing for more details.

 

UofSC Campus Status

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. We are taking a measured response to mitigate risk and have made the following decisions about our Columbia campus schedule. The same response applies to the regional Palmetto College campuses at USC Lancaster, USC Salkehatchie, USC Sumter and USC Union, as well as the USC Fort Jackson Program.

Campus Access

  • The University of South Carolina campus is closed through the end of the spring semester.
  • In accordance with Governor McMaster’s executive order on March 19, only those employees whose presence is necessary in order to maintain continuity of remote educational offerings and to ensure the health and safety of campus need report to work. 
  • All other employees will continue to work remotely. 

Classes

  • All face-to-face instruction in lectures, discussion sections, seminars and other similar classroom settings have been suspended and moved to virtual instruction through the end of the Summer II semester (Aug 1). 

University Housing

  • Students previously granted permission to remain on campus due to extenuating circumstances will be allowed to stay.
  • All other students will have an opportunity to retrieve their belongings at a later date.
  • In consultation with Student Health Services and the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, University Housing is developing a schedule for retrieval and will update students as soon as possible.

Events

  • All campus events will be canceled through the end of the spring semester.
  • All regular season conference and non-conference competitions are cancelled for the remainder of the 2019-20 athletic year, including all remaining SEC championship events. In addition, all spring football games are canceled and there will be no pro days conducted by SEC institutions. Visit Gamecock Athletics coronavirus updates for the latest details. 
  • All National Junior College Athletic Association events at USC Lancaster, USC Salkehatchie, USC Sumter and USC Union for the remainder of the spring semester have been canceled.

All messages sent regarding the coronavirus can be found within the messages to our community below. 

 

Campus Resources

  

24/7 Coronavirus Phone Bank 

803-576-8511

For any questions or concerns about coronavirus that have not been addressed on this page, please call our phone bank at 803-576-8511.

Main Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
After Hours: Medical questions only after 5 p.m. daily
Emergencies: If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, please call 911.

 

 

Messages to Our Campus Community

Latest Message

April 2: Update from President Caslen on summer classes

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

In an effort to keep you informed of important decisions related to COVID-19, I write today to announce that the University of South Carolina will extend remote learning through the end of the Summer II Session (August 1). This decision was made in consultation with the senior administration and with guidance from local and national public health experts. Our top priority remains your health, safety and wellbeing.

After consulting with experts at the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), our Student Health Center and the Arnold School of Public Health, it was clear that allowing students, faculty, staff and visitors to return to campus this summer could be dangerous. The modeling currently demonstrates that cases of coronavirus are predicted to peak in late April or early May, just before the first of our summer sessions begins, and the virus will continue to pose a threat even after the peak. We feel the risk of communal infection to the campus and the surrounding community in this closed-campus environment is still unacceptable.

I’m sure you share both my disappointment in this unavoidable decision and my confidence that it is necessary. Even as we know we’re doing what’s right to keep ourselves and others healthy and safe, the thought of continuing online instruction through the summer is difficult. And yet, when I consider your determined attitude, uncompromised work ethic and continued commitment to academic excellence, I know that our summer sessions will adhere to the standards you expect and our accreditors demand.

With some exceptions, we anticipate that all courses typically offered during the summer will be available through a remote learning option. In addition, we will offer many new online classes that have not previously been available. These new offerings, coupled with the experience we’re gaining right now in online instruction, will help us provide an exceptional educational experience for our students during the summer months.

Please note the following related updates for summer:

  • No in-person, experiential learning on campus or in-person labs will occur through the summer 2020 months. When possible, faculty and experiential learning supervisors should continue to provide remote learning opportunities for students.
  • When it is determined by state health officials that it is safe to do so, University Housing will release a schedule for students with belongings in residence halls to retrieve them.
  • We are also exploring options for those students who are unable to travel back to Columbia (when it is safe) to retrieve their belongings.
  • Commencement plans for the class of 2020 are still tentative for August 7 and 8 in Columbia.
  • Faculty and staff should continue to follow our current policies regarding working remotely and abide by all state and local stay at home ordinances. We will update you as more information becomes available.
  • Please continue to visit the university’s coronavirus website for updates.

Thank you, students, faculty and staff for your patience, support and determination as we face each new challenge that comes our way during this unprecedented time. We’re in this together, and I continue to be inspired by your resilient spirit.

Forever to Thee,

Bob Caslen, President

 

Prior Messages

 

As we continue to move the university forward during this semester with online classes and remote instruction, I want to again acknowledge all of the efforts of our faculty and staff to navigate this process and support the instructional needs of our students. To our students, we are listening to your feedback and we understand that the transition to online has been difficult for some of you.

Today, the university’s Faculty Senate voted to expand the pass/fail scale for undergraduate students and make it applicable to Spring 2020 classes. Spring 2020 classes that were completed prior to Spring break are not eligible for this option. Classes from previous semesters are not eligible.

Graduate and professional students will hear from the Dean of the Graduate School and Deans of the professional schools and programs about grading accommodations directly. Undergraduate students taking graduate or professional classes will follow the decisions of the dean of the particular graduate program.

The following is what the Faculty Senate has approved for undergraduate students.

  • All courses will be graded as originally planned according to grading criteria established by the instructor.
  • After grades are submitted at the end of the semester, undergraduates can choose, on a course-by-course basis, to request a pass/fail grade for the Spring 2020 semester.
    • The following pass/fail scale will be used: Earned grades of A, B+, B, C+, and C will be replaced with S+, earned grades of D+ and D will be replaced with S, and an earned grade of F or FN will be replaced with U.
  • If you select the S+/S/U grading scale for a course, points will not be factored into the GPA. Courses with S+ and S will count towards earned semester hours.
  • Courses graded with the S+/S/U scale will count as appropriate towards applicable curricular, major, continuation, and graduation requirements. For example, if a course requires a C or better in a prerequisite, students selecting this alternative grading scale would need an S+ in the prerequisite course.
  • The deadline to decide to replace a course letter grade with the S+/S/U is July 1, 2020.
    • This process will occur through the Registrar’s Office. A form will be available on the Registrar’s website for you to request that a letter grade be replaced with the S+/S/U scale.
  • You also have the option to retake undergraduate courses in which you have earned an S+, S, or U during Spring 2020. Any undergraduate courses retaken under this provision will not count towards the number of courses currently allowed by the current grade forgiveness policy [pdf]. In addition, students who were retaking a class for grade forgiveness in Spring 2020 can retake the class another semester, without penalty.

If you are considering taking advantage of the pass/fail scale for your Spring 2020 classes, I strongly encourage you to contact your academic and financial aid advisor prior to making a final decision as there are many factors to consider including financial aid, scholarships, athletic eligibility and progression toward a degree implications for changing a course grade.

In the coming weeks, my office will provide additional information about the grading accommodations and the grade forgiveness policy on the Provost’s Office website.

I wish to extend my deep gratitude to the UofSC Faculty Senate for their marvelous and diligent work on this policy.

Be well and continue to be safe,

Tayloe Harding

Executive Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Provost, Interim

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

I write today to update you on several developments that are important for our community and to share some of my recent experiences with you.

With every challenge comes opportunity, and all of you have demonstrated that during this first full week of online classes. Don’t get me wrong; we’re still working through technical issues and will continue to do so. We’re dealing with social challenges that come with being separated geographically. And yet, we’re rising to the occasion and doing the best we can by working together. Thank you for putting in the long hours, for being patient with technology, for reaching out and helping one another.

I had the pleasure of “dropping in” on several online classes this week. I was impressed by the strong, positive attitude of everyone working to make their learning event successful. And it was great for the students and faculty to enjoy seeing and being with each other – albeit virtually – again. It also made me appreciate our IT professionals and the work they put into this effort to ensure the architecture was able to deliver education. And I can’t express how grateful I am for our faculty who despite great challenges, were able to make all of this happen. At the end of the day, we are here for you, our students, and I’m very grateful for your understanding, flexibility, resilience, and support.

Several students in the classes I attended were concerned about commencement, which I understand completely. Our graduates have earned a celebration, and I’m pleased to report to you the following tentative plans for celebrating their achievements:

  • Subject to permissible conditions, Law, doctoral, bachelor’s and master’s ceremonies are currently rescheduled for Friday, August 7 and Saturday, August 8 in Columbia.
  • Palmetto College campuses will join the commencement ceremonies in Columbia.
  • All of these ceremonies will be livestreamed.
  • Alternative plans will be made for the School of Medicine.
  • Alternative plans will also be made for the three comprehensive campuses in Aiken, Beaufort and Upstate.
  • We will put a virtual commencement together for all those who are unable to return to UofSC campus to participate in person on the currently scheduled 7 and 8 August dates.
  • A short survey will be sent to graduates within the next several days to gauge participation and determine the final schedule of commencement events.
  • I am hopeful and excited about an August commencement, but I must emphasize that it is a tentative plan, subject to change as we continue to work with state leaders and public health experts. I promise, we will gather together if it is safe to do so.

Between now and then, we remain focused on the health and safety of those in our community. We know of some students, faculty and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19. The privacy of those individuals must be protected, but we also are working closely with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control to identify and notify those who may have been in close contact with these individuals so they can take necessary precautions. That includes self-quarantining and closely monitoring their health.

We want to make sure that anyone in our community who becomes ill receives the support they need. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, please let us know by calling Student Health Services at 803-576-6515. If you are a student, you also can report by logging into your secure Patient Portal and send a message to the Primary Care Team Nurse. The university will protect your privacy and not share your personal health information.

As you know, we made a decision earlier this month to close campus residence halls to everyone expect those with extenuating circumstances. This led to some difficult choices, but they were made in the interest of protecting our students from an outbreak of COVID-19, which would have been inevitable if everyone was permitted to stay. To date, we have only 173 students currently living in residence halls, and that number will decrease over time.

Because social distancing is the key to preventing the spread of the virus, it is not yet safe to bring students back to campus to retrieve their belongings. Please know that as soon as public health officials tell us it is safe, we will share a schedule for students to return. In the meantime, we appreciate the continued patience and understanding of parents, families and students.

No matter where you are or how far you might be from campus, remember that you are an important part of the Gamecock family. Many of you have contacted me to ask how you can help those who are most in need as a result of this global pandemic. We have established a COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund to help students who are facing financial hardship as a result of unexpected travel home, job loss or unexpected technology expenses. If you can, please consider making a contribution.

News is changing daily, and we are committed to keeping you informed.  I’m pleased to share that we will hold two livestreamed town hall events – one on Monday, March 30 at 6:00 p.m. EST for students and families, and another on Tuesday, March 31 at 6:00 p.m. EST for faculty and staff. Instructions for participating in these events will be posted on the university’s main coronavirus web page on Sunday.

Thank you for your continued teamwork, patience and support. 

Healthy Carolina!

Forever to Thee,

Bob Caslen and Tayloe Harding

Dear Gamecock parents and family members,

The last couple of weeks have challenged us in ways we never could have imagined as recently as one month ago. Our patience and resilience are being tested as we respond to the many challenges posed by the coronavirus. Thank you for your continued support as the university prioritizes the health, safety and well-being of our community. We are working through this uncertain time together.

I know that right now, many of you have questions about what the university is doing to support students as we launch remote education, which will continue for the remainder of the semester. I encourage you to visit our COVID-19 webpage regularly for updated information on student services and support. Here are a few of our efforts:

Remote learning
The South Carolina faculty and staff have worked tirelessly over the past two weeks to prepare for the transition to online courses. Feedback so far is positive, and I commend our faculty and staff for their innovation and our students for their ability to adapt. However, we don't expect perfection, and there may be some challenges along the way as instructors and students adapt to new methods of teaching and learning. Problems that may arise will be addressed by instructors with flexibility and fairness. If your student is struggling with aspects of remote coursework, it's important that they let their instructors know as soon as possible. If they have difficulty connecting with their professors, they should contact their advisors or department chairs.

Student success resources
Just as they can every semester, students can still meet with peer tutors, Supplemental Instruction leaders, academic advisers and career coaches, all of whom are committed to your student's educational experience. For the rest of this semester, however, meetings will take place online. Please review the Campus Access and Resources section of the COVID-19 landing page for details.

Mental health and well-being
In a time when students must distance themselves physically from each other, it's more important than ever that they keep in touch with their campus community in other ways. The university is providing avenues for students to do just that. Not only can they meet with peers and staff for virtual academic support, but students also can take an exercise class on Instagram or participate in our Midday Meditation classes on Facebook. We're looking for additional opportunities to host virtual events and activities, and when those plans are developed, we'll share information on the COVID-19 webpage.

Refunds and housing
If your student lives in an on-campus residence hall, has a meal plan, or pays for university parking, it's natural that you have questions about refunds. Governor Henry McMaster has directed the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (CHE) to develop a coordinated effort on refunds for all state colleges and universities. The University of South Carolina remains committed to issuing refunds within the CHE's approach.

I know you are also eager to know when students can return to campus to retrieve their belongings and move out of their residence halls. We will announce dates and times as soon as it is safe to do so.

Our university, like every other college and university, is navigating a significantly and rapidly changing environment. In the days and weeks to come, we will continue to be challenged by uncertainty, inconvenience and especially -- worry for members of our communities who are affected by COVID-19, whether the illness itself or its economic impact. I will continue to keep you informed as we make plans for the remainder of the semester, and I ask for your continued patience.

I also ask that you support your student by helping them to see this time as an opportunity to take advantage of university resources, to connect with their peers and mentors and to develop resilience that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.

This is a challenge none of us has ever seen before, but we will meet it together.

Forever to Thee,

Bob Caslen

The University of South Carolina was made aware last night (March 20) that a student living in a residence hall on the Columbia campus has tested positive for COVID-19. Under the direction of the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, this student and 17 others residents of the building have been placed in quarantine pending further investigation as a preventive measure to minimize the risk posed to the campus and the greater community. Others who may have come into close contact with the individual who tested positive are being notified by health officials. University staff will provide meals and assist the quarantined students with academic and emerging health needs that may arise. These students are among those who applied for and received special permission to remain on campus during its closure due to extenuating personal circumstances.

To date, we are aware of 11 additional students and one faculty member, all residing in other states or off-campus, who have tested positive for COVID-19. They are receiving the full support of the university during this trying time.  

Those in our Gamecock community directly impacted by this unprecedented public health crisis will likely grow in coming days and weeks. The university does not intend to publicly announce each additional case, but it’s vital that we help reinforce the message that no one is immune to COVID-19 and that we all must do our part to slow the spread of the virus.

Our recent decision to close campus for the remainder of the semester is in keeping with the advice of public health experts to maximize social distancing. We strongly encourage everyone in our community to please take the necessary precautions to keep themselves and their loved ones safe: maintain social distance, wash your hands frequently, monitor your health and self-quarantine if you develop symptoms.

As Gamecocks, we make a pledge to demonstrate concern for others as part of our Carolinian Creed. Now more than ever, we must rise to meet that aspiration by following the guidance of health professionals, despite any personal inconveniences it may create. 

Visit our COVID-19 website for additional information. 

Dear Students, Families, Faculty and Staff,

It is with heavy hearts but firm resolve that in consultation with our senior administration and with guidance from public health experts, we have made the decision to extend remote learning for students through the remainder of the Spring semester. Online instruction will begin on Monday, March 23 and continue through the completion of final exams in May.

Our students and the university's administration are deeply appreciative of the efforts of faculty and staff to adjust to this situation—all of us know it has not been easy and is now even harder.

We also announce to you that the university will follow Governor McMaster’s executive order, released this afternoon, which says that only those employees whose presence is necessary in order to maintain continuity of remote educational offerings and to ensure the health and safety of their campuses need report to work.  All other employees will continue to work remotely. 

In addition, traditional May commencement ceremonies will be postponed. We are committed to and are 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. This change will not impact the degree completion status of those students who were scheduled to graduate in May. All other campus events are canceled through the end of the semester.

We realize that these actions will be deeply disappointing to our students, particularly those of you who are about to graduate and were looking forward to a final semester on campus. This is difficult for you and for your loved ones. It is also difficult for us.

And yet, the decision was clear. 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. Social distancing is essential to slow the spread of this disease. The nation, and the world, are facing an extraordinary challenge. We believe that it is precisely during such challenging times that we often see the best of each other. We’re proud of the entire UofSC family for rising to the occasion with strength compassion and resiliency. 

There will be many questions in the hours and days to come, and we are working as quickly and thoughtfully as possible to answer them.  Here’s what we know now:

  • 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.
  • In consultation with Student Health Services and the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, University Housing is developing a schedule for retrieval and will update students as soon as possible.
  • The state’s Commission on Higher Education also is coordinating with colleges and universities in order to address housing and other service reimbursements to ensure student investments are protected.

The coronavirus website is updated regularly (https://sc.edu/safety/coronavirus/), so please continue to visit it daily. 

Gamecocks, we’re in this together.  Thank you for your continued patience, support and creativity as we navigate this uncertain time and look forward to being back together on campus in the future.

Forever to Thee,

Bob & Tayloe

Faculty, Staff, and Students:

In response to the public health crisis posed by the coronavirus and in accordance with today’s order from the South Carolina Governor’s Office, the University of South Carolina will close all system institutions March 16 through March 31, 2020. Our first priority remains the health, welfare, and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.  Initiating these additional mitigation measures, to include reducing large groups of people on our campuses, will reduce the risk to our communities further. 

Online classes for students will begin as previously announced, consistent with schedules from each of our institutions.

Per the Governor’s executive order and with direction given to agency supervisors, the University of South Carolina announces the following changes regarding university employees and contract workers, effective Monday, March 16:

  • All non-essential employees, including contract employees, are directed to not return to campus for work.
  • Essential employees in high risk groups are directed to stay off-campus.
  • Faculty who need to come to campus in order to gather materials for online instruction will be allowed to do so. 

Pending further guidance, senior administrators, Chancellors, Provost, and academic unit deans will determine which employees must report to campuses. Employees that are unsure about their situation are encouraged to contact their immediate supervisor to clarify their status.

Employees will be allowed to come to campus briefly to retrieve work that can be performed at home and to gather personal belongings. Arrangements to return must be coordinated with their supervisor.

The university is encouraging all departments to be flexible and creative as they consider options for allowing employees to work remotely. Employees whose jobs do not normally lend themselves to telecommuting may be able to view training materials, document processes and procedures, or perform other meaningful work. This also applies to employees in temporary positions. 

Additional guidance to supervisors and employees regarding time off will be issued in coming days.

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. This is a rapidly changing situation, and we will do our best to keep you informed as conditions change. For the most up-to-date information affecting your campus, please visit the following links: Columbia, Palmetto College; USC Aiken; USC Beaufort; USC Upstate

Please visit the Study Abroad Coronavirus FAQ and Email Communications page for all emails from the Study Abroad Office to students in other countries (updated regularly)

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

As we learn more by the hour about the spread of COVID-19 in the United States and around the world, it could be easy to get overwhelmed by the news. At the University of South Carolina, we take this global pandemic seriously. Although the days ahead will doubtlessly require us to adapt, we will remain resolute in our efforts to meet this unprecedented challenge together. I want to share some additional information and thoughts for your consideration as we work through this together.

Our decisions this past week have been based on three core principles that will continue to guide our response:

  1. To protect the health, safety and welfare of our students, faculty, staff and campus community;
  2. To limit the spread and mitigate the effects of the coronavirus in South Carolina;
  3. To maintain excellence in all of our academic programs;

Again, here is the essential news:

  • Classes will be canceled for the week after spring break (March 16 – 22).
  • 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.
  • We are preparing to deliver tutoring, advising, career coaching, and other academic support services online or through other remote service delivery channels.
  • All campus events are canceled through Sunday, April 5.
  • The university will remain open, including residence halls, food services and limited transit.
  • Students, we encourage you not to return to campus during the period of March 16 through April 3, although you will not be forbidden from doing so. Please use your best judgment when making this decision, taking into account any preexisting health conditions and alternative housing options.
  • Intercollegiate athletics competitions are suspended through March 30.

We make these decisions in consultation with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the Centers for Disease Control and public health experts here at our university.  We learned two important facts from our experts that speak directly to the health and safety of our community and informed our plan. If all students returned to campus immediately following spring break:

  1. There would be a 100% chance that some students would have COVID-19, most likely during its incubation period;
  2. Based on current models, within two weeks 30% of our students would likely have contracted the virus.

As of this morning, more than 200 colleges and universities across the United States have announced plans to suspend in-person classroom instruction and campus events for at least the next three weeks. None of us has made these decisions lightly.

We know you will continue to have questions about the next few weeks and the remainder of the semester. We will keep you updated every step of the way and ask that you use the following communications channels to stay informed: 

  • The COVID-19 landing page on sc.edu – we update this page daily and sometimes multiple times daily;
    The dedicated COVID-19 health hotline - 803-576-8511;
  • If you use social media - @UofSC on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • We maintain close consultation with our medical experts on campus and in the state. Our university leadership, including faculty representation, meets daily to receive updates and to make decisions about the safety of this community.

I want to express my most sincere thanks to all of you for coming together as a team and rising to the occasion during this difficult time. Special thanks to our academic deans and faculty, who are working swiftly and thoughtfully to accommodate alternative instruction. I appreciate each and every one of you for the long hours already spent and yet to come to help students maintain academic continuity. We are all in this together and must continue to support and stay in touch with one another even as we find ourselves in many different physical locations. Now is the time to put the concerns and well-being of others – especially those who may be predisposed to illness – ahead of our own. It’s heartening to see this community practicing flexibility, sensitivity and creativity to this end. 

As Carolinians, we promise to demonstrate concern for others, their feelings and their need for the conditions which support their work and development. May we continue to take this to heart as we face the days and weeks ahead.

Forever to Thee,
Bob Caslen

The following is a press release from the Southeastern Conference. In addition, below is a quote from Ray Tanner, Director of Athletics, University of South Carolina:

"The safety and well-being of our student-athletes, fans, coaches and staff is the most important responsibility we have in our athletics department. By limiting attendance at home athletics events, the SEC believes we are reducing the chances that the COVID-19 virus will spread in our community. I know this is disappointing for our great fans, but it is done with an abundance of caution during this difficult time."

Information on ticket refunds for home Gamecock athletics events during this time will be released in the near future.

SEC to play remainder of men's basketball tournament with attendance restrictions; all campus regular season events, SEC Championships under same conditions through at least March 30.

The Southeastern Conference has announced it will conduct the 2020 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament with only essential staff, limited family and credentialed media in attendance at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville for the remainder of the week beginning on Thursday following the recommendation of the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel related to conducting sporting events closed to the public.

In addition, the SEC announced that all regular season contests in all sports on SEC campuses and SEC Championship events will be conducted with similar attendance restrictions effective Thursday, March 12 through at least March 30 at which time the conference and its member universities will re-evaluate conditions.

The SEC issued a statement from SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey:

"In light of recent developments beyond our control related to the spread of the coronavirus, including a recommendation from the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel, and after consultation with our member universities, we have made the difficult decision to hold the 2020 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament in Nashville without spectators beginning with games of Thursday, March 12. Effective immediately, the policy will also apply to other SEC Championship events and on-campus regular season games scheduled through at least the end of March.

"After conferring with local and national health authorities, we remain confident in our ability to safeguard the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and other staff who will be participating as well as the limited number of family members and media who will be in attendance at the tournament.

"We regret the inconvenience and disappointment this decision has caused our fans, especially those who have already travelled to Nashville for the tournament."

As previously announced, the SEC has implemented the following enhanced health measures for the 2020 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament:

  • Use of hospital grade disinfectant to sanitize locker rooms before teams arrive and immediately upon departure;
  • Sanitization of game balls with hospital grade disinfectant after each practice and game;
  • Sanitization of team benches plus band and cheerleader seating areas following each game;
  • Hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes and Lysol spray in team locker rooms;
  • Hand sanitizers at scorer's table, in officials' locker rooms, operations offices and media areas.

For the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament, automatic refunds of ticket purchases will be made to fans who are the original purchaser of the tickets from SEC Office or an SEC university, or a verified purchaser on the SEC Ticket Exchange powered by Ticketmaster. For regular season events, each campus will determine refund policies and procedures.

The SEC Network will televise the entire first and second round of the tournament and the quarterfinals evening session. ESPN will broadcast the afternoon session of the quarterfinals, both semifinal matchups and the championship game.

The SEC remains in continued communication with public health officials and reminds everyone to be attentive to everyday preventive actions identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dear Faculty and Staff Instructors,

Earlier today, President Bob Caslen, Chair Mark Cooper and I wrote you with basic information about changes to the course schedule for the rest of March until Sunday, April 3. In that communication we mentioned that additional information about how to convert courses currently taught in-person to online. Below is that information.

There are many ways to convert a face-to-face class to an on-line class. I know that in this and future emergency situations, you will strive to implement best practices for on-line classes but that it may be challenging to provide quality instruction through Blackboard. May I suggest that the goal is to deliver instruction so that students are not negatively impacted with respect to earning credits or delaying graduation.

Therefore, we have created the Keep Teaching webpage to give ideas on how to modify your course. Beginning Friday, March 13, there will be live training sessions offered for faculty to learn how to take their course on-line quickly. Details about the training sessions and videos will be available at go.sc.edu/keepteaching.

Though the goal is to get as close to 100% of on-line or distance learning for our current Spring 2020 course offerings as possible, we know that will not be entirely achievable. If you cannot offer your class on-line, please let the Chair/Director/Dean of your academic unit know immediately.

We have had full closings before and the UofSC faculty have always been wonderfully supportive of our students and our mission. It is time once again for us to work together and re-double our commitment to this unique situation.

Sincerely,

Tayloe Harding
Executive Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Provost, Interim
University of South Carolina

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

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Note:  Last night, Tuesday March 10, an internal draft memo intended only for university officials was leaked to the press.  The official message to faculty and staff regarding our change of schedule due to the COVID-19 virus is below.  We had intended to send it out this morning in advance of its public release and we have now released this as planned, vetted by the leadership of the faculty senate.

As we continue to monitor the spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), our first priority is the health, welfare, and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and community. After meeting today with the university taskforce and continuing to work closely with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Centers for Disease Control, President Caslen has made the following decision about our academic schedule after spring break:

  • Classes will be cancelled for the week after Spring Break, March 16-22.
  • All campus events next week (March 16-22) will be cancelled.
  • From Monday, March 23 through Friday, April 3, we will suspend face-to-face instruction in lectures, discussion sections, seminars and other similar classroom settings and move to virtual instruction.

Please take until Sunday, March 22 to plan your alternative, virtual instruction. Many institutional resources are being marshalled to assist faculty in making adjustments to their teaching modalities. Additional information regarding whom to consult about your class and what procedures to use to adjust classes will be provided in a separate memo from the Provost office later today (Wednesday, March 11).

  • The university will, however, remain open, including administrative offices, residence halls, food services, and limited transit.
  • Students will be encouraged not to return to campus from March 16 through April 3 , but will not be forbidden from doing so if in their judgement a return to campus affords the safest option.
  • Intercollegiate athletics events are 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 are a greater risk of complications related to COVID-19.

In the interest of protecting our community and based on the best information available, cancelling classes after spring break to discourage the return to campus of 32,000 students simultaneously is the best measured approach to prevent a high risk situation and is an attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus.

The COVID-19 outbreak spreading throughout the U.S. and the world presents a public health challenge unprecedented in our lifetimes. Because there is little that can be predicted with certainty, because the effects of the virus are most significant only for a limited population of our citizenry and not others, and because of the efficient way it spreads, it demands of us, ALL OF US in the university community a commitment to the public good like we have rarely been asked to observe. In this spirit, we humbly seek a devotion by everyone involved to rise to this occasion by practicing a flexibility, a sensitivity, and a creativity with how we all approach our instruction and go about our work serving students and each other. There will undoubtedly be questions we cannot answer today, but the guidance provided above and in the coming days will allow you time to plan and prepare prior to resumption of classes.

We realize that changes of any kind to our normal schedule are inconvenient and takes a toll on all of us, but we are confident that our plan for next week and the weeks to come will help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus and provide us with the flexibility we need to plan our next steps.

Updated 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. 

 

Bob Caslen, President
Tayloe Harding, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, Interim
Mark Cooper, Chair, Faculty Senate

Dear Faculty and Staff,

The University of South Carolina continues to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. and around the world. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reports that two cases of COVID-19 in our state have been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control, and five other presumptive positive COVID-19 cases are awaiting confirmation. This brings the total of confirmed and presumptive positive cases to seven in South Carolina.

As these and future cases appear, it’s important that you stay updated. There is no reason to panic, but you should stay informed of basic measures everyone should take to minimize the risk of contracting and spreading the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.

  1. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for more than 20 seconds.
  2. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is 60% alcohol or greater.
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless washing hands beforehand.
  4. If you are sick, contact your supervisor and avoid coming to work.
  5. If you are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, you should contact your health care provider. The Medical University of South Carolina also is offering free virtual COVID-19 screenings and consultations to anyone in South Carolina experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms.

The university continues to work closely with DHEC and the CDC to ensure our planning is based on the best available information from public health experts.

I am meeting daily with the university taskforce on COVID-19, and we are analyzing the feasibility of various campus scenarios in the event that we decide to alter our academic schedule following spring break. We are also talking with representatives from colleges and universities out west to learn from their processes.

I will keep you updated as new information becomes available. Updated guidance for preventing the spread of COVID-19 is being posted to the COVID-19 landing page. For additional questions, please contact our dedicated hotline: 803-576-8511.

Thanks again for doing your part to promote health and wellness on campus.

Sincerely,
Bob Caslen
 

Dear Faculty and Staff,

The University of South Carolina is continuing to monitor the spread of the coronavirus throughout the U.S. and the world, and our Emergency Management Team (EMT) began planning weeks ago to ensure our campus is as prepared as possible. We have established a landing page containing background on coronavirus, resources and important updates for the Gamecock community. We also have established a phone bank for questions not addressed on the site: (803) 576-8511.

A university-wide coronavirus task force has been established to work with the EMT, including public health and emergency management professionals as well as many other areas of university operations. The main goals of our coronavirus planning include the following:

  • Integrating with state and local response plans, in concert with guidance from the Centers of Disease Control and the World Health Organization.
  • Stopping, slowing, or otherwise limiting the spread of the virus through practical disease containment measures.
  • Limiting the health and social disruption resulting from an outbreak.
  • Reducing illness and negative psychological impact among our campus community.
  • Sustaining the infrastructure and other essential functions and services of the university.
  • Keeping the campus community well informed of changing conditions.

This continues to be a fluid situation as new information and cases arise throughout the world. Protecting the university community is a top priority and much has been done already to mobilize our resources and expertise. Planning will continue to develop as specific areas of need arise over time.

If you are traveling over Spring Break, please be sure to review the travel warningshared with you on Tuesday.

Thank you for all you do to serve our students and campus community.
Bob Caslen

Dear Gamecock Family,

The University of South Carolina continues to closely monitor the spread of COVID-19 caused by Novel Coronavirus, following the guidance of both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. Since the virus is spread through human-to-human contact, we all can play a role in helping mitigate exposure and ensuring our community remains as healthy as possible.

Therefore, if any students, faculty or staff travel to a country with a CDC travel Warning - Level 3,  they are asked to self-quarantine at their permanent residence for 14 days before they can return to campus.Currently, China, Iran, Italy and South Korea meet this criteria; however, additional countries could be added to the CDC list in coming days and weeks. While this may be a personal inconvenience for some, it’s essential to minimize the risk to our entire campus community. Self-quarantine, regardless of whether an individual feels sick or not, involves avoiding close contact with others and restricting movements. If people develop new symptoms or a high fever, they should alert their healthcare providers.

If you are planning on traveling for Spring Break, please visit the CDC website before and during your trip to ensure you can return back to campus as scheduled. We are counting on each member of our Gamecock family to remain vigilant and informed, to adopt healthy practices and avoid unnecessary travel to areas that are experiencing high levels of COVID-19.

Please note that international travelers may also be subject to airport screenings, border restrictions and assessment by state health officials upon their return.

The university remains in frequent contact with students studying abroad and will keep them updated on any changes that may affect their travel plans and academic schedules.

Last week, we shared some practical tips on how to remain healthy and avoid spreading illness if you are sick, including:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Do not share food or drinks.
  • Clean and disinfect shared surfaces. Wipe the airplane seat, tray and hand rests with disinfectant wipes.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone with cold- or flu-like symptoms.
  • Cover a cough or sneeze.
  • Do not leave hotel or resort if sick. Call your health care provider for instructions.

For more information and frequently asked questions, visit our Coronavirus website.

Campus Health Update: Spring Break and the Novel Coronavirus

Dear Gamecock Family,

The current outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus is spreading quickly worldwide. This new virus causes mild to moderate respiratory illness and, in some cases, serious medical complications. The University of South Carolina is working with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environment Control (DHEC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to actively monitor this developing situation and its potential impact to our campus community.

In addition, campus partners have been in regular contact with UofSC students and faculty abroad in areas where there are outbreaks of the virus and are working to provide support.

Currently, there are no confirmed cases of the Novel Coronavirus on the university campus or in South Carolina.

While the vast majority of cases have occurred in mainland China, other countries like South Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan are emerging hot spots for the virus. As it continues to spread, other countries may see a surge in the number of cases.

Before going on a spring break trip, Student Health Services recommend that students, faculty, staff and families take the following steps:

  • Monitor travel alerts daily. Countries you visit may decide to implement travel restrictions. Also, the U.S. may implement quarantines for returning Americans.
  • Visit the CDC website for any travel alerts about the country you are visiting. The CDC has a Travel Health Page dedicated to travel warnings for anyone traveling.
  • Read any alerts for travelers from the U.S. State Department website.
  • Help reduce the spread of illness. Do not travel if you are sick and get a flu shot.


While abroad:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Do not share food or drinks.
  • Clean and disinfect shared surfaces. Wipe the airplane seat, tray and hand rests with disinfectant wipes.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone with cold- or flu-like symptoms.
  • Cover a cough or sneeze.
  • Do not leave hotel or resort if sick. Call your health care provider for instructions.


After returning from spring break, travelers should monitor their health and watch for any signs of respiratory illness. If they traveled somewhere that has an outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus and develop a fever, cough or breathing issues, they should contact their health care provider immediately for instructions.

Student travelers may also call 803-777-3175 or go online to sc.edu/myhealthspace to schedule an appointment. They should indicate whether they have traveled to an area with an outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus.

Student Health Services wants all students, faculty and staff to have a fun, educational and safe spring break. Some experiences on alternate breaks, missions and class trips can have profound and positive effects for students. We encourage everyone to go and explore the world, but at the same time we ask everyone to watch out for theirs and other’s health and well-being.

For additional information, visit our online FAQs.

Yours in Health,

Deborah Beck, MPA, Ed.D., FACHA
Executive Director
Student Health Services and Healthy Carolina
Associate Professor, Health Services and Policy Management
Arnold School of Public Health