COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Students and faculty will be returning to the University of South Carolina campus for the fall semester, but this week, we’re learning about some changes to the calendar that could make the school year feel considerably different from years past.
Most notable of those changes, fall break (October 15-16) has been canceled.
The recent announcement coming from university president, Bob Caslen. In that message, he says the reason for canceling fall break is to cut down on thousands of students and staff returning to campus after traveling, to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.
The university’s Future Planning Group is behind the new plans for the fall, with the support of public health experts.
Another significant change this fall, in-person instruction will come to an end after Thanksgiving break, followed by two online class days to end the semester.
These updates coming less than two weeks after the school announced that students will be returning to campus this fall.
Students we spoke to say they’re pleased to hear that they have the opportunity to return to campus, even with a variety of new protocols in place surrounding class size, housing arrangements and even modified dining practices, like “grab and go” meals.
Ryan Dabbs will be a junior this fall at UofSC. He says, “I really think that classes can still operate in-person with social distancing making sure we’re not using shared electronics or shared devices or anything. I really do think that USC can adapt to that pretty quickly.”
“It’s hard to keep up with work doing it online, rather than in class, where you have the professor reminding you, ‘Hey, you have this coming up next week. Make sure you’re on top of it.’ I know they give us a schedule, but it’s just easier to have that constant, in-person, reminder,” said Angela Hunter, who will be a senior this fall.
In the message from the university president about in-person instruction, he says after getting feedback from many students, some said they would postpone or discontinue their education if forced to continue online instruction. Now, UofSC is making adjustments so that anyone who wants to, may return to campus this fall, but this is not mandatory.
The school is also expanding its online curriculum so that students may continue online learning, if they so choose.
Hunter says she prefers, “the face-to-face, the in-person. I learn a lot better that way. Being online, I feel like I just get so overwhelmed with all the work because it seems like it’s just piling up and piling up.”
Dabbs says things will be different, but not impossible, adding that students will need to be smart and safe, “not flocking the bar, crowding each other, just not partying it up, all close contact.”
Caslen has also promised that every student and staff member will be able to get tested for the coronavirus.
Labor Day and Election Day, November 3, will be online learning days.