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USC campuses closed through end of spring semester

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University of South Carolina students will not return to campus for the rest of the spring semester.

The university announced Thursday that online classes across its system will begin Monday and continue through the completion of final exams in May. The school also said that May graduation at all campuses will be postponed and rescheduled at a to-be-determined date in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The postponement will not affect students’ degree completion status for those scheduled to graduate in May, according to a news release from USC.

In addition to transiting to online classes, instructors are modifying courses requiring experiential learning, the university said, and accredited academic programs are working with accrediting agencies to develop alternative ways to meet degree requirements.

“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,” Bob Caslen, USC president, said in the release. “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.”

Clemson University’s response morphed from extending spring break to temporarily suspending live classes to Thursday’s decision to deliver the rest of the semester online.

“These are challenging times unlike anything I have seen in more than 30 years of working in higher education,” President Jim Clements said in a letter to the Clemson community. “We have been preparing diligently for this possibility, and I am confident that our faculty is more than capable of delivering high-quality content to our students so that their academic progress is not hindered.”

The university canceled all events and postponed spring commencement.

“Commencement is a highlight of each academic year and postponing ceremonies this spring is heartbreaking,” Clements said in the letter. “Unfortunately, this public health emergency left us no other responsible choice. Rest assured, however, that we will do everything in our power to create a memorable experience for our graduates.”

USC students previously granted permission to remain on campus because of extenuating circumstances will be allowed to stay, according to the release. All other students will be able to retrieve belongings from residence halls at a later date.

USC is developing a reimbursement schedule for students who paid for university housing, parking and meal plans.

Only essential university employees are to report to campuses for work.

University information and updates are available online.

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