The University of South Carolina will resume in-person instruction on its Columbia campus in mid-August.
The plan to resume instruction for the fall 2020 semester includes a phased-in return of some students, faculty and staff during the summer. COVID-19 testing will be available for all students, faculty and staff, according to a news release from the university, and health protocols including social distancing in classrooms, lecture halls and sports activities will be practiced.
USC President Bob Caslen said in a letter to the university community that the decision was made after weeks of planning by a university-wide group of public health, medical and academic experts.
Debbie Beck, executive director of USC’s Student Health Services, said collaboration with experts from the university's Arnold School of Public Health and the School of Medicine will continue through the summer and beyond.
“We know the COVID-19 virus will be with us for some time, but we are incredibly fortunate that our campus has a world-class accredited student health infrastructure that will allow us to respond and adapt to new cases,” Beck said. “We also will continue to work closely with university, local and state health officials to ensure our mitigation strategies are informed by best practices and designed to minimize risk to our community.”
USC said there will be an increase in single-occupancy rooms in residence halls, modified dining options and on-campus space for quarantine and self-isolation if necessary.
“As we prepare for August, we recognize that we are embarking on a new normal that will demand from each of us a commitment to public health and safety,” Caslen wrote in the letter.