Spartanburg, S.C. – The University of South Carolina Upstate is pleased to announce its plan for a return to in-person teaching and campus activities this fall. To ensure the continued safety of its campus community, USC Upstate will continue to adhere to mask requirements; enhanced, routine cleaning and disinfection of classroom and common spaces; illness and exposure reporting; COVID-19 testing; contact tracing; and quarantine and isolation protocols for as long as necessary. Anticipated availability of vaccines will hasten the university’s return to normal operations.
“Our students are anxious to resume their college careers on campus, and we want to provide as many face-to-face classes as possible,” said USC Upstate Interim Chancellor Derham Cole. “We are working diligently to communicate all of the steps we’ve taken to ensure their safety in the classrooms and residence halls.”
USC Upstate transitioned from face-to-face to virtual instruction on March 16, 2020, following an executive order from S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster. For the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters, the university implemented a comprehensive plan that provided students with flexible course options, including some in-person classes, and expanded online offerings.
“We will continue to offer hybrid and online classes as needed to support our campus community,” Cole said. “Our COVID-19 mitigation efforts to date have been effective. Despite high numbers of positive cases in the community and across the country, case counts on our campus have remained relatively low. This is due in large part to the precautions we’ve taken, increased availability of testing, and the concerted efforts of our Health Services contact tracing teams.”
While USC Upstate anticipates that mask mandates will remain in effect for the foreseeable future, the university is exploring state and university system requirements for mandating the COVID-19 vaccine on campus, Cole said.
South Carolina has moved to Phase 1B of its vaccine distribution plan, which expands eligibility to educators and support staff. USC Upstate is working closely with the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System to expedite registration for university employees, in particular, those who are over 55, those with medical risk factors, or individuals working on campus with close exposure to others.
“We hope that all faculty and staff will take advantage of the vaccine as we become eligible,” said USC Upstate Provost David Schecter. “In addition, we anticipate that fall semester testing requirements will include proof of testing at re-entry and/or vaccination status.”
USC Upstate’s Division of Student Affairs has been working to reinstate student events, some of which should be available this spring. For events like Homecoming, which will take place March 21 through 27, health and safety protocols will be in place.
Plans are underway for on-campus Commencement ceremonies in May, which the university hopes to host on the Quad. USC Upstate will likely host multiple ceremonies, limiting the number of guests and adhering to CDC guidelines. USC System President Bob Caslen will attend at least one of the ceremonies, currently scheduled for Tuesday, May 4.
USC Upstate’s COVID-19 Response Team will continue to monitor data and best practices for mitigating the spread of the virus.
“We will be prepared to respond accordingly should the circumstances change,” Schecter said. “I want to commend our faculty who have worked so hard during these challenging times to ensure our students haven’t fallen behind.”
About USC Upstate
The University of South Carolina Upstate is a regional comprehensive university offering more than 45 undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, business administration, nursing, and education. Located along the I-85 corridor in Spartanburg between Greenville and Charlotte, USC Upstate is ranked by U.S. News & World Report at No. 1 among Top Public Schools. It serves as a major talent producer for the region, with more than 6,000 students, approximately 1,300 new graduates a year, and nearly 30,000 alumni, many of whom live and work in the state. The USC Upstate Spartans compete in 15 NCAA Division 1 sports as a member of the Big South Conference. For more information, visit www.uscupstate.edu.
SCBIZtv is part of the SC Biz News family, serving 100,000 high-level business execs throughout South Carolina. Click for more from SCBIZtv.