University of South Carolina announces plan for return to campus, activities this fall

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The University of South Carolina on Monday announced its plan for a full return to in-person instruction this fall.

University officials say they will also resume normal campus operations during the fall semester, including residential life and campus activities and events.

UofSC says it will continue to offer robust on-campus COVID-19 testing, utilize virus mitigation strategies, and offer other measures based on current public health guidelines to keep the campus safe and healthy.

Leaders at the University of South Carolina say they were the first public university in the state to announce that it would switch to virtual classes amid the pandemic last spring, and the first to “put in place a comprehensive mitigation strategy allowing for a return of students to campus” and a mix of face-to-face, hybrid and virtual classes during the 2020-21 academic year.

“I want to thank our faculty, staff and students for their flexibility, patience and creativity as we’ve navigated through this unprecedented time together,” said UofSC President Bob Caslen. “Our goal from the very beginning was to safely deliver a world-class education to students, no matter the challenges. I’m excited to see that continue with full face-to-face instruction in the fall, as well as a return to the engaging and vibrant campus environment our university is known for.”

The university says it has conducted more than 70,000 tests so far in 2021. They have implemented a mandatory COVID testing program for any student, faculty or staff member who frequents campus this spring.

“While today’s announcement is great news, we still have to remain vigilant,” Caslen said. “As I’ve said throughout the pandemic, our ability to return to normal depends on members of our community doing the right things to protect themselves and others. That includes wearing face coverings and getting the vaccine when you’re eligible to receive it.”

 With the nationwide rollout of COVID-19 vaccines expected in the coming months, university leaders say many faculty and staff already eligible to receive vaccinations under the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control’s 1b classification—a decrease in transmission is expected throughout the spring and summer.