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College of Charleston President Lays Out Planning Process for Fall 2020




Press Release

College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu sent the following message to the campus community on May 1, 2020: 

Dear Campus Community,

As we wrap up an unprecedented and historic academic year, I want to let you know how proud I am of all of you for your incredible resilience, your unyielding commitment to our academic mission and your courage during these uncertain times.

While we made it through this year, the question everyone has is what will the next academic year look like? The truth is, I don’t know exactly what it will look like. But I can tell you that it is my intent that our campus will reopen in the fall with in-person classes. To that end, I’m writing today to give you an update on how we are working toward making this happen.

We have established several internal working groups that are conducting research, modeling various scenarios and making contingency plans for a wide range of possibilities in the fall. These ten groups are evaluating everything from instruction delivery and housing to employee work schedules and campus events/activities. Below you will find a list of these initial working groups, points of contact and their charges.

I am asking each group to develop and submit their recommendations to me no later than June 15, 2020, after which time I hope to announce more details about the fall semester. To help formalize these plans, I will also convene an overall steering committee, which will be made up of student leaders, faculty leaders, staff leaders and senior team members to evaluate these various workgroup recommendations.

Even if you are not directly involved in this planning, your opinion and ideas are important to me. I encourage you to submit any thoughts you may have on this issue by sending an email to We have many brilliant minds on campus, and all ideas will receive consideration.

In the meantime, I’m sure you will have many questions about these plans and other related topics. And I hope that my senior leadership team and I can address some of your questions at our next round of Virtual Town Halls, which will take place on Tuesday, May 5. The times and hyperlinks are below:

Faculty & Staff Virtual Town Hall – 4-4:45 p.m., Tuesday, May 5 (CofC login required)

Parent, Student and Families Virtual Town Hall – 5-5:45 p.m., Tuesday, May 5 (no login required)

In closing, I want to be clear that these efforts to plan for reopening in the fall are contingent on many factors outside of our control. However, despite the pandemic, we are still seeing much success in potential fall enrollments and our fall registrations. Because of all of the hard work of our entire campus community, we have seen record numbers of applications, which translate to more selectivity and, potentially, one of the largest freshman classes in school history. Therefore, it is imperative that we push ahead and make every effort to return to that which we do best – educating and holistically nurturing our students.

Again, thank you for your time, work and the sacrifices you have all made these past couple of months.

COVID-19 Workgroups:

  • Fall 2020 Academic Schedule/Calendar Workgroup(point of contact: Fran Welch) – purpose: to consider alterations needed/required to the semester calendar/schedule as well as any changes that may be needed for the classroom environment.
  • Spring 2020 Residential Move-out Workgroup (point of contact: Amy Orr/Melantha Ardrey) – purpose: to coordinate and facilitate the move-out of the approximately 600 students who still have belongings in the residence halls/historic houses.
  • Employees Returning to Work/Campus Workgroup(point of contact: Ed Pope) – purpose: to prepare campus for the eventual return of employees. Please note that some employees may be able to return to campus before June 15, 2020.
  • Alternative Commencement Workgroup (point of contact: Devon Hanahan and Jonathan Ray) – purpose: plan for an alternative Class of 2020 commencement.
  • Fall 2020 Residential Experience Workgroup (point of contact: Alicia Caudill) – purpose: consider alternatives and adjustments needed to safeguard the residential community.
  • CARES Act Workgroup (point of contact: Robert Kersey) – purpose: to formulate procedures and protocols for the use of the student emergency funds from the CARES Act.
  • Student Engagement/Experience Workgroup (point of contact: Alicia Caudill) – purpose: to consider student life initiatives to keep overall student population engaged in the campus experience.
  • Student Health Services Workgroup (point of contact: Bridget McLernon-Sykes) – purpose: to consider medical/health initiatives necessary to protect the health and safety of our campus population, especially with the possible resumption of classes in fall.
  • Facilities Maintenance/Custodial Workgroup (point of contact: John Morris) – purpose: to consider deep-cleaning protocols, general campus hygiene protocols and other issues involving facilities maintenance and custodial work.
  • IT/Technology Needs Workgroup (point of contact: Mark Staples) – purpose: to consider technology interventions and other IT needs to assist students, faculty and staff returning to campus or working/learning remotely.
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