First school in the South makes major move regarding fall term

These changes include the elimination of fall break and remote completion of courses and assignments after Thanksgiving.

According to a public announcement, the University of South Carolina will be making changes to its Fall schedule to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

The University of South Carolina announced several major changes to its fall academic schedule amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In an announcement geared toward the campus community, USC President Bob Caslen revealed Sunday a changed schedule for the Columbia, South Carolina campus.  The most significant of these changes is the elimination of its traditional fall break and the conclusion of in-person classes after Thanksgiving. The university will transition to remote learning in a virtual setting from Thanksgiving until the end of the fall semester in December. Final exams will also be conducted remotely. 

[RELATED: Cal State to stay online until 2021]

The message conveyed that public health risks related to the coronavirus pandemic motivated the schedule changes.  

There is a serious concern on USC’s part about a spike in new COVID-19 cases in December, which coincides with the regular flu season. 

Concern that frequent travel to-and-from campus could serve as a conduit for rapid transmission of the virus was also cited as a motivating factor in eliminating the fall break and classes moving entirely online after students return home for Thanksgiving break.

These decisions were made on the basis of recommendations from USC’s Future Planning Group.  The FPG, which Caslen set up in April, is tasked both with examining the potential impacts of the pandemic and proposing measures to the USC administration to mitigate its spread.  

[Related: Notre Dame brings students back to campus, but there’s a catch]

The changes in USC’s fall schedule come as many campuses across the U.S. make adjustments to their calendars to deal with expected future spikes in COVID-19 infections.  Other colleges have made changes ranging from earlier start dates to going online for the entire fall semester.

The University of Notre Dame announced that its fall semester will begin two weeks earlier than usual, in early August, and end just before Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, the California State University system, which is comprised of 23 schools throughout the Golden State and is responsible for educating more than 500,000 students, announced that almost all of its courses will move online until 2021.

Campus Reform reached out to the University of South Carolina for comment but did not hear back in time for publication. 

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