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Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The University of South Carolina Aiken is committed to the safety, health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff.

We are working within the guidelines and recommendations of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), the state entity charged with promoting and protecting the health of the public and the environment in South Carolina. Recently, SCDHEC helped update our standing protocols regarding any infectious disease.

Timeline of Announcements

March 20, 2020 at 1:25PM

A helpful video that can explain COVID-19 to your family:

March 19, 2020 at 5:20 PM

All USC System institutions will deliver instruction via online, remote, or alternative learning strategies for the rest of the semester.

Dear Pacers ---

University of South Carolina President Bob Caslen just announced that all USC System institutions will deliver instruction via online, remote, or alternative learning strategies for the rest of the semester, and I was in agreement that this was the best course of action for UofSC Aiken.

While this is a difficult decision to make, it is a prudent one that will help protect the health and welfare of every student, faculty and staff.

Regardless of the delivery mechanism, the entire campus community remains committed to providing our students the opportunity to successfully complete the semester.  Professors are continuing to prepare for the transition from face-to-face to remote instruction which begins Monday, March 23.

I know there will be many questions in the days to come, and please know USC Aiken is working as quickly and thoughtfully as possible.  Some important updates:

  • University Housing is closing except for those students who have extenuating circumstances.  Students will have an opportunity to retrieve their belongings, and University Housing will be sending out an email message later this evening with more detail.
  • Current “take-out” dining will continue to be available through next week.
  • Refunds for housing and meal-plans will be pro-rated.  Please be patient while the Business and Finance Office work through this process.  More details will follow.
  • Advisement and registration schedules for Summer and Fall remain unchanged, and will be conducted remotely. Many students are already working with their advisors for the 2020 Summer and Fall registration.  If you haven’t already been in contact with your advisor, please do so.
  • Degrees will be conferred in May to qualified graduating seniors.  Options of a delayed or non-traditional commencement ceremony are being discussed and more details will be available. We want to recognize your hard work appropriately, even if social distancing requirements are still in place in May.
  • Student support services will be offered remotely to promote student success.
  • As announced earlier, all campus-events will be cancelled until further notice.
  • Following Governor McMaster’s executive order released this afternoon, we will continue with modified operations for employees until further notice. Please call your immediate supervisor if you have questions.
  • The USC Aiken Children’s Center will be closed until further notice.
  • For your health and safety, social distancing is essential to slow the spread of this disease.  Please continue to practice good health and safety habits during this time.

Thank you for your continued patience, support and flexibility as we navigate this uncertain time.  GO PACERS!

Sincerely,

Sandra J. Jordan

Chancellor

March 18, 2020 at 5:34 PM

Chancellor update for faculty and staff.

As we transition to modified operations and conducting business virtually, there will continue to be a lot of information to be shared.

To ensure timely and accurate information, we will send a daily update each afternoon. If you have something you would like included in the daily message, please send it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by noon each day. 

Attached, please find signage for use in your spaces during this period of modified operations. It’s customizable, so you can fill in the contact information specific to your offices. The sign attached is available here in PDF and Word TEMPLATE.  To use a template, you save it to your computer, and double click to open it.

Please also continue to check  https://www.usca.edu/covid for university updates. 

 

FROM DINING SERVICES:

During the period of the modified operations, dining services will continue to be available for brunch and dinner menus. Please note, that one proactive measure we are implementing is that take-out only services will be available.

As a prudent precaution, we are temporarily suspending in-room dining in the SAC Café and other dining establishments on campus.

Starting tomorrow, Thursday, March 19, you will be able to order your food ahead of time by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Once you receive a confirmation that your order is ready, you can come to the SAC Cafeteria and pick up your food. Or, you can come to the SAC Cafeteria and have the staff prepare your food for take-out.

J.J. Tramontana of Aramark will be sending out a daily menu to order your food. “All you can eat” servings are still available with take-out orders.

During this unique time, we will continue to provide nutritious meal options, and our executive chef will continue to accommodate those with individual dietary requirements.

Please note, as an added precaution, we are asking diners not to bring in refillable cups but will be given new paper cups when getting refills.

Below, please see amended dining service hours for March 18 – April 5.

Thank you for your flexibility and understanding.

Dining Services Hours of Operation March 16 - April 5:

SAC Café:

Monday - Friday

Brunch:  10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Dinner:   5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

***TAKE-OUT SERVICE ONLY***

Saturday & Sunday

Brunch:  11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Dinner:   5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

***TAKE-OUT SERVICE ONLY***

Starbucks:

Monday – Friday

6 a.m. – 4 p.m.

***TAKE-OUT SERVICE ONLY***

Saturday & Sunday

CLOSED

Station Deli:

Not Available

***Tasty Tuesday or Wacky Wednesday will not be available during modified operations.***

Market C-Store:

Monday – Friday

11:00 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Saturday & Sunday

Not Available

Nightingales Café:

Not Available


FROM THE HELP DESK:

Services will be provided virtually.  To best serve you during this period of modified operations, please reach us by:

  • Phone at: 803-641-3391 from off-campus, 4357 from on-campus
  • Email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Text message at: 803-221-0013

We plan to bring additional support options online in the near future.

Attached you'll find helpful tips for accessing campus resources while you are working remotely.

As a reminder, scammers are taking full advantage of the current situation by increasing their phishing and vishing attacks.  Please continue to be vigilant during this unique time, especially when responding to email messages and phone calls.

Here are some guidelines from US-CERT:

https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST04-014

There are also some scams specifically related to COVID-19:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2020/03/12/coronavirus-scam-alert-watch-out-for-these-risky-covid-19-websites-and-emails

 
FROM THE BOOKSTORE:

As the university transitions to effective delivery of remote instruction, the Pacer Shoppe bookstore remains committed to ensuring the success of our students.

We will continue working closely with faculty and students to fulfill instructional requirements.  During the period of modified operations, the Pacer Shoppe will provide services virtually to insure no disruption of service to our students and campus community.

Online orders will be processed daily -- with FREE ground shipping -- to make sure students are still able to access all materials they need.

Graduating seniors are urged to call the bookstore (803.641.3464) to place their orders for their caps and gowns.  If you must, please leave a message with your name and the best number to reach you, and we will return your call within the next business day.

Please feel free to call or email the bookstore with any questions you may have.  We look forward to continuing to serve our campus community.

www.uscaikenshop.com

PH: 803.641.3464


FROM THE GREGG-GRANITEVILLE LIBRARY:

Library services will be available virtually. Online chat service continues 8 a.m., Sunday - midnight, Friday, and 8 a.m. – midnight Saturdays. 

As always, online resources are available 24/7. For off-campus access, go to:  https://library.usca.edu/offcampus. The librarians have also created an FAQ regarding our modified operations and some questions we anticipate you might have.  Visit it at https://library.usca.edu/libraryclosurefaq

For faculty, there are links on the FAQ page regarding library resources and support for faculty in a remote instructional environment. Also, the librarians are available to help you find online resources to supplement your instruction. If you have items on physical reserve, we can help you find alternative sources to replace them.

Items currently checked out from Gregg-Graniteville Library do not need to be returned until the campus returns to normal operations. Any overdue fines will be waived during the period of modified operations.

March 17, 2020 at 12:00 PM

Statement on University operations.

UofSC Aiken university officials are committed to providing ongoing, accurate information to our entire community through this site. 

We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 and are actively engaged in proactive social distancing measures while at the same time delivering remote instruction and reducing the risk of COVID-19 exposure for our faculty, staff, students and visitors.

At this point:

  • There are no confirmed cases at the UofSC Aiken campus.
  • No individuals at our campus are being monitored or having to be isolated.
  • We look forward to having everyone back on campus as soon as possible.
  • Spring online classes resumed as planned March 16.
  • Spring break has been extended until March 22.
  • Remote delivery of course instruction will take place March 23 – April 5, providing our students the opportunity to successfully finish the spring semester.
  • Student support services will be provided virtually to ensure students’ success.
  • All events and activities on campus are suspended until April 5.
  • Only essential personnel are on campus until April 5.
  • Those personnel in the at-risk populations should remain at home.
  • All members of the campus community are asked to take prudent precautions during this time.
  • During this period of modified operations, we will continue working together to provide our Pacers the opportunity to successfully finish the semester.  As instruction is continuing, at this time we do not anticipate tuition and fees to be refunded.
  • Students may receive pro-rated refunds for each day of lost campus housing and meal plans. This will require time and care, so we urge students to please remain patient as we develop our process for issuing reimbursements. Students will be sent additional information as it becomes available. Refunds will be determined once we know the extent of the state of emergency.

Pacers are caring, strong, passionate, and relentless in the pursuit of their goals.

Thank you for remaining patient in flexible and flexible during this unprecedented state of emergency as declared by both the governor and the president.

March 16, 2020 at 3:40 PM

Chancellor update for faculty and staff.

Dear Faculty and Staff –

Thank you for your understanding and flexibility as we navigate this unprecedented situation caused by COVID-19 concerns.

In the face of this national emergency, we are making decisions based on these core principles:

  1. To protect the health, safety and welfare of our students, faculty, staff and guests
  2. To limit the spread and mitigate the effects of COVID-19 through social distancing
  3. To maintain excellence in all our academic programs.
  4. To provide students every opportunity to successfully complete the spring semester

Regardless of the method of delivery, each member of the campus community will continue to work toward the graduation of our seniors and the success of all of our students.  During this period of modified operations, we will continue to provide appropriate student support, providing them every opportunity to successfully complete the spring semester.

The university is implementing proactive steps to ensure the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff.  As advised by the CDC, we are implementing social-distancing measures.  Last weekend, we conducted a campus-wide deep clean, using a hospital-grade disinfectant in all buildings.  We will continue this practice periodically at least until the end of the month.  To facilitate this effort, please ensure all surfaces, including desks and tables, are clear.

By extending spring break and deciding to provide instruction remotely until April 5, we are hoping that those who may have traveled to areas where COVID-19 cases are present, have been exposed to the coronavirus, or who have exhibited any symptoms – including the common cold – will take this time to take prudent measures to limit the spread of any germs. 

It is our hope that we return to normal operations in April.  Until that time, please use the extended break to prepare for the temporary measures of teaching remotely and providing appropriate services to support student success.  In the short term, all instruction will take place remotely March 23 – April 5. Any course that was already designated as online will continue without interruption, including those that were scheduled to start today, Monday, March 16.

During this period, the university has modified operations so that we can continue to provide critical services and support to ensure students successfully complete the semester.  To the greatest extent possible, we will operate virtually, meaning that email and phone calls will be the preferred method of communication and interaction.  The university’s QUICK LIST indicates how you can contact the offices and service representatives you may need.  You can find it at:  https://www.usca.edu/about/directories/quick-list/file .

While this modified approach is not ideal, we expect active, interactive instruction will continue through remote delivery of material.  Instead of classes meeting in person, professors will conduct their classes online, through teleconferences, or other remote means.  Professors will provide any updates to published syllabi.

Expectations for faculty and staff:

The objective is to minimize the number of people coming to campus for the next three weeks, including faculty and staff, while at the same time providing appropriate support to students.

Immediate supervisors have determined which essential work functions must be conducted on campus and which ones can be conducted remotely.  Whether on campus or off during this period, work should continue.  This is not a vacation period.  We are simply adapting our methods of support and business operations to meet this unprecedented situation.  During these modified operations, we ask you to continue to be as responsive as you always are, which is the hallmark of our Pacer brand.

For those faculty and staff working remotely:

  • Email and telephone calls will be the primary means of conducting routine business.  Keep your email accounts active; be sure to check your emails regularly and respond as you would via email if you were on campus.  As the university is conducting modified operations, do not post an ‘out-of-office’ response, and if you have already done so, please turn off this function.
  • Please forward your office calls to an alternate number which you can answer remotely.  If you need assistance, please contact the CSD Help Desk, (from campus, please call X4357, and if you are working remotely, please contact (803) 641-3391.)  The voicemail message placed on your office phone will be picked up on this alternate phone number if you happen to be on the phone with someone else.  A recommended voicemail message should say:

“Hello, and thank you for your call.  Please leave a message, and I will return your call as soon as possible.  To expedite assistance, please send me an e-mail at XXXX.  During the governor’s mandated state of emergency, this is the preferred method of conducting business. 

  • As always, if you experience any challenges with Blackboard, contact the CSD After-Hours Outage Reporting at (803) 265-5266.
  • If you must come to campus to conduct essential functions, coordinate with your direct supervisor first. 
  • Immediate supervisors should contact temporary employees and student employees with virtual work assignments. 
  • When entering time into ITAMS and documenting hours from home, if you have any challenges, contact CSD Help Desk,  (from campus, please call X4357, and if you are working remotely, please contact (803) 641-3391.)

As more information becomes available, we will share it.  For updates, go to:  https://www.usca.edu/covid .

Thank you again for your continued patience and flexibility.

Stay healthy,

Sandra Jordan, Ph.D.

Chancellor

March 16, 2020 at 2:50 PM

Detailed information on how campus will operate through April 5, 2020.

Dear Pacers –

Thank you for your understanding and flexibility as we navigate this unprecedented situation caused by COVID-19 concerns.

In the face of this national emergency, we are making decisions based on these core principles:

  1. To protect the health, safety and welfare of our students, faculty, staff and guests
  2. To limit the spread and mitigate the effects of COVID-19 through social distancing
  3. To maintain excellence in all our academic programs.
  4. To provide students every opportunity to successfully complete the spring semester

Regardless of the method of delivery, each member of the campus community is working to make it possible for qualified seniors to graduate on time and for all of our students to have the opportunity to successfully complete their spring classes.

The university has implemented proactive steps to ensure the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff.  As advised by the CDC, we are implementing social-distancing measures.  Last weekend, we conducted a campus-wide deep clean, using a hospital-grade disinfectant in all buildings.  By extending spring break and providing instruction remotely until April 5, we are stemming the spread of the virus.

It is our hope that we return to normal operations in April.  Until that time, faculty and staff are using the extended break to prepare for the temporary measures of teaching remotely and providing appropriate services to support student success.  In the short term, all instruction will take place remotely March 23 – April 5. Any course that was already designated as online will continue without interruption, including those that were scheduled to start today, Monday, March 16.

During this period, the university has modified operations so that we can continue to provide critical services and support to ensure students successfully complete the semester.  To the greatest extent possible, we will operate virtually, meaning that email, teleconferencing, and phone calls will be the preferred method of communication and interaction.  The university’s QUICK LIST indicates how you can contact the offices and service representatives you may need.  It can be accessed at:  https://www.usca.edu/about/directories/quick-list/file .

While this modified approach is not ideal, we expect active, interactive instruction will continue through remote delivery of material.  Instead of classes meeting in person, professors will conduct their classes remotely, through online, distance education, teleconferences, or other remote means.  Professors will provide any updates to published syllabi.

For the period March 16 – April 5, the following services will be provided virtually to support student needs:

  • The Gregg-Graniteville Library
  • The Help Desk
  • The Math Lab
  • Writing Center
  • Academic advising
  • Professors’ office hours
  • Registrar services
  • Financial aid services
  • Veteran and Military Student Success Center
  • Bookstore
  • Counseling Center services
  • Tutoring

Please note, registration for summer and fall classes will take place March 30 as planned.

For the period March 16 – April 5, the following services will be provided to support students still on campus.  Hours may be amended:

  • Housing
  • Dining services (Take-out options will be available.)
  • Starbucks
  • Students involved in off-campus internships, clinicals, preceptorships, student teaching, etc., may continue as governed by policies at those specific places and according to standing unit practice.  Students should contact their supervisors.
  • Students involved in on-campus jobs should contact their supervisors for virtual work assignments.
  • Computer labs with specialty software will be available for a limited number of students at any given time.
  • Student Health Center.  Please call in advance for an appointment.

For the period March 16 – April 5, the following services will not be available:

  • All face-to-face instruction, including lectures, discussions, seminars, labs and other similar classroom settings. Instead, these will be delivered via remote delivery methods.
  • All campus events are suspended, including cardiac rehab, the Academy for Lifelong Learning, McGrath Computer Learning Center, events at the Etherredge Center and the USC Aiken Convocation Center.
  • The Wellness Center
  • The Natatorium
  • Ruth Patrick Science Education Center programming
  • Childcare provided by the USC Aiken Children’s Center
  • Intercollegiate athletic competitions have been canceled by the NCAA and Peach Belt Conference for the remainder of the semester.

While the university is in modified operations, it would be wise to check hours of operations for available services.  Hours may be amended.  The QUICK LIST provides contact information.  You can access the QUICK LIST at:  https://www.usca.edu/about/directories/quick-list/file

Your professors will be in touch with you on the specifics regarding each of your courses.  If you do not hear from your professors by March 20, please reach out to them to make sure they have your current contact information.  Undoubtedly, there will be some individual situations which may need special attention.  As always, keep the lines of communication open with your professors so they can assist.

Please continue to take personal precautions, wash hands frequently, and avoid exposure to large crowds. 

If you have traveled to hot spots, been exposed to COVID-19, or experience any symptoms which are associated with COVID-19, please contact your healthcare provider and consider self-quarantining for 14 days.  If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 and are in USC Aiken housing, please contact the housing staff immediately.

The extended break and period of remote instruction will allow you to continue your education while limiting your exposure to the virus.  By doing this, you are not only taking care of yourself but also helping ensure the health of our campus community and of those within the vulnerable populations among us.

As more information becomes available, we will share it.  For updates, go to:  https://www.usca.edu/covid .

Thank you again for your continued patience and flexibility.

Stay healthy,

Sandra Jordan, Ph.D.

Chancellor

March 15, 2020 at 10:00 PM

Chancellor Jordan sends update to students.

Dear Pacers --

We are looking forward to seeing you back on campus as soon as possible.

Until that date, we want to provide you with an update. 

Governor Henry McMaster has declared that South Carolina is in a state of emergency and that all institutions within the University of South Carolina System will modify operations. During this period, our primary goal is that you stay on target to successfully complete all your courses this semester while at the same time remaining healthy.

We are taking the following steps.  (Additional information will be provided Monday, March 16):

  • Courses that began the semester online will resume March 16, and those online classes scheduled to begin on March 16, will do so as planned.
  • The university has extended spring break until March 22.
  • Throughout March, Student Housing remains open. While students are not encouraged to return to campus before March 23, they may, if necessary. The Office of Housing and Residence Life Office will email more information to residents on Monday, March 16.
  • Modified dining services will continue.
  • During the extended spring break, your faculty who are teaching face-to-face courses this semester, are busy shifting to remote learning options, which will begin March 23 for all students currently enrolled.
  • On March 23, the university’s student support resources and personnel will be available to assist you.

While we transition to remote delivery of course instruction, please know that every member of our faculty and staff is committed to ensuring your successful completion of the semester.

Please look for more information on Monday, March 16.

Sincerely,

Chancellor Jordan

March 15, 2020 at 8:30 PM EST

Pacers and Polo event has been cancelled.

For more information, please see our Pacers and Polo website.

March 15, 2020 at 7:50 PM EST

The university will close the USC Aiken Children’s Center effective Tuesday, March 17.  It will remain closed until March 31.

To help accommodate families who are either preparing to work from home, who are not working from home during this period, or who may need additional time to arrange alternative childcare on short notice, care will be provided Monday, March 16.

March 15, 2020 at 7:00 PM EST

Governor Henry McMaster announced a state of emergency last week and updated the parameters of the emergency during a press conference today.

As a result, all public colleges and universities, including those within the University of South Carolina System, will modify operations beginning tomorrow, Monday, March 16 until March 31.

This means that, with the exception of essential personnel, the faculty and staff of the University of South Carolina Aiken will be working from home.

As announced last week, we are transitioning from face-to-face instruction to effective delivery of online education to our students.  Faculty who teach face-to-face courses this semester are in the process of preparing for remote instruction beginning March 23.  As previously announced, courses already delivered online – such as MBA courses, RN-to-BSN and others – will resume delivery as planned on March 16.

Please note the following changes regarding university employees and contract workers, effective Monday, March 16:

  • “Non-essential” employees are directed to work from home March 16 – 31. Supervisors may reach out to their direct reports, advising of other duties as assigned during this period.
  • Supervisors will identify and contact essential employees who are expected to report to work on Monday, March 16.
  • Any employee, regardless of status, who is in a high-risk-for-infection category should notify his or her supervisor and is directed to work from home.
  • The governor has prohibited all non-essential work-related travel for state employees.
  • You may return to campus briefly on Monday, March 16, to change voicemail messages, forward phones, set out-of-office email notifications and gather all materials necessary to work from home.

This applies to non-essential contract work as well as all university employees.

Every member of our community is asked to be flexible and creative as together with your supervisor you consider options for working remotely.  Employees whose jobs do not normally lend themselves to telecommuting may be able to view training materials, document processes and procedures, or perform other meaningful work.  This also applies to employees in temporary positions.

March 13, 2020 at 12:00 PM EST

The university continues to monitor the scope and impact of COVID-19.

As a precaution, USC Aiken will transition from face-to-face instruction to remote instruction for the period of March 23 – April 5.

The university will remain open during this period, and student services -- including housing and dining -- will be available.

March 11, 2020 at 9:00 AM EST

The University of South Carolina Aiken extends spring break for a week (March 16 – 20) and no face-to-face classes or student meetings will be held. Online courses will resume their regular schedule on March 16.

  • The Academy of Lifelong Learning and McGrath Computer Learning Center classes will be suspended the week of March 16-20.
  • Scheduled athletics events are expected to continue. We will alert fans if anything changes. Regardless, per guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, people over the age of 60 with preexisting medical conditions should avoid attending events with large crowds because they are a higher risk of complications related to Covid-19.
  • Scheduled mandatory meetings for students will be canceled until March 23.
  • Attendance at campus events during the extended break is an individual decision, and at-risk groups should be thoughtful about attending events with large crowds.
  • Housing, dining services, and campus offices will remain open during the extended break.

Dear Students, Colleagues, and Community Members,

As the University of South Carolina Aiken continues to monitor the spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), our first concern is the health, welfare and safety of our students, staff, faculty, and community. We are working within the guidelines and recommendations of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine an appropriate response that proactively protects at-risk populations and reduces possible spread of the virus among campus constituents.

While students are on spring break this week, the university remains open, including residence halls and dining services.

Spring Break will be extended for a week (March 16 – 20) and no face-to-face classes or student meetings will be held. Online courses will resume their regular schedule on March 16.

Additional Information:

  1. The Academy of Lifelong Learning and McGrath Computer Learning Center classes will be suspended the week of March 16-20.
  2. Scheduled athletics events are expected to continue. We will alert fans if anything changes. Regardless, per guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, people over the age of 60 with preexisting medical conditions should avoid attending events with large crowds because they are a higher risk of complications related to Covid-19.
  3. Scheduled mandatory meetings for students will be canceled until March 23.
  4. Attendance at campus events during the extended break is an individual decision, and at-risk groups should be thoughtful about attending events with large crowds.
  5. Housing, dining services, and campus offices will remain open during the extended break.

Following the extended Spring Break, students, staff, or faculty who have preexisting medical conditions and are considered high-risk for the COVID-19 should use their best judgment about returning to campus. If alternative plans are necessary for high-risk students, please contact your advisor as soon as possible. UofSC employees with existing medical conditions that pose a risk should contact their direct supervisor to make alternative arrangements.

I recognize that the extended Spring Break may be an inconvenience, but we hope that these measures will help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 at the university and in our community.

Updates will be provided at usca.edu as needed, and additional information about returning to campus after the extended spring break will be posted as the next steps are determined.

Wishing you the best,

Sandra Jordan, Chancellor

All messages sent regarding the coronavirus can be found within the messages to our community below.