The messages below have been shared with the Pacer community throughout the university's modified operations and subsequent phased return to campus. 


Dear Colleagues,

I’m proud to share with you the work of your colleagues, from across this university, that will help us reopen for classes this fall in a responsible manner.

Below please find UofSC Aiken’s mitigation plan for fall 2020, entitled: Ready, Set, Return. Thanks are due to everyone who served on a task force ---ultimately 12 in all---and for putting your best thinking forward to help us prepare for fall.

As I have moved around the campus, I’ve been so impressed with what many are doing to prepare for fall 2020. Faculty are hanging in there and preparing for face-to-face delivery, modified delivery and remote delivery of their courses. Facilities is making changes to our environment to keep us safer and Allegiance has a rock-solid cleaning and hygiene program ready to go. Aramark is preparing to deliver food in new ways, and SGA is helping with creative messaging. Communications is preparing signs and keeping everyone informed, while our Campus COVID Co-Coordinators and Campus Mental Wellness Coordinators are ready to go. Student Life is busy formulating new ways to keep students engaged—safely—and the Library has reduced density so students can study while safely distanced. 

Additionally, we have over a dozen individuals training to be contact tracers, we’ve signed a COVID-19 testing MOU with Aiken Regional Medical Center, and we have protocols in place for visitors to campus. Educational videos are being created, and housing has set aside more single room options to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Athletics has a plan for safe practice, testing, traveling to events, and use of the weight room. There is still more to accomplish…but, we are almost there.

While vaccines are being developed here in the U.S. and in other countries, none have yet been approved for distribution. When a vaccine is approved, UofSC Aiken is an approved distribution center, and we hope to be able to provide the vaccine quickly to our population. Until then, the most important way to prevent infection is to wear a mask, wash your hands, and remain physically distanced from others.

I’m not wearing rose colored glasses. I’m aware that this will be a challenging year. But, by working together, following the guidelines, being responsible and proactive, we’ll get through it!

We are close to ready!!

Best,

Sandra Jordan

https://www.usca.edu/pacer-ready/mitigation-plan/file

While the Gregg-Graniteville Library faculty and staff has provided virtual support for the last several months, the building has re-opened, with modified hours and procedures.

The library building will be open from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, until the end of Summer Session II. 

To help ensure the health and wellbeing of library patrons, additional measures have been implemented:

  • The library is open to all; however, visitors not currently attending or employed by UofSC Aiken must obtain a pass from one of the front desks and will be required to complete a health assessment and attestation form acknowledging understanding of library visitor policies.
  • One-half of the library seating capacity has been removed to encourage social distancing.
  • Please keep your university identification (Carolina Card) on you at all times when in the library. To ensure there is enough seating for UofSC Aiken students, you may be asked to show your Carolina Card. Once the library reaches capacity, visitors may be asked to leave.
  • Masks must be worn at all times when in open areas of the library.  Students in individual study rooms are encouraged to keep their masks on as well, both for their health and safety as well as those who come before and after them.
  • Cleaning supplies will be readily available, and everyone, including student users, is expected to clean their workstations/carrels/study rooms. 
  • Starting in the fall semester, individual study rooms will be available in three-hour blocks, three times per day.  Only one student may occupy a study room during a three-hour block.
  • Group study rooms have been decommissioned at this time.
  • The food and drink policy remains the same (no greasy, smelly, messy food and drinks must have lids); however, no one should go prolonged periods without wearing their mask.
  • For everyone’s safety, the library staff prefers that no one retrieve their own materials for checkout. Instead, patrons are invited to use the new library catalog, “Find It,” to request item(s) from our print collections. The library staff will retrieve the item(s), and check it out. Patrons can pick up their requests at the Circulation Desk, or they can schedule curbside pickup. UofSC Aiken faculty and staff will have the option of having the materials mailed to their office through campus mail.
  • Although the book stacks are not closed, there will be a limit of one person in an aisle at a time.
  • Additionally, to aid in contactless transactions regarding library resources, patrons are encouraged to return print materials to either the internal book return bin or one of the external book return bins.
  • At this time, library instruction, reference services, and all of the Center for Student Achievement services remain available online only. For information about those services, please see the library FAQ.

Rodney Lippard

Director, Gregg-Graniteville Library

Director, Center for Student Achievement

Dear Colleagues, 

This is a reminder that all employees, students and visitors are required to wear cloth face coverings (or a face shield) in all hallways, elevators, classrooms, public spaces and common areas, and when entering any UofSC Aiken building.

Cloth face coverings must also be worn in offices and outdoor spaces where physical distancing is difficult to maintain. Wearing a face covering is not required in private offices or when alone in a space. Please conform to new office etiquette by knocking on office doors and being invited in, this is to give the office occupant time to retrieve and put on their mask before guests enter.

This requirement aligns with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s recommendation to wear cloth face coverings in public settings.

In addition to wearing cloth face coverings, you are asked to take the following personal precautions while on campus:

  • If you are on campus, or returning to campus within the next three weeks, focus on your health by completing the Daily Health Screening and sending it to  your supervisor each and every workday. Supervisors need to review the forms and take action if someone is not completing it and sending it in.
  • Practice physical distancing at all times (at least six feet of physical separation between yourself and others). The daily screening form can be found on this website: https://www.usca.edu/pacer-ready/faculty-and-staff-resources.
  • Practice good personal hygiene. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap is unavailable.
  • Routinely clean and sanitize shared equipment and your workspace.
  • Adhere to the guidelines and recommendations from the CDC, as well as federal and state governmental authorities, in order to protect your own health and the health of the Aiken community.                                                  

Also, please be aware, the City of Aiken issued an emergency ordinance requiring individuals to wear face coverings in certain situations and locations to protect, preserve, and promote the general health, safety, welfare and the peace and order of the community related to the potential exposure of City residents, employees, and visitors to COVID-19. The ordinance will take effect Friday, July 17th, and will end on September 16, 2020. Failure to adhere to the ordinance may result in a ticket and fine. Details and exceptions can be found at: https://www.cityofaikensc.gov/keyword/ordinances/.

Visit www.usca.edu/covid for information related to COVID-19 and public health and safety guidance. Thank you for your cooperation and support in keeping the UofSC Aiken community safe.

Sincerely,

Sandra Jordan

Dear Colleagues,

Summer heat has arrived and Summer II courses began this week. Yet, it will be another 12 to 24 months before we will feel that all is back to something close to “normal.”

No doubt, over the years, you have followed in the Chronicle and news outlets the frequent criticisms levelled at higher education. Our profession is often criticized for its slowness to change. Yet, from where I sit, I believe public higher education has changed often, in response to social change, new national priorities, and shifting expectations. And I watched with admiration as this university proved again that we can be nimble. For we made quick changes in the face of an unexpected threat, COVID-19, and reacted quickly to an unprecedented global pandemic, responding with creative solutions, flexibility, and focus so our students could finish their spring semester. The faculty, staff, students, and administration simply buckled down and made it happen. It was inspirational. We continue to exercise our ability to improvise and rethink every aspect of institutional operations as we prepare to reopen fully this fall.

The central question now, assuming the governor continues to grant us the authority to reopen in August, is what new rules and practices need to be in place to offer an excellent education this fall, even as we recognize that it will challenging and we will be well into 2021 before we can expect a vaccine or effective medical solution to this new virus.

While we are providing students and faculty with options for remote learning, UofSC Aiken intends to accept students on campus this fall. We are sober about the certain problems that the COVID-19 virus represents, but we are also determined not to capitulate just because it is difficult. Instead, we are preparing to tackle and manage the trials aggressively and creatively…as we always do in the face of a challenge.

We all know that the educational experience before us will be fraught with special difficulties. But we have spent months planning for the fall so we will not disappoint our students who want to return and expect to return to the kind of educational experience UofSC Aiken has built a reputation upon. In some respects, UofSC Aiken may be in a better position to resume our mission than some of our sister institutions, for we have maintained a low student to faculty ratio, even during year-over-year student enrollment growth.

Next year we expect to be down slightly in enrollment, but with other initiatives in place, such as reducing class sizes even more by adopting blended delivery, spreading out classes across days and times to reduce their size, increased use of flipped classroom and technology strategies, virtualizing some of the laboratory/studio work, and similar steps…we should be in a good position to resume.

As we continue to learn about the virus from researchers and medical experts, it is clear that our campus undergraduate student population, made up predominately of young people under the age of 25, are at lower risk than many in our general population. All data to date tell us that the COVID-19 virus, while spreading rapidly in that undergraduate age group, poses close to zero lethal threat to healthy young adults.

Meanwhile, the virus has proven to be a serious danger to other, older demographic groups, especially those over the age of 35 with underlying health problems such as diabetes, asthma, hypertension, or other pre-existing medical conditions. In other words, looking at the data, we can conclude that our students pose more danger to others than the virus may pose to them. 

This is why we will be going the “extra mile” by requiring redundant health and safety steps on campus. We will ask our community to both wear a cloth face covering AND engage in physical distancing. We will hygienically clean the public spaces several times a day AND provide cleaning products in classrooms and other spaces for ongoing cleaning. We will require daily health self-screening AND provide easy access to diagnostic testing. These approaches are examples and meant to be illustrative of the actions we will pursue.

We will also have the ability to promptly test anyone showing symptoms, and we’ll be prepared to quarantine if test results are positive, in space we will set aside for that purpose. Contact tracing on the campus will be robust, aided by S.C. DHEC and enhanced by technology that helps to track where students move across the campus during the day.

I’m anxious to provide you with more details of our plan, so soon we will be rolling out the UofSC Aiken COVID-19 Mitigation Plan entitled, READY, SET, RETURN. The plan has been the focus of considerable work since April and is based on the good work of our task force members and the information gathered from multiple expert sources. The plan has been revised several times and will continue to be revised throughout the year as new knowledge about the virus is shared.

Additionally, we will protect the more vulnerable members of our community by allowing (or requiring, if necessary) them to work remotely, or providing alternative schedules, or re-assignments. Everyone is learning a lot right now about which jobs are most amenable to remote work, and about new and better ways to do such work and support those working in greater isolation.

In March, the governor issued a work to home order that effectively closed down the state, including the schools and universities, which proved to be the correct and necessary step at that time.  It produced the hoped-for results and allowed the supply chain to catch up with demand for appropriate PPE and cleaning supplies. But that action came at extraordinary costs, both human and economic. Unless something drastic happens, we do not want to do that again. More importantly, we do not want to postpone the education of our students. Fewer than 40% of Americans complete a Bachelor degree. Thus, we know that our graduates are in demand and they will become tomorrow’s leaders. Interrupting or postponing their education again may permanently change their trajectory, and thus, their future. So, I’m counting on everyone here to adapt and help manage this challenge by embracing the changes we must make to create a campus that reopens in a way that will maximize health and safety for every Pacer.

To helps us prepare we have appointed Thayer McGahee and Brandon Aiken to serve as our “Campus COVID Co-Coordinators” to assist with monitoring the campus situation and coordinating the contract tracing. We’ve also appointed two “Campus Mental Wellness Coordinators,” Cindy Gelinas and Jane Stafford, to follow the mental wellness trends of our campus and make recommendations as needed during this intense moment in time.

The COVID-19 virus will remain a fact of life throughout this year….but, we are nearly ready to face the challenges. We have set up several town hall meetings to share information about campus preparations, hear from you, and inform you of the science (and changing knowledge) associated with the coronavirus. Please see the list below and plan to attend. Additionally, we hope to have the READY, SET, RETURN plan posted as soon as it is formatted and proofed.

Meanwhile, stay safe and follow the CDC recommendations…wash your hands frequently, engage in physical distancing, and wear your mask in public. We need you to be ready to help us return to the “new” normal.   

Sincerely,

Sandra Jordan

 

UPCOMING TOWN HALLS FOR STAFF and FACULTY :

July 21st – 10 a.m. - Update on the Science of COVID-19 Town Hall with Thayer McGahee, Brandon Aiken and Cindy Gelinas

July 29th – 11 a.m. -  Town Hall with Cabinet and Subcommittee Chairs

July 30th – 11 a.m. -  Town Hall with Cabinet and Subcommittee Chairs

Dear Colleagues,

As cases of the novel coronavirus continue to increase across the state and the south-east, please give some extra thought to how you can have fun while staying safe during the Fourth of July weekend. Taking time to relax and enjoy the company of friends and family during stressful and busy times is important, but being thoughtful about the activities you chose may be even more important to you in the long run…and upon your return to the university after the Fourth of July…vital to your colleagues.

Be aware that the number of cases are increasing in the county. Health department officials are recommending that if you are getting together with friends for the Fourth of July, choose lower-risk activities to help stay safe, such as gathering outside when possible, wearing your mask (of course, removing it when you eat BBQ is also recommended!), washing your hands more often than usual, and if you gather with people who are not part of your immediate household, staying six feet apart.

These days, more than ever, individual decisions and actions impact the health and safety of others! Be safe and have a wonderful Fourth of July.

Best wishes,

Sandra Jordan

P.S. Don’t forget, our first campus COVID-19 diagnostic test is next week on July 9th. This is a drive through testing event at the Convocation Center from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. You will need to bring a picture ID (which includes your date of birth) and your insurance card. Information about signing up to reduce wait time will be shared very soon.

Dear Colleagues,

This past week we watched with trepidation as cases of COVID-19 were steadily ticking upward in the south. State epidemiologist, Dr. Linda Bell, has indicated that the numbers are not just due to increased opportunities for citizens to access testing.  In conversations with individuals at the Arnold School of Public Health, it seems some of the increase is fall-out of the Memorial Day weekend and due to a general relaxation in safe behaviors as humans go to work, recreate, and move around the community. 

Please remember, your behavior matters. Taking personal responsibility by practicing physical distancing, wearing masks, keeping workspaces sanitized, and washing hands often and thoroughly keeps us all safer from the pandemic.  Remember, at this moment in time, there is no vaccine and no medicine you can take to cure COVID-19. Only personal awareness and responsibility can help stop the virus from spreading.

This past week, the CDC clarified that the highest risk for spreading the virus isn’t touching a surface, it is from human breath/coughing/sneezing. Wearing your mask helps to protect others. Given this information, I ask that you carry a mask everywhere you go and wear it whenever you approach other people on campus. Wear it when you are conversing with visitors, colleagues, and students on the campus. I sincerely hope you’ll wear a face covering off campus when you go into group settings. The virus does not spread on its own. It is spread around our community by infected people who carry it wherever they go – their work, the supermarket, the post office, and loved ones at home.

Each of us is a role-model for our students and each of us is a colleague to each other. Let’s spread HOPE and set an example of personal responsibility by wearing our masks.

Enjoy your weekend and stay safe. We can’t Lead Forward without you!

Sincerely,

Sandra Jordan

TRACERS WANTED

The University is seeking individuals who are interested in volunteering to assist with contract tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic. While contact tracing is a new concept to many individuals, public health departments have depended on tracers for decades to control the spread of contagious diseases from tuberculosis to SARS.

The job of a contact tracer includes telephoning individuals who have been in close contact with a coronavirus- infected person and making sure those individuals know where to go for testing and know what steps to take to prevent infecting their family, friends and others. 

Individuals interested in volunteering to assist with contact tracing will need to go through training to learn what questions to ask and how to interact with individuals who may have been infected. Other helpful qualities include: some knowledge of technology, comfort speaking on the phone, a desire to help others, good people skills, able to put people at ease, cultural sensitivity, and ability to be confidential. 

Interested parties should contact either Thayer McGahee (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Brandon Aiken (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Professors who wish to have a class participate in contact tracing should reach out to Brandon to discuss the training and investment of time.

This is a voluntary, unpaid position. But, it will be an important resource for the university as we look to return to campus in the fall, especially if DHEC is deployed to larger cities in the state.

Thank you,

Sandra Jordan

Dear Colleagues,

In order to provide a focal point on activities related to COVID-19 preparedness, Dr. Thayer McGahee and Mr. Brandon Aiken will be serving as our COVID-19 co-coordinators.

They will serve as our primary liaisons for COVID-19 preparedness for the university – internally and externally. As we progress through the fall 2020-21 academic year, Thayer and Brandon will attend relevant national and regional meetings. They will collect and provide input and guidance on emerging national guidelines and lead contact tracing on campus when needed. They will also ensure good coordination between the university and S.C. DEHC; provide strategic direction, in collaboration with the CDC and health experts; and support/advise the Cabinet’s Crisis Action Team interventions specific to COVID-19 response.

Sincere thanks to both Thayer and Brandon for stepping-up to help keep our campus current and healthy.

Best wishes,

Sandra Jordan

Dear Pacers,

Greetings from UofSC Aiken!  We are preparing for two celebrations:  Next Friday’s graduation parade and send-off celebration for the Class of 2020, and our returning Fall 2020 semester with you!  Whether you are a returning Pacer or a new student, we are excited to begin the official semester with you on August 20.

What will be different this semester?  Our intention this fall is for UofSC Aiken to feel as “normal” as possible for everyone. However, because of the continuing threat of COVID-19, for this upcoming academic year, “safe” is going to mean different things for different people.

Please find some 2020 Fall course details below.  Whether you will join us back on our beautiful campus or need to remain at home because of health concerns, our faculty and staff have put a variety of plans in place to make this possible.

Each semester we offer affordable excellence delivered in a variety of methods: small-sized classes for traditional face-to-face instruction, purposeful well-designed online courses, and a blended approach that combines both face-to-face and online interactions. These options will continue in Fall 2020, but with specific modifications designed to return you to as normal and as safe an experience as possible.

Each course has a specific mode of instruction (MOI), and some courses or sections have been modified to provide you more options and to respect the health and safety guidelines from the CDC and SC DHEC. The Records Office will notify you of changes for courses for which you are already registered. The MOIs are described below:

  • Face-to-Face Instruction – your typical traditional class. You’ll attend in the classroom according to the specific meeting times listed;
  • 100% Web Asynchronous – a fully online course that does not have a specific meeting place or time;
  • 100% Web Synchronous – a fully online course with specific meeting times; real-time attendance is required through Blackboard;
  • Blended – a modified face-to-face instruction method that allows for more physical distancing in the classroom. In a typical model, the professor will designate half of the students to meet in the classroom on one class day with the other half joining live online through Blackboard. Then for the next class day, the students switch how they attend class. This “A/B” method of attending class is being employed nationally. Specific details for each course will be provided by the professor at the beginning of the semester.

If you cannot return physically to the UofSC Aiken campus because of COVID-19 issues, you will have options of taking online classes and/or attending face-to-face classes through a classroom live stream. Please click this link to request more details and assistance with this option.

Because the majority of you have already registered for fall classes, it is important for each of you to check your fall schedules at Self Service Carolina (SSC). If you prefer to make changes to your schedule, you can do so through the normal drop/add process in SSC. You can find MOI details by clicking on the title of a course.

I highly recommend that, before you consider making any changes to your current course schedule, you contact the Center for Student Achievement or your department representative listed at Advising Help.

We are incredibly excited to get back to what we’re best at—serving the educational needs of students from South Carolina, the greater USA, and the world in a personal setting, in classes with an impressive 14 to 1 student to faculty ratio—in ways that are safe for everyone who studies and/or works at UofSC Aiken!

My best,

Dr. T

Daren J. Timmons, Ph.D.

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Dear UofSC Aiken Colleagues, 

Beginning Monday, June 8, we will begin the Phase II transition of employees to. campus and soon thereafter, a phased re-opening of campus with the return of select groups of students, faculty and staff to classrooms, labs and offices for Summer II. I am looking forward to the campus coming back to life slowly but surely, and I have confidence in the recommendations of our Future Planning Taskforce and all the efforts on our campus to provide a higher level of sanitation and modifications to our work spaces to mitigate risks. 

I write today to remind you that wearing face coverings is one of the measures we are undertaking and is required by each member of our campus, effective immediately.

Specifically:

  • All individuals on campus should be prepared towear a face covering whenever physical distancing (six feet or more) is difficult or the risk of infection is high, as in high traffic areas where maintaining distance is difficult because people are moving around, such as the examples listed below.
  • The university will require face coverings in several areas on campus regardless of the ability to social distance. As those locations are identified, signs will be posted to provide clarity. Currently, the following areas have been identified: visitors and staff in the Student Health Clinic, inside buildings with busy or crowded hallways, exterior spaces where three or more are gathered, in labs and studios where social distancing by a minimum of six feet is difficult, by guests and students entering service offices such as the Registrar's office or the Veteran and Military Support office, and by students in all classrooms.
  • Employees and students should carry a face covering on campus at all times so as to be prepared for environments where a face covering is required (please use common sense and use as situations arise) or highly recommended. We also recommend carrying hand sanitizer if you are moving from spare to space.
  • University employees who cannot wear face coverings due to health conditions should contact their supervisors and the supervisors should contact Human Resources as needed.
  • Students with health conditions that make wearing a face covering risky should register with the Student Disabilities Resource Center so accommodations may be made.

Put simply, we wear face coverings in order to protect others, and as Pacers we pledge to demonstrate concern for others. The research is clear: an infected person wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of COVID-19 to others. It could be easy to assume that you don't need to wear a face covering if you feel fine, but we all know that asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 could unknowingly spread the virus to those around them. 

Face coverings are just one approach we are taking to help make campus safer. We are installing additional hand sanitizing stations, disinfecting high-touch areas around campus, and providing safety videos to explain the best ways to remain safe. We will continue to update you on additional risk mitigation practices and other information that will inform how we study, work and live on campus together.

We are all in this together. During this pandemic we want to act as one university, one community, with a common goal of doing all within our power to make this a safe place to work, visit, and learn. It is up to each of us to consider the safety of our community and colleagues as we gradually return to campus over the next few weeks. I know we will work together for the greater good and enjoy being back together on this university we all love.

Go Pacers!!

Stay healthy,

Sandra Jordan

Dear Pacers and Pacer Families, 

We hope that you are excited about coming to UofSC Aiken this fall! 

Beginning Summer II, we will begin the phased, transitional re-opening of our beloved university with the return of select groups of students, faculty and staff to classrooms, labs, studios, and offices. We are all enthusiastic about seeing our campus come back to life slowly but surely. I have confidence that the steps we are taking, based upon recommendations of the CDC, the South Carolina Department of Health, and our own UofSC Aiken Future Planning Taskforce can assist in providing a semblance of normal while taking steps to mitigate risk associated with the Coronavirus. Understanding that "normal" will not be in our vocabulary until there is a COVID-19 vaccine, we are still looking forward to providing an award-winning and meaningful education, in a beautiful campus environment, where students will have opportunities to reconnect with friends, make new friends, and grow as leaders while preparing for the future. 

I write today to announce that we are taking several steps to mitigate risks associated with the virus. We will be asking all students, and UofSC Aiken employees to wear face coverings when social distancing is not effectively possible. After discussion with our health care experts, and in consultation with faculty, staff and student leaders, effective June 1, we are instituting a directive as follows: 

  • All individuals on campus are expected to wear a face covering whenever physical distancing (six feet or more) is difficult or the risk of infection is high.
  • The university will provide a washable, reusable face covering for every student, faculty and staff member who cannot find or afford one. Masks will also be available in the bookstore.
  • The university will require face coverings in the specific areas on campus, including, Student Health Clinic, the Gregg-Graniteville Library, and all classrooms and building hallways.
  • Students should carry a face covering on campus at all times so as to be prepared for other environments where a face covering is required (as designated by the university) or highly recommended.
  • Students with health conditions that make wearing a face covering risky should register with the Student Disabilities Resource Center. 

Put simply, we wear face coverings in order to protect others, and as Pacers we pledge to demonstrate concern for others. The research is clear: an infected person wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of COVID-19 to others. It could be easy to assume that you don't need to wear a face covering if you feel fine, but we all know that asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 could unknowingly spread the virus to those around them. 

Face coverings are just one approach we are asking to help make campus safer. We are taking many additional steps, including: adding additional hand sanitizing stations around campus and in buildings, disinfecting high-touch areas, and providing testing for all returning students, faculty and staff. Testing dates for campus will be announced later. The testing is free, but you must bring your health insurance card and a picture ID. Watch for additional information about additional risk mitigation practices and other measures that will inform how we study, work and live on campus together. 

We eagerly look forward to new students starting their Pacer experience this fall, and we enthusiastically welcome back our returning Pacers students, and all of our Pacer family members. 

Take care, stay safe and healthy, and GO PACERS! 

Sincerely,

Ahmed Samaha

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs 

A message from Chancellor Jordan about the Fall 2020 semester.

Dear Pacers,

I'm writing to share good news for our Fall Semester!

The University of South Carolina Aiken is thrilled to announce that we will resume face-to-face classes for the Fall 2020 Semester. We take pride in knowing that UofSC Aiken will deliver the same excellent education for which we are recognized for this fall. We are recognized by U.S. News & World Report for providing elite, award-winning educational experiences. Small class sizes and outstanding undergraduate research opportunities make us unparalleled. 

What will be new during this academic calendar? A new schedule of classes and new safety measures and protocols for you and our educational community will be implemented. When we polled you and other students, most of you indicated that you want to come back to campus for a traditional collegiate experience. You shared your ideas on how we could help make the campus ready for returning faculty, staff, and students. We will be implementing some of your ideas as well as recommendations from state and federal agencies.

Highlight of our New Fall Calendar and Summer II Plans:

Classes will begin on August 20, with an accelerated academic timeline, and no fall break.

You will return home during the Thanksgiving break and stay there, completing your semester with remote instruction until the end of the Fall 2020 semester on December 2. Election Day will be a virtual instruction day. The final three days of class and final exams will be conducted remotely. A detailed schedule is included below.

  • August 20 First Day of face-to-face classes
  • September 7 Labor Day (holiday – no classes)
  • November 24 Last Day of face-to-face classes
  • November 25 – November 29 Thanksgiving Break
  • November 30 – December 2 Remote Instruction (with 12/2 - last day of class)
  • December 7-11 Remote Finals

Beginning on July 6, a few of our Summer II classes will be delivered through face-to-face instruction, and we will operate the Summer Scholars Institute – our undergraduate research program. Allowing smaller cohorts of students to return to campus while continuing safety protocols is an essential step to a full return to campus in the fall.

This careful decision was made with guidance from healthcare professionals, city and county officials, faculty, staff, and students. Our plans for a heightened level of hygiene and our calendar for the fall semester are informed by science and focused on community health with your continued wellness in mind.

Our historically small class sizes naturally afford us much greater opportunities to physically distance—unlike big auditorium-sized classes at mega-universities. Face coverings will be worn during face-to-face classes or when a six-foot distance cannot be maintained. Enhanced sanitation regimens are being followed in every building. Foot traffic in buildings will be redirected to minimize contact as we enter and exit. Plexiglass barriers are being installed in highly trafficked areas. Health and safety protocols are under development to allow us to host student programs and events, external groups, and to open the Wellness Center and other recreational facilities.

With new safety measures in place, we will continue to provide quality education and engaging experiences to help you pursue a secure and fulfilling future. The university will provide you options for a safe and fulfilling experience for the 2020 fall semester.

Of course, we'll share more information as we get closer to the Fall 2020 Semester. For now, the important thing to remember is that we are all looking forward to seeing you again on the UofSC Aiken campus. Stay well and healthy!

Sincerely,

Ahmed Samaha

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Today we are taking the next steps to resume a little more normalcy on our campus. Of course, until there is a way to control the spread of the coronavirus, such as a vaccine, normal operations as we know them will elude us a little while longer. You have been invited to return with the Phase I personnel on Tuesday, May 26. We've missed you being with us on campus and appreciate all you did remotely to advance our mission. Please accept my heartfelt thanks for your willingness to return during this first phase to maintain the institution's operations. Some of you have been on the UofSC Aiken campus since spring break, and I'm certain they join me in welcoming you back!

As a university, some of our administrative roles during this pandemic included: maintaining open communication, carefully considering a way forward based on the best information available, training our community to increase understanding of the steps everyone needs to take to keep our community safe, acquiring supplies and using procedures to help us mitigate the spread of the virus, maintaining hygienic spaces, forming committees to provide campus input, and developing alternate plans we can implement quickly, if the original approach failed to produce the desired results.

Truthfully, our return to more normal operations will depend on our combined efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus. The responsibility to protect our community of fellow workers, students and visitors is a shared one, and thus, is in your hands.

As was true in historic periods of disruption and sacrifice, this is a moment in time that requires each of us to dig deep, find the best in our ourselves, and to respect our friends, neighbors, and colleagues, by putting their safety and health above our own personal comfort and convenience at times. We are facing a challenging year ahead, but it will be made more successful if you willingly comply with the best practices and university protocols that will help to keep our Pacer community safe.

Here are the steps we all need to follow and adhere to as we continue our phased-approach to returning to campus.

  • Practice personal hygiene recommendations of the CDC and DHEC by washing your hands frequently; sneezing and coughing into a disposable tissue; using sanitizer throughout the day, especially before and after you touch items where the virus may live; and additional actions outlined by the CDC (see www.cdc.gov for more details).
  • Ensure physical distancing in your workspace and in the common areas on the campus.
  • Wear a mask or face covering when you leave your personal workspace or interact with others.
  • Utilize appropriate cleaning products to keep your workspace sanitized, and clean your keyboard and workspace at least twice a day (when you arrive and when you leave).
  • Do not share supplies, pens, keypads, chairs, if at all possible. If you have to work at someone's keyboard or workspace, please wear a mask and sanitize your hands.
  • Avoid shaking hands or close contact with your colleagues, students, or guests to campus.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • If you are not feeling well or if you have any of the symptoms of the virus, please stay home, contact your supervisor, and contact your healthcare provider. If your medical professional advises you to be quarantined, please contact your supervisor.
  • When you enter another space or come in contact with others, please sign in or keep a personal log of the spaces you enter and the people you encounter.

Additionally, each morning, you will be required to complete and submit to your supervisor a health monitoring form.

If you are in an high-risk category for the coronavirus, please inform your supervisor and make alternate work arrangements if possible.

Finally, if you notice a colleague on campus not taking the precautions outlined here, please let your supervisor know so we can help reinforce the appropriate actions and deportment required during a pandemic. Shortly, Human Resources will share a short video, reinforcing best practices. When that video is available, you will be required to watch it. Also, as soon as it is available, please consider getting a flu shot as the flu has many symptoms in common in COVID-19.

As we welcome back more individuals to our campus, it is important that we remain vigilant, selfless, and committed to keeping our community safe.

As always, thank you for all you do,

Sandra Jordan, PhD

Chancellor 

After discussions with healthcare professionals, the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees and leadership from across the UofSC system, have determined that large scale, face-to-face events pose too great a health risk to graduating students, their families, and university personnel to safely host at this time. Therefore, the USC System has reluctantly made the decision to replace in-person ceremonies with virtual commencement exercises in August.

While we originally planned a face to face ceremony in August, the UofSC Aiken will now create an enjoyable experience that honors our 2020 Pacer Class while protecting the health of our graduates, their family and friends, and the campus community at large.

"While everyone at UofSC Aiken would prefer to enjoy the energy and joy associated with a large scale, in-person graduation ceremony, prudence during a pandemic dictates that the university weigh the health risks against our desires to operate more normally. A period of national crisis necessitates compromises," said Dr. Sandra Jordan, chancellor.

A refund option is still available to those graduates who purchased regalia for the ceremony.

To request a refund, please contact Serena Whittikki at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject line marked REFUND – CAP & GOWN. Be sure to indicate your name and phone number. She will contact you within 1 (one) business day.

Dear Colleagues,

Time has come to begin a slow, phased, monitored return to more normal, though still modified, operations, which includes the return of faculty and staff to campus, as we prepare for the possible return of students this fall. The decision to bring faculty and staff back in phases is based on OSHA, CDC, USC System, and DHEC guidelines and recommendations. Our plan is also based on the belief that our campus faculty and staff will follow best health and wellness practices in order to assure the health of themselves, fellow colleagues, students,university constituents, and the entire campus community, including guests.

At this time, I want to provide the broad strokes of the plan. Many more specific details will be communicated next week, after the Futures Planning Task Force makes its report today.

As has been the case from the very beginning of the pandemic's arrival in South Carolina, our priorities for a managed return to campus are and continue to be:

  • The safety, well-being, and health of our institutional population (students, visitors, employees, and community) are our highest priorities.
  • Limit and mitigate risks of resurgence and be prepared for action if resurgence happens.
  • Protect those individuals most at risk for COVID-19 (without sidelining them) and attend to the mental as well as physical health of our campus community.
  • Foster and maintain a high level of excellence associated with UofSC Aiken.
  • Attend to institutional stability and sustainability.

Broad-based Plan for a Phased Return to Campus (more to come next week):

Since spring break, we have conducted deep cleanings in every building, using a hospital-strength disinfectant. This practice will continue. In fact, we have additional cleaning contracts that include more meticulous sanitation of bathrooms, common spaces, and surfaces, like door handles and stair rails. While the university is taking prudent steps to help mitigate the spread of germs, I would ask that each and every one of you assist in ways you can to take care of yourselves and out of respect for your peers and colleagues.

As we all gradually return to campus, please continue to take responsible, prudent precautions as you have at home the last couple of months. Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly with soap and water; maintain physical distance; wear a mask or face covering in common spaces outside of your office; wipe down your work spaces and office equipment; do not congregate in common spaces; avoid using coffee-break rooms or kitchens; and for now, avoid bringing additional individuals into your office spaces.

Essential Personnel -- May 18:

During the pandemic, the number of essential personnel on campus was reduced by order of the governor, to "exceptionally essential" personnel only. That included those individuals needed on campus to serve the 76 students who remained on campus and those needed to maintain the streamlined functions of the university. Our thanks to those individuals in this category who have been on campus every day since spring break!!

On Monday, May 18, a larger contingency of essential personnel will return to campus. All personnel returning on May 18 have been or will be contacted by their supervisor and personally notified about the need to return to campus. Personnel in this category in higher risk categories for COVID-19 should not return to campus at this time. Those at higher risk or with special circumstances need to discuss a strategy for continuing to work from home or working on a modified schedule with your supervisor. Supervisors may assign alternative work schedules as needed to provide physical distancing, flexibility, and safety.

Phase I: Return of Non-Essential Personnel -- May 26

Supervisors will notify individuals who should plan to return on May 26. Again, any personnel in a high risk category or with special circumstances should discuss alternatives to returning to campus with their supervisors.

Phase II: Return of Non-Essential Personnel -- June 8

Supervisors will notify individuals who should plan to return in this phase. Again, any personnel in a high risk category or with special circumstances should discuss alternatives to returning to campus with their supervisors.

At this time, faculty may return to work in their offices for brief periods of time as needed to prepare for Summer II, conduct research, and prepare for Fall 2020. Please notify your department chair about your plans to make certain too many individuals do not come into the departmental space at the same time.

Phase III: Return of Remaining Workforce -- July 20

Remaining personnel who did not return in Phases I or II should return to work as normal. As always, personnel in high risk categories for COVID -19, or with special circumstances, should continue to work remotely and discuss alternatives to returning to campus with their supervisors. COVID

We recognize you have many questions, and we are putting additional information together to share with you next week. Thank you for your patience as we make preparations for returning to more normal operations. YOU are very important to me, to our university, and to the successful attainment of our mission. We want to make certain we are monitoring our return closely. If needed, we will make adjustments to the plan to ensure that we are maintaining our priorities, which are first and foremost to provide a safe working, teaching and learning environment and mitigate risks.

Best wishes and stay healthy.

Sincerely,

Sandra J. Jordan

Chancellor 

Dear Colleagues --

The University of South Carolina Aiken looks forward to returning to normal operations and face-to-face classes and events as soon as possible.

The USC Aiken Future Planning Task Force, comprised of representatives from all over campus and city and county officials, is currently exploring options for the late summer and fall semester. Their recommendations are due to me May 15. I will then review them to make a final determination.

Once finalized, the plan will help provide a working, learning and teaching environment that mitigates the risk of infection; outline protocols that will help identify individuals who exhibit symptoms or contract quickly; and ensure that campus constituents are partners in making it possible for the university to maintain appropriate prevention and hygiene practices and to react swiftly to any incidences of outbreak.

As a living, learning, working community, we will need to approach the return to campus with the recognition that until a vaccine is developed and approved for distribution, and perhaps beyond, we should be prepared to modify our workplace behaviors to avoid creating outbreak conditions.

Specific safety guidelines and precautions will be shared once a final decision is made.

As soon as possible, the university will share the plans for the late summer and fall semester with students, faculty, staff and guests.

Sincerely,

Dr. Sandra Jordan

Chancellor

Dear Pacer Family --

It is with great sadness I must share the tragic news that Friday afternoon, Joshua Bush, one of our nursing students, passed away due to complications related to Covid-19.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, LaKita, their family, to our faculty and staff in the School of Nursing and all of our nursing students who knew him well, and our entire Pacer community.

As of this writing, the arrangements are still being finalized. As soon as we know more, we will share it.

He was a student in the first semester of our Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Since the COVID-19 outbreak hit our region, Joshua bravely cared for patients, working part-time in a local health care facility.

He was a stellar student and a beloved classmate, always greeting people with a big smile.

This is a great loss to our Pacer family.

Please join me in a moment of silence to honor one of our Pacer Heroes who selflessly and compassionately answered the call of our community during this pandemic. As soon as we can, we plan to plant a tree in Joshua's memory during a campus-wide service in front of the School of Nursing.

Sincerely,

Sandra J. Jordan

Chancellor

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 

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. 

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. 

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 

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

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 

Pacers and Polo event has been cancelled.

For more information, please see our Pacers and Polo website

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. 

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. 

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. 

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 

Contact Us

Share your questions, comments and ideas with our campus COVID-19 co-coordinators.