FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - Francis Marion University President Dr. Fred Carter said the fall reopening plan might not be perfect, but he said it’s the best plan under the current circumstances.
“I’m comfortable saying this plan is as effective as any at producing a process of protecting our students, staff and faculty, as any plan we could produce,” said Carter.
Beginning August 17, students will begin the first three weeks of the semester online, before transitioning to face-to-face instruction on September 8.
Carter said this will give them time to see how COVID-19 progresses, and in case they have to transition back to virtual learning, they’ll have their online programs prepared.
Carter spoke with university leaders across the state and said the plan is similar to the one being implemented at Coastal Carolina University.
“Dr. DeCenzo, David DeCenzo and I are responding to the same regional issues related to COVID-19, so the fact that our two institutions, our two university’s would move in a very cautious and common approach, isn’t surprising,” said Carter.
Students can expect changes in the fall.
Masks will be required in all university buildings except dorm rooms, and class sizes have been reduced to allow for social distancing.
FMU has developed an office for the school’s nurse practitioner and has partnered with Hope Health to provide an expanded clinic for additional health resources.
Carter said he didn’t get much sleep while devising the plan for the upcoming semester, but now he feels comfortable going into the fall.
”I took it to the executive committee of the board and I was in there for three hours where they asked me a series of probing questions, a lot of issues. I came out of there and they’d unanimously endorsed it. I went back to the senior staff who were very very happy and I’ve had a wonderful night’s sleep ever since then,” said Carter.
While this year will be different, Carter believes it will be a great year for Francis Marion University.