CLEMSON, S.C. (WYFF) — Clemson University announced on Thursday a major change about its student instruction during the pandemic: After the Thanksgiving holiday, all student learning will go online.
Officials said in a letter to students and staff that the decision was made after careful consideration and significant consultation with the university’s COVID-19 public health strategy team and external health consultants.
The online-only policy applies to the final two weeks of the fall semester, with the last day of in-person instruction on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Officials said the decision was based on projecting about the need to quarantine or isolate at least 200 students in the first week following the Thanksgiving break, if students were to return to campus from the holiday.
Students would also continue to need to be tested for COVID-19 upon their return through the end of final examination period on Dec. 11, which could result in some students being quarantined or isolated well into the year-end holiday break should they become infected or exposed to the virus, officials said. The University is strongly encouraged all students to not return to campus or the surrounding community following the Thanksgiving break.
“Those students whose personal circumstances are such that remaining on campus, or returning following the holiday, is their best option can request permission to remain in their residence hall,” officials said.
The university said it would release details about how to request an exception soon. On-campus resident students and unlimited meal plan holders who do not return to campus will receive a credit or refund for the unused portions of their housing and dining contracts. The university’s academic calendar for the spring semester, announced last week, remains unchanged at this point, officials said. But officials said they reserve the right to change course if the situation warrants.
“As we approach the spring semester, and with the help of our public health strategy team, we will provide specific guidance about how to prepare for our return to campus in January,” officials said. “The decision to not bring students back to campus for classes following the Thanksgiving break, we feel, gives us the best chance to complete the semester and greatly minimizes the possibility of some students being forced to spend part of their year-end break in quarantine or isolation. Asking students to not return after Thanksgiving reduces the likelihood of an increase in transmission of the virus in the broader community over the holidays. It also will give our staff and faculty valuable time to prepare for a more normal Spring semester with increased in-person teaching and activities."