COVID-19, Residence Life, Student Life

COVID-19 Update from the President

By President Dondi Costin | November 12, 2020

Because of your faith, courage, and resilience, we are just 2 weeks from finishing this fall semester, and I could not be more proud of you for getting us here. I knew you could do it, and you did. Thank you! 

Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but we are making plans to have an even better spring semester. After an extended break for the holidays, we’ll be back in action on January 11, 2021. (Adios, 2020!) With that in mind, this email provides several VERY IMPORTANT details regarding the changes Academic Affairs is making for the spring semester—to advance student success. So please read this one all the way to the end.

Our COVID-19 numbers on campus are not bad this week, but we are acutely aware of the rise in cases across the country. Which reminds us of the need to remain diligent in following best practices so we can all finish well and arrive home safely.     

Our Numbers

Here are our numbers as of November 11, 2020: 

    Of these 9 students, 3 are confirmed positive. 
    Of these 9 students, 2 reside on campus, 7 reside off campus. 
    Of these 18 students, 11 reside on campus, 7 reside off campus. 
  • TOTAL NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN ISOLATION: 2 (0 confirmed positive)

As a reminder, ISOLATION is reserved for actively symptomatic or known positive cases, and QUARANTINE is reserved for those who have been identified as a close contact of someone who is positive or who has symptoms. People in QUARANTINE are NOT ill – we are simply watching them to ensure they do not become symptomatic.  

Spring Academic Updates

We encourage both our faculty and students to return to the classroom for in-person instruction in the spring. Evidence from the fall semester indicates that careful adherence to our classroom health protocols has made CSU classrooms among the safest spaces on campus. We recognize most students will be more successful in meeting course learning outcomes when they can attend their classes in person. In addition, feedback from the student survey demonstrates an overwhelming number of students want the opportunity to take their classes in person. Changes to spring semester academic policies are outlined below and are also explained in a video featuring Prof. Gabrielle Poole, our Physician Assistant Program Director and one of the lead members of the University Pandemic Task Force. You can view this message here.

Spring Student Preference Learning Form:

In collaboration with the Academic Deans, the task force has approved an updated Spring Student Preference Learning Form. This form is attached to this email and will be accepted until the end of the Drop/Add period at the beginning of the semester. Updates to this form are outlined below: 

  • Students who prefer to take their classes virtually should enroll in online sections of course offerings whenever possible. This form should only be used by students who must take spring semester courses that are not being offered in an online format. 
  • Students living in campus housing are expected to attend classes in person. Very limited exceptions to this recommendation will be made for students living on campus; these requests must be approved through the Student Success Center. 
  • Students enrolled in courses that have proven more challenging online (i.e., nursing, lab science, clinical courses, and education practicum courses) will in some cases be required to seek a formal accommodation plan from the Student Success Center to attend virtually. Requests for these exceptions may require medical documentation.  
  • If a student’s circumstances change after the Drop/Add period next semester, the form will be sent to the University Pandemic Task Force for consideration. The task force will make a recommendation to the instructor, and the instructor will adjust the student’s status accordingly.

Failure for Absences (FA) Policy Reinstated in the Spring:

  • The FA Policy will be reinstated in the spring for in-person and virtual courses. This policy applies to all 100- and 200-level courses, and for 300- and 400-level courses in which professors elect to enforce the policy (per their course syllabus attendance policy). 
  • Students enrolled in on-campus, in-person classes who are prevented from attending due to a COVID-19-related quarantine/isolation order may attend class remotely without penalty under the FA policy.  
  • It is the student’s responsibility to supply their instructor with the quarantine or isolation determination from the Charleston Southern University Infection Control/COVID-19 Coordinator’s office, along with the required dates of quarantine/isolation, so they will not be counted absent. These students have an automatic virtual learning accommodation for the duration of their quarantine/isolation period. Quarantined students are expected to attend virtually during regular class meetings in order to be counted “present.” Students in isolation are excused from synchronous attendance.

Expected Zoom and Collaborate Ultra Etiquette and Guidelines:

The task force has endorsed the attached etiquette and guidelines for students attending classes virtually. While individual departments and instructors may modify these slightly, it is important that students attending classes virtually do so with the utmost professionalism. 

Student Life Updates

A video will be released early next week that details several exciting Student Life updates for the spring semester. We will continue to monitor the status of COVID-19 in our communities, but we intend to have more opportunities for student engagement next semester. In addition, our new Student Center Lounge will open in the spring, and we expect Java City to reopen as well. It should be fun! 


Remember, you can always reach out to the University Pandemic Task Force with questions or concerns.  You can contact them directly by emailing This email address is monitored Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Any emails received after 5 p.m. on Friday will be addressed on Monday.    

Stay safe, stay focused, stay healthy, and stay faithful to the Lord and His provision as we work together to continue enjoying a healthy CSU! As always, let’s spread the Word, not the virus.

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