Returning to Campus

This information is provided to you from Winthrop’s Critical Incident Management Team.

Corona Virus FAQ'sThe S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is currently investigating possible cases of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) virus in South Carolina.  University officials continue to closely monitor COVID-19 and are actively engaged in daily planning in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, as well as inform and provide guidance to faculty, staff, and students.


Returning Students

While fall planning continues, Winthrop looks to welcome a small group of students back onto campus for a few Summer Session D courses, which begin on July 13. Those few in-person courses include three sections of anatomy and physiology and the corresponding labs and a graduate education course. All other Summer Session offerings will be delivered remotely. Additionally, during the month of July, there will be select student and faculty in-person research taking place on campus as part of the Eagle STEM Scholars program and the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE).

There will be no fall break in October; the university will conclude face-to-face instruction before Thanksgiving break; and then Winthrop will move to remote instruction to complete the fall semester. 

Winthrop’s new fall academic schedule meets requirements for federal financial aid and for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). 

Please note the amended schedule:

  • Aug. 24: Classes begin
  • Sept. 7: Labor Day; classes will be held
  • Oct. 16-19: Fall break is cancelled; classes will be held
  • Nov. 3: General Election Day; classes will be held
  • Nov. 24: Face-to-face instruction will end
  • Nov. 25-29: Thanksgiving break; no classes
  • Nov. 30-Dec. 7: Remote class days
  • Dec. 8: Study day
  • Dec. 9-15: Final exam period

Please visit the academic calendar page for all the latest updates. 


Returning Employees

Return To Work Cover (pdf - 227 KB)

Much of the campus community are preparing for Phase 2 of our return to work plan (pdf - 227 KB).  (Please note that for now, only Phase 1 employees are to be in their positions; other employees should continue to work remotely. Please do not come back to work until you are cleared to do so by your supervisor.)

It is important to note that this continues to be an evolving situation.  Information will be updated as new or additional guidance becomes available in addition to any resulting changes in dates, process, or procedures.  We appreciate your understanding.


Phases for Return

    We will begin Phase 2 on Monday, July 6 (note the Phase 2 start date is subject to change based on DHEC guidance relating to the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the local community).  During Phase 2, all campus offices and buildings will be open, and employees will  return to 50 percent of the workforce on campus on any given day.  Supervisors will determine work schedules and will contact employees regarding expectations for reporting to work on campus.  Questions regarding work schedules should be directed to supervisors.  Also during Phase 2, supervisors should be sensitive to the needs of those employees with high-risk circumstances and allow continued work from home to the extent possible.  Prior to returning to work on campus, all employees must review the following information located on the COVID-19 Information for Employees portion of the HR website:  COVID-19 Phased Plan for Returning Employees to Work; the Faculty and Staff Return to Work Notification, Training, and Resources; and complete the Return to Work Online Acknowledgment Form.

    Phase 3 of our return work process will begin on Monday, July 27 (again, the Phase 3 start date is subject to change based on DHEC guidance relating to the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the local community) when more employees will return to work on campus.  During Phase 3 we no longer expect only 50 percent of the workforce on campus on any given day, but we will continue to follow CDC and DHEC guidance for face masks, social distancing, and personal hygiene (see "Common Questions" below).  Also during Phase 3, some employees may continue to be allowed to work from home, especially those with high-risk circumstances.  As daycare operations and regular child care options begin to normalize, employees should make arrangements for child care.  Special circumstances may be discussed with supervisors and HR if necessary. Supervisors will determine work schedules and communicate with employees.  Winthrop will continue to allow work from home under the Temporary and Emergency Telecommuting/Remote Employment Guidelines Associated with COVID-19 until further notice.


Common Questions

There have been many questions about all the things Winthrop is doing to prepare for additional workers returning to campus. Here are answers to the commonly asked questions HR has received.  The information below does include some updated information regarding the distribution of supplies, so please read carefully.

    Winthrop will provide reusable cloth masks to employees. These are for use at work, not for non-Winthrop use. The masks are ordered and to be delivered in mid-June in time for the Phase 2 opening.  We plan to provide each employee with two cloth masks, but based on the initial order, we may only have enough in stock to provide one to each employee by the Phase 2 opening date.  Additional masks have been ordered and we will provide the second cloth mask to employees when they are received.  Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) will coordinate with HR to provide offices and areas with the masks. Do not complete a Facilities Management (FM) work request for these. You will soon hear more about how you will receive these masks. You may find that you would rather use your own personal mask(s) consistently, and that is perfectly fine and even encouraged to help stretch our supply of the Winthrop-supplied cloth masks.  

    Winthrop has a limited supply of disposable face masks for Winthrop use. These are prioritized for employees who have been and will continue working on campus until the cloth face masks are delivered. If you are a supervisor and need a small supply of these masks to get through until mid-June, you may use the FM work request system to order them. Because we will supply reusable masks for employees, any large orders of the disposable masks will be rejected. Again, these are available for employees who are working now who may not have their own masks. For the Phase 2 opening, EHS staff will supply disposable face masks to offices that receive large numbers of visitors in case individuals arrive without a mask. This supply also may be used as back-ups for employees who forget theirs. Again, use the FM work request system if you need a small number of these disposable masks.

    At a later date information will be provided on how student masks/face coverings are being handled. Do not use the FM work request system to order any masks for students at this time.

    Soap and water handwashing is the best defense against COVID-19. Sanitizer is suggested if you do not have access to soap and water. All restrooms on campus will be fully stocked with soap, and sanitizer will be provided in the stationary dispensers around campus (typically found near building entrances, in common areas, etc.). Winthrop has a limited supply of bottled hand sanitizer. At this time, do not submit a FM work request for bottled hand sanitizer for offices. As you may have found in your personal life, it is simply not readily available. Supervisors will be informed of how to order sanitizer once it becomes available. Instruct employees to wash their hands with soap and water in the restroom, use their paper towel from drying their hands to open any doors or navigate other high-touch surfaces on the way back to their work space. Then dispose of the paper towel at their desk.

    Everyone in the campus community has a role to play in maintaining a healthy work environment and must take responsibility for assisting with cleaning. The custodial staff can only do so much. They are focusing on frequently disinfecting restrooms, common areas, and high-touch surfaces (faucets, light switches, knobs, handles, buttons, hand railings, etc.). Employees should follow handwashing guidelines and work together to keep their areas clean.  Because more employees are on back on campus in and out of their work spaces, the electrostatic fogging of buildings that was done early in the closure has been discontinued on a regular basis. Going forward, the electrostatic cleaning will be used in decontamination cleaning for situations when an employee or student who has tested positive has been on campus.

    In addition to the general cleaning provided by the custodial staff, EHS staff will coordinate with FM to provide disinfectant cleaner and paper towels to campus departments (these will not be for each work station).  More information about the distribution of these products will be provided to departments, so there is no need to submit a work order for these.  Some offices have indicated that their employees prefer to do their own cleaning/disinfecting rather than have custodial employees in and out of their offices.   If so, departments may contact FM for information regarding how to request trash bags.  Also, departments may contact  FM for information regarding how to request refills of disinfectant cleaner and paper towels when their supply runs low.  Disinfecting wipes are not available, so do not request them through the FM work request system.

    Any FM work requests for installation of Plexiglas shields for employees’ work spaces will be evaluated by FM staff before being completed. The shields should only be requested for those employees who have frequent face-to-face contact with customers (students, FS, visitors) or to separate employees in close proximity to others. They are not being installed in labs, restrooms, etc., at this time. That will be addressed as needed once we are closer to the fall opening for classes.

    A variety of signage has been placed around campus to remind the campus community about expectations upon reopening. You may review what is available and order specific signs from Printing Services for your area if needed. You will not be charged for signs.  Signage cannot be used to restrict ADA access to areas nor to restrict stairwell use in violation of fire and safety codes.  If  you have questions about additional signage for your area, please contact Jill Stuckey (

    Employees are not currently being asked to take diagnostic  tests or temperature checks in order to come back to work. Rather, employees are expected begin to self-monitor for any symptoms related to COVID-19 and to continue this each day before reporting to work.  According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and DHEC, these symptoms currently may include: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever of 100.4 °F or greater, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell.  HR will work closely with employees who have tested positive or who have been in close contact with an individual who has tested positive to ensure a safe return to work.  Refer to the Phased Plan for Returning Employees to Work plan located on the COVID-19 Information for Employees portion of the HR website for any updates to symptoms as the Phase 2 opening approaches.

    Any faculty or staff member who is sick and experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should not report to work. They should contact their supervisor, healthcare provider, and LeeAnn Pounds in HR for additional information and instructions.

    If faculty or staff members become sick at work with symptoms of COVID-19, they should leave work immediately and contact their supervisor, healthcare provider, and LeeAnn Pounds in HR for additional information and instructions. LeeAnn Pounds also should be informed if a faculty or staff member is suspected of possibly being ill with COVID-19 because of symptoms displayed at work or if a faculty or staff member suspects he/she may have been exposed to the virus through contact with an individual who has tested positive.

If you still have questions about returning to work and expectations of employees, please direct questions to your supervisor or to Thank you for your patience as we move forward together to return to work in as safe a manner as possible.


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