Miscellaneous Updates and General Information

Miscellaneous Updates

    This information is sent on behalf of Vice Presidents Lisa Cowart and Justin Oates. Please see the related press release from today’s Board of Trustees meeting for more information.

    Dear Colleagues,

    Winthrop’s senior leadership has been evaluating options to mitigate the risks associated with current economic realities, both domestic and abroad. As we continue to navigate these uncharted waters, it is imperative that we all work together to control our collective expenses. 

    Budget Freeze

    Our first response to mitigate these risks is an immediate budget freeze on normal activities through April 30, 2020, in order to perform a year-end reallocation exercise to support the following:

    Assessment of appropriate expenditures required during this critical time that fall into one of these categories:

    • Technology and security needs to support on-line instruction
    • Technology and security needs to support faculty and staff working from home
    • Technology needs to support our enrollment, orientation, fundraising, recruiting, career services, and other key initiatives to attract and retain students in our various programs across campus
    • Police and facilities activities and supplies to keep our campus safe, clean, and accessible for workers and students who must be here for the next month and for everyone else when the time is right to return
    • Other needs determined essential at the president and senior leadership level   

    In order to help control spending, effectively immediately, all expenses will require approval by the vice president or dean of each respective unit on campus. In addition, all expenses over $5,000 will require additional approval by the CFO or AVP of Finance. These controls should significantly reduce expenditures across the university and help us meet our financial challenges as our situation becomes more clear.

    To learn more about the process to support this budget directive and other finance-related matters (for example, accounts payable, procurement, and post office), please see these documents.

    Hiring Freeze

    The second response effective today, April 3, 2020, is implementation of an immediate, temporary hiring freeze that covers certain vacant state-funded positions until further notice. The university’s Committee on Personnel Actions and the president will oversee the freeze.

    Requests to hire new Winthrop employees and requests to establish new state-funded positions will not be considered for approval unless specifically identified as an exception by the CPA/president.   Positions affected by the hiring freeze include:

    • Regular FTE staff (existing vacancies)
    • Non-instructional academic employees (existing vacancies)
    • New temporary hires (All temporary positions will be evaluated, including existing temporary employees for whom a new ePAF would be required on July 1, 2020.)

    Positions that were approved for hire, but remain unfilled, prior to April 3, 2020, will be evaluated individually. 

    Rare exceptions may be granted for the purposes of compliance, or other required and essential personnel necessary to sustain the safety and security of the campus and to perform daily operations and services deemed to be essential to the critical mission of the university.

    Special provisions apply to the following position types:

    • Federal Work Study, student employees, and graduate assistants/associates/graduate student workers are not subject to the hiring freeze; however, no new funding allocations will be made to support student employment.
    • Instructional full-time, part-time, and adjunct faculty hired to teach classes.
    • Grant-funded positions may be filled, provided the funding source is not split-funded between grant and university funds.  Split-funded grant hires will need to be approved as an exception by the CPA/president.
    • Positions funded by revenue-generated funds must be approved as an exception by the CPA/president.  Consideration will be given to the financial solvency of the revenue-generating program.

    See the FAQs for specific inquiries you may have. (pdf - 895 KB)

    These are not easy decisions to make, but they are warranted to ensure that we have the resources to continue to engage in exceptional teaching, learning, and service; be an employer of choice; and support our current faculty and staff as we move into the future.

    Thank you for your support through these challenging times. Together we will continue to meet our vital educational mission while balancing the finances of the university. 

    Computing and Information Technology posted these updates to assist the Winthrop community.

    Winthrop offices remain open for normal business hours.

    • During spring break and the remote instruction period March 23-April 3, Winthrop residence halls will only be available to students who are approved to remain due to specific extenuating circumstances. Residence Life provided specific guidance to residents yesterday.
    • Dining Services will operate on a limited hours schedule.  Self-service options also will be limited to avoid potential cross contamination of serving utensils.
    • Dacus Library will be open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. during spring break. During the March 23-April 3 remote instruction period, the library will be open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to midnight. Note that the Information Commons Desk will close at 5 p.m.  See more information on the library’s website.
    • The West Center will be closed beginning Sunday, March 15, and is anticipated to reopen on Monday, April 6.
    • The DiGiorgio Campus Center will be closed weekends through the end of March. The building will be open for staff and limited business activities only beginning March 16  Monday-Friday 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. until April 3.
    • All campus-related events using Winthrop facilities are cancelled through Friday, April 3, including such internal campus events as scheduled student meetings, Winthrop-sponsored events like the Model United Nations, and externally sponsored events.
    • McBryde Hall will close after an event on Saturday, March 14, and will remain closed until Thursday, March 19, when it will be cleaned and reopen. Go around the building and enter any building offices from the parking lot in front of the West Center.
    • The Athletics Department has suspended all spring regular season competition through March 30, 2020. Additionally, the Big South Conference has suspended athletic team events through March 31, 2020.



General Information

    People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

    Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:

    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

    Or at least two of these symptoms:

    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Repeated shaking with chills
    • Muscle pain
    • Headache
    • Sore throat
    • New loss of taste or smell

    Children have similar symptoms to adults and generally have mild illness.

    This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

    There is no vaccine to prevent this virus, and the CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed.
    Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

    • Practice respiratory etiquette to include:
      • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% rubbing alcohol.
      • Avoiding touching of eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
      • Covering mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing; immediately discarding used tissues in a trashcan. 
      • If tissues are not readily available, the cough or sneeze may be caught by the sleeve at the elbow or shoulder.  Remove mucus or debris with a tissue and then wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Change or cover clothing contaminated with mucus to prevent spreading.
      • Washing or sanitizing hands after using tissues and after contact with respiratory secretions.
      • Wash hands after interacting with people, touching high volume places (door handles, tables, shopping carts, gas pumps, etc.), before eating, and once you arrive home.
      • Avoid shaking hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    If you have symptoms of fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing and in the last 14 days you:

    • Traveled to Wuhan or visited an affected region in China, or
    • Visited an affected region in another affected country, or
    • Had close contact with someone who had traveled to an affected region in China or other affected country, and had respiratory symptoms

    You should:

    • Self-isolate to avoid contact with others.
    • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. Please do not utilize public transportation or just arrive at a healthcare provider’s office.
    • Winthrop students may call Health Services (803/323-2206) to request a telephone triage to discuss their health concerns with a nurse who will provide instructions about appropriate next steps.
    • Employees should contact their health care provider.
    • Do not travel while sick.
    • Practice the aforementioned steps for respiratory etiquette.
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • Follow the S.C. DHEC website for updated information https://www.scdhec.gov/health/infectious-diseases/viruses/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19
    • Monitor the CDC link to track cases in the U.S. and globally https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/

    Travel advisories continue to change. Please monitor the CDC and WHO websites for up-to-date information on travel restrictions.


Corona Virus FAQ's