Winthrop University: Emergency Information - Coronavirus - Presidential Updates
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Presidential Updates

    Thank you for your patience as Winthrop begins to slowly, and with guidance from the State, open its doors after our extended closure. We successfully began Phase 1 of our three-phase plan on June 1 with all Facilities Management (FM) employees, essential employees who have been working on campus since the closure, and other employees who were identified within their divisions as unable to work from home, all now on the job handling their duties from their campus work areas. We appreciate all of you who never left and those who have made it back!

    I want to take a moment to share that July 6, 2020, will be our Phase 2 implementation date.  We’re nearly two weeks into Phase 1, and things have gone smoothly. However, there is still much to do before we are ready for 50 percent of the workforce to be back on campus. Vice President for HR Lisa Cowart will be in touch in the next day or two by email with the many details you will need to know to successfully report back to work July 6 if you are part of Phase 2 (most of us are). For additional planning purposes, our tentative date to begin Phase 3 will be July 27.

    Vice President for Academic Affairs Adrienne McCormick will send an email in the coming days explaining the updated academic calendar.

    Please watch for these messages and the important information they will convey, and as always, I appreciate all that you do for Winthrop.

    I hope my updates continue to find you healthy and well. I wanted to share information on Winthrop’s plan to modify the fall academic calendar in order to protect the health of our campus community. Please see the news release below that will be shared with the media today. We continue to work through additional details as we prepare to welcome back our students in August.  Please know that the health and safety of each student and employee is at the forefront of every decision that is made. Thank you once again for your patience and understanding during these unusual times.

     

    Winthrop to Forego Fall Break, Move to Remote Instruction Following Thanksgiving Break

    ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA - Interim President George W. Hynd announced today that Winthrop University will make changes to its fall 2020 academic schedule due to COVID-19. 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. 

    "These schedule changes will hopefully help mitigate a possible spike in COVID-19 when traditionally thousands of students, faculty and staff would be returning to campus after a few days away. We weighed the public health risks of having our campus community return from these breaks, and the risks were significant as the country may be facing a second wave of COVID-19 at the same time that we typically experience an uptick in seasonal flu cases,” said Hynd. “We feel that this move, which also has been introduced by some other South Carolina universities, will help keep our students and employees safe, all while continuing to focus on delivering the best learning experience for our students.”

    While the university will welcome back the majority of its students to in-person classes in August, Hynd noted that administrators continue to work through details of how in-person instruction will look in order to maximize social distancing and keep the community safe. Winthrop is planning for the majority of classes to be on campus, but some courses will have to be shifted online that were initially planned for in-person instruction, in order to spread courses out across classrooms and scheduled meeting times.

    According to Adrienne McCormick, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, faculty members will build their fall course plans and determine how the final weeks of course material will be covered remotely. “This course planning will differ significantly from the spring since the hybrid content delivery will be planned from the start. The expectations for student work during that time after Thanksgiving will depend on the courses they are taking, but in general, the final week of content and all final exams will be delivered and completed via remote instruction,” said McCormick.

    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).

    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

    For more information, please contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at longshawj@winthrop.edu.

    I hope this update finds you well. I wanted to share information on Winthrop’s plans as we move forward with our August reopening. Please see the news release below that will be shared with the media today. I will continue to update you as we prepare for a re-envisioned fall semester. Thank you once again for your patience and display of Winthrop Spirit as we seek to make the best decisions for our new and returning students during these unusual times.


    Hynd to Recommend No Tuition Increase for 2020-21 Academic Year as Campus Focuses on August Re-opening

    ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA—As administrators plan for the fall semester opening, Winthrop University Interim President George W. Hynd announced today that he will recommend to the Board of Trustees’ finance committee and full board to hold tuition constant at 2019-20 levels for the 2020-21 academic year. Board members will hold their regularly scheduled meeting June 18-19, 2020.

    “The students and families we serve are largely South Carolinians who have been struggling under the weight of a shuttered economy for an extended time,” Hynd said. “Our recent decisions to reduce summer tuition, temporarily suspend standardized test scores for admission, and make spring fee adjustments all were intended to help students continue or begin their Winthrop experiences. Keeping tuition at 2019-20 levels is another way we can show prospective and returning students that the Winthrop family stands ready to assist them in fulfilling their educational goals, even in uncertain times.”

    At the June board meeting trustees will hear details of Winthrop’s plan to open the campus for new and returning students in August. Hynd noted that senior leaders are focusing on how in-person instruction will look in order to maximize social distancing and keep the community safe. “While we are planning for the majority of classes to be on campus, we will offer some classes online or hybrid classes blending campus-based and online instruction,” he said.  “Class sizes, scheduling and locations are being evaluated to help protect students, faculty and staff from COVID-19.”

    Hynd also noted that residence halls will be available in the fall, but on a reduced basis in order to minimize the use of shared bathrooms. “We continue to work on determining the exact number of students we can safely accommodate in the halls and to partner with dining service provider Sodexo on safe practices. We do expect significant revenue implications in both of these auxiliary areas,” Hynd said.

    On a brighter note, the interim president said he is pleased with progress on the university’s return to work plan, guided by the S.C. State Administrative Department and facilitated by Winthrop’s Office of Human Resources, Employee Diversity and Wellness. The three-phase plan (pdf - 227 KB) beginning June 1 intends to return most of the workforce to the campus sometime this summer.

    Each Winthrop division has been assessing needs and making plans to return to operations within a predominantly socially distanced work environment. The university’s environmental health and safety office and critical incident management team have been researching and implementing best practices in the run-up to June 1.  

    “We look forward to the day when our full complement of employees may return to campus energized and ready to safely provide the exemplary educational experience our students and their families have come to expect,” Hynd said. “At this time we do not know exactly what day that will be, but we will be prepared and eager to welcome students back to campus.”

    For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, longshawj@winthrop.edu.  

    Dear Colleagues:

    First, let me take this opportunity to thank all of you for your extraordinary patience and understanding as to the many uncertainties that have emerged during these unprecedented times.  You have clearly demonstrated the essence of Winthrop Spirit!

    One of the most frequent questions we receive is when will the staff and faculty be able to return to work again on campus. To that end, many of you may have heard Governor's McMaster's announcement this week about state employees returning to work. I want to reassure you that the senior leadership is carefully reviewing the guidance received from the State Human Resources division and is incorporating that guidance into our planning that, as previously mentioned, is already underway.

    What is positive about the state's three-phase plan is that we are being given significant discretion to manage our workforce. In addition, because of the success of employees adapting to working from home, we expect to continue liberal work-from-home practices to promote social distancing and mitigate disease transmission.

    We know that the First Phase of the state's plan impacts employees in FTE (full-time equivalent) positions whose work has not or cannot readily continue to be done remotely. Those employees will be back to work first. The state SC Department of Administration will provide guidance regarding when these employees will be returned to work, but it will be no later than June 1, 2020.  FTE employees who are not currently able to work from home may expect to hear from their supervisor prior to June 1 regarding the date they should report to their campus workplace.  In most cases, employees who are currently working from home will continue to work from home during the first phase of the return to the workplace plan.

    The Second Phase of the return to the workplace plan will bring more employees back to their regular work location on campus.  The date the second phase begins will also be determined based on guidance from the SC Department of Administration.  We do know it will be no sooner than two weeks after the begin date of the first phase. 

    We will take all appropriate measures to make employees feel as safe as possible in the workplace upon their return.  In addition, employees who are within the higher risk or special populations or who care for someone in the population vulnerable to COVID-19 should discuss their situation with their supervisor. Our Office of Human Resources, Employee Diversity, and Wellness also stands ready to assist employees who are simply not comfortable physically returning to the workplace at this time.

    The Third Phase has yet to be determined but in essence it will be launched, “on the advice and guidance of DHEC, but at a minimum of two weeks following the start of Phase 2.” At this point, the Third Phase launch is highly dependent on, “the advice of health professionals, the reopening of schools and the widespread availability of child-care options.”

    As we continue our divisional back-to-work planning, we will maintain our emphasis on the health and safety of our faculty and staff. I will share more information on our institutional plans once additional details are finalized. Thank you again for your patience and flexibility during these unusual times.

    Dear Colleagues:

    I hope this message finds you and your family healthy and safe. As I was contemplating what updates to bring to you at this time, it occurred to me that when I accepted this interim presidency I could not have imagined what we have now experienced as a campus community, and I certainly would not have believed in this amount of time on the job that I would have met so few of you, as well as so few of our students, alumni, and other constituents. 

    Like many of you, I value the original form of “face time,” handshakes upon meeting, and eye contact when discussing matters of importance. I had a chance to do all those things with some of you in late January and in my first two weeks on campus. Since then, our communication has been limited, but I do hope you have seen, through the various announcements and decisions that have been made, my dedication to this university and its people. I sincerely hope I have begun to earn your trust.

    Much uncertainly clearly remains on such important questions as when will campus open and will instruction be “in person” rather than remote in the fall. While I cannot answer those questions, I do want to update you on some of what the senior leadership has determined as we await more information from Governor McMaster, DHEC, the CDC, etc.

    Immediate Updates

    • Good news! We will be reopening the farm area for public use of walking and biking trails, with the expectation people will follow social distancing guidance.
    • We are continuing to clean and disinfect campus buildings to protect employees who have to work now as well as to help prepare for our eventual return to campus.
    • All on-campus events, external rentals, and sports, academic and arts camps are cancelled through June 30.  Those events planned for after July 1 may still happen, depending on state and local guidance at that time.
    • The ban on new non-essential Winthrop business travel has been extended through June 30. Given projected revenue shortfalls for 2020-21, it may be necessary to continue the ban into the new fiscal year, so please plan early to discuss any travel with your department chairs/heads.

    Summer Plans

    The health and welfare of our campus community remains at the forefront of decisions we are making to prepare for the day when, by law, we have to open the campus. We already know that day will look nothing like March 13, the last day that faculty and staff were working on campus and students were leaving for Spring Break. So what will be different?

    Right now we are planning for a phased opening, rather than everyone back in offices and performing their duties on campus immediately. Last week I asked each division to create a task force to address potential issues related to their division for the eventuality of returning to campus.  This multilevel exercise will allow divisions to think through how they can apply social distancing guidelines in their work space, what family obligations or health concerns faculty and staff have, and how work responsibilities will be met through, if necessary, a combination of remote and on-site assignments, based on employee needs. This process also requires that divisions adapt their work, if necessary, to support decisions already made (such as plans for Summer Session, virtual Orientation, etc.) and those yet to be determined about other typical summer activities, leading into the fall semester.

    Based on the divisional feedback received in the next two weeks, and continuing guidance from the Governor’s office, DHEC, and the CDC, I expect we will have an overall plan shortly thereafter for how we will move into the summer months.

    Fall Scenarios

    I want you to know that we are doing all that we can to help returning students and new students enroll for the fall semester. In addition to the spring semester reimbursements, the CARES Act funds, and the Student Emergency and Assistance Fund, we also have extended the deadline for housing contracts and allowed students to enroll even if the balance on their accounts is higher than would be expected.   

    Senior leadership will continue to work with areas across campus on scenario planning for the fall. As you may know if you read higher education news stories, institutions across the country are choosing very different paths, from plans to fully open face to face on schedule, to delayed openings, to hybrid semesters starting remotely and moving to campus based if feasible mid semester. We have every intention of welcoming students to the campus in the fall, but we will continue to explore all of our options with an eye toward what is best for Winthrop, our students, and our employees, keeping in mind national and state guidance aimed at keeping our community safe and healthy.

    What we are certainly hoping for is a commitment from federal and state government to the widespread testing that is necessary to determine COVID-19 incidence in our state and community.  This is a major concern of all the presidents to whom I talk on a weekly basis through the CHE. I will continue to press this need with our legislators as well.

    As you know, much uncertainty remains on the budget situation. We have been ramping up our recruitment efforts, but like other schools, we do not know what to expect for fall enrollment because many families are facing severe economic difficulties. Likewise, we have no idea yet what federal funds we may see from the state or what our appropriation will be. We do know that the Legislature will be reconvening in Columbia next week to take up their continuing resolution.   

    Thank you for all of your efforts over the spring semester. Your Eagle spirit has been on full display, and I truly appreciate your commitment to Winthrop.

    I hope this message finds you well and relaxing a bit after exams. I mentioned two weeks ago that we expected $5,382,130 to come to our campus from the CARES Act, with half of that amount ($2,691,065) strictly for emergency assistance to students. I am pleased to say we now have access to the emergency student assistance funds and a better idea of how we will be allowed to disburse these funds to our undergraduate and graduate students.  

    The following federal guidance was used to determine eligibility to receive funds: 

    • Only students who filed a FAFSA for the 2019-20 year are eligible; DACA students, international students, and others who did not file a FAFSA are not eligible.
    • In addition to filing a FAFSA, undergraduates and graduate students must be degree seeking and have been enrolled through the end of the Spring 2020 semester; three exceptions to the degree-seeking requirement at Winthrop are Counseling and Development Certificate, Dietetics Internship, and Winthrop Think College.
    • Per Department of Education guidance, graduate students must be enrolled in campus-based programs; therefore, those enrolled in Winthrop’s 100% online programs are not eligible for this funding.

    Based on the above, 3,835 students are eligible for emergency assistance. For Pell-eligible undergraduates, the amount of the assistance will be $750 per student. Non-Pell-eligible undergraduates will receive $550, the same amount that will go to eligible graduate students. These emergency assistance grants are being disbursed directly to students regardless of their account balances with the university. These funds have been processed, and direct deposits/checks will be distributed later this week. 

    Students who have not graduated, who did not file a FAFSA, but had expenses related to COVID-19, and wish to file a FAFSA before June 30, 2020, may do so and submit a CARES appeal for consideration.  Submitting a FAFSA/appeal does not guarantee funding.

    Students should contact the Financial Aid Office if they have questions about their eligibility for CARES Act emergency funds or to inquire about submitting a FAFSA or about the appeal process.

    As to the other half of the federal CARES Act funding, we have applied for it and await access to the funds. We intend for the money to be used to cover some of our COVID-19 costs, such as technology to support on-line instruction and employees working from home; facilities cleaning aligned with CDC guidelines; and campus security, among others. 

    We know COVID-19 has stretched the finances of many of our students and their families, and it is my sincere hope that the funds distributed today, as well as the room, board and parking reimbursements already applied to student accounts and distributed, will help those impacted get by until the economy improves. As we continue to learn more about additional federal and state funds related to COVID-19, I will keep you apprised. Thank you for your patience.

    As remote learning and exams conclude this week, I believe a collective sigh of relief is in order for the campus community. Truly, you have all accomplished what some might have thought impossible over the last half of the spring semester. As we pivoted to (for most of us) a totally new mode of teaching, learning, and working in response to COVID-19, we were stretched in unimaginable ways, yet succeeded in making it through this most unusual set of circumstances. Congratulations and well done! I am proud to be your interim president.

    We have received many questions in recent days about the status of Commencement. As I shared previously, the Commencement Committee was tasked to recommend to senior leadership options for how we might appropriately recognize and celebrate our graduates. The group considered feedback members received about hosting a virtual ceremony this month, but ultimately chose to recommend a more traditional in-person event reflecting the desires of our graduates. I ask you to save the date for Winthrop University’s Commencement on Saturday, August 15, 2020.

    This was not an easy decision as there remains much uncertainty about where we will be as a state and a nation in three months’ time. However, the committee and senior leadership felt strongly that students' Winthrop experiences should not end without appropriate recognition and celebration. Therefore, we will remain hopeful about the status of gatherings in mid-August and will share more details as we move forward with our plans.

    In the meantime, this week remains an important milestone, and we have a robust plan to celebrate and inspire our graduates through social media and our website. All of our official Winthrop social media channels will have posts and information on the accomplishments of the Winthrop community, and a new website will debut on Saturday, May 9, when undergraduate Commencement was scheduled to take place. I encourage you to visit these virtual places to see and read about all that is happening during what remains a time of reflection and celebration. Graduates should watch their email for details from Records and Registration about posting of degrees, receipt of diplomas, and other logistics.

    Among the highlights of Commencement is the announcement of faculty award winners, and I would like to direct your attention to our news release with details regarding our three deserving recipients: Brad Witzel, professor of education and program director of special education (Distinguished Professor Award); Crystal Glover, assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy (Outstanding Junior Professor); and Adriana Cordis, associate professor of accounting (LaRoche Graduate Faculty Award). I commend these faculty members and thank them for their excellent, student-centered work.

    As we prepare to conclude Winthrop’s 134th academic year this summer, I once again thank you for your patience and resilience as we continue to navigate uncharted waters. It is my sincere hope to safely see you all on campus August 15, and I certainly look forward to what will be a memorable celebration worthy of the accomplishments of the Class of 2020 and the community that has steadfastly supported these graduates.

    Dear Colleagues:

    The first of May, traditionally known as May Day, is often a time of celebration of the arrival of spring. I understand there was at Winthrop an annual May Day Celebration begun in 1929 and popular throughout the institution's years as a women's college. For us, May 1, 2020, will be a cause for celebration of another sort – surviving our seventh (can you believe it?) week away from campus! It is hard to imagine, but another month of working remotely has begun, and it is a good time to review how Winthrop is following appropriate guidelines for the health and safety of our campus community.

    As you know, the campus is closed until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  At this time, only employees who have been approved to work on campus based on the essential nature of their jobs are allowed to be working on campus.  Other employees may be approved to briefly come to campus to retrieve items, but in these very limited situations, approval must be obtained from the divisional vice president or the provost. 

    It is vitally important that we know who has been on campus and when/where they were.  I expect any employee who comes to campus to be respectful of others and practice recommended guidelines for the health, safety, and comfort-level of the entire campus community, but especially for those employees who may have no other choice but to report to work.  To the extent we can, we want to take all appropriate measures to prevent the potential spread of the virus.

    To that end, while on campus, all employees must adhere to the following requirements that align with the guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

    • Wear protective face masks at all times, except when the employee is working alone in a private office.  Specifically, face masks must be worn when the employee leaves their private work space and when interacting with coworkers.  Winthrop's supply of face masks is very limited.  Currently Winthrop is supplying face masks for facilities employees based on CDC guidelines for employees in certain professions.  All other employees are required to wear face masks and to follow the CDC guidelines for the proper use, care, cleaning, and disposal of face masks.  Winthrop has ordered additional face masks, and employees will be notified when/if they become available for more widespread distribution.

    • Follow the CDC protocol for social distancing and self-care.
      • CDC Protocol for Social Distancing
        • Stay at least 6 feet from other people
        • Do not gather in groups
        • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings
      • CDC Protocol for Self-Care
        • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.  This is especially important after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going into the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
        • Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.  Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
        • Soap and water are the best option, especially if hands are visibly dirty.
        • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
        • There is not a strong recommendation from the CDC that wearing gloves is necessary while at work (other than for certain facilities employees and for healthcare workers).  However, wearing gloves may provide employees with an additional level of comfort with regard to exposure.  So, while wearing gloves is not a requirement, employees may do so at their own discretion.
    • To the extent possible, employees must avoid close contact with any other employee or individual while on campus.  The CDC definition of “close contact” includes being within 6 feet of another person for 10 minutes.
    • Keep track of physical contact.  Employees who are on Winthrops campus must be able to provide information regarding their physical location while they were on campus.  In addition, employees must be able to provide a list of individuals with whom the employee was in close contact with and a list of individuals with whom the employee was in the vicinity of (interaction with, but does not meet the definition of “close contact”) while working on campus.  This information will be used to notify others if the employee either suspects they have been exposed to or has tested positive for COVID-19, and it will be requested only if the need arises.
    • EMPLOYEES MAY NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, BRING CHILDREN TO CAMPUS.

    I think you will agree that these requirements are the least we can do as a campus community that cares about and values each member. I personally appreciate the attention you will pay to following these requirements if you have to be on campus for any reason. If you have questions or concerns about these expectations, please let me know. Thank you for all you are doing for Winthrop during difficult times!

    Dear Students,

    I hope you and your families are well. I am writing to give you an update on a couple of important matters.

    First, I am pleased to share information on housing, dining and parking fee adjustments. Thanks to the good work of a team of individuals from residence life, finance, information technology, and financial aid, fee adjustments were made to impacted student accounts last week. As mentioned previously, some fee adjustments would result in a credit to students' accounts if they owed the university, while other fee adjustments would result in a refund if students' accounts were current.

    The process provided $3.7 million in fee adjustments to student accounts and impacted 2,960 students. You may read more about the process in this news release.

    Secondly, I want to share with you what we know so far about the CARES Act and state funding and what that funding will mean for Winthrop.

    When the initial Department of Education guidance on CARES came out on April 9, we learned the amount our institution could expect ($5,382,130) with half of that amount ($2,691,065) strictly going toward emergency assistance to students. We are still awaiting clarity about how we will be allowed to disperse these funds, but we know that this assistance must be provided to degree-seeking students, both graduate and undergraduate, enrolled this spring. We submitted our certificate of funding agreement to the Department of Education last week, and we are waiting for access to the funds.

    We know our students have been impacted in truly unimaginable ways. Hopefully these resources will abate some of the financial stress associated with COVID-19. Conversations among senior leadership have focused on the most equitable and fastest way to distribute these funds.  We have a plan based on undergraduate students receiving funds based on their status as Pell-eligible or non-Pell-eligible, per the limited Department of Education guidance received. Graduate students also will receive funds.

    As to the other half of the funding, it is to be used to cover COVID-19 costs, but again we have no specifics. We eagerly await more guidance here.

    States also are receiving funds through CARES, and we know that any state-allocated funds will be distributed at Governor Henry McMaster's discretion to higher education institutions (public and private). We have no information yet on any of these funds and how they may impact us.

    I wish that I had more details to share with you. I will continue to provide information as we receive it and make decisions at the senior leadership level in coordination with the Board of Trustees.

    Dear Colleagues:

    I hope you and your families are well. I am writing to give you an update on a few important matters.

    First, I am pleased to share information on housing, dining and parking fee adjustments to our students. Thanks to the good work of a team of individuals from residence life, finance, information technology, and financial aid, fee adjustments were made to impacted student accounts last week. As mentioned previously, some fee adjustments would result in a credit to students’ accounts if they owed the university, while other fee adjustments would result in a refund if students’ accounts were current.

    The process provided $3.7 million in reimbursements to student accounts and impacted 2,960 students. You may read more about the process in this news release.

    Secondly, I want to share with you what we know so far about the CARES Act and state funding and what that funding will mean for Winthrop.

    When the initial Department of Education guidance on CARES came out on April 9, we learned the amount our institution could expect ($5,382,130) with half of that amount ($2,691,065) strictly going toward emergency assistance to students. We are still awaiting clarity about how we will be allowed to disperse funds to students, but we know that this assistance must be provided to degree-seeking students, both graduate and undergraduate, enrolled this spring. We submitted our certificate of funding agreement to the Department of Education last week, and we are waiting for access to the funds.

    Our students have been impacted in truly unimaginable ways. Hopefully these resources will abate some of their financial stress. Conversations among senior leadership have focused on the most equitable and fastest way to distribute these funds.  We have a plan based on undergraduate students receiving funds based on their status as Pell-eligible or non-Pell-eligible, per the limited Department of Education guidance received. Graduate students also will receive funds.

    As to the other half of the funding, it is to be used to cover COVID-19 costs, but again we have no specifics. We know that some capital and pre-recruitment activities are excluded, and that there is an expectation, but not a requirement, for maintaining payroll. We eagerly await more guidance here.

    States also are receiving funds through CARES, and we know that any state-allocated funds will be distributed at Governor Henry McMaster’s discretion to higher education institutions (public and private). We have no information yet on any of these funds and how they may impact us.

    Finally, on the state government front, we know that the legislature met in Columbia week before last in a hastily called meeting where the House and Senate were expected to vote on legislation to keep state government operating at this year’s spending levels and to set a date for when they would return to pass a budget for next fiscal year. Tied to that legislation was a spending proposal that set aside $200 million for emergency COVID-19 spending and gave the governor wide power in directing funds. The proposal also allowed state agencies, including colleges and universities, the flexibility to furlough employees if their budgets get out of balance due to revenue shortfalls stemming from the pandemic.

    Unfortunately, the full General Assembly failed to adopt those measures, leaving uncertainties on next steps and when the body would again meet. Late last week Governor McMaster offered to call lawmakers back to work on a day of their choosing after coronavirus cases are expected to peak sometime next month. It is unclear at this time whether the legislators will take him up on that offer. So, on the state government front, we continue to watch and wait.

    At this point in time, I want to note that it is not our intention to consider employing furloughs until their use is approved by the legislature and only if they are necessary. Based on Governor McMaster's communication to the legislature and our intention to use furloughs as a last resort, it would seem reasonable to conclude the decision whether to employ furloughs because of our budget circumstances is likely to be made later in the spring or even sometime this summer. With regard to returning to work on campus, we await guidance from the Governor's office. However, in anticipation of returning to work on campus at some point, please be assured that we are developing a policy on working from home to accommodate employees who will need to continue to work remotely due to family obligations or health concerns.

    I know these last few items are top of mind, and I wish that I had more details to share with you. I will continue to provide information as we receive it and make decisions at the senior leadership level in coordination with the Board of Trustees.

    The needs of Winthrop students are rapidly changing in the wake of COVID-19 and many are dealing with unexpected financial hardships. In response, Winthrop has created the Student Emergency & Assistance Fund to help students who are faced with difficulties during this unique time. 

    The campus community has already shown a strong commitment to accommodating student needs and expectations, and I thank you for doing your part. Now there is an even greater need for students juggling issues with housing and moving expenses, food insecurities, transportation, resources required for remote learning, and other related basic needs. 

    Many faculty, staff and community members had already expressed interest in how they could provide support to students. This newly created fund will provide the opportunity for us to contribute any monetary level of support that will quickly support those students who have been adversely affected by the campus closure and the transition to remote learning.

    In my short time here I’ve been amazed at how everyone has come together to ensure that our students remain our top priority. The speed with which this fund was created is yet another example of how the Winthrop community always stands ready to help our own. I am grateful for how you have shown up for our students amid the COVID-19 crisis.

    Please direct students in need of assistance to Miranda Knight, assistant dean of students, for more details on obtaining emergency funding.

    For questions about the Student Emergency & Assistance Fund or giving to the fund, contact University Advancement at 803/323-2275, via email at giving@winthrop.edu  or visit justgiving.com/campaign/winthropstrong to make a gift.

     

    I thank you in advance for your consideration as we work together to support our students.

    Dear Students,

    Thank you for your patience over these last few weeks as we have grappled with the COVID-19-related closing of campus and how to proceed with fee reductions and refunds related to moving to remote instruction for the remainder of spring 2020. While this is a more complex matter than many may have anticipated, we have worked with the Commission on Higher Education and other state institutions to help determine our response, and today we presented our recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

    The press release that is posted on our website explains next steps, and I encourage you to read it closely. Each student’s individual account will be reviewed and fee adjustments will be made according the residence hall and meal plan they chose.  Unused Cafe Cash will be returned.  All students who purchased a parking permit will receive a fee adjustment.  The date for proration of fees is March 23, 2020. Adjustments will begin this month and are expected to take some time as individual attention must be given to each student.

    It is important to note that monies due as a result of fee adjustments will first be applied to any unpaid bills in your account.  If you are paid in full, then you will receive a cash refund.  If you still owe Winthrop any monies, the amount due will be subtracted before any cash is refunded via direct deposit or by check to the address on record.  You should review your contact information in Wingspan immediately to make sure it is up to date.

    Additional information went to faculty/staff today about the necessary budget and hiring freeze that trustees approved in order to help facilitate the reduction in fees and refunds that will soon begin reaching students’ accounts.

    We know that these are unimaginably difficult times for some students and their families. It also is a truly unprecedented situation for colleges and universities. Earlier this week the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to implement a reduced rate for Summer Session 2020 classes. The university’s summer offerings for in-state students already reflect a 20 percent discount as compared to fall and spring tuition. The board’s action provides an additional 12 percent discount for all regular classes offered this summer only. Read more about the reduction in this press release if you are considering taking classes this summer.

    We want you to be able to continue on your educational journey with a focus on timely degree completion. The decisions we have made in terms of reductions in fees, refunds, and summer tuition all are made with our students’ progress toward their degrees in mind.

    Dear Parents and Families,

    Since you received your newsletter Wednesday, I have additional information to share with you, and I wanted to reach out today with news of how the university will handle reduction in fees and reimbursements to student accounts. Details may be found in the press release posted this afternoon to our website.

    As I have mentioned to news outlets I have spoken with, we have been working with our peer institutions across the state and with the S.C. Commission on Higher Education on guiding principles on how best to address this topic. Today, our Board of Trustees granted approval to begin the process of reduction in fees/reimbursements, and while it will be a time-intensive process because of the need to review each student’s account, funds should begin going out this month.

    I appreciate your continued patience.

    I never could have imagined less than a month into my interim presidency that Winthrop and the world would be facing such an unprecedented disruption to our way of life due to COVID-19. But I'm still so glad to be here, watching everyone band together more than ever to continue delivering a retooled Winthrop experience for our students. 

    The tenacious Winthrop spirit that I have heard so much about has been front and center, and I'm thankful for each person's flexibility and perseverance as we navigate these new and challenging times together.

    I wanted to update you on a couple things below:

    Latest COVID-19 Information:

    As you are aware, most all students have moved out of the residence halls and we are holding all classes remotely. Some essential personnel are physically on campus, but most faculty and staff are working remotely from home (as am I!)

    I applaud each of you who worked quickly and diligently to move all academic instruction to a remote learning format. This is no small feat. As we start our second week of remote learning, our students have embraced these changes and continue learning and working toward their goals. Staff members continue supporting our students in all capacities, reinforcing that their learning, safety and health remain our top priorities. Our Admissions team is diligently working, and thinking, outside of the box to continue recruiting our incoming freshman class. You can read more about what Admissions is doing and the plans for upcoming virtual recruitment events.

    All university-sponsored on- and off-campus events are cancelled or postponed through May 9, including all spring Commencement ceremonies. As I noted in an earlier email, we will find a way to appropriately celebrate our graduates when we feel it is safe to do so.

    For now, I encourage you to keep monitoring your email and the university's COVID-19 website.

    Board of Trustees Action on Summer Session 

    Yesterday, the Winthrop University Board of Trustees voted unanimously to implement a reduced rate for 2020 Summer Session classes. The university’s summer offerings for in-state students already reflect a 20 percent discount as compared to fall and spring tuition. The board's action will provide an additional 12 percent discount for all regular classes offered this summer only.

    I applaud and appreciate our trustees’ leadership in recognizing that our students may be facing financial hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. By reducing summer session tuition, we are able to facilitate our students continuing on their educational journeys with a focus on timely degree completion.

    Trustees also approved the Division of Academic Affairs' recommendation that Maymester (May 18-June 5) and sessions that are set to begin June 8 (B and C sessions) be totally online, with any classes that require on-campus meetings to be scheduled for the final Summer Session July 13-Aug. 12 (D session). Getting these plans in place now will allow faculty and staff the time to prepare accordingly. You may read more about these actions in this press release.

    Thank you again for all of your hard work throughout this month. I don't think any of us envisioned how this spring semester would play out, but together, I know that we will get through this. The Winthrop community is better together, and although we are physically separated right now we will emerge from this stronger than ever.

    Winthrop University was informed today (March 23) that a resident student who stopped by a Winthrop residence hall on March 17 to pick up belongings during spring break has tested positive for COVID-19. This student followed the protocol of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and upon showing symptoms of the virus, sought medical advice and testing where s/he permanently resides. 

    While the resident was on campus for only a short time, precautions have been taken in the hall to sanitize shared space and frequently touched surfaces. These preventive measures will minimize the risk posed to other residents and the campus community. Others who may have come into close contact with the individual who tested positive are being notified of possible exposure. 

    This student is receiving the full support of the university during this difficult time. It is important to note that our Winthrop community will likely continue to be directly and indirectly impacted by this unprecedented public health crisis in coming days and weeks. The university does not intend to publicly announce each additional case, but we must remain vigilant in reinforcing the message that no one is immune to COVID-19 that we all must do our part to slow the spread of the virus.

    That commitment is further reflected in our announcement today of the process by which resident students may return to campus to pick up belongings this week. The staggered sign-up process we will employ underscores the requirement for social distancing with which we must abide so that we have limited numbers of students in the halls.

    Our recent decision to close campus for the remainder of the semester is in keeping with the advice of public health experts to maximize such social distancing. We strongly encourage everyone in our community to please take the necessary precautions to keep themselves and their loved ones safe: maintain social distance, practice good hygiene by observing respiratory etiquette and washing your hands frequently, continually monitor your health, reach out to your health care provider if needed, and self-quarantine if you develop symptoms.

    Thank you for your understanding and patience as we navigate this latest development and visit our COVID-19 website for additional information on the efforts of the Winthrop community to respond to this public health crisis. 

    Winthrop Families,

     

    I understand that our Student Affairs division has been sharing information with all of you so that you, too, may remain informed as we share information about remote learning and other topics with your student. Today I would like to reassure you of plans to keep teaching and learning moving forward, as well as ensuring the safety and health of our campus community. As you may know, with the Governor’s directive yesterday, we will be extending remote instruction through the end of the semester and have postponed our May commencement ceremonies.

     

    Academic Affairs Updates

    First, we are committed to completing this semester and ensuring our graduating students meet their requirements for graduation. Our talented faculty and academic support staff have been working overtime to prepare for the shift to remote instruction beginning Monday, March 23, and ensure our students continue to receive high quality learning experiences.

     

    We know our students are concerned about their ability to complete their work this semester. Please reassure them that the remote instruction preparations underway will give them a pathway to complete all coursework and get full credit for courses this semester. Where adjustments have to be made, faculty are at work making those adjustments. If students have specific concerns about the transition to remote instruction, please encourage them to reach out to their faculty. They are the front line of academic support. For international students returning to their home countries, faculty are prepared to work with them to complete all coursework remotely as well.

     

    Advising sessions for fall 2020 registration also will happen remotely, so our faculty and staff are working to make sure we have processes in place to support that important work as well. Parents and extended family can partner with us in this regard by encouraging students to keep checking their email and texts, look for communications from advisors as well as faculty, and be prepared to discuss degree progress and completion plans. We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that our students all make steady progress toward their goals.

     

    Finally, we know that many students are concerned about completing their cultural events credits for the semester. For seniors graduating in May and August 2020, all remaining cultural events credits will be waived, as long as all other degree requirements are met. For non-graduating students, they will have ample time in the future to work on this degree requirement. 

     

    Student Affairs Updates

    Secondly, we have taken steps to limit the number of individuals on campus and thus the potential for COVID-19 spread. We have closed the residence halls to all students but those with severely extenuating circumstances. Our Dining Services staff will provide pick-up meals to students remaining with us. Our on-campus dining locations are closed.

    To ensure that students receive appropriate support during this stressful time, the following guidance is offered to students and families:

    • Students who are currently engaged with Counseling Services or Office of Victims Assistance counseling should check their email for messages from their counselor about telemental health needs. Please visit the Center for Student Wellness webpage for more information.
    • Office of Accessibility (OA) staff are available for students via email. OA can then explore options such as Skype, telephone, or other online options to engage in discussion and conversation. OA staff can be reached at OA_Team@winthrop.edu.
    • Health Services is offering telephone triage appointments for eligible students during the remote instruction time period. Please visit the Center for Student Wellness webpage for more information.
    • The Dean of Students Office is available to assist with resource needs. Students may reach out to Assistant Dean of Students, Miranda Knight, at knightm@winthrop.edu with questions and concerns. As there will likely be a delay in responding and limited options on campus, please call 211from your cell phone or visit 211.org for immediate assistance with resources.
    • The Center for Career Development and Internships (CDI) will continue to provide career services to students virtually and by phone. To make a career consultation appointment, students should visit the CDI website and press the “Book Now” button. Next day resume reviews are still available to them through EAGLELINK.

     

    General Updates 

    As you know, the Winthrop campus is closed. Essential employees are working, including those who are deep cleaning campus facilities and preparing for the campus community’s eventual return. All internal and external events have been cancelled for the immediate future.

     

    Finally, we know financial concerns are paramount to many of you. I am working with the university’s Board of Trustees and senior leadership to provide answers as soon as possible. All decisions on refunds, credits, commencement and other concerns will be communicated to students and parents as soon as possible. 

     

    The COVID-19 situation remains very fluid. These are challenging and unprecedented times. Please do not hesitate to reach out using the links and contacts above if you have specific questions or needs with regard to your student. Thank you for the patience you have shown as we work through extraordinary circumstances and do our part to reduce the spread of this virus. Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of our students. Thank you for entrusting them to our care.

    Per Governor McMaster’s update earlier today, Winthrop University will extend our move to remote instruction for all courses for the remainder of this semester. In this way, all students will have the opportunity to complete their spring 2020 courses while maintaining safe and healthy precautions against COVID-19. Despite it being challenging, Winthrop’s strength is our family-like concern for each other and our tradition of delivering a student-centered experience.

    The move to remote instruction may create new and unexpected difficulties, but we will face them together. Our talented faculty and staff are working diligently to accommodate student needs and expectations. Faculty, staff, and students should continue to monitor email and our website for information regarding when residence halls will be open for retrieving belongings, access to technology while away from campus, decisions about student refunds and/or credits, and other important updates.

    We know our seniors and graduate students are faced with unprecedented events that are taking away from what should be a joyous time as they conclude their academic career at Winthrop. Because of that, we will postpone our spring commencement ceremonies. Although these circumstances are beyond our control, we can assure our students that their Winthrop experience will not end without recognizing and celebrating that they will be Winthrop graduates. At this time, we cannot say when or how commencement will happen, but we will rejoice in their accomplishments and honor our graduates in a way and time that is safe to do so.

    Thank you for your hard work, understanding, and continued patience as we move forward in these uncertain times.

    I write to you to provide an update as to the recommendations I have now received from Winthrop's Critical Incident Management Team.  Based on their recommendations and my judgement as to our rapidly evolving situation, I am providing this update as a follow up to our communication yesterday regarding Governor Henry McMaster's announcement of the closure of all S.C. public universities through the end of March.

    • Guidance received from the Commission on Higher Education indicates that colleges and universities have some flexibility to continue online or remote coursework moving forward and to make some decisions on how we might serve (using essential personnel only) those students who must remain on campus.
    • In general, faculty, staff and students should STAY AWAY from campus until instructed otherwise. Our president and senior administrators are leading by example by cancelling all face-to-face appointments and conducting business by phone whenever possible. It is imperative to the health and safety of our campus community for non-essential personnel to STAY AWAY from campus at this time. For those who may be instructed to work from home, we are designating five hours tomorrow (Tuesday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) for employees to pick up materials and other items needed to work from home.
    • Essential personnel (in-person presence on the campus) have been identified as facilities management, police, housing, environmental health & safety and other employees who have been contacted by supervisors.  All other personnel should remain at home and contact their supervisor for further direction on work expectations. 
    • As of now, a decision has not been communicated from the Governor’s office regarding whether Winthrop will be authorized to apply leave with pay for leave-eligible employees for the time the Governor has ordered the university closed.  Unless the federal or state government takes additional action, employees in non-leave earning positions (temporary and student employees) will be in unpaid status for this time unless they are in one of the “essential” areas and actually work.  We are hoping to hear more information from the Governor’s office soon about how leave-eligible employees should report their time on timesheets and leave reports.  HR will provide additional information prior to March 31, 2020.
    • Essential personnel who believe they are at-risk (older adults; people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease; people with compromised immune systems; and pregnant women), should communicate concerns to their supervisor either verbally or in writing. No certification by a medical professional is required. Supervisors are strongly encouraged to be flexible with work for these personnel and direct any questions to HRHelp@winthrop.edu.
    • Beginning immediately, faculty preparation and training will continue remotely. The provost is working with deans and other academic leaders to ensure faculty and staff in Academic Affairs have the supports they need to make this transition to remote instruction in addition to working from home. Faculty who require training through the WOOL office are able to accomplish this remotely through resources provided on our Continuity of Instruction website and through remote appointments with WOOL staff.
    • Faculty already teaching fully online courses may need to make adjustments as well based upon the campus closure, but delivery of these courses will continue according to their approved schedule until otherwise notified.
    • The Computing and Information Technology help desk will be available with limited staffing 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

    We take your health and well-being, and that of your families, seriously.  The uncertainty of this unusual situation may cause high levels of anxiety and stress.  Employees have access to counselors 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, by calling 800-633-3353 or 704-529-1428. To access work-life services, log in to mygroup.com using the username "winthrop303" and password "guest".

    Remember, symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and trouble breathing.  If you have symptoms, CONTACT YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER. Please continue to check your email frequently and review our COVID-19 website.

    Earlier today Gov. Henry McMaster announced the closure of all South Carolina schools, including public universities such as Winthrop. Winthrop's senior leadership is seeking additional clarification on how the closure will impact instructional plans we put in motion just days ago. 

    For tomorrow, offices will be closed, but essential personnel, including all facilities management employees, police officers, housing and environmental health & safety staff, and others who may be contacted by their supervisors should report to work.

    Please check your email and/or the website frequently as we will communicate information as soon as have additional details. Thank you for your patience as we navigate this unprecedented situation. 

    We are shifting our COVID-19 campus response as new information is coming quickly and the ability to be nimble is what we have been working toward for several weeks. I am pleased that our vice presidents and unit leaders are following recommendations from the CDC, DHEC, and their professional associations, as well as modeling plans from peer institutions as we learn of them. As a result of widespread campus consultation in the last few days, primarily through leadership in the academic and student affairs divisions, Winthrop’s senior leadership has new recommendations. Based on their recommendations and on further due considerations, I am informing you of the following.

    Changes to Instructional Delivery Post-Spring Break

    Out of an abundance of caution, we will move to remote instruction for March 23-April 3, which are the two weeks following Spring Break. To prepare for this shift, faculty will start now preparing for delivery of remote instruction, and their efforts will continue March 16-20, while students are away on the break. The Academic Affairs division has been working on this for the last two weeks, and Winthrop’s Office of Online Learning has prepared a Continuity of Instruction (COI) website to support this effort. It is important to note that despite this shift to remote instruction, all university offices will remain open and staffed until further notice. The work of this fine university must continue so students will receive the full advantage of the Winthrop experience!

    Residence Halls and Dining Services

    Understandably, the above action should decrease the number of students who are residing on campus which, in turn, will decrease the chance of COVID-19 exposure to our campus community.  Students traveling home for break should stay home during the two-week remote instructional period, while international students and other populations with specific needs will be accommodated on a case-by-case basis. In general, there will limited access during this two-week period, March 23-April 3, for students to enjoy the full range of residential and dining services to which they are accustomed. But more on that will come from the Division of Student Affairs as details are determined.

    Recall of Students Studying Abroad

    With President Trump’s directive last night that travel into the U.S. from a large number of European countries will tighten considerably for the next month, it is prudent for us to recall from those countries. While we have been in regular contact with them and know they are enjoying their experiences, there remains too much uncertainty in international travel for us to allow them to continue their experiences. We are committed to assisting them on their return, and those wheels already are in motion. We will continue to monitor all of our students abroad and take action as appropriate.  

    Travel During and After Spring Break

    As we have noted, we recognize that some members of the Winthrop community will be traveling over the break. Per earlier information shared, Winthrop is prohibiting university business travel through the end of April to international destinations designated by the CDC as travel warning level 3 or higher and strongly encouraging our community members to avoid non-essential domestic travel to areas where COVID-19 cases have been identified. Again, out of an abundance of caution, Winthrop’s senior leadership has decided that no new non-essential Winthrop business travel will be approved through April 30, 2020. Faculty and staff should not make new, work related travel plans during this period.

    University Events

    Until further notice, all university-sponsored events scheduled between Sunday, March 15 and Friday, April 3 are cancelled, and alternative options for holding or rescheduling events in key areas are being considered. Of note, we have decided that our athletics events will follow recommendations and guidance from the NCAA. Student-athletes should look to their coaches for the latest details on games and events.

    Health Information and COVID-19 Case Response Planning

    The Critical Incident Management Team and its sub-groups have been meeting daily to prepare for possible spread of COVID-19 to the Winthrop campus. Guidance on prevention, screening, self-quarantine and more has been communicated via email and uploaded to our COVID-19 information page. Of note most recently, Center for Student Wellness, 803/323-2206, will move to telephone triage for responding to health issues after the break, and will do the same for tele-mental health, as appropriate. This ensures the high level of service students have come to expect, while at the same time protecting our front-line health care professionals.

    Thank you for your patience as we have worked on solutions that we believe to be in the best interests of students and the university. As you can imagine, there are many moving parts here, and the situation is changing rapidly. It would be helpful for you to direct your questions to the respective divisional offices, or you may reach out to me at president@winthrop.edu.  Please know that at the forefront of any institutional decisions are your health and safety.

    The health and safety of the Winthrop community remains the university’s top priority. 

    Spring Break 

    Winthrop’s spring break is March 16-20, 2020. We continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 internationally, domestically and locally and rely on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). 

    Most Winthrop students will not be on campus for spring break, but all students need to be proactive in considering how the possibility of changing circumstances could impact Winthrop and, therefore, students’ ability to return to campus after the spring break. Think through what you should take when you leave this week in case you cannot return to campus for any reason on March 22. This includes medical, academic, financial and personal needs. Take your books, laptop and other items you may need to study from home. Check your email and the website for any institutional updates since they may have an impact on your plans. 

    Updated Travel Guidance 

    Some members of the Winthrop community will be traveling over the break. Per earlier information shared, Winthrop is prohibiting university business travel through April 30, 2020, to international destinations designated by the CDC as travel warning level 3 or higher and strongly encouraging our community members to avoid non-essential domestic travel to areas where COVID-19 cases have been identified. 

    Furthermore, Winthrop’s senior leadership has decided that no new non-essential Winthrop business travel will be approved through April 30, 2020. Faculty and staff should not make new travel plans during this period even for future dates. The university will continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and its impact on travel.  

    Info for supervisors: 

    • All non-essential Winthrop business travel is cancelled.
    • Essential travel is determined by deans/vice presidents. 
    • Examples of essential travel—training, certification or professional development that is essential for the individual’s function at the institution.
    • All previously approved university business travel must be reviewed by department heads with final decisions made at the dean/VP level due to rapidly changing circumstances.

    Self-Quarantine Information  

    Faculty, staff and students who may have been exposed to COVID-19 or were engaged in travel as noted above (destinations designated by the CDC as travel warning level 3 or higher OR domestic travel to areas where COVID-19 cases have been identified) upon return must contact their health care provider OR the DHEC Care Line (1-855-472-3432, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. daily) for a decision on the need for self-quarantine. Do not return to campus until you have contacted your health care provider or DHEC. You will be asked questions to help determine your risk of exposure. You should note when you called, to whom you spoke, etc. This documentation and documentation of your travel may be required upon your return to campus.  

    If self-quarantine is prescribed by your provider OR DHEC, you must self-quarantine away from campus to protect the health and safety of your Winthrop colleagues and friends. For most individuals, this will be your permanent residence. If you are a student and your permanent residence is not domestic, please contact the Department of Residence Life as soon as possible. The Dean of Students office will handle student absence verification and faculty notification.  If you are a faculty or staff member who is prescribed self-quarantine, then contact your supervisor and Human Resources, Employee Diversity and Wellness. You may be required to provide documentation of your travel as well as your provider contact and the circumstances that led to the self-quarantine advice.  

    If you experience symptoms during quarantine, do one or more of the following immediately: 

    • Notify your health care provider. 
    • Visit MUSC Health virtual urgent care for screening and medical advice from a trained MUSC Health care provider. Use the promo code "COVID19" at checkout.   
    • Consult the DHEC Care Line which is available for general questions about COVID-19 (1-855-472-3432) from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.  

    Other Measures Winthrop Is Taking: 

    Making decisions regarding internal events: All university-sponsored events through April 3, 2020, are cancelled. Winthrop is continuing to monitor guidance from the CDC and DHEC regarding gatherings. 

    Sanitizing campus spaces: The university is taking additional sanitizing measures throughout campus, including disinfecting high-contact surfaces such as light switches, desks, doorknobs, and handrails throughout the day. Custodial staff are restocking hand soap and sanitizer in all restrooms frequently. Social distancing is recommended, so some common study areas may be closed so custodial staff can focus on more frequently used open spaces, labs, restrooms, etc.  

    Communicating with specific groups: This includes resident students and others. 

    Continuing to monitor the situation: This is a fast-moving and fluid situation. The Critical Incident Management Team continues to closely monitor the spread of COVID-19 internationally, domestically, and locally.  

    Collecting frequently asked questions: CIMT is adding questions to a new FAQs page where you also may submit a question.

    South Carolina residents who are COVID-19 symptomatic (respiratory infection, fever, cough, flu-like symptoms), may visit MUSC Health virtual urgent care for screening and medical advice from a trained MUSC Health care provider. Use the promo code "COVID19" at checkout. 

    For general questions about COVID-19, the DHEC Care Line is available. Call 1-855-472-3432. Staff are answering calls from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. 

    • The health and safety of the Winthrop community remains the university’s top priority. As such, any travel abroad to areas designated by the CDC as travel warning level 3 or higher due to COVID-19 is prohibited. In addition, with Winthrop’s spring break March 16-20, please consider avoiding non-essential domestic travel to areas where COVID-19 cases have been identified. 
    • Please be advised that any student, faculty or staff member who chooses to travel to a country designated by the CDC as travel warning level 3 or higher due to COVID-19 or an area experiencing widespread or sustained transmission of COVID-19 domestically will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return at their permanent residence and be symptom free before they can return to campus.
    • It is important to note that travelers also could be subject to assessment by federal health officials at airports upon re-entry into the U.S. or restricted travel within your community by South Carolina health officials.
    • Winthrop faculty or staff members who are considering traveling internationally or domestically to areas where COVID-19 cases have been identified for Winthrop business from now until the end of April 2020 should consult with their supervisor and dean/vice president for approval, subject to change as circumstances warrant.
    • S.C. DHEC’s continued guidance regarding steps to take if you have symptoms of fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing has been amended to state that you should NOT call the local health department but rather contact your health care provider for instructions.

    Winthrop is actively monitoring communications from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) for updated information and guidance. Winthrop officials are in contact with our international students on campus and those Winthrop students who are currently studying abroad. We want to ensure that all of our students are safe and healthy, wherever they may be in the world.

    As of 3/2/2020, the CDC is recommending that institutions of higher education should ‘consider postponing or canceling upcoming student foreign exchange programs and consider asking current program participants to return to their home country.’ In terms of study abroad programs, Winthrop continues to closely monitor the situation including (but not limited to) information obtained from the U.S. Department of State, as well as various news and media networks from around the world. The health and safety of Winthrop students, faculty, and staff remain our top priority and will play a significant role in any decisions made regarding current and upcoming study abroad opportunities and/or faculty led programs to international destinations.

    Additionally, Winthrop officials are preparing contingency plans for academic programs and campus operations pending COVID-19 expansion in our region. Until further notice, Winthrop asks students and employees who choose to travel to countries identified by the U.S. State Department as a Level 3 or Level 4 threat, to self-quarantine for at least 14 days upon returning to the United States.

    Faculty and staff may review workplace-related COVID-19 information here.

Last Updated: 7/13/22