Faculty and Staff - May 20, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

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 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.