Faculty and Staff - October 13, 2020

Dear Colleagues:

As the Winthrop campus settles into fall, we have much for which to be thankful. We’re about halfway through our in-person instruction, and COVID-19 cases have been low across our community. Our adjustment to the new normal for living and learning has gone well, and I applaud you for your efforts to keep your colleagues and friends safe and healthy. As cases continue to rise across our country, we must continue to be vigilant—observing social distancing, wearing our masks, and washing our hands. It is our understanding that Governor McMaster has given agency heads the discretion to determine when it is appropriate for their agency to move into Phase 3 of the Return to Work plan. Consequently, with the exception of Facilities Management and a few other offices that are currently working under Phase 3 guidelines, I think our best course of action is to continue in Phase 2 at least through the end of the fall semester. In December, we will consider all information available to us and revisit this decision. 

Spring 2021 Semester

With advising for the spring semester beginning next week, it is a good time to share what we expect the spring semester will look like for our campus. Discussions have been ongoing among different leadership groups, and our consensus is that, barring unforeseen circumstances, the spring semester will proceed as planned with in-person instruction beginning Jan. 11, spring break March 15-19, and final exams April 28-May 4.

Such unforeseen circumstances (as you may recall from the work of the reconsideration task force) could still include COVID risk levels in the community and state, capacity of local hospitals to care for COVID patients, availability of COVID supplies on campus, availability of student-serving quarantine/isolation facilities on campus and related staffing, appropriate infrastructure to support on-campus cases where students were not able to go home, etc. We will continue to track these “triggers” that could prompt a change in our plans. 


I would also like to share where we are with Commencement. December 2020 degree candidates have been informed that we will not be able to hold a traditional commencement ceremony on December 19 as we hoped. Those students also have been surveyed about their interest in participating in one or more of the following: a virtual ceremony, a drive in diploma pick up, and a possible special ceremony on May 15 (the week after May commencement), provided we can hold large events by then. More to come on the students’ preference and what we will offer.

Important Dates

As we move into the second half of the semester, the following are some key dates to keep top of mind:
Oct. 21–Advising for Spring 2021 begins

Nov. 3–Election Day, no classes but offices open 

Nov. 10–Registration for Spring 2021 begins

Nov. 20-Last day of in-person classes for Fall 2020

Nov. 23-Remote instruction day (no in-person classes to be held; faculty will provide virtual assignments)

Nov. 24-27-Thanksgiving holiday, no classes (offices closed Nov. 25 -27)

Nov. 30-Dec. 3–Remote learning for Fall 2020

Dec. 4-Fall 2020 study day

Dec. 5-11–Fall 2020 final exams

For additional details, please see the registration calendar.

State Budget Request

The Division of Finance and Business Affairs has prepared and submitted the 2021-22 Agency Budget Plan to the State Department of Administration’s Executive Budget Office.  Given that we still do not know if our 2020-21 allocations were approved, our submission is very similar to that request. We are asking for the following:


Request to support student success and retention initiatives     $280,000

Operational support for STEAM disciplines                              $2,000,000

Non-recurring Instructional scientific equipment replacement $2,233,472


Maintaining campus infrastructure                                             $16,100,000

Interdisciplinary arts technology facility                                    $9,000,000

Science complex renovation                                                        $9,000,000

Dacus Library renovation                                                            $7,000,000

TOTAL                                                                                         $45,613,472

I will be presenting our request at the Governor’s budget hearing, a virtual meeting to be held October 22, as a first step in the budget process. More on that when there’s some clarity regarding moving forward with state appropriations.

Thank you again for your compliance with our COVID-related requirements since the semester began. You are the reason we have been able to continue offering in-person classes and delivering on the exceptional Winthrop experience for which we are known. Let us keep up this proven good work to help ensure a healthy and safe learning community for all. 



George W. Hynd
Interim President