Parents and Families - May 28, 2020
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Parents and Families - May 28, 2020

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Dear Parents and Families,

I hope this email finds you, your student and your family members all healthy and well.

Now that we have officially closed the books on the COVID-impacted spring semester, I want to look forward and share some information with you as we prepare for our re-envisioned fall semester.

2020-21 Academic Year Tuition

I will be recommending to our Board of Trustees 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 and consider the recommendation. We understand that many families are struggling under the weight of an economy that was shuttered for more than two months. We also recently took additional measures, such as reducing summer tuition and temporarily suspending standardized test scores for admission, as ways to help students continue or begin their Winthrop experiences. You can read more about the tuition recommendation in this press release.

Changes to Academic Calendar

Earlier today I announced necessary changes to the university's 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 decisions were made to help mitigate a spike in COVID-19 cases when traditionally thousands of students, faculty and staff would be returning to campus following these extended breaks. More information on these calendar changes is available in this press release.

Quality of Instruction

We are looking forward to welcoming our students back to in-person classes in August. We continue working through details of 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 shift some courses online that were initially planned for in-person instruction, in order to spread courses out across our classrooms and scheduled meeting times. The full Academic Affairs plan for fall 2020 will be released soon, and I will ensure you receive that information, in addition to your student.

One thing I do want to emphasize is that while we are looking at a different approach to fall classes than we would have in past years, we will not sacrifice the academic quality or rigor of these courses. We pride ourselves on providing the best academic experience to our students, and that will not change.  

To that end this summer, our faculty members who teach online courses will complete a training course to ensure high-quality content and delivery. Before any online course goes live at Winthrop, our staff and a third-party, industry-leading partner review the course to ensure that it meets best practice indicators for high-quality online instruction. Faculty members also are infusing additional personal interaction into their online courses. I assure you that everyone is working extremely hard to provide the best of both in-person and online learning opportunities to all students. 

Phased Campus Re-opening 

Members of our senior leadership team are diligently working to carefully and strategically re-open our beautiful campus. On June 1, we will begin Phase 1 of a three-phase re-opening plan that is guided in large part by the state’s Administration Department. Feel free to read more about what our re-opening plan entails. 

On-campus Housing and Dining

When students return in August, residence halls will be available but on a reduced basis in order to minimize the use of shared bathrooms and other spaces. We are determining the exact number of students we can safely accommodate in the halls and are partnering with dining service provider Sodexo on safe practices. We are considering temporarily suspending our residency requirement where most first- and second-year students must live on campus. More to come on these aspects from the Division of Student Affairs.  

Please know that we are working towards this August re-opening with your student’s health and safety at the forefront of every decision that is made. We will continue to work through the details, and you can expect to receive additional information this summer.

Thank you for your patience as we seek to make the best decisions possible for our Winthrop community.

Sincerely,

George W. Hynd
Interim President

Last Updated: 6/15/20