Academics

Return to Learn

Academics

Learning options

A mix of online, hybrid and face-to-face course offerings are available in spring 2021 to give students maximum flexibility in scheduling and choice of modality depending on their needs, as well as to accommodate our reduced on-campus class sizes to enable social distancing in the classroom.

Colleges and academic departments have modified the spring 2021 course schedule such that approximately 30% of courses are fully online, and 70% are a mix of hybrid and fully in-person instruction. Students can check their class schedule in Wingspan to review their classes for spring 2021. Students who wish to make changes to their schedule (e.g., to increase the number of online-only courses they are enrolled in) can make adjustments to their schedules using the add/drop feature in Wingspan. Students who want a fully-online schedule, but are enrolled in courses or sections that are offered in-person or hybrid, should drop the course/section they are currently enrolled in and add an online only section if seats are available in the new section. In cases where an online section of the course is not available, students should contact the Student Services Office in their college to discuss their individual circumstance and see what other options may be possible for spring. Graduate students enrolled in 100% online courses are not impacted by any changes.

Specialized spaces (labs, studios, performance spaces)

Some labs, studios and courses with extensive hands-on learning components are best taught in a face-to-face mode rather than utilizing online or hybrid instruction. In addition to social distancing and the use of masks/face coverings in these cases, other preventative measures may be employed, such as requiring the use of gloves if a task so requires.

Approved academic calendar

Review the academic calendar here. The spring 2021 academic calendar has been modified. Classes began remotely Jan. 11, with the on-campus component of instruction beginning on Tuesday, Jan. 19. The university will forego the traditional Spring Break to help reduce the increase in virus transmission rates. We will take five days off during the semester on:

Tuesday, Feb. 16: Spring Break day 1 – no classes*
Wednesday, March 3: Spring Break day 2 – no classes 
Thursday, March 18: Spring Break day 3– no classes
Friday, April 9: Spring Break day 4 – no classes
Monday, April 19: Spring Break day 5 – no classes 

Finals week and the end of the semester will remain as planned. 

Students are expected to continue observing all safety protocols. Students enrolled in 100% online graduate programs will follow the previously posted calendar for online students.

*Offices will be open on all five days. 

Masking requirement

Following CDC and DHEC guidance and the City of Rock Hill’s mandate, Winthrop is requiring all staff, faculty and students to wear masks or cloth facial coverings in social settings, such as in university buildings, including classrooms, residence halls and dining facilities, and in outdoor spaces on campus where appropriate social distancing cannot be guaranteed. Facial coverings are not required when alone in private offices, when alone in on-campus residence hall rooms and when not in close contact with another person, such as walking alone outside.

A single disposable mask may be obtained from the following campus locations if a member of the campus community or a visitor needs a mask: Dacus Library, Campus Center, West Center, Dinkins, Coliseum, Thomson (at the registers), and front desks in the residence halls.

A protocol has been developed by Academic Affairs to ensure Winthrop’s masking requirement is universally observed within classrooms and other learning spaces. The protocol instructs faculty members to reach out to students to ensure they are aware of, understand and are able to meet the requirement; respond appropriately with guidance on what to do if they cannot meet the requirement; and refer students to the Office of Accessibility for accommodation if needed.

Cultural events

Cultural events still will be required, but there will be more options for fulfilling requirements in order to accommodate students who may not physically be able to attend events as well as to meet social distancing requirements. For example, many events will be live streamed or available as recordings, in addition to in-person opportunities. The Cultural Events Committee will recommend best practices and options for those who schedule events. More information will be added to the cultural events website.

Cleaning and sanitizing in academic spaces

In addition to increased and more frequent cleaning of high-traffic/high-touch areas by custodial staff, classrooms and other instructional spaces also will be equipped with sanitization products for general use. As a new standard practice on campus, faculty and students will be expected to wipe down and disinfect their desk and chair when entering the classroom before class begins. This will help ensure our Winthrop community remains a healthy learning environment for all.

Reduced classroom capacity/social distancing

Classrooms and lecture halls have been rearranged in order to enforce social distancing. Regular classroom settings will operate at 40 percent capacity. Extra chairs and desks will be removed in order to abide by social distancing recommendations. Lecture halls or spaces with fixed seating will operate at 20 percent capacity. Signage will be placed on the floors of these rooms to indicate which seats should be used and which rows are unavailable. 

Common time

The difficult decision was made to eliminate Common Time for fall and spring in order to reduce congestion in dining facilities and create more scheduling options for classes (see Learning Options above). Common time may be reinstated for the 2021-22 academic year.

Online course training

Faculty have been busy working to ensure they are well prepared to offer the best possible learning experience for students, regardless of whether their course is in-person, hybrid, or online. Hundreds of our faculty have completed specialized training as part of the Winthrop Online Teaching Certification program.

Grading Policy

Winthrop has returned to the regular grading policy for Spring 2021. Regular letter grades and the standard S/U policies are in place. 

Last Updated: 1/12/21