Winthrop University: Emergency Information - Coronavirus
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Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

This page documents the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) updates from March - July 2020. Please visit the university's Return to Learn site for the latest information.

Information on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is provided by Winthrop’s Critical Incident Management Team.

Corona Virus FAQ'sUniversity officials continue to work closely with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to daily monitor current conditions and update plans in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, as well as to inform and provide guidance to our campus community.

 

Presidential Updates

    I write to you today to bring you an update regarding our back-to-school plans. There is no doubt that the health and safety of our students is the highest priority as we consider the start to the fall semester on August 24.

    In reviewing the latest S.C. DHEC data available, I note that only six of the 46 counties in South Carolina have not shown a significant increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks. The national and international attention our state COVID-19 infection rates have generated has increased anxiety about returning to school be it in the K-12 or higher education environment.

    As the infection rate in South Carolina has risen, we have increasingly heard from concerned students and parents expressing uncertainty over coming back to campus and living in our residence halls. This is quite a change because only a month ago we heard how excited our students and parents were with the onset of classes. Having spoken to a number of my president colleagues in South Carolina, I know all state institutions are experiencing the same concerns over reopening with in-person classes. Some institutions are delaying their start date or others are considering beginning the academic year with remote instruction and then transitioning to in-person instruction later with the anticipation that infection mitigation efforts will begin to reduce the high infection rates we are currently experiencing.

    After a great deal of consideration of the available data regarding COVID-19 infection rates and for the health concerns and safety of our students, faculty and staff, we have made the difficult decision to begin our fall semester remotely. Specifically, the academic calendar will remain the same, but classes will begin on August 25 and be delivered remotely until September 8. This is a two-week delay of in-person classes, but it is necessary. We strongly feel beginning our academic year remotely is the right decision. Revised residence hall move-in dates and reduced housing and dining hall fees are being developed and will be shared with you in the next few days.

    Should the statewide COVID-19 infection rate remain high during the first week of September we may revisit this decision and determine whether it makes sense to continue to offer instruction remotely a bit longer.

    I hope you understand that our decisions are based on our judgment as to what is best for the health and safety of our students and on our ability to serve them academically in a healthy environment. Thank you for your flexibility and patience as we move forward together.

    Dear Winthrop Students and Families:

    On my webpage there is a video that talks about the family atmosphere at Winthrop. It’s one of the characteristics that attracted me to Winthrop; you might have been drawn to the university for the same reason. It’s against this backdrop of family that I write to you today to thank you for your patience and share more information as we continue to navigate these uncharted waters of COVID-19.

    First, I know many of you feel the frustration that folks on campus are experiencing as well. With its spread in our state and elsewhere, and new challenges emerging daily it seems, we have been forced to re-evaluate some of our earlier decisions. Our plans for this fall are undergoing constant review to ensure a safe return to classes this fall. Today, I want to share how we have adjusted our approach to living on campus as well as how we are approaching the delivery of our classes. 

    Housing  

    The “live on campus” first- and second-year housing requirement plays a large role in community building on campus and helps create the family atmosphere that is part and parcel of the Winthrop experience. While we are not ending the requirement this fall, we want all students and families to know that we will not be enforcing the residency requirement as in the past. We want our students and families to feel safe and comfortable with attending Winthrop, so we will be generous in approving housing waivers. No student who chooses an online schedule or to live away from campus due to the pandemic will be refused the option to do so. 

    We believe this is the right thing to do and that it demonstrates to the Winthrop community our compassion and understanding of the fear and uncertainty that students and families are experiencing right now. If you are a first- or second-year student and you do not feel comfortable living on campus this fall, please complete the housing waiver application that is available through the Eaglesnest Housing link under Student Tools on Wingspan. Likewise, if you are an upperclassman and want to cancel your housing application, you may use the same link. 

    If you plan to live on campus (we know that for some of our students this is not only a desire but a necessity), know that we are implementing myriad health and safety measures to contain virus spread within our community. You will hear more about those measures during our July 30 town hall (link info to come to you via email next week), but they include self-health monitoring, a masking requirement, social distancing, reduced capacities in campus buildings, increased cleaning/sanitization protocols, etc.

    Classes

    Secondly, in order to support the decisions of our students and families regarding instructional modality, we have transitioned courses to 35 percent in person, 30 percent online, and 35 percent hybrid (a mix of in-person and online). Students should check their schedules in Wingspan to see if the instructional modality for a class for which they have registered has changed, and if they are interested in building schedules that are entirely online for the fall semester, academic advisors are available to help them do so. We are asking students to reach out to their department chairs, deans and student services offices within the respective college for assistance if needed. More information is to come from Provost and Executive Vice President Adrienne McCormick in the coming days. 

    All of these efforts reflect our desire to meet students and families where they are given the pandemic. But one thing on which we cannot compromise is our commitment to the high-quality academic experience for which Winthrop is known. Believe me when I say we are investing a huge portion of our budget to continue to operate at our high standards as a university. Therefore, we are not planning to discount tuition this fall. Our students will continue to receive excellent academic instruction and support from their professors, advisors, and staff, as well as tutoring, research opportunities, career services, etc. Regardless of whether every student takes advantage of these offerings, we still must provide them as very often the cost to deliver such services virtually or in other alternative formats is every bit as cost intensive, if not more costly, as normal delivery. If we must pivot to fully remote instruction at some point, we may decide to look at fee reimbursements as we did in the spring, but that is farther down the road when the impact of the pandemic on fall operations is more evident. 

    New Student Orientation

    Finally, for new students and their family members, I want to let you know that, in the interest of health and safety, we have decided that the Eagles Landing phase of Orientation (previously scheduled to be on-campus sessions beginning in early August) will be held virtually. Students will receive more information from the New Student and Family Programs office regarding this change. 

    Again, I hope you understand these recent decisions that we have made with you in mind. We are committed to maintaining the quality of the educational experience we provide, while also protecting the health and safety of our Winthrop family members.  I look forward to sharing more information with you at the town hall on July 30. While we can only accommodate 500 for the virtual town hall, a recording will be made available soon after the virtual event for anyone who could not attend. We will also launch our Return to Learn website in the coming days. 

    I very much appreciate your flexibility and patience as we continue to navigate these uncharted waters as a family and community committed to our students. 

    Thank you to everyone who participated in yesterday’s faculty/staff virtual town hall meeting. I hope that the vice presidents and I were able to provide you with helpful information that addressed your questions and concerns regarding the campus re-opening and upcoming fall semester.

    If you were not able to attend the town hall, you may access the recorded session via this link

    There were some questions that we were not able to address but know that we are working on including these questions on the Return to Learn website as appropriate or sharing answers to them in upcoming communications.

    We will hold a Students/Families virtual town hall on Thursday, July 30, at 6:30 p.m. in order to address questions and concerns from them as well.

    Thank you again for your hard work and patience as we prepare for the fall semester.

    This summer has certainly been like no other. In summers past, campus would be bustling with Orientation sessions, campus tours and the day-to-day preparations to welcome our students in August. Much of that work continues this summer, just in a virtual manner. 

    With Phase 2 of our Return to Work plan underway and Phase 3 approaching, our focus remains on preparing and providing a safe and healthy workplace and learning space for employees and students. As we continue to settle into our new normal, please take a few moments to read about some important updates:

    Faculty/Staff Virtual Town Hall on Thursday

    As I shared via email on Monday, I invite you to participate in a virtual town hall meeting specifically for faculty and staff on Thursday, July 16, at 2 p.m. Members of senior leadership and I will be answering your questions concerning our campus reopening ahead of the fall 2020 semester. Questions will be accepted in advance through noon today by emailing townhalls@winthrop.edu. Please use this link to join the town hall on Thursday. I look forward to everyone participating in these important discussions.

    Facial Covering Requirements

    I would like to again convey that Winthrop is requiring all staff, faculty and students to wear masks or 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. Each employee should receive two reusable cloth facial coverings. Please also note that a facial covering mandate recently went into effect in Rock Hill. The mandate requires people to wear facial coverings in public places within city limits. Those places include restaurants, grocery stores, retail establishments and pharmacies. Wearing a facial covering helps protect us all, so please do your part to keep our campus and surrounding community safe and healthy.

    Tillman Hall Renaming Update

    On June 19, members of the Board of Trustees unanimously voted on a resolution requesting state legislators to consider an amendment to the Heritage Act of 2000 to allow Winthrop to restore Tillman Hall to its original name of Main Building. As you'll recall, our trustees do not have the power themselves to change the name. That power belongs to the S.C. General Assembly. I'm happy to report that our formal request in this matter has been sent to the legislators for their consideration. As stated previously, we will patiently await further discussion and action, and I will keep you appraised of any steps forward.

    Fall Homecoming Activities to Be Paused

    Due to continued concerns surrounding COVID-19, we have decided to pause all Homecoming activities this November, including Homecoming on the Green and the Homecoming tailgate. The Division of Student Affairs is considering hosting a spirit week in the spring depending on guidance at that time from the CDC and DHEC. This follows our earlier decision to reschedule for the spring all class reunions that are typically held on Homecoming weekend. These difficult decisions are again made to ensure the health and safety of the entire campus community, including our alumni and visitors. You can read more in this press release.

    Commencement Ceremony Latest

    As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the state and in our county, we realize that holding a traditional, in-person Commencement ceremony in August to celebrate our May graduates would be unsafe. A survey was recently emailed to May graduates to gather their feedback on alternative Commencement options that would recognize and celebrate their achievements. Over 33 percent responded that rescheduling the ceremony when it is safe to hold large, indoor gatherings would be their first choice; 24 percent chose an outdoor ceremony as their first choice; and, additionally, 18 percent chose no ceremony as their first choice. We appreciate the feedback, and the Commencement Committee hopes to make a recommendation to senior leadership soon.

    Rock Hill Unite Local Relief Program

    Rock Hill City Council has been working to help provide assistance for Rock Hill residents and businesses during these difficult economic times. Funding is still available for these efforts. The Rock Hill Unite local relief program is designed to assist individuals and businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. The program includes residential utility assistance, small business utility assistance, service agency assistance and a small business loan program. More information on the Unite program may be found on the city’s website or by emailing unite@cityofrockhill.com or calling 803/817-5112.

    Thank you for making it this far if you're still reading! I know it's a lot of information to take in, but I feel that it's important to keep you in the loop on these topics. Please know that I appreciate your hard work as we work together to welcome our students, and I look forward to our time together during Thursday's town hall. 

    Dear Students,

    I hope this email finds you healthy and well, and ready for a safe return to campus next month. As Winthrop continues its phased re-opening, please know that our focus remains on preparing and providing a safe and healthy learning space and workplace for you and our employees. As we continue to settle into our new normal, please take a few moments to read about some important updates:

    Students/Families Virtual Town Hall on July 30  

    I invite you to participate in a virtual town hall meeting specifically for students and families on Thursday, July 30, at 6:30 p.m. Members of senior leadership and I will be answering your questions concerning the fall 2020 semester. Questions will be accepted in advance through noon on Friday, July 24, by emailing townhalls@winthrop.edu. More information will be shared closer to the event on how to join the town hall meeting. I look forward to participating in these important discussions with you and your loved ones.

    Facial Covering Requirements

    Please know that Winthrop is requiring all students, faculty and staff to wear masks or 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 on-campus residence hall rooms and when not in close contact with another person, such as walking alone outside. Upon return to campus, each student will receive a health kit that contains a reusable cloth facial covering, along with other items to help you meet Winthrop’s expectations for doing your part in maintaining a healthy campus community. Please also note that a facial covering mandate recently went into effect in Rock Hill. The mandate requires people to wear facial coverings in public places within city limits. Those places include restaurants, grocery stores, retail establishments and pharmacies. Wearing a facial covering helps protect us all, so please “mask up” to keep our campus and surrounding community safe and healthy.

    Campus Life Outlook

    Top of mind for many students are Winthrop’s plans for residential living, dining and student activities this fall. Staff members continue to work on final details, and more information will be available soon. As you may know, the Division of Student Affairs sent a July 9 student email entitled Fall Housing Information. The email provided an overview of next month’s move-in process and dates, fall housing assignments timeline and more. Additional details on many of these related plans will be sent in the next few weeks, so please monitor your Winthrop email account frequently and be on the lookout for these important updates.

    Winthrop Bookstore Now Open

    The Winthrop Bookstore, located in the DiGiorgio Campus Center, is now open and is implementing a number of measures to keep its customers safe, such as social distancing measures, contactless payment and more. The bookstore is continuing to process online orders as well.

    Fall Homecoming Activities to Be Paused

    Due to continued concerns surrounding COVID-19, we have decided to pause all Homecoming activities this November, including Homecoming on the Green and the Homecoming tailgate. The Division of Student Affairs is considering hosting a spirit week in the spring depending on guidance at that time from the CDC and DHEC. This difficult decision is again made to ensure the health and safety of the entire campus community. You can read more in this press release.

    Commencement Ceremony Latest

    As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the state and in our county, we realize that holding a traditional, in-person Commencement ceremony in August to celebrate our May graduates would be unsafe. A survey was recently emailed to May graduates to gather their feedback on alternative Commencement options that would recognize and celebrate their achievements. Over 33 percent responded that rescheduling the ceremony when it is safe to hold large, indoor gatherings would be their first choice; 24 percent chose an outdoor ceremony as their first choice; and, additionally, 18 percent chose no ceremony as their first choice. We appreciate the feedback, and the Commencement Committee hopes to make a recommendation to senior leadership soon.

    Tillman Hall Renaming Update

    On June 19, members of the Board of Trustees unanimously voted on a resolution requesting state legislators to consider an amendment to the Heritage Act of 2000 to allow Winthrop to restore Tillman Hall to its original name of Main Building. As you'll recall, our trustees do not have the power themselves to change the name. That power belongs to the S.C. General Assembly. I'm pleased to report that our formal request in this matter has been sent to the legislators for their consideration. As stated previously, we will patiently await further discussion and action, and I will keep you appraised of any steps forward.

    Thank you for making it this far if you're still reading! I know it's a lot of information to take in, but I feel that it's important to keep you in the loop on these topics. Please know that there are a lot of people working very hard to prepare for your safe return next month. We can’t wait to welcome you back! Until then, I look forward to our time together during the July 30 town hall. 

    Now that we have launched Phase 2 of our Return to Work plan and are working toward Phase 3, I wanted to invite you to join me and other members of senior leadership for a Faculty/Staff virtual town hall meeting at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 16.  

    As we plan to reopen campus for fall 2020, there are many details and issues to address, and we understand you may have questions. This hour-long town hall is designed especially for faculty and staff in order for us to provide you with answers as we prepare to welcome students back in a little over a month. We will continue to hold these town halls, including one planned for students and families during the first week of August, as needed.

    How to Ask a Question

    Your voices and questions are important. I invite your questions to be shared with us in advance by noon on Wednesday at townhalls@winthrop.edu or, if time during the meeting, asked/answered online toward the end of the town hall.

    Accessing the Town Hall Meeting

    The town hall meeting will be accessible via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra on July 16 at 2 p.m.  A video recording also will be made available following the town hall if you are unable to participate live. More details on how to view the town hall will be provided by email on Wednesday.

    Please know that you are a valued member of the Winthrop community, and we look forward to hearing from you as we prepare for the fall. I hope you can join us on Thursday. 

    As you know, Phase 2 of Winthrop’s Return to Work Plan begins on Monday, July 6. This means that some of you will return to your offices either full time, in some combination of working on campus and working from home, and some will continue to fully work from home. During Phase 2, the goal is to have no more than approximately 50 percent of our workforce on campus on any given day. Campus buildings will be open and we will return to providing our regular services, but in a modified format so that we can promote social distancing.

    I ask that you please familiarize yourself with our Return to Work Plan and Office Etiquette expectations (pdf - 341 KB) before Monday. A few important items that I would like to reiterate that you may find in the plan:

    • Following CDC and DHEC guidance, 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.
    • We must practice proper hygiene such as hand washing and social distancing as the CDC and DHEC recommend. 
    • When possible, meetings should not be face-to-face. The use of telephone, e-mail or one of the virtual meeting platforms would be preferred to limit interactions among individuals. 
    • Employees are encouraged to self-monitor frequently for any possible symptoms such as fever, cough, etc

    Regarding the importance of self-monitoring, in normal times, many of us would not think twice of coming to work with a runny nose or scratchy throat and go on about our work day, but at this time we are asking you to contact your supervisor and stay home if you have even the slightest feeling of being unwell. This is out of an abundance of caution for our campus community.

     

    We are also asking, if you have physically been in settings or attended events where social distancing was not possible and face coverings were not worn or have been traveling (including airplanes, cruise ships, etc.) to please contact and inform your supervisor to determine the appropriateness of your returning to work in person on campus.

     

    It is imperative to look at your personal decisions over this week and last, and ascertain as much as possible your risk of potentially having been exposed yet be asymptomatic. This is a necessary step we all must take before the July 6 Phase 2 opening. If you do think you may have been exposed, please contact HR for guidance.

    While we are doing all that we can from an institutional standpoint to provide a safe and healthy work environment, we simply cannot control every variable. I am asking each of us - by wearing a mask, self-monitoring, practicing good hygiene and social distancing, and more - to do our part to help keep our campus healthy and safe. 

    Finally, as of now, we continue to plan for our Phase 3 opening on July 27 during which we will welcome nearly 100 percent of our employees back to campus. We are keeping a close eye on the rise in COVID-19 cases in our area and will keep you informed if this changes.

    Thank you for all that you have done, and continue to do, for Winthrop during these uncertain times. I look forward to talking soon to as many of you as I can (while practicing social distancing of course!)

    Since yesterday's e-mail focused on our return to work planning, I wanted to update you today on several academic initiatives that currently are underway as we continue to work towards safely welcoming our students back in August.

    Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Adrienne McCormick shared last week with the campus the approved academic calendar for the fall semester. I'm sure you noticed several modifications, but the highlights include holding classes on Labor Day; forgoing fall break in October; canceling classes on Election Day; concluding face-to-face instruction before Thanksgiving break; and moving to remote instruction after Thanksgiving to complete the fall semester. I appreciate the input from the campus community as we worked to create a modified schedule that would minimize travel to and from campus in order to avoid potential increased instances of COVID-19.

    I also wanted to share several other items of interest:

    • The Academic Affairs division has been hard at work planning and scheduling fall courses to accommodate our reduced on-campus class sizes in order to effectively social distance students in the classroom. To date, 41 percent of our classes will be in-person, on-campus courses, 32 percent of classes will be a hybrid of online and on-campus instruction, and 27 percent of classes will be offered solely online.
    • Staff members are rearranging classrooms and lecture halls 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. 
    • Faculty members have remained dedicated to ensuring that our students receive high quality online academic instruction and offerings. Through training offered by the Winthrop Office of Online Learning, to date, a total of 164 faculty members are now fully certified to provide online instruction. In addition, 188 faculty members completed Winthrop Online Teaching Certification (WOTC) 101: Online Course Design and Development Basics and more than 145 faculty members completed WOTC 102: Online Course Facilitation and Management.
    • Winthrop will soon have its own Zoom account that will be utilized in the fall across campus, in addition to other platforms currently available.
    • Academic Leadership is working with IT to provide most, if not all, full-time faculty with a laptop to allow for flexibility. In addition, the IT call center is moving to a cloud-based system which will allow the IT staff to respond to calls while off campus in case the university has to pivot to remote work again.
    • A Return to Learn website is underway to provide a one-stop resource for students, parents, faculty and staff as they navigate the new semester. In addition, since we know the campus community, our students and their families will have questions about the new semester and how it will look, we will offer a series of town halls to provide an opportunity for questions and answers using one of the virtual platforms. More information will be coming soon on the town hall series.
    • In Student Affairs, the Office of New Student and Family Programs is currently in the midst of welcoming both freshmen and new transfer students. These students are currently completing the first part of our Orientation offerings, the virtual First Flight component, along with advising and registration. Once these students arrive on campus in August, they will complete the second component of Orientation - Eagles Landing.
    • The Convocation Committee is exploring options for an outdoor, progressive Blue Line walk with stops that would help us provide a safe alternate to our typical Convocation for incoming students. More information will be forthcoming on this semester-opening event.
    • Finally, as we see the rise in COVID-19 cases happening locally and across the state, the Commencement Committee has determined that a traditional, in-person Commencement ceremony on Aug. 15 to celebrate our May graduates is not the safest way to welcome our newest graduates into the Winthrop family. A survey will be sent this week to our May graduates to gather their feedback on other options and formats that will allow us to safely celebrate with them and their families. More information will be shared soon.

    As you can see, a lot of hard work has been taking place across the university to prepare for the fall semester. I thank you all for your part in these efforts. As I've said before, the Winthrop spirit is real, and it is on display as the campus community works together to safely welcome back our students. 

    It is less than one week until our scheduled return to work for Phase 2, and more concerning news has been recently shared that emphasizes why we must be vigilant between now and July 6 as we prepare to return to work. Please note that a detailed Return to Work Guide will be forthcoming this week. 

    While the administration is readying the physical campus for your return and implementing necessary precautions to decrease any spread of COVID-19, you must be equally committed in the coming days to protecting yourself and tangentially our community, as cases continue to rise throughout many areas in the Carolinas. 

    The Herald reported that York County added a total of 103 COVID-19 cases this past weekend, which ended a record-breaking week of new cases. In order to keep ourselves, our family members and our colleagues healthy and safe, we should all be wearing masks or cloth facial coverings anytime we are in public with the potential for contact with others. We must practice hand washing and social distancing as the CDC and DHEC recommend. Again, this is not only for our own health but the health of our campus colleagues and friends, which is an important component of the Winthrop spirit I’ve seen so consistently displayed during the pandemic. 

    I also wanted to make you aware of several other items happening concerning campus preparations: 

    • Following CDC and DHEC guidance, 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. Also in accordance with CDC and DHEC guidance, Winthrop is not requiring baseline COVID-19 testing for faculty, staff and students who return to campus. COVID-19 testing options for those who become symptomatic will be available through local health-care facilities.
    • Should it be required, contact tracing will be provided by DHEC in communication with Health and Counseling Services for students and Human Resources for employees.
    • Return to work kits will soon be available from Environmental Health and Safety for departments and offices. Supervisors will be notified of pick-up arrangements. Kits include reusable cloth facial coverings (two per employee), disposable masks for office visitors, a 22 oz. bottle of hand sanitizer for office/department use, a 32 oz. bottle of disinfectant cleaner for office/department use, gloves and paper towels. No wipes or personal-sized hand sanitizers will be available for each employee's desk.  
    • We are consulting with the Medical University of South Carolina on our Return to Learn plan, which details our preparations to safely welcome our students, faculty and staff back to campus for the fall semester. Being reviewed are our social distancing plans for classroom, residence halls and shared spaces such as Dacus Library, in addition to our plans for returning employees to the campus. MUSC will evaluate these plans and give suggestions and guidance as to how we might adjust them if needed.
    • Finally, I would like to encourage each employee to complete the required, mandatory Return to Work Authorization training as soon as possible. Employees will not be allowed to return to campus until this training is completed. This information can be found at the “Faculty and Staff Return to Work Notification, Training, and Resources” section of the HR website

    It is with anticipation that I look forward to seeing you back on campus. Working remotely has served the university as well as we might have imagined but like you, I suspect, I have missed the opportunity to see each other on a daily basis. As we enter Phase 2 of re-opening, I ask you to pay attention to these guidelines as it is with care and respect for each other that we need to work to create a healthy and safe campus.

    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 Health and Counseling Services 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 Health and Counseling Services 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 and Civic Engagement (CCE) will continue to provide career services to students virtually and by phone. To make a career consultation appointment, students should visit the CCE 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, Health and Counseling Services, 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.

 

Human Resources Updates

    Dear Colleagues,

    We had a great turnout for our Town Hall that took place on Thursday, July 16th, but if you weren’t able to attend we want to make sure you are aware that the President announced the postponement of Phase III of our Phased Return to Work Plan.  Until further notice, we will remain in Phase II of our plan with the goal of approximately 50% of our workforce on campus at any given time.  This means that we are not returning all employees to work on campus on July 27, 2020, as had been previously announced.  Obviously, as we prepare for students to return to campus, we may see the number of on-campus faculty and staff increase in the weeks leading up to the student return date.  If you have questions about your work circumstances, please speak with your supervisor.

    If you are working on campus or planning to return to work on campus soon, please remember to wear your mask, social distance, and wash your hands often.  If you have not reviewed the Faculty and Staff Return to Work Notification, Training and Resources information and completed the Online Acknowledgement Form, please do so.  The information and form are located on the Human Resources, Employee Diversity, and Wellness website under the COVID-19 Information for Employees tab.  If you have questions please email HRHelp@winthrop.edu.

    Thanks so much!

    Lisa

    The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) will take effect on April 1, 2020.  The FFCRA seeks to assist employees, including student employees, impacted by COVID-19 and includes two forms of paid leave, even for employees who may not otherwise be eligible for paid leave.

    • Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSL)
      • Provides up to 80 hours of paid sick leave for employees for six qualifying reasons related to COVID-19.
    • Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFFMLA)
      • Expands the federal Family and Medical Leave Act to provide leave for employees who are unable to work, including work-from-home, as a result of having to care for a minor child due to a COVID-19 related closure of a school or childcare center.

    Both paid leave provisions take effect April 1, 2020, and both expire December 31, 2020.

    The provisions of the FFCRA are only for those employees who cannot work, including work-from-home, as a result of COVID-19.  As directed by Governor Henry McMaster in his executive orders, supervisors should still first offer work-from-home opportunities to employees to the maximum extent possible.  Paid leave under the FFCRA will only be available to employees when work-from-home opportunities are not available.

    Leave provided under the FFCRA is available to all employees, including those who do not earn other forms of leave.  This includes temporary employees and student employees.  Employees are eligible to take leave under the EFMLA if they have been employed at least 30 calendar days.  Employees are eligible for EPSL from their first day of employment.

    Both EFMLA and EPSL will need to be specifically requested by employees using forms provided on HR’s COVID-19 Information for Employees website.   Additional guidelines may also be found on the website.  Please see the federal poster associated with the FFCRA and feel free to forward related questions to HRHelp@winthrop.edu.

    Thank you,

    Office of Human Resources, Employee Diversity, and Wellness

    Human Resources, Employee Wellness and Diversity revamped and expanded its COVID-19 information. Please see the updated site.

    Dear Colleagues,

    Our university is committed to limiting the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and keeping our students, faculty, and staff safe. Classes are continuing through remote instruction. Critical work will continue to be done on campus, such as residential housing support, remote instruction support, IT, public safety, and some administrative services. However, unless specifically directed by their supervisor, EMPLOYEES SHOULD NOT REPORT TO CAMPUS.

    Based on guidance from Governor McMaster, beginning March 23, 2020, and until the university resumes normal operation, or until further notice, supervisors will allow employees to work remotely to the extent possible. Every effort will be made to assign remote work to employees, including temporary employees, and work may be assigned on a part-time or full-time basis. Employees may feel free to suggest work opportunities to their supervisor. Please refer to the Temporary and Remote Telecommuting/Remote Employment Guidelines for additional information.

    On Monday, March 23, 2020, employees may come to campus to retrieve work-related or personal items between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. During this time, employees are expected to be on campus only long enough to retrieve items and should not remain for an extended period of time. While on campus, employees must practice social distancing.  Employees are prohibited from bringing children to work either during this item retrieval period on March 23, 2020, or at any time during the COVID-19 event.

    Regardless of whether employees are continuing to work, timesheets and leave reports are required to be submitted according to the submission deadlines on Wingspan.  According to state guidelines, unless the governor allows leave with pay associated with emergency closures of state institutions, employees must use available leave or take leave without pay for related absences. At this time, the governor has not allowed leave with pay for this COVID-19 event.  Based on this, please refer to the information below regarding time reporting.  If at a later date the governor determines that leave with pay can be provided for all, or a portion of the time, employees would be reimbursed for leave used.

     

    All leave-eligible employees must submit timesheets or leave reports in the regular manner and according to the deadlines for reporting on Wingspan.

    • Employees who submit timesheets should report time not worked as a result of the campus closure and the social distancing directive as either sick or annual leave, compensatory time taken (if available), or leave without pay. The pay that employees who submit timesheets receive on April 1, 2020, will be for work performed March 1 – March 15, so the university closure will not be a factor.
    •  Employees who submit leave reports should report time not worked as a result of the campus closure or social distancing directive as either annual or sick leave. The pay that employees who submit leave reports receive on April 1, 2020, will be for work performed March 16 – March 31, so the university closure may be a factor.
    • During the COVID 19 event all leave earning employees are authorized to use available sick leave to cover time not worked.

    Leave-eligible employees who do not have available sick or annual leave may be advanced up to 15 days of sick leave. Employees may request an advance of sick leave using the Sick Leave Advancement Request form. Documentation from a licensed health care provider will not be required for advancement of sick leave directly connected to the COVID-19 event. All advanced leave will be repaid as the employee earns future sick leave. Employees may view their available leave balances on the Employee Detail tab on Wingspan.

    Faculty, including adjuncts, will continue to receive their regular pay.

    Temporary employees who submit timesheets and who work during the time the university is closed should submit timesheets in the normal manner, reporting only time worked. Temporary employees are not eligible for leave with pay for absences from work. Temporary employees may be eligible for unemployment benefits through the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce. We strongly recommend that temporary employees contact SCDEW for additional information.

    Salaried temporary employees will continue to be paid as normal, as long as they are continuing to work or will be allowed by their supervisor to make up the time spent not working at a later date.

    Check the university’s COVID-19 page for additional tips on how to stay healthy.

    Employment-related questions may be directed to HRHelp@winthrop.edu.

 

Academic Affairs Updates

    Academic Leadership has approved an adjustment in the determination of academic standing at the end of the Spring 2020 semester.  Academic Standing will be calculated similar to the end of summer session.  Students currently on probation who raise their GPA above the target GPA will be taken off probation and returned to Good Standing.  Any student on probation who does not raise their GPA above the target GPA will remain on probation.  No students will be placed on academic suspension or academic dismissal at the end of Spring 2020. 

    With the changes to the grading options, the S/U election and extension of the course withdrawal deadline, very few students should see their GPA drop below the required level. This change in applying the academic standing rules will minimize the impact of the changes in instruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  For details on all the changes that impact your academic record, see the Records and Registration homepage: https://www.winthrop.edu/recandreg/

    Dear Students,

    Faculty and academic leaders made two additional adjustments to our Spring 2020 accommodations for students. 

    1) We extended the deadline to withdraw from a course until the last day of classes, April 27. This applies to all undergraduate and graduate students. Please think carefully about whether withdrawing from a course is a better option than choosing S/U or taking an incomplete. Discuss these options with your faculty, advisors, and/or student services professionals.  Here is our FAQ on the course withdrawal extension. Please read it before sending any questions:  https://www.winthrop.edu/recandreg/course-withdrawal-spring2020.aspx

    2) We have also made changes to grading options for graduate students. Members of the graduate faculty and academic leadership at Winthrop University have approved changes to the Spring 2020 graduate grading policies in order to further minimize the potential negative impacts of the shift to remote instruction on graduate student performance. Previous communications regarding grading options only extended to undergraduate students. Those decisions are still in place.

    In short, any graduate student who earns a B-, C+, or C grade in Spring 2020 will automatically receive credit (CR) grades on their records, and the grades will not be counted in the GPA calculation. Any graduate student receiving an F in Spring 2020 will automatically receive an unsatisfactory (UN) grade on their record, and the F will not be counted in the GPA calculation. The graduate grading scale does not include C- or D-level grades. Veterans who require F grades to retain benefits will still receive them. 

    These details are spelled out in the chart below. Please read them carefully before reaching out to faculty, advisors, and student services professionals with additional questions. 

     

    Regular Graduate Grading System

    Graduate Grading System for Spring 2020

    Letter Grades

    Letter Grades

    A

    A

    A-

    A-

    B+

    B+

    B

    B

    B-

    CR

    C+

    C

    F

    UN

    GPA—Full impact

    GPA—Full impact A to B; no impact CR and UN

     

    • Grades of CR and UN will have no impact (positive or negative) on GPA.
    • The grade of CR will award credit for the course in terms of progress toward the degree, but will not contribute points toward GPA calculation.
    • Students do not have to choose to opt into this grading scheme. It will be automatic for all graduate students.
    • Graduate students will have through Monday, April 27, 2020, to opt for withdrawal from a course, which would result in a grade of on the transcript.
    • This will apply to all courses, including electives, for which a student has enrolled with graduate status.

    We hope these additional modifications help ease your mind and give you the confidence for a strong finish to your Spring 2020 studies!


    Adrienne

    Hello All,

    I write to share with you the most recent guidance provided to students earlier today, resulting from a proposal that came to Academic Council on Friday. We had a great conversation and arrived at a plan that will help undergraduate students with the uncertainties that may result from the switch to remote instruction. I know some students are still struggling to work from cell phones. I can't imagine working to my full potential if I only had my cell phone as a tool, as powerful as it is. This guidance has been added to the campus website, along with FAQs, a flowchart, and GPA calculation examples (pdf - 1 MB) to help students and faculty understand these changes.

    I also want to draw to your attention the incentive funding we are allocating from next year's budget.  Any full-time faculty members who sign up for the WOTC 101 and 102 sections commencing on April 10 in order to convert a currently-scheduled face-to-face course for fully online delivery on Blackboard for the first time this summer will receive an additional $1000 in professional development funds on top of their normal college allocation. Adjuncts will continue to receive $700 stipends for completing WOTC 101 and 102; the stipend is paid after the online course has been taught.

    Finally, I wanted to let you know that the Board of Trustees approved a resolution this morning to allow for test-optional admissions as a result of SAT and ACT test cancellations. We will suspend our requirement of the SAT or ACT tests for admission to Winthrop, for summer 2020 and academic year 2020-2021 admissions only. 

    Let me know if you have any questions. I know you all are moving mountains to be there for our students, providing new modes of instruction, advising them for course registration, and being on call (literally) for all of the other very important work that you do. Many, many thanks for your unflagging energy and commitment to ensuring that they finish strong.

    Best,

    Adrienne

    Dear Undergraduate Students,

    Members of the faculty and academic leadership at Winthrop University have approved additional changes to our Spring 2020 grading policies in order to further minimize the potential negative impacts of the shift to remote instruction on student performance.  As a result, we are providing this additional guidance for all undergraduate students and faculty. In short, any undergraduate students who earn D grades in Spring 2020 will automatically receive credit (CR) grades on their records, and the D will not be counted in the GPA calculation. Any undergraduate student receiving an F in Spring 2020 will automatically receive an unsatisfactory (UN) grade on their record, and the F will not be counted in the GPA calculation. 

    This will help those students who have already opted into S/U as well. Any undergraduate students who have already selected S/U and who earn a D-level grade will earn a CR and keep the credit hours. The CR will not be counted in the GPA calculation. These details are spelled out in the chart below and in the FAQs, flowchart, and GPA calculation examples (pdf - 1 MB). Please read them carefully before reaching out to faculty, advisors, and student services professionals with additional questions.

    Best,

    Adrienne

     

     

     

    Usual Grading System

    Grading System for Spring 2020 only

    Letter Grades

    Satisfactory/ Unsatisfactory

    Letter Grades

    Satisfactory/Credit/ Unsatisfactory

    A

    S

    A

    S

    A-

    A-

    B+

    B+

    B

    B

    B-

    B-

    C+

    C+

    C

    C

    C-

    C-

    D+

    U

    CR

    CR

    D

    D-

    F

    UN

    UN

    GPA—Full impact

    GPA—No impact

    GPA—Full impact A to C-

    but no impact below C-

    GPA—No impact

    As you have already learned, undergraduate students will have the option to elect additional S/Us on or before the final day of classes.  It is very important for you to make a well-informed decision about choosing to use S/U grading instead of a letter grade for one or more of your classes this semester.

    We want to make sure that you do not make an S/U decision that could negatively impact (1) your  Life/Hope or other scholarships, (2) your eligibility for future classes, (3) your overall academic progress, or  (4) perhaps even your upcoming graduation.  Consequently, we suggest that you speak with your advisor or the Student Services professionals in your college prior to selecting the S/U option for a particular class if you have questions or concerns. If you have already selected S/U for some or all of your classes, review that decision with your advisor and/or the Student Services professionals in your college.

    Here are only a few things you should consider:

    • If you select an S/U in all your courses, you could jeopardize your Life/Hope or Palmetto Scholarship if your GPA after fall was below a 3.000 (or you don’t have a GPA yet because Spring 2020 is your first college semester).
    • If you are graduating in May or August and need a specific course that you are taking this semester, remember that a D- in a course gives you credit for the course; a U does not.
    • If you are not graduating in May or August, you should consult your Catalog to make sure that you know the specific pre-requisite grade requirements for courses you plan to take in Fall 2020 or later in your degree program. We will accept S grades as satisfying pre-requisite requirements based upon the unique situation this semester. However, a U will not satisfy a pre-requisite requirement, whereas a D- might (unless the pre-requisite course also has a letter-grade requirement).

    Again, please use the right resources:  your specific Winthrop University Catalog, your advisor, or your Student Services professionals.  Your best friend may not have the correct information.

    Your academic progress and your health are priorities for us.  Please take advantage of the assistance available to you.

    Hello All,

    As each of you are busy performing incredible feats of re-imagination, I wanted to send a few reminders and words of encouragement:

    1) Keep checking into the coronavirus website. Important updates show up daily, such as....

    2) Students have selected times to retrieve their belongings this week, with access windows that started today and will end Saturday. This may impact their ability to respond quickly on remote assignments or advising.

    3) This is the first week. Like the first pancake, it may not be perfect. That's okay.

    4) Think "less is more," and allow yourself and the students you teach/support/advise to ease into all of this change.

    5) As you prepare for advising appointments and student problem-solving, think about places where you might tweak your normal checkpoints, such as asking students whether they are opting into additional S/U's and what they need to keep in mind if they have.

    Have a great Wednesday!

    Adrienne

    I wanted to update you on Dacus Library’s remote hours now that the university has moved to remote instruction for the remainder of the semester. Librarians continue to be available to assist you and your students with resource needs. We are regularly checking the Reference Desk email (refdesk@winthrop.edu); we are on chat from 9am-9pm Monday-Thursdays, 9am-7pm Fridays, 1-6pm Saturdays, and 1-9pm Sundays; and we are offering virtual Book-a-Librarian appointments (http://libcal.winthrop.edu/appointments/).

    Please remember that to access the library’s electronic resources, you must login to your Library Account – instructions for how to set up your account and login can be found here: http://libguides.library.winthrop.edu/libraryaccount. We have a number of eBooks (which you can find through our catalog), and databases (https://libguides.library.winthrop.edu/az.php), all of which you and your students can access remotely.

    PASCAL and InterLibrary Loan (ILL) requests have been suspended for the time being. Please hold onto any materials you have from other institutions until further notice. Contact Phillip Hays (haysp@winthrop.edu) if you have questions about PASCAL or ILL.

    Lastly, we have a Library Services for COVID-19 Response guide that we update regularly with information about library services, remote access, updated electronic resources (such as electronic textbook providers!), and more: http://libguides.library.winthrop.edu/libraryservices_covid. Please share this guide with your students.

    Thank you for continuing to use the library’s resources during this unprecedented time. Please contact me (Emily Deinert, Reference Services Librarian, deinertv@winthrop.edu) if you have questions.

    Dear Winthrop Faculty and Staff,

    Let me begin by saying I am deeply impressed by the resilience and problem-solving efforts I am seeing across Academic Affairs as we all work to prepare for remote instruction, and now with new guidance from Governor McMaster, remote work from home as well! We are reinventing our jobs and roles daily, in response to rapidly changing conditions. Responding to this environment requires patience, creativity, and teamwork. I have the utmost confidence in all of you as you find new ways to deliver on your unwavering commitment to the success of our students. That is why I chose to work at Winthrop. We put student learning at the center of all we do, and that has not changed. We’ve got this!

    Please know that the Academic Leadership team, Senior Leadership, and the Board of Trustees stand ready to support you in any way possible as we shift to remote instruction and the remote work environment. Stay tuned to email for updates as we reinvent business processes. Don’t forget to utilize the resources available on our Continuity of Instruction website, which we are updating frequently as new resources are made available.

    Please communicate frequently with your students and remember that next week in particular will be a test-drive on many levels. Please provide as much flexibility in your asynchronous remote instruction plans as possible, as students will need to retrieve their personal items from the residence halls in addition to completing course work and planning for advising sessions.

    Supports are being developed for students as well, such as the resources for remote learning site provided through our Winthrop Office of Online Learning. Many other supports are available via remote access as well, including tutoring and counseling.

    A few updates for all that will help us move through the remainder of the semester with additional focus on course completion and making steady academic progress:

    • All remaining Cultural Events credits for seniors planning to graduate in May or August 2020 are being waived, as long as students meet all other degree requirements to graduate.
    • For Spring 2020 only, all students will have the option through April 28 (study day) to choose S/U as a grading method for all courses, whether they are major, minor, or elective requirements and regardless of the current number of courses they may have selected for this grading method. The Registrar will contact students regarding how to request the S/U grading method.
    • Please communicate with your students soon and frequently, if you have not already. Have contingencies for your contingencies. If you’re all set to go online or have your remote assignments lined up, that’s great! Perhaps also get cell numbers in case you need to set up another communication method.
    • Advising will also start next week, and will require adjustments as well. Cut yourself and your students some slack; it doesn’t have to be perfect. Think of this as an opportunity to look beyond the chaos of Spring 2020, and put tentative plans in place for Summer and Fall 2020 courses. Use this opportunity to review with students whether to take advantage of increased S/U options!
    • Students who are currently enrolled in internships and other experiential opportunities may have unique questions. Make sure you are prepared to answer them, with updated information from your particular college dean or department chair.
     

    Next week, in the language of my teenagers and the ancients, will be epic! But I have deep confidence in all of you. Your creativity, talent, and dedicated teamwork will see us all through the challenges ahead.

    Please check in to the campus coronvirus website frequently. News from Academic Affairs has been separated out from other updates, and will continue to be posted there in the future. I will do my best to keep you all apprised of changes as they arise. Once the dust has settled on the shift to remote instruction and remote work, you will hear from me again on plans for resuming our other work and responding to other pressing questions, such as what this means for faculty on the tenure track who are missing out on important professional development opportunities. I am thinking about and working on all of those things. Adolphus Belk and I will work together to make sure we have solutions in place in support of the faculty and staff.

    Best of luck in your remote instruction adventures, and thanks in advance for doing all you can to model positive thinking, resilience, and creative problem-solving for our students.

     

    Have a great weekend,

    Adrienne 

    Dear Winthrop Students,

    I am deeply impressed by the resilience and problem-solving skills faculty and staff are tapping into in preparation for the shift to remote instruction next week, and now with new guidance from Governor McMaster, they are figuring out how to work from home as well, just as you are! We are reinventing our jobs and roles daily, in response to rapidly changing conditions. Responding to this environment requires patience, creativity, and teamwork. I have the utmost confidence in our faculty and staff, who are unwavering in their commitment to your success.

    Next week will see us moving into remote instruction, most of which will be asynchronous, which means you will have some flexibility in when you work on assignments. This may be new to you! So please communicate regularly with your faculty and advisor as you make plans to return to campus to retrieve your personal items, and as you commence remote instruction tasks. Monitor emails and texts. Check out the resources for remote learning provided through our Winthrop Office of Online Learning. Many other supports have been moved to remote access as well, including tutoring, counseling, and general advising processes. Rest assured that we will be here to answer your questions as we work through this transition together!

    A few updates for all that will help us move through the remainder of the semester with additional focus on course completion and making steady academic progress:

    • All remaining Cultural Events credits for seniors planning to graduate in May or August 2020 are hereby waived, as long as students meet all other degree requirements to graduate.
    • For Spring 2020 only, all undergraduate students will have the option through April 28 (study day) to choose S/U as a grading method for all courses, whether they are major, minor or elective requirements and regardless of the current number of courses they may have selected for this grading method. The Registrar will contact students regarding how to request the S/U grading method. Discuss whether this is a good option for you with your advisor!
    • Advising will also start next week, and will require adjustments as well. Think of this as an opportunity to look beyond the chaos of Spring 2020, and put plans in place for Summer and Fall 2020 courses. What are your next steps? What do you need to do to be ready for them?

    Just as I am confident in the faculty and staff as they prepare to support you, I am also confident in your ability to take these changes in stride and find a path forward to complete your goals. Winthrop students impress me daily with their strength, resolve, and flexibility. Working together, a community with this much talent can get through a challenge of this size and learn things we did not know about ourselves in the process. We’ve got this! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at provost@winthrop.edu with any questions you have in the coming weeks.

    Colleagues, librarians are available to assist you and your students with resource needs during our remote instruction period. We have a number of eBooks (which you can find through our catalog), and databases (https://libguides.library.winthrop.edu/az.php), all of which you can access remotely. For instructions on how to access resources remotely, please see our Library Account Setup and Access Instructions guide (http://libguides.library.winthrop.edu/libraryaccount).

    Librarians are regularly checking the Reference Desk email (refdesk@winthrop.edu); we are on chat from 9am-5pm through the remainder of Spring Break and will be on chat from 9am-9pm Monday-Thursdays, 9am-5pm Fridays throughout the remote instruction period; and we are offering virtual Book-a-Librarian appointments (http://libcal.winthrop.edu/appointments/).

    Additionally, we have a Library Services for COVID-19 Response guide that we update regularly with information about library services, remote access, updated electronic resources, and more (http://libguides.library.winthrop.edu/libraryservices_covid). Please share this guide with your students.

    Thank you for your patience as we work on making library resources available to the Winthrop community during this unprecedented time. Please contact me (Emily Deinert, Reference Services Librarian, deinertv@winthrop.edu) if you have questions.

    Message from Adrienne McCormick, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs:

    Please find additional guidance (pdf - 330KB) from Academic Affairs as a follow up to Dr. Hynd's email from earlier today. We will continue to provide guidance as our planning unfolds. Thank you for your patience and your support of our students and each other as we work through this unprecedented situation together.

 

Student Affairs Updates

    New information has been added to the Health Services website to help clarify COVID-19 isolation and quarantine criteria. The information includes what steps students should take if they become sick or are exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

    We hope your summer is going well and that you are staying safe and healthy. We are very busy on campus preparing for your arrival for the Fall 2020 semester, and we are excitedly counting the days until your arrival in August.

    Due to COVID-19, there are several changes taking place on campus which have the health and safety of students, staff, and faculty as our very top priority. We wanted to highlight changes taking place in the residence halls and during the move-in process. This communication will be followed by several others in the coming days and weeks. Personal and social responsibility is a key theme that you will see throughout our series of messages. In short, that means we will do everything that we can to help you to stay safe. In turn, we expect you to accept the responsibility for doing your part to maintain health and safety for yourself and for our community. One example you will see emphasized is to wear a face mask anywhere in your residence hall, except in your residence hall room.

    When you receive a communication from us, we expect you to completely and thoroughly read through the entire message and let us know if you have any questions. The following are topics you can expect to hear more about in the coming days/weeks:

    • A housing contract addendum- The addendum will cover important changes to the Residence Hall Contract/Lease that address health and safety considerations, adjustments in the residence hall experience and additional personal and social responsibilities for students. The message with the addendum will be sent within the next several days. Read it completely and thoroughly!
    • Your Fall 2020 housing assignment. Housing assignment notifications have been delayed this year due to the changes associated with COVID-19. We expect to be able to notify you of your housing assignment during the week of July 20. Our housing assignment staff is working diligently to honor as many housing/roommate requests as possible. The notification will include how to view roommate (and if applicable, suitemate) information. Other information will include:
      • How to request the limited private rooms.
      • Information about how bed space vacancies will be managed to maximize space on campus
    • Protocol for exposure to and/or testing positive for COVID-19. Communication about this will be sent toward the end of July.
    • Move-in process and timeline- We are making many changes to move-in for Fall 2020. We will have a very comprehensive message regarding:
      • Student responsibility for move-in.
      • Recommendations regarding essential items and personal belongings
      • Loft rental details
      • Request to restrict contact with others 14 days prior to arriving on campus.
      • Move-in assistance (only two helpers).
      • COVID-19 self-screening protocols.
      • The scheduling process for move-in. Move-in will occur Tuesday, August 18, through Sunday, August 23. The number of students per time slot will be limited to account for proper social distancing.
      • Procedures for contact-free curbside central check-in.

    All of the information topics included within our email communications will also be posted on the Residence Life Move-In Webpage. We realize this message contains a lot of information with much more to come. Please be patient and understand that with the daily changing landscape of this pandemic, our protocols are also subject to change. As always, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to email us at residencelife@winthrop.edu or call 803/323-2223.

    We look forward to meeting you during Eagle’s Landing and/or when you check into your residence hall in August!

    Warm regards,

    Shelia Higgs Burkhalter
    Vice President for Student Affairs

    Howard Seidler
    Interim Director of Residence Life

    This information is sent on behalf of Barnes & Noble College regarding the campus bookstore. Please note additional information regarding commencement regalia and textbook returns on the COVID-19 FAQs page.

    Dear Winthrop Campus Community,

    I wanted to provide you with an update on the status of your bookstore in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

    On Tuesday, March 24th, we closed our Barnes & Noble College campus stores to best protect the health and well-being of our employees, students and campus communities. While we had originally planned to reopen our stores on Monday, April 6th, continued developments in the spread of COVID-19 have led us to re-evaluate our plans.

    Your bookstore will remain temporarily closed to the public. We will continue to follow federal, state and your campus guidelines for an appropriate re-opening date for the stores.

    If you choose to move your summer sessions online, we are ready to support online course material selection and delivery. Our supply chain capabilities allow us to continue servicing your students from our warehouse in Columbia, Missouri. There will be NO interruption in service for students this summer.

    We have extended the grace period for rental returns through the first week of Fall classes. We will not be charging any students who were unable to return their books in time.

    We remain open for business online through our ecommerce site and mobile app - with free shipping for all orders.

    We will continue to monitor this situation in accordance with federal, state and local guidelines and work closely with you on any individual campus needs for service and support.

    We sincerely appreciate your partnership as we all make important decisions to ensure the safety of our communities during this difficult time. Stay safe,   

    Lisa Malat
    President, Barnes & Noble College

    The Winthrop University Post Office will begin forwarding student mail this week. Your mail will be forwarded to the off campus, local address that you provided in Wingspan. If an off campus address is not specified, your mail will go to your permanent address.

     

    If you do NOT want your mail forwarded to your permanent address, BUT still want it forwarded,  please logon to Wingspan and put any address in the U.S. in the off campus, local address field. Please DO NOT change the permanent address or take out your PO Box, just add an off campus, local address.

    Students who want to continue to receive mail at their current PO Boxes, within the DiGiorgio Campus Center, should contract Christina Childers via email at childersc@winthrop.edu or by calling 803-323-2293.

    Just a reminder that students have access to their PO Boxes 24/7 in the Campus Center by swiping their Winthrop ID at the ground level, outside doors near the Post Office. Please remember to use CDC recommended practices including using the provided sanitizer as soon you enter the Post Office.

    Stay safe out there!

    Dear Resident,

    As promised in our residence hall communication to you on Friday, this email will provide details of residence hall move out. Move out will be a staggered process with a priority of maintaining proper social distancing. You will need to sign up for a move out time. Each move out time slot provides a 3-hour window to arrive back to campus, pack up and move out your belongings, return your room key, and leave campus. Below is a link that will take you to the app for scheduling your move-out time. The schedule runs from Tuesday, March 24 through Saturday, 28 for move-out. It is imperative for the health and wellness of our campus community that you abide by the time you selected and confirmed. If you show up outside of the time you selected, you may be turned away. All exterior doors will be locked without resident access and includes Roddey and Courtyard residents.

    Sign up Here for a move out time: Residence Hall

    Important things to note:

    • You may ONLY bring with you two people to assist with your move-out. This is to ensure we are reducing exposure risks and promoting social distancing. Individuals who are sick, autoimmune compromised or the elderly should not assist with move-out.
    • You are strongly encouraged to bring your own moving dollies/carts and boxes. Moving bins will not be available, in order to reduce the possibility of exposure to the virus.
    • Upon arrival to campus, check in at your hall office and then proceed to your room. You will then need to collect and pack up your belongings, empty your refrigerator, dispose of trash in the dumpsters outside the building, and return your key to a designated area in each residence hall. Residents CANNOT leave any belongings behind in any case.
    • Residents who are currently quarantined, sick, or autoimmune compromised may designate one person to collect their belongings and return their key. Residents who elect to do this must email the name, contact information, and relationship to residencelife@winthrop.edu from their Winthrop email. If you do not have a designee, please email the Department of Residence Life to make alternate arrangements.
    • To forward your mail, go to Wingspan and update your local address. The Winthrop University Post Office will forward mail to that address.
    • Lofts: If you leased or rented a loft from Timbernest, leave it assembled in your room. Look out for an email from Timbernest for details. If you purchased a loft from Timbernest, you are expected to move it out along with your other possessions.

    If you live a substantial distance from campus, you are under quarantine, and/or you live in a state which has instituted “Shelter in Place Orders” and cannot get back to campus within the timeframe given, please email the Department of Residence Life at residencelife@winthrop.edu to make alternate arrangements.

    Thank you for your flexibility and understanding throughout this process and stay safe!

    This information was sent to all resident students from Residence Life to prepare students for moving out of the residence halls:

    As announced on March 19, 2020, by President Hynd, Winthrop University will be extending remote learning for the duration of the semester. Residence Life is developing a plan for residents to return to campus to collect their belongings and return their room key. This plan is being created with CDC recommendations for social distancing as a priority to ensure the health and safety of the campus community.

    Please do not show up unannounced to gather your personal belongings. It is very important that you adhere to this request. Residence Life does not have the proper staffing in place for this process yet. Students will not have access to their residence hall and will be told to return home. This includes Courtyard and Roddey residents.

    Our plan will consist of a staggered move-out process with residents selecting the date and window of time in which they will return to campus. Information about the staggered move-out process will be sent to your Winthrop University email. Please continue to monitor your email frequently.

    We thank you for your understanding and flexibility during this time.

    Health and Counseling Services posted this information for students on the website today.

    The Office of Accessibility has the following to share regarding Accessible Online Classes.

    Residence Life today sent information to all resident students with additional details on the closing of residence halls. Lee Wicker, Margaret Nance, Phelps, Richardson, Thomson, and Wofford residents received this information, while Courtyard and Roddey residents received this information.

    Residence Life shared some ways to encourage good health while living on campus in messaging that went to all resident students. That information also was posted to their website.

 

Miscellaneous Updates

    This information is sent on behalf of Vice Presidents Lisa Cowart and Justin Oates. Please see the related press release from today’s Board of Trustees meeting for more information.

    Dear Colleagues,

    Winthrop’s senior leadership has been evaluating options to mitigate the risks associated with current economic realities, both domestic and abroad. As we continue to navigate these uncharted waters, it is imperative that we all work together to control our collective expenses. 

    Budget Freeze

    Our first response to mitigate these risks is an immediate budget freeze on normal activities through April 30, 2020, in order to perform a year-end reallocation exercise to support the following:

    Assessment of appropriate expenditures required during this critical time that fall into one of these categories:

    • Technology and security needs to support on-line instruction
    • Technology and security needs to support faculty and staff working from home
    • Technology needs to support our enrollment, orientation, fundraising, recruiting, career services, and other key initiatives to attract and retain students in our various programs across campus
    • Police and facilities activities and supplies to keep our campus safe, clean, and accessible for workers and students who must be here for the next month and for everyone else when the time is right to return
    • Other needs determined essential at the president and senior leadership level   

    In order to help control spending, effectively immediately, all expenses will require approval by the vice president or dean of each respective unit on campus. In addition, all expenses over $5,000 will require additional approval by the CFO or AVP of Finance. These controls should significantly reduce expenditures across the university and help us meet our financial challenges as our situation becomes more clear.

    To learn more about the process to support this budget directive and other finance-related matters (for example, accounts payable, procurement, and post office), please see these documents.

    Hiring Freeze

    The second response effective today, April 3, 2020, is implementation of an immediate, temporary hiring freeze that covers certain vacant state-funded positions until further notice. The university’s Committee on Personnel Actions and the president will oversee the freeze.

    Requests to hire new Winthrop employees and requests to establish new state-funded positions will not be considered for approval unless specifically identified as an exception by the CPA/president.   Positions affected by the hiring freeze include:

    • Regular FTE staff (existing vacancies)
    • Non-instructional academic employees (existing vacancies)
    • New temporary hires (All temporary positions will be evaluated, including existing temporary employees for whom a new ePAF would be required on July 1, 2020.)

    Positions that were approved for hire, but remain unfilled, prior to April 3, 2020, will be evaluated individually. 

    Rare exceptions may be granted for the purposes of compliance, or other required and essential personnel necessary to sustain the safety and security of the campus and to perform daily operations and services deemed to be essential to the critical mission of the university.

    Special provisions apply to the following position types:

    • Federal Work Study, student employees, and graduate assistants/associates/graduate student workers are not subject to the hiring freeze; however, no new funding allocations will be made to support student employment.
    • Instructional full-time, part-time, and adjunct faculty hired to teach classes.
    • Grant-funded positions may be filled, provided the funding source is not split-funded between grant and university funds.  Split-funded grant hires will need to be approved as an exception by the CPA/president.
    • Positions funded by revenue-generated funds must be approved as an exception by the CPA/president.  Consideration will be given to the financial solvency of the revenue-generating program.

    See the FAQs for specific inquiries you may have. (pdf - 895 KB)

    These are not easy decisions to make, but they are warranted to ensure that we have the resources to continue to engage in exceptional teaching, learning, and service; be an employer of choice; and support our current faculty and staff as we move into the future.

    Thank you for your support through these challenging times. Together we will continue to meet our vital educational mission while balancing the finances of the university. 

    Computing and Information Technology posted these updates to assist the Winthrop community.

    Winthrop offices remain open for normal business hours.

    • During spring break and the remote instruction period March 23-April 3, Winthrop residence halls will only be available to students who are approved to remain due to specific extenuating circumstances. Residence Life provided specific guidance to residents yesterday.
    • Dining Services will operate on a limited hours schedule.  Self-service options also will be limited to avoid potential cross contamination of serving utensils.
    • Dacus Library will be open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. during spring break. During the March 23-April 3 remote instruction period, the library will be open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to midnight. Note that the Information Commons Desk will close at 5 p.m.  See more information on the library’s website.
    • The West Center will be closed beginning Sunday, March 15, and is anticipated to reopen on Monday, April 6.
    • The DiGiorgio Campus Center will be closed weekends through the end of March. The building will be open for staff and limited business activities only beginning March 16  Monday-Friday 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. until April 3.
    • All campus-related events using Winthrop facilities are cancelled through Friday, April 3, including such internal campus events as scheduled student meetings, Winthrop-sponsored events like the Model United Nations, and externally sponsored events.
    • McBryde Hall will close after an event on Saturday, March 14, and will remain closed until Thursday, March 19, when it will be cleaned and reopen. Go around the building and enter any building offices from the parking lot in front of the West Center.
    • The Athletics Department has suspended all spring regular season competition through March 30, 2020. Additionally, the Big South Conference has suspended athletic team events through March 31, 2020.

     

 

General Information

    People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

    Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:

    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

    Or at least two of these symptoms:

    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Repeated shaking with chills
    • Muscle pain
    • Headache
    • Sore throat
    • New loss of taste or smell

    Children have similar symptoms to adults and generally have mild illness.

    This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

    There is no vaccine to prevent this virus, and the CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed.
    Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

    • Practice respiratory etiquette to include:
      • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% rubbing alcohol.
      • Avoiding touching of eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
      • Covering mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing; immediately discarding used tissues in a trashcan. 
      • If tissues are not readily available, the cough or sneeze may be caught by the sleeve at the elbow or shoulder.  Remove mucus or debris with a tissue and then wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Change or cover clothing contaminated with mucus to prevent spreading.
      • Washing or sanitizing hands after using tissues and after contact with respiratory secretions.
      • Wash hands after interacting with people, touching high volume places (door handles, tables, shopping carts, gas pumps, etc.), before eating, and once you arrive home.
      • Avoid shaking hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    If you have symptoms of fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing and in the last 14 days you:

    • Traveled to Wuhan or visited an affected region in China, or
    • Visited an affected region in another affected country, or
    • Had close contact with someone who had traveled to an affected region in China or other affected country, and had respiratory symptoms

    You should:

    • Self-isolate to avoid contact with others.
    • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. Please do not utilize public transportation or just arrive at a healthcare provider’s office.
    • Winthrop students may call Health Services (803-323-2206) to request a telephone triage to discuss their health concerns with a nurse who will provide instructions about appropriate next steps.
    • Employees should contact their health care provider.
    • Do not travel while sick.
    • Practice the aforementioned steps for respiratory etiquette.
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • Follow the S.C. DHEC website for updated information https://www.scdhec.gov/health/infectious-diseases/viruses/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19
    • Monitor the CDC link to track cases in the U.S. and globally https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/

    Travel advisories continue to change. Please monitor the CDC and WHO websites for up-to-date information on travel restrictions.

 

Corona Virus FAQ's

Last Updated: 8/12/20