PC to complete spring semester online; Commencement postponed
Dear Students, Parents, Faculty, and Staff,
The world is a different place than it was even a month ago. Over the past few weeks, the leadership team, our COVID-19 working group, and I have met regularly to discuss how to navigate PC through this unprecedented time.
As we have evaluated the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, we’ve kept the safety of the campus community as our top priority. We’ve made all of our decisions to ensure, as much as we may, students, faculty and staff, as well as the Clinton community, will remain safe during this ongoing pandemic.
Transitioning to online classes, which we did earlier this month in our graduate programs and this week for our undergraduate students, was a difficult decision to make. But it was the right call.
Today, we find ourselves with deep regret making another difficult decision designed to keep everyone in the PC Family safe: We’ve decided to extend remote learning for the undergraduate campus through the remainder of the spring 2020 semester, including final exams for undergraduates in late April and early May. Students at the School of Pharmacy and in the Physician Assistant Studies program will also continue their classes online and will complete their semesters remotely.
For those of you completing requirements and planning to graduate on May 8 for the pharmacy school and May 9 for the undergraduate college, we will issue your diplomas effective on those dates and send them to you by postal mail, but we will need to reschedule our Commencement activities for a later date. I look forward to addressing the graduating classes each spring, and I know this is the signature event for our campus. I am, like many of you, heartbroken about this change, but I promise we will develop a way we may properly recognize your academic achievements and celebrate the traditions of that weekend, including the granting of hoods to our pharmacy graduates and the walk through Neville Hall for our seniors. We will communicate an updated plan for this year’s Commencement activities by Wednesday, April 15.
I understand this news is heartbreaking for students, many of whom say they knew they found their college home the moment they arrived on campus. My heart goes out to all students, especially the seniors and P4’s, who were looking forward to spending their last semester on campus. Campus simply won’t be the same without students here.
It saddens me to think about our students not eating together in GDH and Springs, not hanging out in their residence halls, not preparing for their futures in classrooms across campus. However, heeding the advice of the CDC and DHEC is what we must do now to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Sadly, that means closing campus completely for the rest of the semester.
The Residence Life office is working on a plan for students to return to campus to retrieve their belongings. As we develop this plan, we will proceed in a manner that follows good health practices to ensure the safety and well-being of our students and loved ones who return to campus with them. We will communicate this plan in the next few days.
Since students will not reside on campus the rest of the academic year, we are also working to address the questions many of you have raised about remittances for housing as well as dining services. That is an ongoing process, and we will communicate more information as well as options for students and families by Wednesday, April 15.
We’ll Get Through These Challenging Times
We live in challenging times. We’ll get through this challenge together, as we’ve gotten through other challenges we’ve faced. Students, you may be hundreds or even thousands of miles away from campus, but PC is as much your home now as it ever was. I am eager to see you on campus when it is safe for us to have you back in Clinton.
Until then, I ask that students continue to put the same amount of effort into their courses as they would if they were sitting in Neville, Jacobs, Richardson, HP, or the PCSP building. Professors and staff members remain ready and willing to help students navigate these challenges we all face.
As you know, the COVID-19 outbreak remains a fluid situation. We will provide more details about our next steps as they become available. We are working on these matters constantly, and we will do our best to provide answers and more information as we have it. We’ll continue to update the community about our response to the pandemic on our Coronavirus Updates and Resources page.
We will overcome this challenge together.
Bob Staton ’68