CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The city of Charleston and the College of Charleston are preparing for students to return to the classroom. Officials from both the city and college say they’re working to make sure they don’t see spikes in COVID-19 cases like other college campuses have around the state and country have seen.
The city and college are working hand in hand in hopes of avoiding a possible outbreak of cases like the one Columbia saw when University of South Carolina students returned to campus last month. With students set to return this weekend one student says she is hopeful others will do their part.
“Please help us stay on campus, please don’t go out and do a bunch of big groups and do a bunch of you know crazy things that could get us kicked off right after we get here,” says Genna Cunningham, a student at the College of Charleston.
With COVID-19 numbers spiking at university campuses across the state and country, Cunningham says responsibility falls on students on campus.
“I really think it’s going to depend on the students, ourselves to stay safe and be able to stay throughout the rest of the semester as normally as possible,” says Cunningham.
In person classes for the first time since March, College of Charleston President Andrew Hsu says all students must be tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus and moving into housing, the move is just one of many safety measures implemented by campus administration.
“We’ve been preparing throughout the summer and we believe that we can provide a very safe environment for our students on campus and in the classrooms,” says Hsu.
The city and College of Charleston is working to prevent a spike among students and the community. President Hsu says university officials, the city’s of Charleston’s livability department and other officials will closely monitor students behavior.
“Pay attention to what they do and we have disciplinary actions if they do not comply with our code of conduct,” says Hsu.
Not wearing a face mask or gathering in groups larger than ten could warrant a warning or worse, a suspension from campus. Fraternities and sororities will also be monitored for adherence with the new COVID-19 procedures. Hsu says one sorority already being suspended for violating the mask policy.
“If they are found in violation of our policies, these Greek organizations will be suspended,” says Hsu.
In the event of an outbreak, Hsu says the university is prepared to respond immediately to prevent any additional spread of the virus.
“We have a very flexible back on the bricks plan that will be able to handle a very fluid situation,” says Hsu.
And while some new cases could be unavoidable, Cunningham says she’s optimistic students will do their part to remain safe.
“I’m pretty confidant things will stay under control especially since they have already declined without us there,” says Cunningham. “I definitely think there will be a slight increase.”
President Hsu says roughly 2,000 students will move into campus housing this weekend over a three-day period starting on Friday. Hsu says normally more than 3,500 students would be moving in to campus housing.