NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston Southern University will require face coverings in all campus buildings as students return for the fall semester.
CSU announced an immediate update to its return policy Monday as cases of COVID-19 surge in the Lowcountry.
“The rapid rise in cases, due to the Delta variant, is concerning and is our primary reason for implementing the following protocols, effective immediately and only until this surge passes,” President Dr. Dondi Costin said Monday. “Though it is a mild inconvenience and won’t make each of our family members happy, understand this is not necessarily a full semester guideline, and we will plan to modify once the current community situation improves.”
University leaders hoped for a mask-optional return this fall, so long as community transmission remained low – and did not require masks over the summer for those who were vaccinated – but masks will now be required as students return for the fall due to a surge in local cases.
Additionally, CSU said classes will be in person with limited virtual learning options available.
University leaders are strongly encouraging students and staff to become vaccinated against the virus. They are aiming for a goal of 70% of the on-campus community to be vaccinated, or reach natural immunity.
A task force will track progress, and the university is offering incentives for those who choose to vaccinate.
Students who are fully vaccinated and attend in-person classes will be eligible to win gift cards valued at $200-500 as well as be entered into scholarship drawings up to $5,000. In addition, vaccinated students are also entered to win athletic packages this fall.