The University of South Carolina is one of the first universities in the state to announce their plan to return to face-to-face classes in the fall. Photos by: Mary Claire Warren
Students and faculty will be returning to the University of South Carolina campus for full in-person instruction during the upcoming fall semester, the school announced Monday.
This announcement comes after nearly three semesters of virtual and hybrid classes were implemented at the university due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. UofSC was the first public university in South Carolina to switch to online classes in the spring of 2020 and now is one of the first to announce a full return to campus in the upcoming fall.
“I’m so excited, I don’t even really have words,” said Libby Fuller, a 19-year-old sophomore at UofSC. “This past year has been so hard. Going to all these hard classes was a lot easier when I could look forward to actually seeing friends in those classes.”
UofSC emphasized the importance of campus activities and how they can relieve stress and have positive impacts on the mental health of students. Throughout the pandemic, the university has attempted to make resources available to students who may be struggling with the massive changes that have occurred due to COVID-19.
The mental health section of medical services at the student health center now includes counseling sessions that focus on coping with quarantine, as well as coping with grief and loss due to Coronavirus.
Some students have mixed feelings about returning back to campus. While overall COVID-19 cases in the state have been decreasing, those who have yet to be vaccinated are still worried.
“I’m happy, but also a little scared,” said UofSC freshman Elise Young. “It’s really exciting to think we’ll be able to go to real classrooms, but I don’t know how safe I’ll feel in a huge lecture hall full of people.”
With the return to classes, UofSC has made it clear that safety is vital in the plans to return to campus. The university has highlighted the importance of wearing masks and social distancing when possible. The school is also expected to continue testing all students for Coronavirus regularly.
“While today’s announcement is great news, we still have to remain vigilant,” said UofSC President Bob Caslen said in a statement.
Many South Carolinians are now looking to other public universities to see if they will follow in suit. According to Clemson University president James Clements, the school also has plans to return to a normal level of campus activity next semester.
“It’s a really big relief, honestly,” said Reagan Lytle, a sophomore at Clemson University. “My first two years of school were kind of screwed up because of the pandemic. I really just want to see what the college experience is actually supposed to be like.”