Coastal Carolina University announced Sunday night the university will move to an "online learning model" starting March 23 due to the coronavirus, with online instruction continuing until April 3.
Coastal students are currently on spring break, which was extended through March 20. The university's announcement follows Gov. Henry McMaster ordering all public schools in the state to close through March 31.
“This move to online instruction is intended to secure academic progress for this term,” CCU Provost Daniel Ennis said in an advisory posted to the university’s website. “We are determined to continue instruction despite these challenging conditions. I am confident courses will be competed, grades will be issued, and degrees will be awarded this spring, as they have been every term since this institution was founded.”
CCU asks all students to stay away from campus while online instruction is in place.
Residential students who can’t remain off-campus may, in a limited number of circumstances, return to residence halls with prior approval, university officials said.
University Housing will reach out to all residents via their CCU email address by the end of the day on Monday with more information on the prior approval process.
“During this period, essential student services, including housing, dining, health, and safety, will be maintained on a modified basis,” the advisory said.
Before April 3, Coastal’s emergency management team will consult with public health personnel to determine whether the university will return to normal operations or continue with online instruction.
Through March 23, students are asked to prepare for an extended period of online learning, Ennis said in the statement, and to become more familiar with the university’s course management system, Moodle.
Students are expected to make sure they have the hardware and software needed to study online and compete their work.
On Wednesday, students should log into Moodle between 8 a.m. and midnight to visit each of their course pages, according to the advisory. By then, instructors will have posted content for students to review.
“Despite our physical distance, know that your CCU faculty and staff are ready to help you succeed,” Coastal’s statement said. “Both the schedule changes and the shift to online learning, while unexpected and inconvenient, are necessary to both protect community health and to make continued education possible. As conditions change, those two priorities will continue to guide our decisions.”
University staff members are expected to report to work for their regular schedules on Monday, according to a separate statement from the university.
In accordance with the governor's executive order, CCU will be "reexamining our determination of essential employees to adapt to COVID-19 circumstances," it said.
"Employees will receive additional guidance from department heads [Monday] regarding their requirements for work during the closure."