Dear Clemson Family:
As we approach spring break, signs of increased activity abound across the University. More students are coming to campus for instruction, we’re seeing a significant increase in the use of recreational facilities — and it’s been wonderful to watch our outstanding spring athletic teams start their schedules after last year’s seasons were cut short.
All of this, and more, are signs that our aggressive approach to COVID-19 testing and safety protocols has paid off. While we’re not out of the woods yet, the prevalence of the virus remains well below 1 percent among the University community and with vaccine supplies ramping up, we are preparing for an in-person Fall semester.
Our focus on the fall already has begun, in fact. We have received more than 45,000 applications for next academic year — up nearly 65 percent from this year — and acceptance letters started going out about two weeks ago. We are confident we will meet our enrollment target, which would mean a modest growth in our student population next year.
Registration for Fall classes begins April 12 and students will notice that almost all courses are being offered in the traditional, in-person mode. Likewise, we’re also planning for a normal level of campus activity starting in the fall, including full capacity for Tigers football games.
Our expectation in taking this approach is that COVID-19 vaccines will be widely available and accepted over the coming months and that transmission rates of the virus will remain extremely low. Having said that, the past year has proven that we are capable of delivering a robust Clemson education under challenging circumstances and we will continue to put the health of our staff, faculty, students and community members first as we plan for the fall.
Toward that end, we will continue to monitor the conditions around COVID-19 very carefully throughout the spring and summer, and we will not hesitate to alter course should the conditions dictate that we do so. We also will work closely with our faculty and staff, who have done tremendous work during the pandemic, to better understand the needs of those who may require accommodations to their working environment and to explore ways to support those needs.
This week brought very welcome news on the vaccination front with the announcement by Gov. Henry McMaster and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) that South Carolina is prepared to move into Phase 1B of vaccination distribution on March 8. Gov. McMaster included both K-12 and higher education as “frontline workers” who can receive vaccinations in Phase 1B if they meet the eligibility guidelines as stated on the DHEC website.
The University also continues to work with state government and our medical partners to secure access to vaccine doses for our employees. While we continue to do everything we can to help our employees in this way, we encourage all members of the Clemson community to utilize DHEC resources to determine their eligibility and secure a vaccination appointment. DHEC offers a range of information and resources on vaccinations, which can be found here.
Health and safety reminder
Much of the news related to COVID-19 has been positive in recent weeks, and I am extremely proud of our faculty, staff and students for their work and responsible behavior throughout the pandemic. While we are extremely optimistic about the fall, now is not the time to let our guard down. As a reminder to students and employees, face coverings are still required indoors in all Clemson facilities and outdoors on campus when social distancing is not possible.
We also have a responsibility to our community members to follow the rules established by the City of Clemson and other locations in which we operate. We’ve come so far and worked so hard to get to a better place. Let’s stay focused on doing the right things so we can enjoy a safe end to the semester and a better summer and fall.
Celebrating the Women of Clemson
March is Women’s History Month, and the University has a number of events planned over the course of the month to celebrate the achievements of amazing women who have helped propel Clemson to where it is today. I am grateful to all our female staff, faculty and students for their contributions to Clemson. I encourage you to take the time to read this wonderful package of stories compiled by our University Relations team that highlights the lives and work of some of these incredible Clemson women.
As always, I want to thank everyone for their ongoing support of Clemson, which has never been more important than it is today. Your commitment to our University is deeply appreciated.