Clemson University begins reopening on Monday. Here's what to know.
A "small percentage" of workers will be allowed to return to Clemson's campus next week, kicking off the university's three-phased reopening plan in advance of the fall semester.
With a targeted start of June 1, Phase 1 will allow only employees who cannot adequately perform their job remotely to return to work. University spokesperson Joe Galbraith said the transition from "Phase Zero" to Phase 1 won't be too noticeable, but signals the university's commitment to resuming in-person classes in the fall.
Although Clemson is "laser focused" on a return to normalcy, social distancing and health restrictions could be in place for up to 18 months on all university properties, the website says.
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Phase 1 is set to last 14 days, but could be extended based on the rate of new COVID-19 cases in the surrounding counties and other health data, the guidelines state.
Here's what Phase 1 will look like, according to guidelines provided by the university:
- Only employees who receive supervisor permission can return to campus
- Employees returning will need to wear face masks, as instructed by their supervisors, and other safety measures to ensure safety and wellbeing
- Social distancing guidelines will be enforced
- Football and basketball student-athletes can voluntarily return for training June 8, but must first quarantine for 7 days
- The majority of employees will continue to work from home
- Students who left belongings in on-campus dorms will be given appointment dates to retrieve their items over the next several weeks
- New student orientation will be held online
Campus will remain quiet during this phase, as events and group gatherings are suspended until at least August.
Since the inception of the pandemic, the main part of campus remained open to the public for exercising and relaxing.
Moving to Phases 2 and 3
The university will begin to look at moving to Phase 2 by June 14 at the earliest.
But, it's ultimately up to university leadership on when to move into their next phase, which will bring a larger portion of employees back to campus and begin a deep cleaning process in spaces in advance of a full return of employees and students in Phase 3.
Employees who are high-risk or medically vulnerable will not be required to come back to work in Phase 2, the guidelines state.
The university will move to Phase 3 after at least 14 days once Phase 2 has started. Clemson will determine if it's safe to enter the final phase, effectively allowing students and all employees back to campus, by monitoring area health data and consulting university leadership.
Phase 3 could last for up to 18 months and include:
- A shortened, in-person orientation for new students before classes begin
- Temperature checks and COVID-19 testing for students and employees
- University-run contact tracing to track the virus' presence in the community
- Isolation spaces on campus for those who may have been exposed to the virus or are highly susceptible
- A mix of in-person and virtual classes to encourage social distancing and reduce the number of large gatherings
- University dining will expand grab-and-go options to reduce the number of people in dining halls
- University housing will expand move-in days for students living on-campus to create a controlled, more socially-distanced move in
- Events and gatherings to resume after August 1
Guidelines are expected to change as new information comes available, the university said on its COVID-19 webpage.
Zoe covers Clemson for The Greenville News and Independent Mail. Reach her at email@example.com or Twitter @zoenicholson_