Clemson plans in-person classes synced with online for this fall


COLUMBIA (AP) - Clemson University plans to hold in-person classes in the fall but synchronize them with online instruction so if a student is infected with COVID-19 - or a second wave of infections closes campus - learning won't be disrupted.

School leaders didn't provide specifics on their plans in an online presentation to university trustees Wednesday. But everyone who spoke - from Clemson University President Jim Clements to campus safety, academic and financial leaders - all gave a rosy outlook.

"Clemson was ahead of the curve and will stay ahead of the curve. There are a lot of challenges ahead of us, but we will stay Clemson," said Executive Vice President for Finance and Operations Tony Wagner, who told trustees Clemson is in good shape financially.

One thing that wasn't mentioned at all Wednesday was athletics. Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney has said he is confident the Tigers will play this fall.

The University of South Carolina announced earlier this month that it is also returning to in-person instruction in the fall but canceling fall break and going to just online classes after Thanksgiving to protect against a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

Clemson leaders didn't talk about their fall 2020 calendar.

The school is still working on plans to change campus dining, recreation and even the set up of classrooms. But ultimately, whether the campus stays safe from the virus is up to workers and students, Clemson University Police Chief Greg Mullen said.

"The only way we are going to be successful is if everyone does their part to stay safe and healthy," Mullen said.

Clemson shut its campus down in mid-March and Clements promised a special ceremony for spring 2020 graduates after their formal graduation was canceled. He did not give details.

Later Wednesday, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster plans to speak to reporters. He suggested earlier this week that he may reopen tourist attractions like mini golf at Myrtle Beach and museums for the upcoming holiday weekend.

More than 9,050 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in South Carolina and at least 399 deaths, according to an update Tuesday from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.