JULY 2020
In This Issue
  • Family Weekend
  • COVID-19 Updates
  • Talking About Alcohol
  • Bursar's Office
  • CarolinaCard
  • Dining Services
  • Parking
  • Postal Services
  • Student Life
  • UofSC Parents App
  • University News
Dear Gamecock Families,

Last week I sent a letter to all University of South Carolina students that began with these words:  It’s time for some real talk . I got right to the point: students’ behavior now will impact the opening of our campus in August, and their behavior upon return will impact our ability to remain open. The letter followed a town hall meeting for students, parents and families on June 23 in which many parents shared questions about the safety of returning to campus. There is risk in bringing students, faculty and staff back to campus; however, it is a manageable and acceptable risk when each of us does our part .

As a parent, I know how hard it can be to convince your children to do something they don’t want to do, or to tell them they can’t do something they want to do. We are observing that many college students are not interested in being tested, wearing masks, physical distancing and avoiding close contact and large crowds, but these are the very behaviors that will help us open in August and manage the risk of infection on our campus. I ask for your help and urge you to talk with your son or daughter about taking responsibility for their behaviors before and after they return to campus. Specifically, we ask all students to commit to the following public health measures:

  • Testing upon return to campus
  • Wearing a face covering, which will be required in all classrooms, the Thomas Cooper library, Student Health Services, fitness center, Russell House and all dining facilities. In addition, the Columbia City Council passed an ordinance last week requiring face coverings in the city.
  • Washing hands and personal hygiene
  • Contact tracing in the event that a student tests positive for COVID-19
  • Physical distancing on and off campus, especially in social activities off campus and in their student housing or apartments

The university’s number one priority is the health, safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff. We are doing our part to provide an excellent academic and campus experience for students in the safest possible environment. We are creating a new normal for our community that emphasizes consistency across campus and commitment from every student, faculty and staff member. As part of these plans, we are reimagining classrooms, online and hybrid academic modalities, student activities and dining. Our Campus Reopen and Risk Mitigation Plan is detailed and comprehensive, and I encourage you to review this document that we will update as the public health environment evolves.

Regarding remote instruction, some assume that online instruction is inferior to face-to-face instruction, and that such inferiority should represent a reduced cost. While most of the fall classes will take place in person, please know that our instructors and faculty have been working for months to develop engaging online and hybrid courses for those that either cannot be taught face-to-face, or must be offered as an option to those students who elect not to attend in person for safety reasons. As the state’s flagship research institution, we are focused on ensuring all of our classes — no matter how they are taught – meet ambitious learning objectives, standards, and integrity that position our students for future success.

Please know that we are continuing to add additional face-to-face classes for the fall semester, and some of the classes now listed as online will change over the course of the summer to either hybrid or face-to-face. This is a time-consuming process, but necessary to ensure that classes in which physical distancing cannot be safely maintained are broken up into additional sections or moved to other locations. We anticipate that scheduling changes will be finalized on or before Aug. 1, 2020. In the meantime, we appreciate your patience.

I am as eager to have our students back on campus as they are to return. Please talk with your students and remind them that whether or not we open our doors in August and remain together for the Fall 2020 semester depends largely on their behavior. We can do this safely, and I appreciate your support as we prepare to welcome your students back to their university.

Forever to Thee,
Bob Caslen
President
Stay updated with our office throughout the summer by downloading t he  Parent & Family Programs mobile app liking us on  Facebook , following us on  Instagram and visiting the  Parents & Families Gateway  for timely posts and monthly tips to supplement this newsletter.
Family Weekend Update
An engaging and educational  online  Family Weekend
Family Weekend 2020 will be here before you can say, "Go Gamecocks!" During  Sept. 11-13 , we're thrilled to offer community building, educational opportunities, fellowship, and so much more!

With the health and safety of our students and families in mind, we have made the decision to host an online Family Weekend in Fall 2020. Family Weekend is a cherished tradition at the University of South Carolina, and also one of the largest celebrations of its kind in the nation. Taking into consideration guidance from health, safety, and event expertswe believe this decision is the safest choice for our families. We look forward to building this new experiencewith the top priority of helping families spend quality time with their UofSC student, whether near or far.

Family Weekend events will be held online. Registration for these online events will be shared as Family Weekend approaches. The 2020 schedule of events will be updated on sc.edu/familyweekend as events are confirmed.
Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
The University of South Carolina is working with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to actively monitor the novel coronavirus outbreak and any potential impact to our campus community.
Face Coverings
Students should carry a face covering of their choice on campus to use in areas in which a face covering is required or highly recommended. Students are required to wear face coverings in classrooms and other designated areas. Students who have documented conditions that could be exacerbated by wearing face coverings should submit an application to become registered with  the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC). Students who become registered with the SDRC will be entitled to reasonable accommodations that may help mitigate issues caused by face covering mandates in designated areas of campus. 

All students will receive one university  reusable  face covering this fall to add to their collection. There are a variety of ways students will receive a face covering: 
  • at move-in – both on campus and at the private student market apartment communities in the area;
  • prior to Panhellenic Sorority Recruitment; 
  • from an academic college;
  • during the first week of class.

Additionally, the bookstore and some vending machines will have face coverings for sale. Students are encouraged to bring their collection when they arrive on campus this fall. Wearing face coverings protects the wearer and others and they will be the new fashion accessory this fall on campus!
Student & Family Information
Explore some aspects of the new student experience on campus.
Safety Guidelines
Learn about health and safety measures you can take to help protect yourself and others .
Campus Changes
See how the Columbia campus will look different upon return .
# I Pledge Columbia
As we look forward to welcoming everyone back to campus in the fall, encourage your student to commit to doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19. Visit sc.edu/IPledgeColumbia to learn more and take the pledge. #IPledgeColumbia
UofSC COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund
For the safety and well-being of all, we may be more separated physically right now than ever before. But one thing holds true: As Gamecocks, we stand together, always. We are more than 200 years strong, and we will navigate these difficult times together as caring Carolinians.
Talking with College Students About Alcohol
UofSC Parent
The Office of Parent & Family Programs has partnered with South Carolina's  Substance Abuse Prevention and Education  team to provide  an in-depth guide to talking with your student about alcohol use during their time in college.  Highlights of this guide include:
 
  • Tips for starting the initial conversation with your student
  • How alcohol works in the body, including reactions to medicine
  • Why students choose (and don't choose) to drink in college
  • Answering the "Did you drink when you were a student?" question
 
Backed by comprehensive research,  this conversation guide  is available to download for University of South Carolina parents and family members.  Use code "UofSCfamily" as the username and password when logging in to access the guide. 
 
If you feel concerned at any point during your student's time at South Carolina about alcohol or drug abuse, you can refer them to receive assistance through the  STIR coaching program  as part of Substance Abuse Prevention and Education's many initiatives to assist students in making good and healthy choices during college.
News from the Bursar
Payment Deadline for Fall 2020
The deadline for Fall 2020 fee payment is Aug. 12, 2020. The mail-in payment deadline is Aug. 6, 2020.  Class schedules may be cancelled for all students who have not paid their fees in full. Please make your check or money order payable to the University of South Carolina (UofSC) and mail to:

University of South Carolina
Bursar’s Office
1244 Blossom Street – Suite 128
Columbia, SC 29208-0001

Payment Plan
A payment plan is available for students. Visit the Bursar's website for details and how to enroll .

Authorized Users
Students have the ability to assign Authorized Users to their account via Self Service Carolina (SSC). This will allow the Authorized User to view the student's bill, payment history, payment plans, 1098T information, receive emails, as well as speak with the Bursar's Office staff about the student's account. Please note – only the student can set up Authorized Users on their account .

College Savings Plan
If you have a college savings plan for your student, please remember to send a copy of your student's bill to your plan administrator as soon as bills are available in SSC to ensure payments are received in a timely manner. Fall 2020 bills should be available by late-July. 

Direct Deposits
If your student expects to receive a refund, which includes excess financial aid, please have them set up their direct deposit via SSC. 
CarolinaCard
All students, faculty and staff will be required to display their university-issued identification card, CarolinaCard, beginning this fall. New students are asked to upload  a photo for their CarolinaCard (university ID card) this summer to make the move-in process as easy as possible in August. All students will need to have their CarolinaCard to access their residence halls and other buildings across campus.
Carolina Food Co. (Dining Services)
Carolina Food Co. is excited to welcome students back to campus this fall! We are taking every precaution in our locations to ensure that our guests are able to dine safely. Take a look at some of the measures we are putting into place to prepare for a successful fall semester.
Parking & Transportation Services
Student parking permit sales begin July 6 at sc.edu/parking . Due to physical distancing guidelines, Parking Services will mail out permits for the coming academic year.
Postal Services
Package and Mail Pick Up
Fall 2020 student package and mail pick up will be located at the Carolina Coliseum (701 Assembly St.) with vehicle access through the 1051 Blossom St. N2 parking lot. Acceptance of Fall 2020 shipments will begin Aug. 3.

Mailing Address and Mail ID Number
On or about July 15, students residing in UofSC Housing residence halls on the Columbia campus and the Greek Village will receive their campus mailing address via my.sc.edu under "Personal Information."

Residents of Park Place, Greene Crossing, YOUnion and 650 Lincoln
Mail and package services are  provided directly to each respective location   by Amazon, USPS, UPS, FedEx and DHL and should be addressed accordingly. Please check with the management office for mailing address requirements.

For additional information, please visit our website or email   rhstumailctr@mailbox.sc.edu .
Department of Student Life
The mission of the Department of Student Life is to advance student success by serving as the catalyst for student involvement. We provide opportunities for every student to define a unique involvement story that prepares them to lead and serve as an engaged global citizen.

Fraternity & Sorority Life
Panhellenic Sorority Recruitment information has been updated on the FSL website to reflect new dates and physical distancing measures. Registration is open through July 15 and move-in will occur for potential new members between Aug. 9 and 11.

Gamecock Entertainment
Think your student will be bored this summer? Encourage them to follow Gamecock Entertainment for FREE and FUN activities to keep them busy!
Download the Award-Winning UofSC Parent and Family Programs Mobile App
Access university resources when you need the m — compiled just for you in one easy-to-use mobile app!

Download the app by searching "University of South Carolina Parents" in the app store or   text the link to your phone and find out why it has been accessed nearly 200,000 times by UofSC families!

This 24/7 resource is the winner of the 2020 Outstanding Parent and Family Relations Institutional Initiative Award from NASPA, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, and a recipient of the 2019 Award of Excellence from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
"Tips for navigating the job market during the COVID-19 pandemic"

Whether you’re a recent graduate looking for your first job out of college, or a current student hoping to land the perfect internship, finding employment in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging. Here are some ways you can be proactive when it comes to finding a job.
" Graphic novels help teens learn about racism, climate change and social justice – here’s a reading list"

Because the combination of text and images in graphic novels can communicate issues and emotions that words alone often cannot, more educators and parents are finding them to be effective tools for tackling tough issues with kids. In early March, information science professor Karen Gavin shared a collection of books for The Conversation, including some that can educate children about racism and other forms of bigotry.
Please continue to visit the Parents & Families Gateway for information and resources at sc.edu/parents .

Office of Parent & Family Programs
University of South Carolina
Website:  sc.edu/parents  
Parents Assistance Line: 1-800-868-6752