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The Road Forward: Campus and COVID-19 updates for Fall

Road Forward for Clemson

A Return to Campus Operations, Midsummer Update

Clemson University remains focused on returning to on-campus learning and living this Fall while prioritizing the health and safety of our students, employees and surrounding communities. This complex undertaking is being carried out in a thoughtful and data-driven manner by Clemson’s faculty, staff and administrative leadership. 

Our goal is to continue to provide the world-class education, research and service that our students and state expect from us, even in the face of the unprecedented public health challenge presented by COVID-19.

Back to Campus: Guiding Pillars

The University’s approach is built on four foundational pillars that have guided our efforts to get back on campus. They are designed to inform the greater Clemson community and shape the behavior of our community’s members. They are: 

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A steadfast commitment to the health and safety of all members of the Clemson University community.

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A return strategy built on the concept of stacking preventative measures to create the greatest possible protection against COVID-19 exposure and to limit its spread across the community.

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The creation of a return plan that is both comprehensive and flexible, allowing the University to anticipate potential future challenges and providing the ability to adjust course quickly as circumstances dictate.

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Awareness that the entire Clemson Family has a critical role to play in our successful return to on-campus and in-person activities. In order to take care of the Clemson community, our actions must be guided by concern for others. We must be United as Tigers.

Return to Campus: Key Decision Points

In advance of the Fall semester, critical decisions around face coverings, testing and the University’s academic plan have been made to provide our students, employees and communities with important safeguards against the spread of COVID-19. Additional decisions and more detailed information will be provided as they become available.

Every member of our community must to do their part to mitigate the spread of this disease, especially among those most vulnerable. Much of our work over the next several months will be focused on enforcing this social compact, or agreement, among members of the Clemson Family.

Face Coverings

Cloth face coverings have been shown to be effective in preventing the spread of the virus, both from person to person and through contamination of contact surfaces, and as such the University is going to require all students and employees to wear face coverings in a number of circumstances while on University property.

Cloth face coverings are required:

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  • While in University buildings, including housing and dining facilities.
  • During all University programs held in non-University buildings.
  • In outdoor spaces on campus where appropriate physical distancing cannot be guaranteed.
  • While using University transportation/mass transit. During situations detailed in The Facts: University Vehicles

Face coverings are not required:

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  • When alone in private offices.
  • When alone in on-campus housing rooms.
  • When not in close contact with another person, such as walking alone outside.

The University has purchased 70,000 reusable cloth face coverings, and each student, faculty and staff member will receive two coverings upon return to campus or other University locations.

COVID-19 Testing

In an effort to provide initial data on positive cases in our population, and to minimize exposure on campus by identifying and isolating individuals prior to their arrival on campus, the University will require all students and employees to be tested for COVID-19 virus and, where possible, receive serologic testing for disease antibodies, prior to their arrival on campus in the fall.

Prior to returning to campus

Anyone who works for, lives at or is enrolled in a Clemson University program or facility must secure a negative COVID-19 test result within five days prior to returning to campus or other University location for the Fall semester. Those who test positive will be required to self-isolate for 10 days before returning to a Clemson location. Details on testing locations and how to report tests will be provided in the near future.

After returning to campus

Once the academic year begins, the University will conduct voluntary random-sample testing of students and employees on a regular basis to track prevalence and spread of the disease in the University community.

Academic Calendar and Classroom Modifications

As of June 26, 2020, no changes have been made to the published Fall academic calendar, but all instructors have been asked to prepare to pivot to entirely online learning should the circumstances dictate.

In particular, we will closely monitor the progression of COVID-19 to determine whether a move to online instruction and final exams is necessary following the Thanksgiving holiday.

We are preparing to offer mainly in-class learning this year with accommodations being made for proper physical distancing. Online delivery options will be available for most every class. Details include:

  • The University’s goal is for at least 75 percent of all courses to have some class periods dedicated to in-person interactions among instructors and students.
  • All classes with in-person components will also be blended with online components.
  • Cameras and microphones will be installed in more than 400 classrooms to allow for live video streaming and recorded delivery of instruction.
  • Classroom layouts are being adjusted to allow a minimum of 6 feet of physical distancing between individuals.

Social Compact and Awareness Campaign

Collective action will determine the success of the University’s plan for in-person instruction and a genuine Clemson experience for the Fall semester. Success requires each of us as members of the Clemson Family to act as responsible individuals and invested partners.

We have launched the Healthy Clemson: United as Tigers awareness campaign to guide and inform key personal responsibility initiatives as they apply to a wide range of personal activities for students, faculty and staff, including:

  • Frequent handwashing.
  • Physical distancing.
  • Responsible management of living spaces.
  • limiting group sizes.
  • Participating in self-assessments.
  • Early self-referral to Redfern and Sullivan Center.
  • Recommended participation in contact tracing.

Family takes care of family, and we need all of our students, faculty and staff to embrace the principle of being “All In” this together. That means recognizing that actions and behaviors taken by individuals will have an impact on the larger community. 

Commencement update for May and August 2020 graduates

May and August commencement ceremonies have been postponed due to COVID-19, but rescheduled dates are now set: On-campus commencement ceremonies for May and August 2020 graduates will be held the weekend of October 9-11.

More details about the October commencement exercises will be provided in the coming weeks, but save the date and know that we are very excited to welcome our newest graduates back to campus in October.

For the most up-to-date information on return-to-campus dates, details and instructions, follow the University’s social channels.

Updated June 26, 2020

Return to the Workplace

Employee Guide






Primary Contacts Phone
University Call Center (general inquiries) 864-365-0555
Redfern Health Center (medical - students) 864-656-3571
Joseph F. Sullivan Center (medical - faculty/staff) 864-986-1218
Emergency Management (University protocols) 864-656-9933
Office of Global Engagement (international programs) 864-656-2457
Business Continuity (mission critical functions) 864-656-9737
CCIT (IT assistance) 864-656-3494