March 12, 2020
Latest statement from Dr. Fred Carter, FMU President – March 12, 2020
Message from Dr. Fred Carter, president Francis Marion University, to FMU faculty and staff.
Yesterday afternoon, the deans, chairs, senior staff, and I met and discussed a number of issues pertaining to COVID-19. Let me briefly summarize a few points.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has identified ten confirmed or presumptive cases of COVID-19 in South Carolina, all of which are in treatment or undergoing quarantine. Seven of these are clustered within Kershaw County (Camden). None are in the Pee Dee region.
I spent much of the afternoon yesterday discussing this situation and its impact with our academic and administrative leadership and the physicians who have offered us advice over the past few weeks. The prevailing sentiment was that it is premature to suspend regular classes at the present time, but everyone acknowledges that this situation is highly complex and could change in a matter of days or weeks. Fortunately, next week’s spring break will provide us additional time to assess what’s occurring across the state.
So, as of now, regular on-campus classes will resume on March 23rd, as they will at a number of other comprehensive universities. Please understand that these plans could change if the COVID-19 situation escalates, or if the state closes substantial parts of the K-12 school system, or if any other adverse developments occur. Under these circumstances, we would suspend formal classes and transition to on-line or other alternative instructional approaches. Next week the university’s COVID-19 Planning Group will meet periodically to determine if changing circumstances within the state necessitate a different action on our part.
The provost has been working with the deans and chairs for the past few weeks to ensure that any such instructional transition would proceed smoothly. To that end, FMU Provost Dr. Peter King and his staff have developed a Continuity of Instruction webpage to assist faculty with this effort. Of course, university support facilities (administrative offices, classrooms, faculty offices, residence and dining halls, the library, etc.) would remain open and accessible throughout this period.
I want each of you to know how much I appreciate your support as we progress through this difficult semester. Continue to check the FMU Health Advisory webpage for additional federal, state, or university updates.