Francis Marion trustees approve reopening plan
Francis Marion University’s Board of Trustees ratified a reopening plan for the school at its regularly scheduled meeting Aug. 6 on campus.
The plan calls for dozens of campus-wide safety protocols, including the requirement to wear masks or face coverings in class and most other environments, reduced occupancies in classrooms and residence halls, the establishment of a new COVID-19 Response Office, daily health monitoring of all students, and the expansion of medical services on campus.
FMU’s conforms to guidelines and recommendations established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC). It was approved by the trustees’ executive committee in late July.
Last month FMU announced that it would open on Aug. 17 with online classes before moving to a mix of traditional, in-person instruction, some online classes, and some blended classes on Sept. 8. Residential students can move into residence halls on campus beginning Aug. 14. On-campus instruction is set to end on Nov. 25.
Francis Marion University president Fred Carter also presented updates regarding three of FMU’s new facilities.
The Hugh and Jean Leatherman Medical Education Complex in downtown Florence is slated to open for instruction in early September. The new Honors Center on campus will open in October, and the Freshwater Ecology Lab and Conference Center will open in the summer of 2021.
Carter said the university is planning to commemorate the openings of the Hugh and Jean Leatherman Medical Education Complex, along with the Honors Center, but will postpone events until they can be held safely.
“These are exquisite buildings, and they were built through generous contributions from a number of people,” he said. “We want to recognize the Leathermans and other supporters formally, but at a time when it’s safe to do so.”
Carter also offered an update on FMU’s Spring and Summer 2020 graduation ceremonies, which are slated for Sept. 18 and 19 in the Smith University Center gymnasium. Four events will replace the normal commencement ceremony due a crowd size restriction of 250, imposed by the governor’s latest executive order.
The four ceremonies will be divided among FMU’s academic schools and departments, allowing for smaller crowd sizes.
Social distancing guidelines and mask wearing regulations will be enforced.
The schedule for the four events: School of Business and School of Education on Friday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m.; College of Liberal Arts, Department of Biology, Department of Chemistry, Department of Physics and Engineering, and Department of Psychology on Saturday, Sept. 19, at 10 a.m.; College of Liberal Arts, Department of English, Department of Fine Arts; Department of History, Department of Mass Communications, Department of Political Science, Department of Sociology and General Studies on Saturday, Sept. 19, at 2 p.m.; and School of Health Sciences on Saturday, Sept. 19, at 6 p.m.