Columbia College to resume in-person instruction for fall 2020

Columbia CollegeCOLUMBIA, SC – (May 21, 2020) Today, Columbia College announced its intent to resume in-person instruction for the Fall 2020 semester. With this announcement, an updated 2020-21 academic calendar is released, with students beginning class August 24, 2020.

The updated 2020-21 academic calendar eliminates Fall Break and concludes in-person instruction at Thanksgiving Break. In lieu of returning after Thanksgiving, students will transition to virtual learning for the remainder of the Fall 2020 semester. In describing how Columbia College is able to offer a robust on-campus program, Provost Madeleine Schep noted, “All our classes have 30 or fewer students. With 75% of our classes having 20 or fewer students and an average class size of 13, there are sufficient classrooms to accommodate all classes with social distancing.”

The rationale for this new calendar is to ensure the health, safety and well-being of Columbia College students while also providing a dynamic, engaged, interactive, and rigorous educational experience. Understanding that Thanksgiving week through the Christmas holiday and new year will be a time when students are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 infection was a contributing factor to this change. The decision to implement this calendar was made in collaboration with faculty, staff and current students, through a poll including potential academic calendar options.

The new schedule includes the following highlights for the Fall 2020 semester:

• August 24, 2020: First Day of Classes
• November 20, 2020: Last day of Face-to-Face instruction
• November 30, 2020 – December 4 : Last Week of Virtual Learning
• December 6-10, 2020: Exam Week
• December 11, 2020: Graduation

For 166 years, Columbia College has provided an academically rigorous, career-relevant and empowering educational experience. “The heart and soul of the College are found in the intimate and affirming culture that is achieved in person-to-person encounters that prepare our graduates for lives of meaning and purpose,” says Columbia College President, Dr. Peter T. Mitchell.

He added, “Extensive plans have already been undertaken and will continue through the summer to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff as the highest priorities.”

The College has allocated significant funding for faculty to expand and enhance their strategies and techniques in online, remote and hybrid teaching over the summer. Issues such as testing, tracking, dedicated space for quarantine, social distancing, training about COVID-19, residential life, and dining will be included in a detailed list of these policies, procedures and training to be available soon.

For more information about measures Columbia College is taking in preparation for the upcoming academic year, please visit:


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