COVID-19: Claflin acts to protect and educate
Mar 28, 2020
CDC microscopic image of the coronavirus.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Claflin has taken a number of unprecedented steps in order to protect the university community while also working to maintain order.
With the number of confirmed cases in the country and the state increasing daily, all levels of government have begun to make urgent decisions regarding health and safety. With similar decisions to make, colleges and universities across the country are being made to adapt to a new reality.
Claflin is adapting by leaning on its Emergency Preparedness Team, which consists of members from all over the campus community as well as Student Government Association President Matthew Coverson-Springs.
“Our student success and student safety are paramount to what we do at the university. We take all of that into account in making our decision to go fully online,” said Drexel Ball, vice president of administration, via a telephone interview.
Although the university has been offering online classes for five years, the first week got off to a rocky start with the Moodle system crash on the first day. Ball attributed the crash to unprecedented volume on the system.
“The event that happened Monday (March 23) wasn’t Claflin’s fault, it was our provider. It serves a lot of institutions and the number nationally became a burden on the system. It has now been cleared up. We’ve had no complaints or concerns because Moodle is working properly for us.”
With many Claflin students off campus, moving classes online has provided a new challenge for the university to support students who do not have computers or internet access at home.
“It’s on a case-by-case basis for students who have expressed difficulties. Those students can call in and the university has gone to the extent of sharing computers with them. We are sensitive to those students. Our faculty, Student Affairs and Student Academic Success is responsible for assisting those students,” Ball said.
If you are a student in need of assistance with technology, contact Academic Affairs at 803-535-5404 for help.
Many things are still uncertain and are currently in discussion, namely the grading system and if that will change. The grading system, among other grievances, were aired in a petition to the university circulating online. The link to the petition is https://www.change.org/p/claflin-university-administration-claflin-university-option-for-pass-fail-courses?utm_content=cl_sharecopy_21070050_en-US%3Av3&recruiter=1062254500&recruited_by_id=6ffa7040-6dea-11ea-bd22-bf3a1a1903c2&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_abi&utm_term=psf_combo_share_initial
“We haven’t made a final decision yet. We will make a decision moving forward being sympathetic to our students as well as what’s in the best interest of the university,” Ball said.
As the Claflin community, along with the rest of the world, grapples with the uncertainty that is the COVID-19 pandemic, the community is urged to follow local government regulations as well as instructions from medical professionals, which include washing hands regularly, practicing social distancing and limiting large gatherings of people.
In order to be connected to official lines of communication from the university, students are encouraged to sign up for text alerts and to regularly check the COVID-19 resources page on the Claflin website. The link to sign up is https://claflin.regroup.com/signup
“We want our students to be safe. We’re looking forward to our students returning in the fall, provided that everything is okay. We miss them and the campus is just not the same,” Ball said.
Counties and cities across South Carolina have begun to issue orders restricting movement as a way to battle the spread of the virus as the state’s confirmed cases rise. As of March 28, South Carolina had 660 cases and the virus death toll had climbed to 15. Orangeburg County has 14 confirmed cases, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.
The United States now has more COVID-19 cases than any other nation in the world.