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College of Charleston to repurpose dorm for student isolation

College of Charleston has outlined much of its return plan for this fall, including the decision to convert an entire dorm into an isolation facility for students that test positive for COVID-19. The dorm repurposing joins other measures being taken in dining halls and campus facilities for students as part of the college’s Back on the Bricks plan.

As reported by the Charleston City Paper, the college’s Buist Rivers residence hall will be used as an isolation dorm during the fall semester and is not being assigned student residents during the 2020-2021 academic year. In all other residence halls, room and suite capacity has been reduced in an effort to “de-densify” student housing.

Further protocols will restrict campus residents from checking in visitors, while common spaces including game rooms, lounges and kitchens will all be closed to promote social distancing. Laundry rooms will have limited capacity and may require scheduling. Face coverings will be required in common spaces like hallways and elevators.

According to the college’s campus physician, Dr. Dee DiBona, on-campus residential students that show symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 will be moved to the repurposed, isolation dorm to quarantine for the requisite amount of time.

Students who are quarantining in on-campus rooms or who are in isolation after exhibiting symptoms will be delivered meals by the college. Students living in off-campus housing that elicit symptoms or test positive will be asked to isolate at their own residences, and will not be provided meals.

College of Charleston’s “Back on the Bricks” plan also includes academic changes. The latest update from college officials reveals that the start of in-person classes will be delayed three weeks to Monday, September 14. Classes will still begin as scheduled on Tuesday, August 25, but will initially be conducted online. 

Most classes will follow a “blended instruction” format that includes a mix of in-person and online instruction to limit the number of people in classrooms. Roughly 20% of courses will be offered completely online.

Students will also not return to in-person classes after the Thanksgiving holiday, and will instead move to online learning beginning November 30.

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