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South Carolina State University has adjusted the fall 2021 semester to start classes on Monday, Aug. 23.

The university says it will use the time to develop additional campus safety protocols in light of the increase in COVID-19 cases in South Carolina.

“Starting the academic year three days later will allow the university to educate new and returning students about the COVID-19 virus while encouraging them to take advantage of vaccination clinics that will be set up on campus,” Acting President Alexander Conyers said.

“Maintenance teams will further enhance and increase sanitization measures, and faculty will have time to prepare in the event the spread of the variant worsens, requiring a shift to digital learning platforms,” he said.

S.C. State already has implemented numerous protocols, including asking students and employees to wear masks inside campus buildings and requiring residential students to be tested for the virus weekly. The university continues to strongly encourage all members of the campus community to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

“As the university steps up its response to this pandemic, we will do all we can to encourage students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated if they have not done so already,” Conyers said. “I have authorized the implementation of campuswide incentives designed to encourage members of our campus community to receive the vaccine.”

Classes had been scheduled to start Wednesday, Aug. 18, so S.C. State also will modify the academic calendar to accommodate the three-day shift.

For information about where vaccines are available in South Carolina, visit vaxlocator.dhec.sc.gov.

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