Clinton, South Carolina – Presbyterian College in Clinton announced late last week it will reopen for classroom instruction for the fall 2020 semester, and a group of staff and faculty from the college is currently preparing for how that “new normal” will play out.
“The education we try and deliver is not just knowledge but helping to develop the
person,” said PC president Bob Staton on Monday. “And the way to do this is on campus.”
As COVID began to take hold in South Carolina this spring, PC was forced to close suddenly as did the other state and independent colleges. Now, Lander University, Clemson, the University of South Carolina and other colleges have also recently announced their plans to reopen their campuses this fall.
“All the independent colleges are looking at developing these plans,” Staton said. “It will be a new normal. There is plenty of advice out there and we will come up with what we think is an appropriate plan in a safe and sensible manner.”
In a release submitted by the college early Friday evening, PC Provost Dr. Don Raber said the college is committed to provide new and returning students and faculty an experience “consistent with our mission for everyone in our community.”
For this school year’s seniors, the college is planning an early-October graduation to celebrate their achievements.
With the college’s motto, “While We Live We Serve,” Staton explained the online experience has been easier for some than others, but the relationships and service-oriented life on campus are integral to PC student life.
“The type of education we offer is one delivered in classrooms and includes building relationships between faculty and students and between students and students,” he said.
Raber said the committee will develop a plan that provides a safe PC experience.
“We continue to monitor the world around us, and we will not hesitate to be flexible when circumstances require that of us,” Raber said. “We intend to have students, staff and faculty on campus this fall, but things may not look exactly like you might expect as we develop and implement our plans.”
Before the changes this spring, Staton, a PC alum and former trustee, said he had already talked with the board of trustees about retirement plans. He has told them he will wait until December to retire from his position that he’s held for five years.
“We have this unexpected thing with the virus and the economy, and we will reopen in the fall,” Staton said, admitting it’s with mixed feelings that he and his wife, Phyllis, plan to leave in December. “I really care about what we do here but I’m 74 and a half and this is a good time to pass it on to another person.”