Clemson University’s fall semester to begin online

In-person instruction to start Sept. 21

CLEMSON — Clemson University will not be returning to face-to-face instruction next month, as previously announced.

Instead, the fall semester will begin with online classes.

“Let me be clear: We remain committed to a return to in-person instruction and activities in the fall,” Clemson University president Jim Clements announced in a release issued July 22. “Unfortunately, the progression of COVID-19, particularly in South Carolina and the Upstate region, continues to create a great deal of uncertainty around bringing students back to our campuses beginning in-person instruction in August.

“As a result, today I am announcing Clemson University will begin the fall semester online and delay in-person instruction until Sept. 21,” he continued. “We feel this is the safest course of action for our Clemson community.”

The decision was made after lengthy discussions amongst the university’s leadership team, as well as extensive analysis by internal and external public health experts, Clements said.

“We simply don’t see the situation improving enough over the next few weeks to safely bring students and employees back to our locations in large numbers as originally planned,” he said.

Officials believe that by delaying resuming on-campus activities for another four weeks, and by strictly following recommended health precautions, “the disease will be reduced to a point where we can safely return to something approximating a normal learning environment,” Clements said.

That time will also be used to execute previously announced plans to test all Clemson University students “to provide a better means to predict infection rates in our community,” he said.

The fall semester will begin as scheduled on Aug. 19 with online instruction, Clements said.

“No other changes to the academic calendar will be made at this time,” he said.

Move-in for students living on campus is now scheduled to begin on Sept. 13.

“All current restrictions on campus gatherings and events will remain in place until further notice,” Clements said.

Clements said he knew the announcement would be disappointing for many Clemson students, “especially our first-year students who are looking forward to beginning their on-campus Clemson experience.”

“However, we feel this modified approach is in the best interest of the Clemson Family at this time,” he said.

By uniting, Tigers can slow the spread of COVID-19 in the area, Clements said.

“I would encourage everyone, but especially our students living in and around Clemson, wear a mask and keep your distance from others whenever possible,” he said. “Remember, we’re ‘All In’ this together.”

Decision-making at the university will “continue to be guided by our public health experts, and by the data and science,” Clements said.

“We know that strict adherence to preventative measures such as wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distancing and frequent hand-washing play a vital role in slowing the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

University officials realize the announcement will lead to questions from students, parents and employees, Clements said.

“We are already hard at work preparing communications to various stakeholders and will endeavor to provide as many answers as quickly as possible,” he said.

Additional information can be found at the university’s COVID-19 website at, which will be updated regularly, Clements said.

“Please know that our focus remains on providing an outstanding education for our students in a manner that safeguards our employees, students and communities to the greatest extent possible,” he said. “Clemson remains fully committed to providing an in-person experience for all our students this fall, especially our new students who I know are anxiously to begin creating their own Clemson memories and our students who will be graduating in December.”

University officials appreciate patience and flexibility of students and parents “as we navigate these uncharted waters,” Clements said.

“To our amazing faculty and staff, my sincere thanks for the outstanding planning and work you continue to do every day on behalf of Clemson,” he said.