President’s Update: Excitement building for classes next week and September return to campus

August 14, 2020

Dear Clemson Family:

I am excited that we begin the fall semester next week. I miss seeing the incredible energy our students bring to the campus and can’t wait until they are back.

As you know, the first few weeks of the semester will be done online.  While this is not the way any of us wanted to start this academic year, I am extremely excited that students will be back on our campuses in full force shortly after Labor Day.

Our amazing faculty and staff have worked incredibly hard to create the conditions for a successful academic year, even as we continue to navigate the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. I am very proud of them for all their efforts.

At a time when many universities have decided to go completely online for the fall, I want to reaffirm to our students and their families that our focus on returning to in-person instruction and activities has never wavered. In fact, our decision to delay the start of in-person classes and on-campus activities by a few weeks has allowed us to further strengthen our return plans, and has put us in even better shape for a successful fall semester.

Testing Strategy

We continue to finalize a comprehensive COVID-19 testing strategy designed to minimize the number of cases at our locations and allow us to closely monitor the spread of the virus throughout the semester.

The early results from our COVID-19 testing have been encouraging: Over the past two weeks, we have received results from more than 1,100 employee and students and only seven people tested positive. The cumulative results of our testing can be found on our COVID-19 web site, which will be updated regularly.

We realize that testing, specifically the ability for our on-campus students to get a negative test result in timely fashion before moving onto campus, is a concern for some.  We are closely monitoring advances in testing and our plans may evolve. If so, we will communicate any changes as soon as they are made.

Collegiate Sports

Adding to my excitement is the fact that the ACC is on course to compete in football and other sports this fall. I have been heavily involved in the discussions among ACC presidents to ensure that we can play football and other sports safely, and we continue to follow the guidance of the conference’s medical advisory group. As result of the great work being done by universities across the conference related to testing and safety protocols, your No.1-ranked Tigers are prepared to start their season at Wake Forest on Sept. 12.

Campus Housing

Another date that I have circled on my calendar is Sept. 12 – the date our students can begin moving into the residence halls. Creating a strong and supportive on-campus environment is a critical part of the residential university experience, and our Clemson Housing team is busy preparing our residence halls to operate at nearly full capacity. Answers to all your housing and dining questions can be found here.

This academic year is certainly going to look and feel a bit different than past years, but I am confident that we are poised to make it another great year for our students. At the same time, I continue to ask all of our students to do their part by wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing whenever possible. Remember, we’re all in this together. We need to remain “United as Tigers.”

Good luck to all of our students, faculty and staff as we start the semester next week, and stay tuned for regular communications from me and other University leaders as the new year begins. I am excited to see you all in a few weeks.

Go Tigers!

Clemson University's 15th president, James P. Clements