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The following email went out to all students via e-mail on March 10, 2021

Students, 

Thank you again for all the work each of you has done to prioritize the community health and wellbeing needs on campus amid COVID-19.  While we’ve seen very slight increases in student cases the past few weeks, overall our case numbers still remain very low at CCU. The next month will be one of the most pivotal times to keep case numbers as low as possible, so I ask for your partnership and diligence in that effort. 

With spring break beginning today, I ask you to be responsible and vigilant throughout the final stretch of our semester.  If you are traveling during the break, please review CDC travel recommendations and continue to abide by the precautions that have helped us succeed in our COVID-19 battle on campus thus far. This includes masks at all times when around others and social distancing. Please take a couple minutes to watch the video released this week regarding spring break safety.

COVID-19 testing continues to occur daily from 9 am – 4 pm in the KK lot, and I encourage you to take advantage of that as an additional safety measure if departing campus and when returning to campus.  In addition, anyone 16 and older is now eligible for a vaccine in South Carolina. Please refer to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control for more information on vaccine locations and appointments. With the additional downtime during Spring Break, this is a great time to secure your vaccine. 

I again thank you all for the selfless steps you are taking to care for one another and succeed academically given these very challenging conditions.  Enjoy some much needed rest and relaxation this week so that you’re able to finish strong in the weeks to come!

Stay Safe,
Dr. Paquette


 

The following email went out to all students via e-mail on March 10, 2021

Students,

 It’s hard to believe we’ve now reached one year since the pandemic began. Last March we abruptly shifted to a fully online mode, and as I reflect on how challenging this year has been, I am in awe of your resilience and persistence.  We have come a long way, and while the end is getting nearer, we still have a significant obstacle ahead of us before the campus is in the clear from COVID-19.

One of the biggest indicators of our progress was the ability for campus to move to Phase 2 of our campus operations recently.  This will allow for a few more in-person activities to occur with proper precautions in place as we look towards the second half of the semester. With that in mind, I want to take this opportunity to cover a number of updates and reminders for us to safely and successfully navigate the final two months of the semester:

  • Continue Safety Precautions

While COVID-19 case numbers on campus and in our immediate area have trended in the right direction for some time, now is not the time to let your guard down.  Many news sources are reporting the likelihood, and in some parts of the world, presence of a dangerous and deadly fourth wave of COVID-19 due to the numerous variants. Fully relaxing precautions now could have dangerous effects on our on-campus case decline and progress in advancing our phased reopening. To help end COVID-19 for good, we must all still do our part and be reminded that masks are still required on-campus. In addition, should you be exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19, please make sure to follow appropriate quarantine and/or isolation guidelines. 

  • Making Responsible Choices Regarding Gatherings & Parties 

St. Patrick’s Day is next week and a couple weeks after that is spring break.  In addition, the weather is getting much warmer.  These are normal annual benchmarks that it’s okay to have some fun and let your guard down.  As I’ve said many times before, there remains no place at CCU (on or off-campus) for parties or large gatherings this academic year. The previous times I’ve said that it was hard to imagine when it might be safe to do so again, and as I write this week I feel confident that in a few months those activities may be a bit safer to engage in once again.

  • Vaccine & Testing Availability

Testing continues to occur daily from 9 am – 4 pm in the KK lot on campus.  In addition, here in South Carolina the list of those now eligible for a vaccine has expanded rapidly. If you have a preexisting health condition, or are a front line worker, you are likely eligible now. Please refer to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control for more information on vaccine locations, eligibility, and appointments.

I thank you all again for the selfless steps you are taking to care for one another and succeed academically given these very challenging conditions.  There is light at the end of the tunnel now, and I appreciate you all taking the necessary precautions to go above and beyond what is required to help save lives throughout the remainder of the semester.

Thanks again for your commitment to the health and wellbeing of this community.   

Stay Safe,
Dr. Paquette


 

The following email went out to all students via e-mail on February 12, 2021

Students,

Hopefully you’ve had a chance to review today’s weekly case count on our COVID-19 dashboard. I want to commend and thank you all for the hard work you’ve done to help keep cases at a manageable level on campus this semester.  In comparison to our spike at this point in the semester last fall, it is clear students are taking appropriate measures to protect one another from this deadly virus. I am grateful for the sacrifices each and every one of you is making daily to trade in a more normal college experience for one that puts others and community wellbeing first.

 

I encourage you all to continue to support one another and make decisions that prioritize the needs of our community. To that end, I have a few suggestions and requests:

  1. (Still) No Place for Partying at CCU
    I fully understand the desire to be social and engage with your peers. However, as I’ve made clear multiple times—for everyone’s wellbeing, partying cannot be part of the 2020-2021 college experience. If you choose to be in public venues, wear a mask and respect the required 11pm closing time. Don’t plan after-bar parties in an apartment or a residence near campus, and don’t pressure your peers to do so. It is my sincere hope that in 2021-2022 you can engage socially with your friends in more traditional ways at the hours of your choosing! As a reminder, anyone with concerns about potential social gathering violations can report that information here

  2. Personal Safety Reminders
    If you choose to engage with others in public, please follow all safety guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and watch out for one another. Should you experience anything that seems unsafe or problematic, use the resources provided by Chant Safe to seek immediate help. 

  3. Take Care of Yourself & One Another
    COVID-19 continues to add stress to an already-stressful time in your lives. Each of you is experiencing a range of emotions, including frustration, sadness, grief, and a myriad of other reactions. I encourage you to recognize these emotions in yourself and one another, and seek the support necessary to work through them constructively. Trust me; starting a fight with a roommate, engaging in twitter feud with a classmate, or ignoring emotions altogether will not make those uncomfortable feelings go away.  Please take advantage of the Live Well Office and Counseling Services to find the support you need. No one in this community should feel they have to go at it alone. We are all here to help one another.

Thanks again for your commitment to a safe experience at CCU this year!  

Stay Safe,
Dr. Paquette


 

The following email went out to all students via e-mail on January 22, 2021

Students,

Welcome back for spring semester! I am grateful that despite the precarious and challenging circumstances we had a very successful fall semester on campus. That success was a direct result of our community consistently taking COVID-19 precautions seriously, postponing a “normal” college experience, and putting communal needs before individual ones.  Our collective actions and low case numbers helped us serve as a model for other campuses.

As we turn the page to 2021, I would like to be able to convey that we’re winning the fight against COVID-19 in this nation. Unfortunately cases nationwide are at their highest point. While a vaccination provides us some hope that future semesters will return to normalcy, this semester must look similar to Fall 2020 in terms of safety precautions for us to manage this virus at CCU.  As such, please be aware of the following COVID-19 expectations and reminders: 

  • Safety Precautions
    Masks are required on campus at all times except when alone in a private room/office. If you have not familiarized yourself with the full Heal the Teal Pledge or the We Will campaign lately, I encourage you to do so now. It takes all of us to hold one another accountable to our COVID-19 expectations.  

  • Local Cases
    Cases here in Horry County are much higher than they were when many of you departed campus in November. Be diligent in maintaining safety and wellbeing both on and off campus.
  • On-Campus Testing
    Last fall we were able to offer intermittent walk-up/drive-up testing on campus. Thanks to a partnership with South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) testing is currently offered daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., free of charge.
  • COVID-19 Call Center
    CCU’s COVID-19 Call Center continues to operate daily for any COVID-19 related questions and can be reached at 843-349-4100.
  • Abstain from Partying
    As I noted in my very first COVID-related e-mail to students on August 14, 2020, and many times since then, there remains no place for partying on campus amid this pandemic. With 400,000 U.S. lives now lost to COVID-19, partying remains a selfish and harmful decision.

It is my sincere hope that if we follow all of these protocols and continue to have success in keeping cases on campus low, we may be able to hold a few more in-person gatherings later this semester. However, the number of on-campus cases will dictate that decision, and your choices have a direct impact on keeping cases low. I wish you all a successful spring semester and I appreciate everything that you are doing for one another during this difficult time. It does not go unnoticed. I close by echoing President Benson’s message this morning, “Let's make sure we stay on track here at CCU, taking all the steps we can every day to prevent the spread of coronavirus." 

Take Care,
Dr. Paquette


 

The following email went out to all students via e-mail on November 13, 2020

Students, 

As we prepare for in-person classes to end next week, I want to provide some important COVID-19 updates. While our cases on campus have continued to stay very low for a number of weeks, cases across the nation are surging.  Despite many of us feeling pandemic fatigue, I urge you to be as diligent as ever in taking steps to stay safe and well. And to those who have consistently taken precautions seriously and whose actions have actively helped keep this number low—please accept my heartfelt gratitude.  Many remain in good health due to your actions that put community needs first, and as a campus we fared quite well overall.

If upcoming travel and/or holiday celebrations will include seeing friends and family, please make sure you take advantage of the free on-campus testing events next week. Marketing and Communications just announced we will be offering free testing on campus every day next week, so please read that e-mail in detail. I urge you to take advantage of this free opportunity so that you can be aware of your status and can take appropriate measures to keep yourself and those around you safe.  DHEC’s free testing in our area has increased greatly as well should you need a test outside of the time(s) one is available on campus.

Finally, we received complaints and concerns about large gatherings that occurred near campus last Saturday. I will reiterate what I have made clear multiple times this fall—partying has no place at CCU throughout this pandemic. Outdoor parties still involve a high level of risk. This type of behavior is selfish, irresponsible, reckless, and inexcusable.  If you plan to participate in in-person learning in the spring semester, please ask yourself some difficult questions about whether you’re able to follow all safety regulations and avoid partying.  If you are unable to, please register for online classes and participate in the spring semester remotely.

It’s been a rough semester, but many of you have made it substantially better by taking care of one another and making the most of it. Your hard work and selflessness does not go unnoticed. I send you positive energy to finish the semester strong and please enjoy some well-earned down time.

Take Care,
Dr. Peter Paquette

The following email went out to all students via e-mail on October 23, 2020

Students,

There are many reasons to pause and celebrate this week. First, I want to first celebrate our Chanticleer Football Team for their winning streak and first-ever national ranking!  Second, for multiple weeks in a row, COVID-19 cases have decreased on campus. Your commitments to put others first are paying off! Numbers in Horry County continue to be high, however, so please remember to be diligent in maintaining the safety and wellbeing of both our on-campus community as well as our local communities off-campus. In addition, you may have heard that the Horry County Council voted earlier this week to not extend the county mask ordinance. Please be aware this does not impact our on-campus mask requirements.  Masks are still required on campus. 

 Additional COVID updates/reminders:

  • Continued Commitment to Heal the Teal
    Each member of the CCU community committed to the Heal the Teal Pledge this fall.  In that pledge, each of us agreed to take steps to keep one another safe. I want to remind all students of that commitment with specific attention to self-reporting any exposure, symptoms, or test results to Student Health Services.  To do this, simply e-mail covid@coastal.edu so that we can provide you the resources necessary and assist you in minimizing any spread on campus.
  • Additional Free COVID-19 Testing on Campus
    Mondays October 26th, November 9th and 16th  |  10am-2pm each day
    I want to personally encourage all students to utilize one of the November testing dates to ensure you are COVID-negative.


With Halloween one week away, I want to remind students to make responsible decisions should you decide to celebrate the holiday. As you make plans, keep in mind that large gatherings are still prohibited by the University’s status in Phase I of the Coastal Comeback Plan. Students are free to openly express themselves in costume, if desired, provided COVID-19 safety guidelines are followed. In addition, CCU is committed to cultivating a campus culture that advances diversity, equity, and inclusion. I ask that as you contemplate costume ideas, please reflect on the ways your costume choices align with these core values. Often costumes that focus on race/ethnicity or culture rely on stereotypes that cause harm to the identities of members of our Coastal Carolina community. This type of cultural appropriation relies on borrowing aspects of another’s culture without knowing the meaning, reverence, or impact of those aspects of that culture.

As you consider costumes if you’re choosing to celebrate Halloween, please ask yourself:

  • Does this costume perpetuate stereotypes?
  • Is this costume rooted in prejudice?
  • Is this costume hurtful or offensive to others?
  • Does this costume misrepresent individuals or cultures?
  • Am I attempting to show appreciation for a culture yet doing so in an offensive manner?

There are a myriad of costume options available for those individuals wishing to participate. I am confident you will be able to select a costume that celebrates the holiday while also being safe and celebrating our core values of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Finally, I encourage all students who are eligible to exercise your right and responsibility to vote in the election on or before November 3rd!

 

Take Care,
Dr. Paquette


 

The following email went out to all students via e-mail on October 9, 2020

Students,

For the third straight week, COVID-19 cases have decreased on campus. This is great news and I am proud of those who have consistently made sacrifices to protect one another. Your commitments to put others first have contributed to this decrease. I’m especially grateful to the Student Government Association for leading the way this week to emphasize the importance of students not only following safety protocols, but taking personal ownership for them as well. This was demonstrated this week by their Mask Up campaign.

While our numbers decreasing on campus is positive news, it is important to view these case numbers within local case numbers here in Horry County. Horry County COVID-19 cases are again on the rise, so I continue to encourage all students to be diligent in maintaining the safety and wellbeing of both our on-campus community as well as our local communities that surround and support CCU.

In addition, I want to provide two exciting COVID-related updates;

  • COVID Call-Center
    On Monday, October 5th, the CCU COVID-19 Call Center began operating and serves as a way to more effectively communicate with our community and answer questions regarding COVID-19. The Call Center runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and can be reached at 843-349-4100.  The COVID Call Center will soon add weekend hours as well. I encourage students, faculty, staff, and families to use this number to get questions answered on anything related to COVID-19.
  • Free COVID-19 Testing on Campus
    The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) free walk-up/drive-up testing event will return to campus from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Monday, October 12, 2020. The Office of University Marketing and Communication announced this via e-mail earlier today, so if you plan to get tested please read that e-mail in detail to be fully prepared. DHEC encourages individuals to pre-register for the testing event at https://scdhec.gov/GetTested.

Take Care, 
Dr. Paquette


 

 

The following email went out to all students via e-mail on October 2, 2020

Students, 

For the third week in a row COVID-19 cases on campus have continued to decrease. I want to genuinely thank you all for continuing to take the necessary steps to make that happen and for keeping our campus safe! I encourage students to check out the #We Will Campaign to hear about the reasons your peers have chosen to take COVID-19 precautions so seriously.

As you may be aware, tomorrow at noon we will be hosting our second home football game against Arkansas State. We encourage students who are comfortable doing so to support our student athletes and Teal Nation. During the last home game the adherence to mask requirements and social distancing was not as strong as it could have been in the student section. I recognize that when we are outside, it often feels like we have a bit more flexibility, however COVID-19 takes no breaks.

To continue building a safe environment to celebrate Chanticleer Football, enforcement of mask policies will occur tomorrow during the game as well requirements for social distancing. You’ll find the student section more clearly marked with stickers of where you can and cannot sit, similar to classrooms. If you choose to attend tomorrow, please make sure you take the appropriate steps to ensure you are complying with the following expectations:

  • Everyone in the stadium must wear a mask at all times except when eating or drinking.
  • Social distancing is required and will be enforced in the stands. 

As a reminder, should you choose to tailgate prior to the game, it is important to be aware that tailgating this year is different than past years. There are many regulations in place to protect our community. The information below should help you make informed decisions on ways to engage in our community while maintaining campus safety.

Reminder of Tailgating Do’s and Don’ts

DO

DO NOT

Limit group size to 10 or fewer. Public Safety will disperse groups larger than 10.

Attend ANY social gatherings or leave your residence if you have COVID-19 symptoms or are under an Isolation or Quarantine order.

Wear face coverings at all times.

Gather in large groups on or off campus.

Tailgates must always stay within an
individual parking space with 2 parking
spaces between other small groups.

Tailgate in any campus green spaces
including the track area, near Wall, or
any other lawn area.

Practice social distancing while traveling
to and from the game and when
entering the stadium.

Bring tents or other items that encourage congregation of individuals. Specifically,
tents are not permitted.

Report concerning behaviors to the DPS anonymous tips line via text (843-349-TIPS).

Bring any glass bottles or containers.

Wear teal with pride!

Tailgate after the game begins or once ends. Tailgating is only allowed for a two-hour
period prior to the game.

Please be reminded that parties and gatherings both on AND off campus remain prohibited. Students who host and/or attend large gatherings will be held accountable through the conduct process. When making decisions, please be reminded that any student and/or organization found hosting or attending will be issued an interim separation from campus. In addition, final outcomes for hosting and/or attending may include termination of housing contract, suspension, and/or permanent dismissal from the University. Please be safe and continue to put others first when making decisions!

Take Care, 
Dr. Paquette


  

The following email went out to all students via e-mail on September 25, 2020

Students, 

I hope each of you has begun to find your stride this semester despite the difficult circumstances. As you may have seen from today’s COVID-19 numbers, cases went down this week, which suggests that as a community we are prioritizing communal wellbeing when making decisions. This is great news, and I want to personally thank you all for taking important steps to make that happen! While the numbers show an impressive decrease, this is not a time to become lax. Each of us must continue to consistently follow safety guidelines. Much like studying, brushing your teeth, or going to the gym—these habits of social distancing, frequent hand-washing, wearing masks, and not gathering in large groups must be a commitment we make each and every single day to take care of one another throughout COVID-19.

The numbers demonstrate that the vast majority of students are making responsible decisions, which makes me proud to be part of this community! Yet, a small fragment of students continue to make poor choices and engage in partying. Because of this and to keep campus safe, a handful of students are now facing the repercussions of their decisions. Some are being asked to depart the residence halls, some are being restricted from campus and in-person learning, and others are facing more serious consequences. Students facing these outcomes have often reacted with surprise and frustration.  As I’ve said in my previous messages, if you choose to engage in partying behavior, you can expect to be asked to leave the residence halls, be restricted from campus, or face a period of suspension.

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to remind all students about the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s (DHEC) free walk-up/drive-up testing event happening on campus from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Monday, September 28, 2020. The Office of University Marketing and Communication announced this testing event via e-mail earlier today, so if you plan to get tested please read that e-mail in detail to be fully prepared. Please also be reminded that DHEC is encouraging individuals to pre-register for the testing event at https://scdhec.gov/GetTested.

Thank you again for the difficult decisions you are making each and every day to keep each other safe and well.  While those decisions may be resulting in a fall semester that is not as exciting as you may have envisioned, your decisions are having a positive impact! This will all pay off in the long run.

Take Care,
Dr. Paquette


 

 

The following email went out to all students via e-mail on September 11, 2020

Students, 

I hope everyone had a productive and enjoyable first week of in-person classes! I write today to continue to encourage and remind all students to follow appropriate social distancing and safety guidelines outlined in my previous e-mails and in other sources.  We have worked to make expectations clear and I want to personally thank those who have role modeled healthy decision-making and who have stepped forward to hold their peers accountable. I recognize none of this is easy, but it remains essential.

As you may have seen from today’s COVID-19 numbers, student cases remain fairly consistent with last week.  Given that we’ve had two weeks at this rate, we now a number of students experiencing periods of quarantine or isolation. To that end, I want to encourage students to reference the University Housing Quarantine and Isolation Guide. This guide explains the difference between quarantine and isolation, and outlines important preparation information in the event you need to isolate or quarantine. Please also be aware that students in quarantine or isolation should remain in their room at all times to ensure the health and safety of the community. Being outside of a quarantine/isolation room for any reason other than a medical need or an emergency may be cause for dismissal from University Housing.

Thank you taking the difficult steps asked of you this semester to help make this campus a safe and healthy one. 

Take Care,
Dr. Paquette


 

The following email went out to all students via e-mail on September 4, 2020

Students, 

Most of you have been taking COVID-19 behavioral expectations very seriously, and I thank you for that—your commitment to this community will keep people healthy and safe. This week we had 54 new student cases of COVID-19, however. We anticipated an increase this week, as it has now been two full weeks since students moved into the residence halls. Because of this, it is more crucial than ever that you take all steps you can to keep each other safe. This includes wearing masks at all times except when alone, socially distancing at all times, and avoiding any and all large gatherings. If you had partying in your plans for this holiday weekend, now is the time to immediately alter those plans, as that choice will compromise the safety of this community. I am confident you can find ways to have an enjoyable long weekend by safely creating community in small group settings. As I’ve mentioned before, there will be time later for parties—now is not that time.

Over the past few weeks my e-mails have provided information regarding expectations and ways to report concerns.  I encourage you to continue referencing those on our website.  In addition, we have added important information about steps to take if you think you may have COVID-19. Please familiarize yourself with these important steps, as they are essential in mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Thank you for continuing to make decisions that put this community first!

Take Care,
Dr. Paquette


 

The following email went out to all students via e-mail on August 28, 2020

Students of Teal Nation,

have provided COVID-19 expectations via e-mail the last two Fridays. Last week I focused specifically on our zero tolerance approach to parties and large gatherings this fall, and since then this topic has become one of interest within in our community. Local news sources have reported on it, and many students and their families have expressed appreciation for the clear behavioral expectations. Along with the Heal the Teal Pledge, and the #We Will public health campaign, my continued messages serve to encourage everyone to make decisions that support a safe and successful on-campus experience this fall.

Based on today’s weekly report of COVID-19 cases, it appears students have rallied behind this approach and that we seem to be taking productive steps towards community safety. However, I do not want to create false hope, and each of us will need to continue being vigilant with our individual decisions that impact our collective wellbeing. My office and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) continue to receive complaints of partying and large social gatherings, which demonstrates students are taking accountability seriously. Please continue sharing information regarding potential violations so that it can be responded to accordingly. Below is additional information on how to report concerns to ensure an appropriate response:

Reporting Time-Sensitive Information that Requires Immediate Follow-Up
If you have information that needs to be acted upon immediately to ensure the safety of the CCU community, please notify DPS 24/7 via one of the methods below. If the concern is occurring on campus, DPS will respond accordingly. If the concern is occurring off-campus, DPS will immediately relay the information to the appropriate law enforcement agency for response. Options for reporting include:

1. Call 843-349-9111 (emergency) or 843-349-2177 (non-emergency)
2. Submit a DPS Silent Witness Report 
3. Text the DPS tip line at 843-349-8477

Reporting Information that Does Not Require Immediate Follow-up
If you have information of behavior that has previously occurred that may violate COVID-19 expectations, you can continue reporting that via the Community Health Concerns Report. Community Health Concern Reports are only monitored during business hours.

In closing, I encourage you to take a moment to watch the short video featuring students sharing their expectations of one another. Please continue making decisions that put others first.

Take Care,
Dr. Paquette


 

The following email went out to all students via e-mail on August 21, 2020

Students of Teal Nation, 

I hope the first few days of classes have gone as smoothly as possible despite our unique circumstances this fall. Last week I e-mailed you about Expectations for Navigating COVID-19 Together (see email below). The good news is that many of these expectations are being followed! However, we have received concerns over parties/large gatherings. Allow me to be abundantly clear—partying has no place at CCU this fall. Partying is a direct threat to others’ lives and to the success of the on-campus experience this fall. Partying demonstrates to your peers and to Teal Nation your clear disregard for others. If you cannot engage in college life without parties this fall, please opt to take classes fully online from a remote location. 

Since my last message, some campuses have already moved to fully online formats. Others have suspended students for partying. I am confident we have the ability to not be in either of those positions, but it will take your commitment. It will take all of us holding each other accountable. If you witness violations of expectations, your peers are relying on you to intervene and to report your concerns so that appropriate action can be taken. The stakes are high this fall, and therefore the consequences must be as well. If it is determined that you participated in parties/large gatherings, you can expect to be restricted from campus. Those found to be hosting such events can expect to face longer-term consequences.

In closing, I share with you a message from a member of the CCU Class of 2021 regarding his concerns over the lack of personal responsibility and care he has witnessed on campus this week, “The majority of the on-campus community hasn’t even been here for 14 days yet. Which means, those who have been walking in packs looking for a party in Quail most likely haven’t shown symptoms yet. Maybe some people don’t care because it seems likely that we will all be sent home anyway. I’ll agree that’s likely, but getting sent home is up to us. If we follow all the protocol that CCU, the CDC, and the local government has given us, we will most likely stay here longer. If we say it’s not worth even trying and act like some people have been acting, get ready to pack your rooms."

Your choices have consequences. Make choices that put others first.

Take Care, 
Dr. Paquette


 

The following email went out to all students via e-mail on August 14, 2020

Welcome Back Chants!

We are delighted to open the doors of campus once again as many students have arrived back on campus and more will be returning in the coming weeks. Since campus closed in March, over 160,000 lives have been lost to COVID-19. I’ve had multiple friends lose family members and I’ve corresponded with many students over the summer who have lost a loved one to this unforgiving virus. COVID-19 has already hit home in irreparable ways here at CCU.

For many on this campus, students in particular, this virus may skip over you, or you’ll contract it but not experience symptoms. Equally as plausible is that any member of this community can easily transmit it. Any one of us has the power to shut down communities and further the pain and suffering this virus has caused. Chanticleers simply cannot contribute to that suffering. Our CCU Statement of Personal Accountability, the Chanti-Creed, calls us each of us to a higher level. This creed outlines peer-to-peer expectations, written for students, by students. The Chant-i-Creed compels us to model vulnerability and courage by making decisions to put others before ourselves, particularly during this difficult time—it’s what Chants do.

While it is encouraging to see campus come back to life, this fall will be far from the normal we previously knew or expected. It is vital to remember that every aspect of our day-to-day lives must function differently so as to demonstrate our unwavering commitment to public health and to each other. Every single one of us must make changes because we will either succeed in this together, or we will fail, together. This may be inconvenient, and at times, it will be uncomfortable. You may make it to an early morning class to realize you’ll need to return to your residence hall to retrieve the mask you forgot. You will need to decide not to have 8 or 10 friends over at your apartment, and instead hang out with just a couple people, while wearing your masks. Doing these things will show we care, it will save lives, and you will need to make these choices every single day.

The CCU community has spent the summer creating many ways to assist us all in living up to these new expectation. I want to take this opportunity to highlight a few very clear requests and expectations:

1. Commit: Wear a mask at all times, unless you’re eating, by yourself, or sleeping. Check your distance, and if you extend your arms and someone is in that space, spread out. Review the Heal the Teal Pledge in advance of its debut on Moodle in coming days.

2. Care: Now, more than ever, it will be vital to carry out the Chant-i-Creed by actively caring for ourselves and one another. Many of us are struggling, despite the fact that some are not showing it. Reach out. Lend a hand. But also recognize that caring for someone may need to look differently. When I was in college, I would not have dreamed of having a Zoom call with a friend one floor down from me in my residence hall, but this fall those types of behaviors will need to be commonplace. Do not hesitate to reach out to Counseling Services for support in-person or virtually.

3. Party Later: We must temporarily leave behind previous ways of gathering and celebrating—doing so with so much pain and suffering occurring in this nation is heartless and inappropriate. Any parties on campus or in the local area this fall are a serious threat to the success of the semester. Engaging in those actions will demonstrate to your peers and to Teal Nation a disregard for others. If you feel that you cannot engage in college life without hosting or attending a party, I recommend asking yourself if you should consider taking classes fully online from a remote location this semester. I would greatly prefer you make that decision for yourself in lieu of the Student Conduct team having to make it for you by having to restrict you from campus or suspend you for the semester for engaging in behaviors that jeopardize others’ health and wellbeing.

4. Start Now: It’s now or never. The norms that are set on this campus over the next two weeks will set the standard for the entire semester, so I trust that you will hold each other accountable at all times to the expectations set out in this letter, the Chant-i-Creed, the Heal The Teal Pledge, and any in other expectations that you have received here at Coastal Carolina University.

There is no other way to say it—this is an awful hand we have been dealt. Your college experience has been substantially changed for a period of time by a pandemic. We cannot stare at the grief, loss, and ambiguity we are experiencing with anger. We must embrace the confusion and fear and move forward together. We are all experiencing this pandemic together, but if we approach it in safe and healthy ways, we will get through it as quickly as possible and be a much stronger Chanticleer community on the other side. And when that day comes, we will celebrate together again.

Take Care,
Dr. Paquette
Interim Vice President of Student Affairs | Dean of Student