Office of the President
Message from President Michael T. Benson
Focused Attention to Operations
Sept. 3, 2021
Dear CCU Faculty and Staff,
Given the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic landscape, I want to make you aware that Coastal Carolina University is shifting into emergency operations to manage the response to COVID-19 effects on our campus. The persistent fluidity of the situation and the increased transmission due to the delta variant present a complex environment that requires continuous assessment and highly responsive mitigation methods.
The COVID-19 pandemic is constantly evolving. Emergency operations enhance situational awareness, streamline decision-making processes, and provide strategic direction for response operations. We recognize that the coronavirus disease is not going away (endemic), and we anticipate the potential of additional COVID-19 variants. Long-term operational planning is essential for resiliency.
What does an emergency operations approach mean for the campus?
Operating from an emergency management perspective creates the infrastructure that allows the University to continue fulfilling its mission while addressing the impacts of COVID-19 on our campus.
This infrastructure consists of the COVID-19 Operations Planning Team, made up of 11 functional committees; the COVID-19 Operations Committee Chairs Group; the COVID-19 Advisory Group; and the Emergency Management Executive Group.
- The COVID-19 Operations Planning Team committees work with their committee chairs to develop/update operational strategies for specific functional areas of campus that align with the University’s public health mitigation standards.
- The COVID-19 Operations Committee Chairs Group meets weekly, assessing current COVID-19 operations, making corrective actions, and implementing new guidance, as necessary.
- The COVID-19 Advisory Group meets weekly to review the data, assess the COVID-19 risk level of the campus, and review and interpret strides made to support low levels of cases on campus. Biweekly, the COVID-19 Transition Advisory Group produces a Risk Assessment Report for the Emergency Management Executive Group.
- The Emergency Management Executive Group, which uses up-to-date information and guidance provided by the above-mentioned entities, makes the final decisions around the University’s management of COVID-19.
As these groups develop and implement functional processes for our campus, we are able to weave these approaches into what we do every day.
In addition, the University is increasing the frequency of virtual town hall meetings for faculty, staff, and students to provide consistent opportunities for open communication, for information sharing, and for questions to be answered by University leaders and subject matter experts.
Are changes expected for class instruction, dining, or housing?
No, not at this time. If changes need to be made to campus operations, those changes will be communicated via email to the campus, and will also be updated on the Fall 2021 COVID-19 Operations website.
I want to encourage everyone to pay close attention to campus communications and to participate in upcoming town hall meetings. Most importantly, if you have not yet been vaccinated, please take part in the free, walk-up vaccination clinic today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Wheelwright Auditorium! No appointment is necessary. Then, upload your vaccine record here to be eligible for the Vax to the Max incentives!
Please remember to wear face coverings indoors in all areas, including classrooms, lobbies, hallways, and even dining areas when you’re not actively eating.
Together, we can all do our part to ensure the University has every opportunity to get through the fall semester without interruption to campus operations.
Michael T. Benson