Sent of Behalf of GSSM Senior Vice President for Residential, Mr. Danny Dorsel:

GSSM Families,

Please find information below about Opening of School Welcome and Convocation, information from the academic departments, and information about academics during the 2-week residencies.  This information will be sent to students today during the lunch hour.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Mr. Danny Dorsel
Senior VP for Residential
SC Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics



I hope your classes and labs are going well this week.  Please find below information about the Opening of School Welcome and Convocation, information from the academic departments, and information about academics during the 2-week residencies.
After polling seniors, we have decided to keep with tradition and have Convocation on its original date, Thursday, September 10th at 4:00 PM via livestream. We have also combined Convocation with the Opening of School Welcome to be sensitive to students’ time in front of screens.
The link for the ceremony is  The ceremony will include President Sims; Mr. Bob Brown, our Board of Trustees Chairperson; Anya Bali, our Convocation speaker; and the presentation of the GSSM Outstanding Alumnus Award and academic letters to the class of 2021.
For those new to GSSM traditions, Convocation is a ceremony to honor our seniors. We are fortunate to have Ms. Anya Bali, GSSM class of 2015, as our speaker.  Ms. Bali is a marketing specialist at Amazon Web Services, focused on content and product marketing for the public sector. She graduated from Duke University in 2019 with a degree in psychology, a minor in computer science, and a certificate innovation & entrepreneurship. At GSSM, she was the inaugural recipient of the Dr. Murray Brockman Leadership Award. We will also present our Distinguished Alumni Award during Convocation.
We will mail seniors their GSSM academic letter.  During the ceremony, we will feature photographs of seniors as their names are read to signify them receiving their hard-earned GSSM academic letter.
Academic departmental information
The GSSM academic community continues to work to ensure the best learning environment possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Academic Subcommittee of the Covid-19 Planning and Implementation Task Force approved a planning document over the summer to provide consistency across classes and to help students know what they need to do to be academically successful.  The Department Chair Group worked during the summer to write a document, “Expectations for Teaching and Learning in a Virtual Environment.” Faculty from individual academic departments then added sections to it based on student and parent feedback, observations of student performance, and experience from spring and summer. 
Each academic department also came up with a specific academic plan for the semester, based on input from its faculty about what would work best for that academic area.  The attached document describes specific expectations that are the same for all departments. 
2-week residency academic information
We are excited for students to be on campus for 2-week periods during the months of September through November.  Students will receive the same high-quality academic experience without advantage or disadvantage should they choose to remain in the virtual environment or attend the 2-week residency.  Students on-campus will be able to move around campus freely while wearing masks and observing proper social distancing.  We will also require these safety measures in classrooms or any other academic area. 
Each faculty member will decide whether they teach in the classroom or via Zoom.  Faculty will also decide whether office hours will be held at GSSM or via Zoom.  If the faculty decide to teach via Zoom, students on campus will be able to gather in the classroom and work with the teacher, using the new technology in the classrooms and labs to fully participate in class.  If teaching in the classrooms and labs, teachers will work with the students who are in the virtual environment to ensure that they can fully participate in classes and labs.  Students in the classrooms will be responsible for wiping down their area after class is complete. 
QUEST will be in effect for all students on campus from 8:00-10:00 PM.  Students may QUEST together as long as they wear masks and observe social distancing.  Tutoring will still be available using the virtual format already in place.
If you have any questions about the above information, please do not hesitate to ask.

Mr. Dorsel