Dear GSSM Families,
 
Covid 19 has caused major disruptions throughout the world. GSSM chose to provide classes virtually through the spring 2020 semester to protect our community. While this approach was not ideal for anyone, everyone worked together to make it the best it could be. We are proud of the way GSSM adapted quickly and professionally to the disruption to meet our students’ needs.
 
As Covid 19 continues to present disruptions, we need to make decisions about the coming school year. We assembled a task force with multiple subcommittees to consider our options from multiple angles. We carefully considered state and federal health guidance, currently available scientific information, the institution’s priorities and capabilities, and stakeholder opinions and interests in coming to a consensus on a recommendation for the GSSM residential program for the academic year 2020-2021. 

While we realize any implemented plan will have its pros and cons and will cause a wide spectrum of emotions, we feel that the chosen path forward best meets GSSM’s priorities:

  • Protecting the health of  all GSSM constituents.
  • Delivering the GSSM high standard of education to students.
  • Allowing adequate time to allocate resources and plan for the best overall experiences for students.
  • Taking into account  the possible disruptions in teaching and learning if unforeseen negative health events occur at GSSM, in Hartsville, in South Carolina, or in our nation.

The plan for the academic year 2020-2021 is:

  • For the fall 2020 semester, all courses will be taught virtually.
  • Students will not be on campus for the fall 2020 semester and residence halls will remain closed.
  • For the spring semester the plan is for students to return to campus. We are in the process of determining what the return to campus will look like based on available information and data related to the priorities listed above to determine the best plan. We will also continue to monitor CDC, DHEC, and state guidelines throughout the fall semester to make sure that our plan is aligned with those guidelines.

As we continue to plan for fully virtual education in the fall, careful consideration will be given to the necessary changes in the following:

  • course scheduling
  • academic expectations
  • student academic support
  • physical and mental health support for students
  • building community
  • faculty professional development needs

We will also work to provide all necessary technical and equipment support for students and faculty. 

We will communicate all relevant information as it becomes available.

I will host two open meetings listed below via Livestream for students and families to ask questions. The link is https://livestream.com/scgssm Ideally, please send questions ahead of time to me at dorsel@gssm.k12.sc.us.

  • Monday, July 6th from 6:00pm to 7:00pm
  • Tuesday, July 7th from 12:00pm to 1:00pm

The sessions will be recorded and distributed to the GSSM community if you are not able to attend.

Similar to the decisions we made last spring semester, these decisions are hard ones. We miss being physically surrounded by the vital, energetic, inquisitive and committed minds that make GSSM the best school in South Carolina. We are committed to continuing to bring our students the top education that is the signature of GSSM, and also work hard to foster the sense of community that endears our school to so many.

We appreciate the trust you give us to care for your students.  As we continue to plan for and implement our fall semester, we thank you in advance for that trust and your commitment to our school, especially from the newest members of the GSSM family, the Class of 2022.

Sincerely,

Daniel S Dorsel
Senior VP for Residential
SC Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics