Fall 2020 Return to Campus

Fall 2020 Return to Campus

Converse - Your Journey Starts Here

As the situation with COVID-19 rapidly evolves, Converse administrators continue to meet regularly and continue to make difficult decisions to ensure the health and safety of our campus community. We will constantly evaluate this situation and the projections and will keep you informed as we make these difficult decisions, always placing your safety and health first. We will update this web page and communicate changes via your Converse email as we proactively assess the Fall term.

We continue to watch the flattening of the curve of this virus thanks to people acting responsibly by staying at home and taking precautions when venturing out.

Our staff began a phased return to campus earlier in June, with the Admissions, Financial Planning, Registrar, and Student Life teams testing out newly implemented protocols. Staff members on campus are wearing face coverings and adhering to physical distancing protocols. Employees also are submitting self-screening health checks daily. Safety shields are being utilized in customer service areas to separate visitors from staff, and the Budd Group is frequently cleaning and wiping down high-touch areas as well as setting up self-help sanitation areas around campus.

Fall Academic Calendar

The new 2020 fall academic calendar is as follows:

  • Converse’s 2020 fall term began on Monday, August 17, one week earlier than originally scheduled.
  • Classes will be held on Monday, September 7 (Labor Day) and Monday – Tuesday, October 12 and 13 (previously designated as Fall Break).
  • The last day of classes will be Friday, November 20.
  • Final exams will begin on Saturday, November 21, and continue through Tuesday, November 24.
  • Residential students will be expected to move out of residential halls by the end of the day on Tuesday, November 24.
  • The Thanksgiving and holiday break will begin Wednesday, November 25, and continue until January 3, 2021. Jan term begins on Monday, January 4, 2021.

Converse’s courses for the 2020 fall term will have the necessary online components should administrators have to adjust the academic schedule again due to a resurgence of the virus, with the understanding that some courses such as laboratories and performances may not be able to be completely moved online.

Watch this video to see how we’ve prepared for Fall 2020 on campus:

Assessing risk levels on campus and within the community

The COVID-19 Response Team has developed a 5-level system that assesses the risk of COVID-19 community spread. The COVID-19 Response Team will continually evaluate our current level based on information that we receive from DHEC, campus reports, and other relevant stakeholders and will provide updates should the level of risk change.

We are currently at LEVEL 3 on the Converse campus.

Level 4 – Statewide stay-at-home orders are in place OR the Spartanburg community and/or College’s conditions make it imperative to shift to eliminate all unnecessary activity and interactions on campus. Classes will shift to virtual/remote. All non-essential personnel will work from home. Students may be encouraged to temporarily move home or to an off-campus location; exceptions may be made for students due to visa requirements or home situations.

Level 3 – The College is open; however, at times, additional time-limited restrictions may be added in order to prevent the College from raising to a higher level. Possible restrictions include (but are not limited to) asking students and employees to stay home for a short period of time; greater limits on community access, increased PPE use, and elevated precautions. High-risk individuals may be asked to limit their presence on campus.

Level 2 – The College and the community of Spartanburg are operating with moderate-to-low confirmed cases of COVID-19. The College is open, though protective measures are actively in place. The underlying threat of outbreak remains, but the prevalence of the virus is moderate- to-low and contact tracing capabilities are robust enough to serve the College.

Level 1 – The College and the community of Spartanburg can operate normally in a high-density environment. The College is open and many protective measures are still actively in place. The underlying threat of outbreak remains, but the spread of infection is low, or the effects of the disease have been ameliorated by treatment or mutation, and contact tracing capabilities are robust enough to allow some policies to be relaxed.

Level 0 – Once vaccines and/or highly-effective treatments are approved and widely available, and there is low circulation of coronavirus, prevention practices can be gradually lifted.

  • Aug 11-12, 2020: New Student Move-In
  • Aug 13, 14, 15, 2020: Returning Student Move-In
  • Monday, August 17, 2020: Fall term begins
  • Friday, November 20, 2020: Last day of Fall classes
  • Saturday, November 21, 2020 through Tuesday, November 24, 2020: Final exams
  • Tuesday, November 24, 2020: Residential students must move out of residential halls by the end of the day (5 pm).
  • Wednesday, November 25, 2020 through January 3, 2021: Thanksgiving and holiday break

Converse’s courses for the 2020 fall term have the necessary online components should administrators have to adjust the academic schedule again due to a resurgence of the virus, with the understanding that some courses such as laboratories and performances may not be able to be completely moved online.

To do all this safely and successfully, Converse is making changes to the way its campus community lives, studies, and works, and the College has reconfigured residential, classroom and office facilities to make it possible. Read more about those improvements here.

Personal Safety Practices

To minimize potential exposure to COVID-19, students were encouraged to isolate themselves from others outside of their immediate household 14 days prior to their return to Converse.

Guidance for Masks/Face Coverings: After careful consideration of  CDC recommendations, the College requires all students and employees to wear a face-covering or mask when in the presence of others and in indoor public settings (e.g., common workspaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, etc.) or outdoor public settings where physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Appropriate use of face masks or coverings is critical in minimizing risks to others near you. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. The mask or cloth face covering is not a substitute for social distancing. Masks/face coverings are to be worn and physical distancing is to be maintained at all times in shared campus community spaces such as kitchens, common areas, copier rooms, meeting rooms, and bathrooms.

It is permissible to wear cloth reusable face coverings, masks, or neck gaiters that have been made or purchased as long as these coverings:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Are secured with ties, ear loops, or equivalent (if not a gaiter)
  • Include multiple layers of fabric such that it is difficult to see light through the covering
  • Allow for breathing without serious restriction
  • Can be laundered without damage or change the shape

Face Mask Hygiene

Putting on the face mask/covering

  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer prior to handling the face mask/covering.
  • Ensure the face mask/covering fits over the nose and under the chin.
  • Situate the face mask/covering properly with nose wire snug against the nose (where applicable).
  • Tie straps behind the head and neck or loop around the ears.
  • Throughout the process: Avoid touching the front of the face mask/covering.

Taking off the face mask/covering

  • Wash or sanitize your hands before removing the mask. If that is not possible, then:
    • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth when removing the face mask/covering.
    • When taking off the face mask/covering, loop your finger into the strap and pull the strap away from the ear, or untie the straps.
  • Wash hands immediately after removing.

Disposal of disposable face masks

  • Keep face masks stored in a paper or plastic bag when not in use.
  • Disposable face masks must not be used for more than one day and should be placed in a trash receptacle.
  • Dispose of a face mask if it is visibly damaged (e.g., stretched ear loops, torn or punctured materials), dirty or visibly contaminated.

Care, storage and laundering of cloth face coverings

  • Keep face-covering stored in a paper or plastic bag when not in use.
  • Cloth face coverings must be washed after use for one day.
  • Disinfecting method: Launder cloth face coverings with regular laundry detergent before first use and after each shift/day. (Disposable masks are not washable.)

Physical Distancing: Keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools we have to avoid being exposed to the COVID-19 virus and slowing its spread. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay at a safe distance from others, even when wearing a face covering and even if you have no symptoms. Physical distancing is important for everyone, especially to help protect people who are at higher risk of getting very sick. Faculty, staff, and students on campus must follow these physical distancing practices:

  • Stay at least 6 feet (about arms’ length) from other people at all times
  • Do not gather in groups of 10 or more
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings

Handwashing: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or touching your face. If soap and water is not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands after touching your face.

Coughing/Sneezing Hygiene: If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizers with greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol as the preferred form of hand hygiene in healthcare settings.

Cleaning/Disinfection: Budd Group Housekeeping teams will clean based on CDC guidelines for disinfection. High touch (doorknobs, light switches, etc.) areas will be cleaned often. Facilities will also maintain hand-sanitizer stations at major building entrances, elevator stops, and high-traffic areas. Mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and monitoring systems will be assessed and readied prior to the reopening of buildings.

Thermometer: All students should bring their own digital thermometer in order to complete daily temperature checks.

Gloves: Gloves are not necessary for general use and should not replace good hand hygiene. Washing your hands often with soap and water is considered the best practice for common everyday tasks.

Daily Questionnaire: Students, faculty, and staff are required to answer a daily online questionnaire before they leave their residence hall, or come onto the Converse property, or engage in Converse activities that asks: if they are awaiting results of a COVID-19 test; whether they have tested positive for COVID-19; whether they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive; and whether they have any symptoms of COVID-19.

Classrooms: Classroom assignments have been modified whenever possible to allow for social distancing of students.  Students may not enter a classroom if they are not wearing a facemask. Classroom buildings will have directional signage to encourage one-way traffic flow in stairwells and at entry/exit points.  Students may be asked to aid in the disinfecting of desks/work areas after classes.  Students should not congregate in the hallways or common areas and should follow social distancing guidelines.  Hand sanitizer will be available in classrooms.  Classes may utilize a variety of formats/teaching practices so students should check their email for communications on any changes.

Working in On-Campus Office Environments: If you work on campus in an open environment, be sure to maintain at least 6 feet distance from co-workers. If possible have at least one workspace separating you from another co-worker. You should wear a face mask or face covering at all times while in a shared workspace/room. A mask or face covering is not required if you are working alone in a confined office space (does not include partitioned work areas in a large open environment).

Using Elevators: Use of elevators should be limited where possible to avoid close proximity with others in a confined space. Those using elevators are required to wear a disposable face mask or face covering regardless of traveling alone or with others. Only one person should use an elevator at time, unless assistance by another is required.

Using Restrooms: Wash your hands thoroughly afterward to reduce the potential transmission of the virus.

Meetings: Convening in groups increases the risk of viral transmission. Where feasible, meetings should be held in whole or part using the extensive range of available collaboration tools (e.g. Zoom, Google Meet, telephone, etc.). In-person meetings are limited to the restrictions of local, state, and federal orders and should not exceed 50 percent of a room’s capacity, assuming individuals can still maintain 6 feet of separation for social distancing requirements. Classrooms have already been set up and scheduled to meet these mandates.

Meals: Before and after eating, you should wash your hands thoroughly to reduce the potential transmission of the virus. If dining on campus, you should wear your mask or face covering until you are ready to eat and then replace it afterward. You must maintain social distancing during meals.  Meals can also be taken to go and eaten outside.

To minimize your potential exposure to COVID-19, we strongly encourage you to isolate yourself from others outside of your immediate household at least 14 days prior to your return to Converse..

Protocols we are currently implementing include:

  • Self-isolation for 14 days prior to your return to campus;
  • Health screening upon return to campus;
  • Setting up areas for regular voluntary temperature checks with infrared thermometers;
  • Self-screening health via a daily symptom checklist questionnaire; and
  • Wearing a face covering in buildings in communal areas and whenever physical distancing is not possible.

In addition, our facilities team is working with the Registrar’s Office to outline and implement building procedures, including:

  • Designating “Entrance Only” and “Exit Only” doors and one-way stairwells;
  • Placing signage to reinforce social distancing and line management in high traffic areas;
  • Re-configuring seating arrangements and occupancy to promote social distancing;
  • Additional cleaning procedures in between classes:
  • Frequently wiping down high-touch surfaces like keyboards, door handles and desks with a hospital-grade disinfectant, listed as an EPA-approved product for killing the COVID-19 virus;
  • Misting rooms on a regular basis with hospital grade disinfectant; and
  • Placing hand sanitizer stations across campus.

Within the residence halls and in Gee dining hall, we are:

  • Limiting capacity of communal spaces;
  • Prohibiting visitors in residence hall rooms;
  • Implementing scheduled move-in dates over a longer period;
  • Requiring students and their families to move themselves into their rooms;
  • Providing assistance and accommodations for those who are immunocompromised;
  • Establishing a telemedicine option for students; and
  • Redesigning how meals are provided and seating arrangements in our dining hall.

Social Distancing: Students are advised to minimize their contacts with persons outside of their household 14 days prior to arrival on campus or start of classes.  Students should avoid engaging in parties and large scale events during the 14 days prior to arrival on campus or start of classes.

Accommodations: Any student requesting accommodations should follow the established request procedure on my.Converse. This includes students who are deemed vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus pursuant to CDC guidelines. Students should keep in mind that there will be students, faculty, and staff on campus this fall who may have underlying conditions rendering them more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. It is the responsibility of each community member to fully commit to protecting the Converse community collective health and well-being.


Housing Access: Building access will be limited to only the residents in each building.  Students may not have off-campus guests or overnight guests in their rooms. Students are encouraged to socialize outdoors or in common spaces with guests or friends who live in other residence halls.  Students are asked to keep social distancing.

Housing Common Areas: Common area spaces in the residence halls like study spaces, lobbies, computer labs, and kitchens will be open. All common areas will have posted maximum capacity occupation limits.

Students are expected to abide by social distancing protocols when in commons spaces. In an effort to assist students with distancing, we have reduced and rearranged furniture in commons spaces and posted signs with limited capacity requirements. Students should follow posted guidelines that will help identify paths of travel to prevent close interactions and maximum capacity limitations in common spaces. The success of our Return to Campus Plan will hinge on all of us working together to follow posted guidelines and practice healthy behaviors like wearing a mask in public spaces.

Students will not be allowed to store open items or dishes in residence hall kitchens. Any open or used grocery items, dishes, or other items will be disposed of immediately. The college will not replace discarded items.

In residential bathrooms, students should practice physical distancing and follow any additional posted guidelines for use. Common area bathrooms will be cleaned multiple times daily.

Health and Safety Checks: Students are required to clean and disinfect weekly in rooms and shared in-suite spaces. The Residential Life staff will increase the frequency of scheduled room health and safety inspections. Students are advised to discuss and outline expectations for cleaning in roommate/ suite contracts. Inspections will include bathrooms and kitchens in suites and apartments.

Residential Community Support: We are developing virtual programming/community building opportunities led by the Residential Life Staff. Community Advisors will do regular one-on-one communication with residents and provide resources to assist them. Our Converse Cares and Student Development teams will be providing support if we receive information that a student is struggling with adjustment to these challenging times. Concerns can be reported at https://converse.formstack.com/forms/converse_cares.

Converse is implementing a number of practices to support the health and wellness of residential students. These practices include enhanced cleaning and sanitization, physical distancing guidelines for commons spaces, reduced occupancy of residence halls, and the development of virtual programming models:

  • In order to maintain lower density in residential spaces, students will only have access to their assigned residential building, students are encouraged to socialize outdoors or in commons areas, while practicing physical distancing.
  • High touch areas like door handles and elevator buttons will be cleaned throughout the day. Hand sanitizer stations will be posted at all building entrances and exits. Common area and hall bathrooms will be cleaned multiple times a day. Hall bathrooms will have spray cleaner on hand for use by residents before or after use.
  • Common area spaces in the residence halls like study spaces and lounges will be open; to encourage physical distancing, furniture may be rearranged in those spaces. Students should follow posted guidelines that will help identify ways to yield to others and outline maximum capacity in each space.
  • Students will be expected to wear face masks in public spaces like hallways and common areas. In residential bathrooms, students should wear masks when possible, practice social distancing, and follow any additional posted guidelines for use.

Fall Room Change: In most cases, housing assignments will not be changed during the fall term. In some rare instances, students who already have a housing assignment for the fall term may need to move based on their requests for housing accommodations and our ability to fulfill their needs in their currently assigned space. Upon arrival, students with extenuating circumstances may address concerns and requests with their Resident Director or the Director of Residential Life and Student Conduct.


Converse received funding under the CARES Act to help students whose education has been disrupted by this pandemic. To receive these funds, you must have filed a FAFSA.

Read about how the CARES Act assists Converse students:

Cares Act Consumer Information and Disclosure

The following disclosures are in compliance with Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) reporting as required by the Office of Postsecondary Education.

2021 Jan term study-travel programs have been canceled.


Internships will move forward on an individual basis, either online or in-person, taking into account the public health conditions and the willingness of the internship site to continue to receive interns. Cathy Gowan will work with students on their specific internship.

Student Teaching

Student teaching will follow the guidance of the State Department of Education and individual school districts, keeping in mind public health conditions.

Campus Store

The online store is accessible 24/7 and offers free shipping on many items.

The on-campus store is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 am – 5 pm *Be sure to wear a face-covering and adhere to physical distancing protocols.

For questions please call or email Alex Talley:

Phone: 864-596-9453 or 864-596-9454

Email: 1484mgr@follett.com

Financial Planning

The Office of Financial Planning will be open during Fall term, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 am – 5 pm  You can also email financial.planning@converse.edu. The Director and Associate Director are available for Zoom, GoogleHangouts, or FaceTime meetings if you would rather meet virtually.

Gee Dining Hall

See the dining hall hours and menus here.

Dining services has adapted operations to incorporate physical distancing, enhanced sanitization protocols, and modified service style. While our dining facilities may look different, know that the focus on the safety and well-being of the Converse community has never been stronger.

Gee Dining Hall will observe social distancing by offering scheduled meal times, decreasing capacity, reimaging serving stations and removing self-service items. Tables and chairs will be removed or shifted to account for physical distancing recommendations and procedures as put forth by state regulatory departments. Directional signage will be laid down on flooring to create clear pathways for location entrance, station queue points, location flow, and location exit areas. Plexiglass will be installed where needed throughout the dining hall.

Plates and metal silverware will be removed from service areas and will be replaced with disposable products to limit the potential spread of biological contaminants. All items will be served in disposable containers and then passed to the guest; each station will require a new container to reduce contact.

All self-service salad and dessert stations will no longer exist and will be converted into prepackaged in-house prepared items that will be individually wrapped. All condiments will be served in individual containers. All beverage systems will be adjusted to be attendant-poured beverages.

As a precautionary measure, all employees will be required to follow check-in procedures that will ensure that prescribed health standards are met at a minimum before their workday begins. Employees will wash their hands and have to complete a self-evaluation prior to starting their work shift.

Appropriate personal protection will be worn by all employees based on their role and responsibilities and in adherence to state and local regulations and guidance. Training on how to properly use, proper laundering and dispose of all personal protective gear will be mandatory. Every employee entering the dining locations will be required to wear a mask while on site.

Proper handwashing will happen frequently. All employees will change gloves frequently, including after handwashing and in between tasks. There will be an increased frequency of swapping serving utensils and platters during and after service times, with full sanitizing and disinfecting of food contact surface areas, serving areas, cooler door handles. Service stations, service carts, beverage stations, counters, handrails, will be sanitized frequently.

Catering will focus on deliveries and take out options using disposables only. Self-service buffets will no longer be an option. Staff would need to serve guests off the buffet or use plated options. All events will need to follow social distancing guidelines. The assumption is that catering will not be encouraged on campus for the fall semester.

Mail Room

Fall term Mail Room Hours: Monday through Friday 8:30-12:30, 1:30-4:45. *Be sure to wear a face-covering and adhere to physical distancing protocols.

Mickel Library

Fall 2020 Hours:

Monday – Thursday: 8 am – 11 pm
Friday: 8 am – 6 pm
Saturday: Noon – 5 pm
Sunday: 1 pm – 11 pm*

*The Library is the only campus building open past 10 pm this fall.

Converse students, faculty, and staff still have the option of 24/7 access, via the Internet, to periodical and reference databases, eBooks, and other online resources and services on the library’s homepage. Users who need books or other circulating items from the print collection should submit requests through “Ask a Librarian.”

Please feel free to contact the library staff at mickel.library@converse.edu or through Ask a Librarian if you have any questions about your patron account.

Office of the Registrar

The Office of the Registrar will be open during Fall term, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 am to 5 pm to assist faculty, staff and students.  Be sure to wear a face-covering and adhere to physical distancing protocols. Please wait outside the door if another person is being assisted by the staff.  You may also send an email to registrar@converse.edu for assistance.

Wellness Center

Visits are APPOINTMENT ONLY. We are not accepting any walk-in appointments. All patients must call 864.596.9258 or email in advance so that the Wellness Center can screen you prior to coming in.


Converse has received a grant to assist students in having real-time access to healthcare. Effective July 1, we have deployed iSelectMD, a service that allows students to have 24/7 access to tele-healthcare for COVID-19 concerns as well as many other non-urgent, acute illnesses. This service is only available to currently enrolled Converse students. Click here to learn more.

The health and safety of our College community remain our highest priority, and this includes visitors to our campus. Under current operations, Converse is permitting a limited number of visitors to campus, primarily those who are essential to Converse’s operations and prospective students. Certain buildings and areas of campus may have different visitation restrictions so it is important to check with your Converse host for specific instructions pertaining to your visit and to answer any questions you may have.

To ensure a safe environment for our students, employees, and guests, all visitors must complete a health screening form prior to coming onto campus. A new form must be completed for each day that you need to be on campus and mirrors our daily student and employee screening. A member of our team will verify the completion of that form and that you have been granted access to the campus. If you receive a Not Cleared email response after your form completion or if you are feeling ill, do not come to campus and notify your Converse host of the reason. We will assist in finding an alternative approach or will reschedule your visit for a later date.

Students may have visitors for certain Converse Activity Board (CAB) planned events unless CAB limits the event to students only. Each student is limited to only one visitor per event and the student will be responsible for the visitor’s actions while on campus. The visitor must show event staff their cleared form to enter the event.

Self-Screening Questionnaire – Guests

While on campus, all permitted visitors must comply with the Converse’s COVID-19 safety protocols including those for face coverings, social distancing and posted signage while we also encourage good hand hygiene throughout the day. Below are quick links to the applicable policies that you should familiarize yourself with prior to your visit.

Visitors are not allowed in student residential spaces and only when in the company of a Converse host are visitors allowed in Gee Dining at this time. For visitors to special performances, guests are required to adhere to our masking and physical distancing guidelines. Please review the event site for further details and any additional requirements that may apply.

Thank you for your adherence to all health and safety guidelines to keep our Converse community safe.

The Conference Carolinas Board of Directors has postponed all fall sports competition until the spring of 2021 after extensive deliberation.

Our Task Force is developing a student-athlete return protocol that will include guidance on athletic activities, from practices to competitions.

Our main priority is to ensure the health and safety of our campus community.

If you or any close contacts are diagnosed with COVID-19, call the Wellness Center at 864.596.9258 immediately so we can respond.

Your Converse faculty and academic leaders have been hard at work preparing for an educational experience this fall that is engaging, dynamic, flexible, and safe. As you have no doubt experienced in other places, this means that we will be operating differently because your health and safety is our top priority. If you missed the video that we shared earlier in June about how we’re preparing campus for Fall 2020, you can watch it here.

The best way to prevent viral illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. As a reminder, everyday preventive actions help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

See additional up-to-date information and resources on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Web Page

Symptoms of COVID-19

S.C. Department of Mental Health

CDC Travel Health Notices

Coronavirus Cases in the United States Reported to CDC

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

Fall 2020 Campus Protocols and Visitor Guidelines  See our Campus Updates >