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USC Sumter seeing few COVID-19 cases, as hybrid semester nears third week

It's been a successful start to a very unique semester at the University of South Carolina Sumter, as the Fire Ants navigate face-to-face and virtual courses.

SUMTER, S.C. — It's been a successful start to a very unique semester at The University of South Carolina Sumter, as the Fire Ants navigate face-to-face and virtual courses.

Dr. Kajal Ghoshroy has been an educator for roughly 30 years. Aside from the increased sanitation and social distancing, she says the face masks have been one of the biggest adjustments. 

Credit: Kayland Hagwood, Zoom
Dr. Kajal Ghoshroy shows how face coverings mask facial expressions.

“When you are like this in classroom, you cannot read are they happy; are they smiling? You can’t tell. So, we find reading the facial expressions and following if the students are with you, are not with you when you are lecturing is very, very difficult both with masks on and if they are attending remotely," Ghoshroy said.

Both she and her students wear face coverings and she says she feels protected. Other faculty have chosen to teach virtually.

"We were a little bit anxious," Campus Dean Michael Sonntag said, "but I think all-in-all we were fairly confident that we had made the preparations to be ready and to be able to serve the students. The faculty have worked incredibly hard to set up all their courses. Those who are doing some face-to-face are ready to turn around, pivot and go online if they have to, so, by in large, we feel like most of the preparations are made to weather whatever comes at us."

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He says they have had nine positive cases of the virus among students this semester. They don't have residence halls, but when a student tests positive they're asked to quarantine and the contact tracing process takes place.

For Dr. Ghoshroy, she's just hoping to see the case count statewide decrease to get back to a sense of normalcy.

"I hope people are learning, and listening, and watching, and finding out that all you have to do, it's a very simple thing, is wear a mask," Ghoshroy said.

To learn more about their return plans visit USC Sumter online.