The Governor's School's highest priority is the health and safety of our students and employees. Please review the following information and resources to stay informed on the latest school and COVID-19 updates.
For Students, Parents, and Employees: While the school updates below are general announcements to the Governor's School community, we ask that students, parents, and employees check their school email accounts regularly for updated information and specific instructions.
Virtual Fall Semester - July 7, 2020
In order to protect the health and safety of students, employees, and their families, the Governor's School will shift to a virtual platform for the fall semester of the 2020-21 school year. School will start on this virtual platform as scheduled on August 15 (new students) and August 16 (returning students). Learn more by reading the letter from President Adderley included below.
From the Office of the President
- February 28, 2020
Dear Govie Community:
Like many of you, the Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities is watching the international concern with the 2019 novel coronavirus, which causes an illness, COVID-19. While there are no instances of illness in our state, we are working to ensure that we provide appropriate preparations as a campus. Many of these practices mirror the work that is done each day to maintain a healthy school community.
Use Normal Precautions: Washing hands often, avoiding touching eyes and mouth, and covering when coughing and sneezing remain basic precautions to minimize the spread of illness.
Reducing Contact When Ill: In a small tight-knit community, it is important that we reduce contact for those ill. All members of our community are asked to leave campus when ill and remain away until fever-free for 24-hours without the use of medication.
Resting When Needed: When feeling ill, including with milder symptoms, everyone is encouraged to take time for rest and recuperation. Students should remain home when not feeling fully ready to attend class and participate in normal activities.
Influenza Vaccine: Those who have not received the influenza vaccination this year continue to be encouraged to do so. The vaccine is available at many local pharmacies and health departments.
As always, please direct questions about your student's healthcare to Suzanne Munson, School Nurse.
At this time, the primary risk of COVID-19 remains with those who have recently traveled to certain areas and their immediate contacts. Please review the travel guidance available from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for more information. Additional information about COVID-19 precautions in our state is available from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).
As part of DHEC's ongoing efforts, they have requested that we share the following information with our school community. As DHEC learns more about this virus, they will continue to update their website at scdhec.gov/COVID19. In addition, please see below for links to materials provided by DHEC.
- Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and You (pdf)
- COVID-19 Quick Facts
- Poster: Stop the Spread of Germs
- Social Media Graphics
- FAQ videos
The Governor's School will continue to monitor health conditions as well as receive guidance from and work in consultation with local and state health officials as we seek to keep our community healthy.
Cedric L. Adderley, DMA
- March 5, 2020
Dear Members of the Govie Community,
The situation with the COVID-19 coronavirus is rapidly evolving, but we are fortunate that there are still no known cases in South Carolina. Since my last communication, our campus leaders have worked closely to implement additional safety procedures for day-to-day operations and develop a contingency plan for school closure in the case of a confirmed case or declared state of emergency. As we learn more about the international, national, and local circumstances we will continually update our strategies and communicate them to all of our stakeholders.
With this in mind, I would like to share our decision-making and communication strategy and process should we need to close the campus.
Communication: Immediately following notification of a decision to close the campus, the communication protocol will include:
- The Office of the President will communicate with all unit leaders and department chairs of campus closure. Review of assigned tasks for extended leadership team.
- Communication with all employees, students, and parents of campus closure through SchoolMessenger (campus-wide communication system). Review of assigned tasks for all employees through direct supervisors. Parents will be provided with specific instructions for student departure.
- The Office of the President will communicate with the Board of Directors and Foundation Board of campus closure and status of evacuation process.
- Communication to media of process and status of campus closure.
Timeline: Closure of the residence hall will be completed within twelve hours of the notice for campus closure. Upon completion of the evacuation process, Residence Life staff will have one hour to perform shutdown procedure for student housing.
Final Closure: Campus Safety staff will have two hours to perform shutdown of all campus buildings. Following the official closure of the campus, we will proceed with any precautionary cleansing and/or decontamination procedures as an added safety measure.
Our focus is to meet our responsibility for educating our students while maintaining the highest level of safety and security throughout this time. During any period for which the campus must remain closed, all students will engage in remote learning through Schoology and/or other relevant e-learning platforms.
We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through the issues of this very unique situation. We will continue to monitor health conditions as we receive guidance from local and state health officials about the status of COVID-19 in South Carolina. As always, I appreciate your support of the Governor's School.
Cedric L. Adderley, DMA
- March 11, 2020
Dear Governor's School Community,
As we continue to monitor the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, maintaining a safe and healthy learning community on the campus remains our highest priority. State health officials do not recommend closing schools at this time; however, our contingency plan for school closure will be implemented in the event of a regulatory mandate or presumptive case on the campus.
In the event of a temporary closure, we will offer online instruction so that students can continue their course of study in modified ways. We are also communicating with students and families who may require additional accommodations due to connectivity in their area. Therefore, as we prepare for our scheduled extended weekend, we ask that all students and employees are mindful of the following packing recommendations:
- iPads and chargers
- books and instructional materials
- your instrument or other equipment/supplies
- prescription medications
- other personal items needed for an extended absence from campus
During this time away from campus, please take precautions including self-quarantine in the event of contact with others with a presumptive or confirmed case of COVID-19. We recognize the inconveniences that have been placed upon our community in recent days, but ask that we all adhere to these additional guidelines to ensure your health and safety.
DHEC continues to update its website with additional interim guidance for schools on COVID-19. Please visit our school's new resource page with a list of links for updated information from the Centers for Disease Control and DHEC's outreach materials page. www.scgsah.org/COVID19.
As guided by our state health officials, we are not recommending additional precautions at this time beyond the standards of thorough hand washing, covering coughs, and appropriately disposing of tissues and other items containing respiratory droplets. We will continue to monitor health conditions and update our strategic response to COVID-19 in South Carolina.
Cedric L. Adderley, DMA
- March 18, 2020
Dear Governor's School Community,
While we are all closely monitoring the news on COVID-19 and doing our best to
prepare for what is yet to come, I wanted to take a moment to share a few positive
In compliance with Governor McMaster's order to close all public schools in South
Carolina, the Governor's School campus is closed until March 31. Since our students
had already arrived at home for a planned extended break on last Thursday, we were able to immediately implement our remote learning plan, and they are now actively participating in their regular schedule of classes from their homes across the state through our e-Learning platform. We are all committed to providing a quality education and to keeping students engaged during this period, so I'm happy to report that our online instruction is running smoothly.
While we have had to make modifications for implementing arts training outside of the in-person experience, our faculty and staff remain committed to providing a meaningful and productive artistic and academic experience for our students. The innovation and creativity for which they have been known continues to drive them as true-to-form educators with a passion for new modes of instruction as a result of this challenge.
Along these lines, I want to acknowledge that throughout this time of uncertainty and our ongoing contingency planning, our entire Govie Community has risen to the challenges we face with open minds, thoughtfulness, and expertise through expedient actions. I very much appreciate every employee's contributions to implementing our plan and supporting our students and others within the community as needed during this time.
One of the hardest things we have had to do is postpone and cancel our performances and events for everyone's safety. We will do our best to reschedule our student performances and guest artists for later dates if circumstances will allow for this to occur. We were also saddened to cancel Dreamville, our 20th-anniversary celebration that would have been one of the highlights of this very special year in our history.
While we are teaching, studying and working remotely over the course of the next few weeks, we remain focused on achieving the mission of the Governor's School for our students and for our great state. I am confident that with our combined knowledge, strengths, and abilities, we will persevere through this difficult time and navigate the uncertainties that lie ahead. I thank you for your patience and continued support at this time and for your ongoing commitment to the
Cedric L. Adderley, DMA
- March 24, 2020
Dear Governor’s School Community,
On this afternoon, Governor Henry McMaster and State Superintendent Molly Spearman released a joint statement ordering all public schools to remain closed through April 30. For the duration of this period, we will continue remote instruction for all classes as outlined in our emergency distance learning plan. As published on our school calendar, spring break will occur from April 10 – 19.
Pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order of March 19, the campus remains closed to everyone except for essential personnel until further notice. As a reminder, essential personnel is defined as Public Safety at this point in time. I understand employees are eager to return to campus, so I will continue to explore options and consult campus leadership as we receive further guidance from the State Department of Education, Office of Human Resources, and other state offices.
I recognize the challenges that this crisis has placed upon our learning community and want to reiterate that the health and safety of all students, employees, and their families remain our highest priorities. I am both proud and humbled by the daily resilience and resourcefulness I see as our campus continues to thrive as a learning community despite these adverse circumstances. It is indeed an honor to work alongside you all. Thank you for your continued support of the SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities.
Cedric L. Adderley, DMA
- April 9, 2020
Dear Governor’s School Community,
As we pause our schedule of instruction for spring break this afternoon, I want to take a moment to follow-up on a few items, as much has changed since my last communication regarding our intended actions for the Govie Community.
In compliance with the Governor’s most recent Executive Order of April 6 enacting new stay-at-home procedures, we are unable to schedule a return to campus to retrieve items as intended. This order is effective for the duration of the State of Emergency, so we will continue to work remotely with somewhat limited supplies and materials.
To our students, I am deeply saddened by what you are being asked to endure during your final weeks of the semester. You’ve put so much into your work this year and having your performances, exhibitions, and special events canceled or moved online is not what any of us intended for our 20th anniversary year. Especially to our seniors, I sincerely regret the need to host virtual ceremonies for our annual Celebration of Achievement and Commencement exercises rather than our schedule of in-person events. In alignment with the practices of other residential schools throughout the nation, the likelihood of significant restrictions on large gatherings and travel immediately following any signs of improvement in this crisis complicates any planning that is necessary, and such an effort is certainly not the most responsible manner in which we can hold those events. Your resilience has been inspirational, and regardless of our inability to offer the traditional end of semester celebrations to which we all looked forward, we will indeed celebrate with you in the most meaningful way possible. When a return is permitted, we will again celebrate with you and your families in the true spirit of the Governor’s School and give you all that you have earned and deserve as Govies.
I want to thank our employees and parents for your support and input during our virtual meetings earlier this week and for your continued flexibility during this ever-changing situation. With over 80 participants in both meetings, your commitment to our students and to the mission of our school is evident, and I am humbled by the collaborative spirit that has allowed us to continue the work of the Governor’s School in an uninterrupted manner in recent weeks.
While our preparations continue for hosting our summer programs on the campus, we have chosen May 1 as our deadline to make a decision as to whether they can be offered in a safe and responsible manner or to offer an alternative format for selected programs. Should cancelation or other adjustments be required, all enrolled students will receive a refund of fees for the programs.
To those of you who are able to pause and enjoy a break in the intensity of instruction amid the crisis, I wish you a safe and relaxing spring break. To those of you who will continue the work of the Governor’s School and elsewhere, I thank you for your unwavering support and trust that you will also find a moment to pause, reflect, and find comfort in what we have overcome at this critical point in our nation’s history. Without question, we owe a special debt of gratitude to our Department of Public Safety who continue to protect the campus and provide essential services during this period.
With that said, I want to reiterate that these are indeed unprecedented times and our final plans for the semester will continue to be guided by the directives from state and local government and health officials. I thank you for your ongoing efforts and for your support of the Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities.
Cedric L. Adderley, DMA
- May 1, 2020
Since the spring of 1981, the Governor's School has shared the excitement of students as they prepare to engage in our summer programs. We know that the artistic instruction received and sense of community formed supports continued growth of students and their work long past the end of each program. Throughout the spring semester, like each of you, we have been carefully considering what the summer will hold. After considering current CDC guidelines and best practices, we have determined that holding our traditional, residential summer programs is not possible for Summer 2020. We share your disappointment, since we know how hard you worked to apply and/or audition for these programs. Our decision to cancel is guided by our first priority of ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of all members of our Governor's School community.
We know that each student's passion for the arts is as strong as ever and that they crave continued growth as artists. Our creative, dedicated faculty and staff are hard at work as you read this announcement. We are designing alternative offerings for students accepted into all of our summer programs. Although we know we cannot simply shift existing programs online, we are developing workshops, classes, and other exciting opportunities to deliver through virtual experiences or at locations throughout the state once the circumstances allow us to do so safely and effectively. We are also planning additional learning experiences on campus during fall, winter or spring that will be made available to all accepted summer students. In June, we will share more about our plans for late summer and the upcoming school year, and we will invite you to participate free of charge.
All students who were accepted into our 2020 Summer Programs are encouraged to apply for future programs for which there will be no application fee. Our application for the 2021 High School and Summer Programs will be available in September. We hope that you will remain engaged with us and apply to the next program for which you are eligible, so please look for information from our Office of Admissions about the application process.
All deposits for our 2020 summer programs will be refunded. Refunds will be processed in the same manner as payment was made. Example: A credit card payment made through the SCGSAH on-line portal will be refunded to the card.
We look forward to officially welcoming you to the Governor's School community and working with each of you in the very near future. Even in these uncertain times, I remain confident in our future, as we continue to provide the rich, engaging artistic experiences that have always been a hallmark of Governor's School programs.
Cedric Adderley, DMA
- July 7, 2020
Dear Governor’s School Community,
Without question, everyone reading this letter would like to see a full return to regular, in-person instruction in our residential high school program this fall. Our Task Force on School Reopening has been at work since early summer gathering information and preparing for that goal as well as for a range of other possible scenarios. All summer, school leadership has been at the virtual table with other districts and schools across the state and nation. We have been monitoring public health conditions on a daily basis. Specifically, we have been following the CDC’s federal guidance for schools and administrators, our state Department of Education’s AccelerateED recommendations, and DHEC data on their own and in reports aligned with the SCDE recommendations. We have also been connected to cutting-edge research on the performing arts in this health crisis, and we are following recommendations from national arts organizations and studies.
As of today, all three criteria in DHEC’s assessment place Greenville County in the
highest possible risk categories. We are not in a declining pattern of COVID-19
spread, which is a key CDC guideline. The health and safety of our students, staff,
and their families remain the top priority in our decision-making. We cannot in good
conscience expose our campus community to this level of risk by reopening in person in August.
In order to protect the health and safety of our students, staff, and their families we
- Shift to a virtual platform for the fall semester of the 2020-21 school year. Employees will meet for their scheduled professional development days August 11-14. School will start on this virtual platform as scheduled on August 15 (new students) and August 16 (returning students).
- Cancel in-person fall performances and campus events. We will work towards virtual programming if/as it’s feasible by department. Orientation, family weekend, our college fair, and our First Look admissions event will shift to virtual platforms.
- Plan for resumption of in-person instruction on campus after the January 18, 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, if/as public health conditions improve. We currently recommend that students and families self-isolate for two weeks prior to this return.
- Continue to explore the option for day students beginning in January.
- Put a premium on the mental health and wellness of all students and staff. We will continue to offer individual services in a telehealth model in addition to group work.
In order to achieve our mission of pre-professional instruction in an environment
of artistic and academic excellence, we will:
- Evaluate each student’s academic load carefully, considering courses that could be deferred in order to allow maximum focus on intensive arts work from a distance and upon our return to campus.
- Register students for some academic coursework with VirtualSC and/or Connections Academy. Some of our own teachers will have “virtual” sections of their regular courses all year. These online options will allow us to create class sizes small enough to enable a safe return to in-person instruction. Details will be forthcoming from the Guidance office as we work with each student/family individually.
- Gather virtually for schoolwide humanities programming to include Why-Days and other seminars, events, and student-led experiences.
- Prioritize process over product across the arts curriculum, especially for the fall. Our summer task force has dubbed this the big “rethink”; not of what we do (train young artists) but of how we do it for this brief period.
- Explore the feasibility of bringing small groups of students back to campus for brief residencies (two-week intervals) this fall. This may be possible to schedule by art department or class.
In order to build and sustain community, we will:
- Launch loud and strong with a reimagined orientation in August.
- Carry out critical work on diversity and inclusion, with a focus on engaging and supporting all students and staff.
- Connect students to their house communities, so they begin to build ties with other students and their RLC’s.
- Intentionally forge bonds within art departments to support the sense of ensemble, studio, and collaboration so critical to the Govie experience.
- Engage through student activities and events and incorporate student leadership.
- Continue to host engaging virtual programs for students and families, including but not limited to family weekend, college fair, outreach, and admissions events.
- Celebrate, gather, and collaborate via Zoom and other platforms that will help us stay connected.
- Collaborate with parent leadership through the Govie Parents Council and School Improvement Council.
As disappointed as we all are, this is not simply a return to the eLearning and
remote work we all experienced last spring. We have time to plan. We can dedicate resources to the technology and materials you need to have at home. We know how to run a statewide delivery system to get iPads, books, and supplies to students in early August. Teachers may be able to work on campus, using their
studios and classrooms with the vastly-improved technology available there.
Please understand that the decision to move to this virtual scenario is part of a
larger plan to return to in-person instruction when it is safe to do so. We’ve focused on in-person, virtual, and hybrid scenarios, with a goal of being prepared to pivot between them as conditions change. We’ve measured classrooms and studios. We’ve installed plexiglass and ordered new check-in equipment. We’ve re-
imagined the daily schedule and met with Aramark to reconfigure food service. All this work is in place so that students and staff can return to residence in the future.
Across the instructional and residential programs of the school, we will use this
challenge as an opportunity to drill down to the most essential, engaging, and vital
elements of what we do and who we are. At this afternoon’s Zoom meeting we will
answer questions and share information. We will continue to be in touch directly
in the weeks ahead, and we humbly ask for your trust in the expertise at work in
these decisions. These are significant but temporary challenges to the experience
to which we are all deeply committed. We will bring new students, families, and
staff into this unique learning environment, and we can’t wait to welcome back our returning Govies and look to their leadership and partnership as we move ahead together.
Cedric L. Adderley, DMA
The links below contain updated information from the following government agencies.