AAUP-SC Response to SC Reopening Orders

The South Carolina AAUP Conference has sent the following response to Governor McMasters regarding the SC Reopening orders for Higher Education.


To The Honorable Henry McMaster,

The SC Conference of the American Association of University Professors expresses its collective concern over the Governor's recent Executive Order 2021-12 (Section 5, Paragraph D) requiring state employees to return in person to the workplace. The Governor's order contradicts current guidelines from both the CDC and the SC OSHA guidance for Workplace Re-Entry (5/14/2020), and it runs counter to the General Duty Clause of the South Carolina Code of Regulations §71-112A, which mandates that “employers shall maintain a place of employment which is free of recognized hazards which may cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”

Although levels of community transmission have decreased since the beginning of the year, the danger remains high in many areas across the state according to the CDC Covid Tracker. Moreover, thanks to extraordinary faculty and staff efforts to support teaching and other university functions, campuses across South Carolina have developed their own successful operation plans that respect the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff.

We look forward to a time in the near future when South Carolina colleges and universities can return to normal, face-to-face activities, but a premature, one-size-fits all policy jeopardizes that prospect. The health and safety of students, faculty, and staff should be the primary consideration in decision making about when to reopen a campus as well as decisions about all aspects of campus operation during the pandemic. Decisions on how to reopen campuses safely should be informed by guidance and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, SC DHEC, and state departments of health.

We ask the Governor to give the state's colleges and universities autonomy in implementing return to work plans.

Executive Council

SC Conference – American Association of University Professors

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