- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 20, 2020

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Clemson University plans to hold in-person classes in the fall but synchronize them with online instruction so if a student is infected with COVID-19 - or a second wave of infections closes campus - learning won’t be disrupted.

Also on Wednesday, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced he is allowing the reopening Friday of mini golf courses, go-kart tracks, museums and amusement parks just in time for the Memorial Day weekend

Beaches were packed last weekend, and authorities blamed large crowds on few things other than the beaches being open.

Clemson leaders didn’t provide specifics on their plans in an online presentation to university trustees Wednesday. But everyone who spoke - from Clemson University President Jim Clements to campus safety, academic and financial leaders - all gave a rosy outlook.

“Clemson was ahead of the curve and will stay ahead of the curve. There are a lot of challenges ahead of us, but we will stay Clemson,” said Executive Vice President for Finance and Operations Tony Wagner, who told trustees Clemson was in good shape financially.



One thing that wasn’t mentioned at all Wednesday was athletics. Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney has said he is confident the Tigers will play this fall.

The University of South Carolina announced earlier this month that it is also returning to in-person instruction in the fall, but canceling fall break and going to just online classes after Thanksgiving to protect against a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

Clemson leaders didn’t talk about their fall 2020 calendar.

The school is still working on plans to change campus dining, recreation and even the set up of classrooms. But ultimately, whether the campus stays safe from the virus is up to workers and students, Clemson University Police Chief Greg Mullen said.

“The only way we are going to be successful is if everyone does their part to stay safe and healthy,” Mullen said.

Clemson shut its campus down in mid-March and Clements promised a special ceremony for spring 2020 graduates after their formal graduation was canceled. He did not give details.

Nearly everything in South Carolina will soon be reopened - although most with reduced capacity. After Wednesday’s announcement about attractions, only schools, bars, strip clubs, concerts and other large events remain shut down.

“It will be good for the economy and good for the people,” McMaster said about his latest round of reopenings.

Along with the fun businesses, McMaster said Wednesday that youth and adult sports leagues can start practicing again May 30 with game restarting June 15.

Attractions will have to stay below 50% of capacity and take steps like sanitizing putters, balls, lap bars on roller coasters and seat belts on go-karts after each use.

The guidelines posted by the state also cover who is responsible for what in a number of scenarios, including weddings.

“Health checks are the responsibility of the bride, groom or their representative and should be conducted prior to allowing guests entrance into the wedding,” the state guidelines read.

More than 9,150 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in South Carolina and at least 407 deaths, according to an update Tuesday from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.

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Follow Jeffrey Collins on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JSCollinsAP.

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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

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