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USC cancels classes for Tuesday afternoon in preparation for Hurricane Florence

USC students make their way along Catawba, near Assembly Street on Wednesday. Many downtown Columbia streets flooded as a series of storms washed across the Southeast.
USC students make their way along Catawba, near Assembly Street on Wednesday. Many downtown Columbia streets flooded as a series of storms washed across the Southeast. mwalsh@thestate.com

The University of South Carolina has canceled all classes all day Tuesday, the university announced on Monday.

The decision to cancel classes is not up to university administrators. Rather, USC is allowed to cancel classes only after Richland County closes or delays opening of government services, not including schools, spokesman Jeff Stensland said Monday. Gov. Henry McMaster ordered government offices in Richland County closed tomorrow afternoon.

“We have always followed the county,” Stensland said. “For years, this has been the rule we have applied.”

Florence, now a Category 4 hurricane, is packing 130 mile-per-hour winds and is expected to make landfall on Thursday.

“Essential student services including housing, food service and the Student Health Center will continue to operate,” USC said in a press release.

McMaster ordered government offices closed at noon Tuesday, but USC initally appeared to be the only university that is not closed for the entire day, vowing to stay open until 1 p.m.

“That’s right in the middle of a class,” Stensland said when asked why USC isn’t closing earlier. “So we’re staying open to finish that class.”

Coastal Carolina, which is closer to where the hurricane is projected to make landfall, canceled Tuesday classes. Clemson University remains open and even prepared beds in case students of other colleges need to take shelter, spokesman John Gouch said. As of Monday morning, Clemson set aside 150 beds for Coastal Carolina students should they need shelter, Gouch said.

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Other colleges and universities closed Tuesday:

  • Francis Marion

  • The Citadel

  • College of Charleston
  • Coastal Carolina University
  • Trident Technical College (Closed until Friday)
  • Technical College of the Lowcountry (Closed starting 5 p.m. Monday)
  • Florence-Darlington Technical College
  • Claflin University (closed starting 5 p.m. Monday)
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