COVID-19 Update

CIU's Coronavirus Response

University officials continue monitoring the latest developments with the U.S. COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on University operations. Updates and new information will be added as needed and the community will be notified through email and updates to the website.

CIU continues to be operational. Unless specified below, all university functions remain available through remote services.

For reliable, up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 please visit the Center for Disease Control’s website.

Please see below for the latest update from CIU.  If you have additional concerns or questions, you may contact the school at (800) 777-2227.

Commencement Information

Dear Students,

When we informed you of our need to move instruction online for the rest of the semester, we also said we were planning an online virtual graduation in May. Since then, we have heard from you, and we even surveyed graduates to find out their preferences for graduation. Based on that feedback, we have decided that we will have a Commencement ceremony on campus on August 15, 2020, instead of the virtual graduation. Many graduates expressed a desire to see each other and to have the chance to walk across the stage as their names are called. We understand that desire very well and definitely want our graduates to have the chance to walk. Graduating students who cannot make it to the August ceremony, are invited to walk in the December ceremony.

We also want you to know that the entire CIU community continues to pray for you daily as you complete your studies this semester. We know it is a challenge and that many of you are facing additional challenges at home and in your families. All of us at CIU want to do everything we can to help you succeed. Please reach out to your professors, your advisor, the Academic Success Center and others when you are struggling. Working together, we are confident you can make it through!

Dr. Mark A. Smith, President
Dr. James E. Lanpher, Provost

Updated Information for Residential Students - 4/1/2020

Dear Students, given that CIU will hold all classes online for the rest of the semester here is some information on how to check out of your room.

Resident students who want to come pack up their rooms and check out completely may still do so using the instructions emailed to them on Friday, 3/27.  If it becomes unsafe to do so, such as if the SC border ends up closing, we will reach out to whoever had signed up for a check out time during that period and give them instructions on rescheduling.

  • We designed the new checkout process to where it's completely self-sufficient.  Students show up during a time they select online through Sign Up Genius.  Only 3 students are allowed to be on a hall at a time for their check out.  There is a packet on their door with everything they need for a successful checkout.  They drop off their completed checkout packet with their key in Founders Lobby (women) or Memorial Lobby (men).  Nobody from Student Life or Residence Life needs to be present for their checkout, but they do need to sign up for a time in advance so that we can activate their ID for their scheduled checkout time.
  • We've asked students to be wise about coming or not - please don't come if you/your family has been sick, the cafeteria/library/student center are all closed, this is not a time to catch up with friends, etc.  There's no pressure from us either way, but espcecially those that are local are being encouraged to come in case travel restrictions get tighter as the semester continues on.  We will work with anybody who needs it, but they have to initiate and reach out to us by emailing  We hope the option of coming now helps students and our staff in the long run, as we will be preparing for summer and fall with a team of three and without the usual help of our RAs/CLCs.
  • More time slots will be added to the Sign Up Genius website for students to choose a day and time to check out if they cannot come right away.  We will add slots for May once we know it is safe to do so.  We will email students when more times are added.
  • If people moved out their bleongings but didn't do the paperwork portion, we are working with them individually by email to get the information we need regarding their housing plans for fall and they should mail us their room keys (CIU Residence Life  7435 Monticello Road  Columbia, SC 29203).  We will clean and reset furniture in these rooms if students are unable to come back.  If they fall into this category, they've already been asked to email us.
  • Library books that are checked out should be extended by contacting the library directly.  Students should contact Tree of Life Customer Support with questions about returning their rentals.  Students should not leave books in their room when they check out as both Tree of Life and the Library are currently closed on campus, and we cannot return their books on their behalf.
  • We designed the checkout process specifically so that students wouldn't need our "sign off" in order to keep our staff safe and socially distanced.  If someone needs help, they should contact the RA on Duty phone numbers, as those are still being monitored by the RDs for the time being: (803) 518-2508 (Men) and (803) 518-2510 (Women).
  • If someone absolutely is unable to come back to move their belongings out, they should email and we will work something out.  This is a last resort as our storage space and staff to pack things on their behalf are both limited.

The RDs and Eryn Marburger will work from home starting Thursday, April 2.  The RDs live here, but we are asking them to stay in their rooms as much as possible and not come into contact with people, including students checking out.

A Message from Your President 3/26/20

Dear CIU Students,

We hope you have been able to navigate the transition to online classes this week. We know it’s a challenge for you, but we are here and ready to help, if you need it. Please reach out to your professors, to your advisor, to the library, to the Academic Success Center or others if you need help. We are all working alongside you to help you succeed!

In light of the Governor of South Carolina's decision to have most public employees work from home, the actions taken by many private South Carolina college and universities, as well as the likelihood of actions by the City of Columbia to implement social distancing for the next several weeks, we have made some decisions that we need to let you know about. Here they are:

1)      Online instruction will continue for the rest of the semester with no on-campus classes being held.

2)      We are working to develop a virtual commencement to take place online on May 2. In addition to the virtual ceremony, graduates are encouraged to participate in December’s on-campus commencement ceremony (December 2020). The CIU registrar’s office will be in touch shortly to communicate further details about these events.

3)      CIU will arrange to have a couple weeks in May available for you to retrieve your belongings from the residence halls, once state and local authorities allow. If you have extenuating circumstances, please contact Student Life for assistance.

4)      The library building will be closed, but online resources through the library and other sources will continue to be available.

5)      The IT Helpdesk is available Monday through Friday from 8 am until 9 pm and Saturday from Noon until 6 pm at (803) 807-5199.

6)      Registration for the fall has started and is ongoing. Please respond to your advisor when you are contacted to sign up for your fall courses.

We know that the last few weeks have been a whirlwind for you! In the midst of all these events, we want you to know that CIU has committed to praying for you and the situation for an hour each day. Even though many here at CIU are working from home, people here are working harder than ever to ensure that you can finish the semester well and, if you were planning to graduate, to help you do so in any way we can. If you are struggling, please reach out to us so we can help.

In Christ,
Dr. Mark Smith, President
Dr. James E. Lanpher, Provost

Information for Current Students

All CIU in-person class sessions are transitioning to online delivery through the end of the semester.

  • All current online courses will continue as scheduled.
  • Students will  have access to all university services online.

Students with questions about their courses should contact their instructors.

Physical Plant will continue to keep the campus clean, sanitized, and maintained. This includes servicing office and classroom buildings, housing, and outdoor spaces. The Physical Plant team will respond to requests as quickly as possible.

Maintaining 24/7 patrol, Campus Security will continue to ensure a safe environment on campus. Each of CIU’s Campus Security officers are licensed by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to hold the same powers and authority as deputy sheriffs in the state, including the authority to make arrests for misdemeanors and felonies. The CIU family should continue to contact Campus Security first for emergency assistance on campus at (803) 807-5555.

Chapels are suspended until further notice, however, there will be online virtual chapels at 11am on Thursdays.

When we informed you of our need to move instruction online for the rest of the semester, we also said we were planning an online virtual graduation in May. Since then, we have heard from you, and we even surveyed graduates to find out their preferences for graduation. Based on that feedback, we have decided that we will have a Commencement ceremony on campus on August 15, 2020, instead of the virtual graduation. Many graduates expressed a desire to see each other and to have the chance to walk across the stage as their names are called. We understand that desire very well and definitely want our graduates to have the chance to walk. Graduating students who cannot make it to the August ceremony, are invited to walk in the December ceremony.

Dining service will have a limited menu and no self-serve. Hours of operation are:

Monday - Friday

  • Breakfast 8:00am to 9:00am
  • Lunch: 11:30 am -1:00 pm
  • Dinner: 5:00 pm-6:00pm

Saturday - Sunday

  • Lunch: 11:30 am -1:00 pm
  • Dinner: 5:00 pm-6:00pm

Grace Coffee - Closed

Canvas is the online learning management system for CIU and will be the primary platform for our online classes. As a reminder, you can access Canvas by going to: and log in with your CIU ID and password.

IT support staff will be responding to phone calls and emails during normal business hours.  If you have an IT issue, please call the help desk at (803) 807-5199 or submit a ticket with information to contact you.  If no one answers, please leave a voicemail and the staff will return your call as soon as possible.  If you need to stop by the IT Help Desk, we would ask that you call ahead to set up an appointment.  Any IT support that can be performed remotely will be the preferred method of operation during this time.

Library Services is serving students and faculty virtually.  The Library building is currently closed.  Please check for updates regarding when the building will be opened.  All online library resourcese and services will continue to be available to students.  If you need assistance, the ASK US chat option at is available from 8:00 am - 9:00 pmm or email

The ASC is serving students and faculty virtually.  The ASC building is currently closed.  Please check ciuedu/covid19 for updates regarding when the building will be opened.  ASC continue to provide online tutoring.  Please visit MYCIU>Library>Reserve a tutor or email

The following housing options are available to students:

Option 1: Remain on campus

In our effort to serve and create a safe campus environment, students who remain on campus during online only instruction must abide by the policies listed in the CIU Student Handbook and the following addendum:

Students remaining on campus during the spring 2020 Semester will:

  • Practice social distancing and limit social gatherings.
  • Notify their Residence Director if leaving campus for more than four hours and indicate their travel schedule.
  • Ensure that all non-CIU guests, or gatherings of mixed genders take place in the Student Center. There will be no open dorms, and non-CIU guests are not allowed on the Residence Halls during this time.
  • Be subject to disciplinary action for violating travel or visitation restrictions.

If you would like to remain on campus, please request that option here.
All campus events and activities on campus are cancelled.

Option 2: Check out for the remainder of the semester, remove all belongings from the room, and turn in the room key. If you choose this option you will need to coordinate with Residence Life for a time to check out. You will not be allowed to move back into housing without permission from Residence Life. If you have already left campus housing, please contact Residence Life as soon as possible.

If you move off campus, you will be given the opportunity to move back into the residence halls in the event that normal operations resume. If you are unable to return due to extenuating circumstances, the University is committed to helping you complete your studies remotely. If you have any questions or concerns please contact

Residents will be expected to follow the complete check out clearance instructions listed on MyCIU.


  • NAIA has canceled the athletic season. Click here for further detail.
  • The Fitness Center is currently closed.
  • The Athletic Training room is closed.
  • The Athletic Staff is working on campus in support of university operations as needed.

Registration and Advising – Traditional undergraduate students should continue to connect with their academic advisor as needed to plan for next year’s registration. Registration is open for the 2020-2021 academic year. For additional information, please visit myCIU.

Students on an F1 Visa – Students on an F1 visa should communicate with the Dean of Student Life, Rick Swift, regarding any change to their address or if they plan to move back to their country of residence to confirm any impact on their visa status.

Financial Aid & Billing Information – There will be no changes to financial aid and billing in transitioning students from in-person to online courses.

Student workers should contact their supervisors about schedule changes

Information for Employees

CIU continues to be operational. Unless specified, all University functions remain available. Employees are expected to report for work unless they are sick, in a high risk group, because of family issues related to school closings, or because they have permission to work from home. If special consideration is needed due to health risk or childcare issues, please discuss with your supervisor about the possibility of working remotely.

If you want to check your messages on your office phone from off-campus:

  • Call (803) 807-4777
  • Enter mailbox number (will be your extension)
  • Enter passcode
  • Press #
  • Follow the prompts given

MXIE – Instructions for forwarding your office line to another number.

Health Services

We strongly urge the entire CIU community to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 prevention measures, such as:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Additionally, recognizing the symptoms of COVID-19 is an important step in combating the spread of the illness. If you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you seek medical attention.

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

TRAVEL ADVISORY For a current listing of the Level 3 areas please reference the CDC Level 3 Warning site. If you or someone you have been in direct contact with has visited those countries or is exhibiting symptoms please report via email to

Information for Prospective Students and Visitors

CIU is providing a virtual personal visit option; however, personal visits on campus are not available through Friday, May 1.

We are offering a virtual personal visit experience. From the comfort of your own home, you’ll experience a campus tour with current CIU Students, and connect with an Admissions Counselor through Zoom.

Groups are able to connect with an Admissions Counselor virtually through Zoom; however, on-campus group visits are not available through Friday, May 1.

Our CIU Preview Event for April 3 will be an interactive virtual experience.

*On-campus visit dates are subject to change as we continue to monitor COVID-19.

Important Announcement About Finishing the Spring 2020 Term

CIU will begin online instruction Monday, March 23.  Please review the following document for answers to the most frequently asked questions.

CIU's Coronavirus Response - Update 3/16/2020

CIU continues to monitor the coronavirus situation closely and to follow advice provided by the CDC and DHEC.  CIU's Pandemic Response Team and senior leadership continue to meet regularly to address issues as they arise and to enhance campus preparedness and we recognize that the situation is challenging and frustrating for everyone in our community.  On Sunday the Governor of South Carolina closed all public schools and universities through the end of March.

In line with the Governor's decision, here is the latest update from CIU:

  • CIU announced last week that Spring Break has been extended through Friday, March 20.
  • Limited dining services are available to students who have received permission to be on campus for the week of March 16-20.  Hallmark Dining Services is modifying food serving practices to minimize the possibility of contamination by eliminating self serve options.  Dining services are not available to faculty or staff.
  • CIU Physical Plant has been practicing enhanced cleaning and disinfecting processes and procedures across the campus.
  • The library will be open.  Check the library website for hours of operation.
  • CIU will temporarily institute online instruction for all residential courses beginning on Monday, March 23 and extending through Friday, April 3.  Students will receive further information and direction soon about what they will need to do.  At this time, students should ensure they have access to MyCIU and Canvas.
  • Faculty are receiving training this week and preparing for the initiation of online instruction.
  • All athletic events have been suspended until April 5, 2020.
  • CIU is operational, although we ask anyone exhibiting symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath not to visit.
  • There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at CIU.
  • There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Columbia.
  • There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Richland County.
  • There were 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Carolina as of Sunday, March 15.
  • CIU's Pandemic Response Team and senior leadership will continue to monito the situation and make determinations about any adjustments as needed.

CIU also continues to ask those in our community to take all recommended steps to prevent illness.  These include:

  • Staying home if you are sick
  • Covering coughs and sneezes
  • Washing hands thoroughly
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces

Please visit the CDC's website with advice on how to Protect Yourself for further information.

More updates will follow as needed.

CIU's Coronavirus Response - Update 3/12/2020

CIU's Pandemic Response Team and senior leadership continue to meet, keeping in mind the priority of the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff.

As of March 12, DHEC has identified 10 COVID-19 cases in South Carolina.  There have been no cases in the CIU community.

As a precaution and in order to protect our community, CIU will be implementing the following steps immediately:

  • Spring break will be extended one week for residential courses, through March 20th.  CIU will continue to monitor the situation and make a determination next week regarding the possbility of temporarily moving to e-learning.
  • University-sponsored international travel is canceled until further notice.
  • The John Maxwell event scheduled for March 17 is being postponed.

We recommend that students stay off campus for the extra week of spring break.  However, if individual circumstances require it, students who live on campus may request permission to return from Student Life by submitting this form, though there will be reduced services and activities.

If students return now, in addition to the limitations noted above, the following strategies will be implemented:

  • Extracurricular events or activities that would result in large gatherings are canceled.
  • Open dorms are canceled.
  • The library will be open but students may not congregate in common spaces.
  • Dining services will be modified to reduce risk.

At this time, NAIA and NCCAA are stating that athletic competitions will take place as scheduled.

The CIU campus will be open and operating and CIU employees are expected to report for work as normal, unless they are sick.

Please keep one another in prayer and also remember the many CIU alumni around the world who are dealing with the effects of the virus in their communities.

Further updates will be forthcoming as needed.

CIU's Coronavirus Response - Update 3/2/2020

Current actions
Here are some steps that CIU is already taking or that we will be taking shortly:

  • The Pandemic Response Team has met and will meet regularly.
  • Physical Plant custodians are using industrial disinfectant and taking extra steps in cleaning.
  • Informational videos will be made available to students, faculty and staff about how to reduce the spread of viruses through email links that will be sent out and placed on Canvas.
  • Physical Plant has ordered additional disinfectant supplies and wipes that will be made available.
  • Offices on campus are preparing plans for continuation of essential operations in the event of a campus shutdown of two weeks or more.
  • Faculty are preparing to move residential instruction online, if necessary.
  • Dining services is ensuring there are sufficient food supplies on campus.
  • We are in communication with the CDC, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the Richland County Health Department for the latest information and advice.


The following comes for the Centers for Disease Control website (
For confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses.

If you are experiencing symptoms, seek medical help immediately either from University Health Services (ext. 5056) or a private physician. If you are experiencing symptoms, do NOT attend classes or other events and do NOT come into work. Absence policies for both students and employees will be relaxed during this period. Please err on the side of staying in or staying home. Students or employees should not return to classes or work until they have been free of fever and other symptoms, without the use of fever- or symptom-reducing medicines, for at least 24 hours.

Informational Videos

Part of CIU’s response to the Coronavirus 19 outbreak is to provide information to the CIU community that will help reduce the spread of viruses. Please take time to view the two videos below from the Centers for Disease Control. Then please closely follow the advice they provide. Total viewing time for the videos is about 3 ½ minutes.

  1. Do your part to stop the spread of flu at colleges and universities
  2. Clean hands help prevent the flu

Additional videos from the CDC can be viewed at CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 Videos. Topics found there are:

  1. What is Coronavirus Disease 2019?
  2. What’s my risk?
  3. How to protect myself?
  4. COVID-19 Stop the spread of germs

More updates and information will follow as needed.