September 1, 2020
Dear Faculty and Staff,
I write to update you on the actions being taken by the university in response to the increase in COVID-19 cases over the last seven days. I'm sure you reviewed our updated COVID-19 dashboard on Friday afternoon and saw local media stories over the weekend about case numbers and off-campus parties. Our total number of active cases is larger than we expected at this point, and some student behavior off campus is both disappointing and unacceptable. We are confronting these realities and taking action.
Specifically, the university took the following actions over the weekend:
- Instituted additional quarantines of residents in Greek Village. A total of nine residences have now been placed in quarantine after residents of those houses tested positive for the coronavirus.
- Levied interim suspensions of 15 students and four student organizations charged with student conduct and/or local ordinance violations for hosting unauthorized parties or large gatherings, or for not abiding by quarantine.
- Confirmed that our saliva testing results are now being fully reported to the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control. Testing numbers lagged last week because of a technical glitch.
All student cases to date were either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic prior to their COVID-19 tests. None requires hospitalization. The university's decisions regarding quarantine are made in consultation with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control and are designed to reduce the risk of spread within our campus and into the community.
We are initiating the following actions this week:
- University saliva testing teams will deploy on campus this week to provide mobile student testing in areas where wastewater environmental monitoring has shown concentrations of potential COVID-19 cases. The deployment will allow for more rapid identification, quarantining and care of students.
- On-demand student testing will take place Tuesday-Friday on Davis Field from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. All students experiencing symptoms should make an appointment to be tested at UofSC Student Health Services Monday through Friday.
- Testing for faculty and staff (only) will be held at 650 Lincoln on Tuesday and Thursday this week from 12:30 - 2:30 p.m.
- We will hold a virtual town hall meeting for students, parents and families, faculty and staff on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.
We are monitoring this week very closely and making daily assessments, fully considering potential measures of additional quarantine, virtual education and 'remain in place' measures. We will update the COVID-19 dashboard every Tuesday and Friday.
As always, we will keep you informed of the latest COVID-19 developments on our campus. Thank you for supporting the university and each other as we implement our response plan and continue to prioritize the health and safety of our community.