July 23, 2021
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our university has prioritized the health and safety of students, faculty and staff. Despite the challenges of the past year, the university persevered together, and with your help, successfully completed the 2020-2021 academic year.
Now, CDC projections for the fall suggest there will be surges in COVID-19 infection rates. Additionally, the Delta strain of the virus, currently the dominant strain, is more easily transmitted and has already been detected within our campus community.
This is why we must continue to take this virus seriously and work together to reduce its spread by employing scientifically proven mitigation strategies, such as vaccination. In alignment with guidance from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, we strongly encourage you to get vaccinated if you haven’t already done so to protect yourself and others.
In our community, vaccination not only helps protect each other, but also allows for resumption of in-person class instruction, relaxed mask guidelines and the return of fans to athletic events. Recent studies estimate that vaccination has prevented almost 300,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. alone. We also know that more than 97 percent of people hospitalized with COVID-19 and more than 99.5 percent of people who die from COVID-19 are unvaccinated.
Informed by the latest state and federal guidance and our own public health experts, university leadership has developed mitigation recommendations and requirements for the Fall 2021 semester. Please carefully review the following mitigation plan:
Return to Campus COVID-19 Requirements:
- Students residing in UofSC-operated housing, including the Greek Village, must provide
proof of one of the following relative to their respective move-in dates:
- a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test conducted no more than 10 days prior to arrival to campus
- proof of prior positive COVID-19 infection within the last 90 days
- a completed COVID-19 vaccination record
- All students residing off campus, faculty and staff must provide proof of one of the
following by Wednesday, Aug. 18:
- a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test conducted between Aug. 8 to Aug. 18
- proof of a prior positive COVID-19 infection within the last 90 days
- a completed COVID-19 vaccination record
- The university will continue to offer voluntary free testing to students, faculty and staff throughout the fall semester. Testing is also available at multiple locations throughout the state.
- The university strongly encourages all students, faculty and staff to get fully vaccinated in order to protect themselves and the community.
- If you have received the vaccine, please upload your vaccine record into the MyHealthSpace portal. The portal is compliant with federal health privacy law and your records will not be shared. For instructions on how to upload a copy of your completed vaccine card to MyHealthSpace visit our COVID-19 Vaccine Information page. If you received your vaccine on campus through University Health Services, your vaccine status will be updated automatically.
- Face coverings will be required in the Center for Health and Well-Being and Thomson Student Health Center. They are also required on shuttles, buses and other forms of university transportation.
- Because face coverings have been proven effective in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, we encourage everyone on campus to wear one indoors whenever physical distancing is not possible. If you are not vaccinated, you are strongly encouraged to take this simple step to protect yourself and others.
- The university will continue to conduct environmental wastewater monitoring to identify and rapidly respond to COVID-19 outbreaks within our campus community.
- The Emergency Management Team will continue regular monitoring of international disease activity and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, US Department of State and others.
Isolation and Quarantine:
- Following the most updated guidelines from the CDC and SCDHEC, fully vaccinated individuals are not required to quarantine following exposure to a positive COVID-19 infection if they are not showing any symptoms.
- Unvaccinated individuals are required to quarantine following an exposure to a positive COVID-19 infection, regardless of their symptoms, as per guidelines from the CDC and SCDHEC.
- All students living on campus are required to file a quarantine and isolation plan with Housing and Residence Life. Emergency arrangements will be provided for on-campus students who are unable to quarantine or isolate at home.
- Students, faculty, and staff who test positive for COVID-19 will be expected to isolate at home to prevent the spread of illness.
Event and Activity Approval:
- The Emergency Management Team is transitioning control of campus events and activities to the Dean and/or Vice President level for approval of all events taking place on Aug.16, 2021 and later.
Again, the health, safety, and well-being of every student, faculty and staff member will remain our number one priority. While we cannot predict the impact of the virus this fall, our planning is ongoing and we will make necessary adjustments if conditions change. Please visit our COVID-19 site for the latest information and updates. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the final weeks of summer and I look forward to welcoming you back soon.