July 30, 2021
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
Last week, I shared with you the university’s updated COVID-19 guidelines for the Fall 2021 semester and our promise to keep you informed as we make necessary adjustments. On July 27, South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) issued new COVID-19 recommendations regarding the use of face coverings, following guidance from the CDC.
SCDHEC now recommends that all South Carolinians, including those who are fully vaccinated, wear face coverings when indoors and in public settings in regions with substantial and high transmission. As Richland County currently has a high transmission rate as defined by the CDC, we are updating the university’s face coverings policy to reflect this latest advice.
Beginning on July 30, the university is requiring face coverings to be worn at all times inside all campus buildings, unless you are in your own residence hall room, private office or you are eating inside campus dining facilities. You are not required to wear a face covering when you are outdoors. We will continue to keep our COVID-19 site updated with the latest information.
Our mitigation strategy for COVID-19 is in a dynamic situation, and we will continue to monitor the variants of the virus and the rate of vaccine uptake in our state. All of our decisions are informed by CDC and SCDHEC guidance, input from our university public health experts, and federal and state laws.
Gamecocks, I’m disappointed that these measures are necessary, as we hoped for different circumstances when we came back together. As the pandemic evolves, we will continue to face some challenges, but I’m confident that our Carolina family will do the right thing and take these measures seriously so that we can relax these requirements as soon as conditions allow. To help us achieve this goal, please do your part by getting vaccinated and following all other COVID-19 safety measures. We met the COVID-19 challenge last year, and I know that we will overcome it again.
We will continue to keep you informed as conditions change. Until then, be safe and enjoy the remaining days of summer.