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Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Spring 2022 Return to Campus

January 5, 2022

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

As we prepare to welcome you back to campus for the spring semester, our university continues to work closely with local and state health officials to help keep our community safe. While the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19 is not yet as prevalent in South Carolina, case counts will undoubtedly increase locally. The good news: illness from the Omicron variant is typically less severe for those who are vaccinated and appropriately boosted. Additionally, the university’s COVID-19 mitigation plan should allow us to maintain in-person instruction and related activities this spring semester while strongly addressing the impact of the pandemic. 

A few items of note:

  • Isolation/quarantine requirements have been reduced based on new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control. Please review the updated information below for more details.
  • Free on-campus testing is available now. All students, faculty and staff — regardless of vaccination status — should get a test as soon as they return to campus. Visit our testing page for spring testing hours and locations. Testing and mitigation measures may increase or decrease as conditions warrant throughout the semester.
  • Mask wearing allows us to continue in-person learning on campus.Wearing a proper fitting mask is a proven strategy for reducing the spread of COVID-19 and will continue to be mandatory in university buildings where social distancing cannot be assured, including all classrooms.
  • Free vaccines and boosters are still available for all members of our community. Boosters are especially important because they greatly increase your protection to Omicron infection, and they ease the quarantine requirements if you should become exposed to COVID-19.

We’ve learned much since COVID first appeared two years ago and our collective efforts have made the University of South Carolina a national model for successfully navigating the pandemic. As always, our success depends on everyone doing their part to keep friends, fellow students and colleagues safe. Please carefully review the campus guidelines detailed below and thank you for your continued support of our campus and the greater community. 
 
Jason Stacy, M.D.
Interim Vice President of Health and Well-Being
Chief Health Officer

 

SPRING 2022 RETURN TO CAMPUS COVID-19 REQUIREMENTS

  • Students with new contracts for 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 collected no more than 7 days prior to arrival to campus
    • proof of prior positive COVID-19 infection within the last 90 days and completion of a CDC recommended isolation period prior to move-in date
    • a completed COVID-19 vaccination record 
  • All returning residence hall students, students residing off campus, faculty and staff must provide proof of one of the following by Monday, Jan. 10:  
    • a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test collected between Jan. 3 and Jan. 10
    • proof of a prior positive COVID-19 infection within the last 90 days and completion of a CDC recommended isolation period prior to move-in date
    • a completed COVID-19 vaccination record

SPRING 2022 TESTING PLAN

  • The university will continue to perform free saliva-based testing to students, faculty and staff during the Spring 2022 semester. 
  • Beginning on Jan. 18, 2022 monthly required testing will resume with testing of group one. As in the fall, testing will continue in 4-week cycles with each group testing for one week. 
  • In addition to on campus saliva based testing, there are multiple locations available for testing throughout the state.

VACCINATIONS

  • The university strongly encourages all students, faculty and staff to get fully vaccinated in order to protect themselves and the community. In addition, we recommend everyone complete their booster vaccination once eligible.   
  • Everyone is eligible for a booster if it has been more than 6 months after the second Moderna vaccine, 5 months after the second Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or 2 months after the initial J&J/Janssen vaccine. Data from South Africa and the United Kingdom demonstrate an increase in vaccine effectiveness against Omicron infection from approximately 35% to 75% when a booster dose is received.
  • University Health Services continues to offer COVID-19 initial and booster vaccinations Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Center for Health and Well-Being.
  • If you have recently received the vaccine, please upload your vaccine record into the MyHealthSpace portal. The portal is compliant with federal health privacy laws and your records will not be shared. For further information visit our COVID-19 Vaccine Information page. If you have already uploaded or have previously received your vaccine on campus through University Health Services, your vaccine status is already recorded.

FACE COVERINGS

  • Face coverings have proven effective in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and we believe they were a key to our past success. Due to unknowns related to the Omicron variant as we begin the spring 2022 semester, face coverings will continue to be required in the following spaces:  
    • Medical Facilities – Required in the Center for Health and Well-Being, Thomson Health Center, COVID-19 testing facilities, and any other medical facility
    • Public Transportation – Required on shuttles, buses and other forms of university transportation
    • Face coverings will continue to be required inside campus buildings, unless you are in your own residence hall room, private office or you are eating inside campus dining facilities. You are also encouraged to wear one outdoors whenever physical distancing is not possible. 
  • The above face covering requirements will remain until conditions and public health recommendations dictate a policy modification. 
  • Medical-grade face coverings, such as N95, KN95 or surgical masks, are more effective than cloth coverings. No matter the face covering you choose, make sure it fits tightly over your nose and mouth to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets.

ISOLATION (if you TEST POSITIVE for COVID-19)

  • Following the most updated guidelines from the CDC and SCDHEC, students, faculty and staff who test positive for COVID-19 will be expected to isolate off-campus for 5 full days to prevent the spread of illness regardless of vaccination status.  Following this isolation, if symptoms completely resolve, the individual may leave isolation but must wear a face covering at all times for an additional 5 days when around others. 

QUARANTINE (if you are EXPOSED TO SOMEONE with COVID-19)

  • Fully vaccinated individuals who completed a two-dose Moderna vaccine series within the last 6 months, two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine series within the last 5 months or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the last 2 months and those who have received a booster are not required to quarantine following exposure to a positive COVID-19 infection if they are not showing any symptoms. However, they should wear a face covering around others for 10 days and receive a COVID test 5 days after exposure.
  • Individuals who have had a confirmed COVID-19 infection within the last 90 days (tested positive using a health care conducted viral test) are not required to quarantine following exposure to a positive COVID-19 infection if they are not showing any symptoms. However, they should wear a face covering around others for 10 days and receive a COVID test 5 days after exposure. 
  • Unvaccinated individuals must quarantine off-campus for 5 days, get a test on day 5, and wear a mask around others for 5 additional days following exposure to a positive COVID-19 infection. 
  • Individuals who received a Moderna vaccine series more than 6 months ago, Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine series more than 5 months ago or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson more than 2 months ago and have not received a booster, must quarantine off-campus for 5 days, get a test on day 5, and wear a mask around others for 5 additional days following exposure to a positive COVID-19 infection.
  • All students living on campus are required to file a quarantine and isolation plan with Housing and Residence Life. Please update your plan for Spring 2022; emergency arrangements will only be available under extreme circumstances.

COVID-19 DASHBOARD

  • The university will continue weekly updates of the public dashboard presenting our campus alert matrix in addition to testing and vaccine data. Release of data will occur each Tuesday during the spring semester.  

ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING

  • The university will continue to conduct environmental wastewater monitoring to identify and rapidly respond to COVID-19 outbreaks within our campus community.  

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

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.


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.

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