Spring 2022 Plan

What is the plan for the spring 2022 semester?

The COVID-19 guidelines were developed in conjunction with other university officials across the state, public health officials from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (S.C. DHEC) as well as at the direction of the South Carolina General Assembly. The College of Charleston’s plan is in alignment with state law and other university plans across the state and also much of the country.

While we are excited to have a sense of “normalcy” return to our campus this spring, we want to remind our entire campus community that, just as we did last year, we will pivot and change course as quickly as the situation dictates.

Vaccinations

This fall, we are very pleased to have 77% of our students submitting their COVID-19 vaccination documentation. Students who have already submitted their vaccine documentation to Vax on the Bricks do not need to do anything further unless they want to upload updated or new COVID vaccine documentation or documentation indicating they have received a booster shot at: https://go.cofc.edu/vax-upload.  

So that we can strive for a safe and healthy spring semester, our campus leadership team will require all returning and incoming College of Charleston students to submit one of the following by midnight, January 5, 2022. 

  1. Proof of a complete series of COVID-19 vaccines* (2 Moderna, 2 Pfizer or 1 Johnson & Johnson vaccine) with the last dose being given on or before December 21, 2021. Upload documentation at: https://go.cofc.edu/vax-upload

    *Students who have already uploaded their complete vaccine documentation are not required to upload their information again.

  2. COVID-19 test results uploaded to: https://forms.gle/KWJEzYWDczXgewR26 
    1. COVID-19 tests MUST be performed between Monday, December 27, and Wednesday, January 5. College of Charleston will accept PCR, Antigen (rapid or standard) tests and self-administered tests (ex: Binax Now). Note: Self-administered tests must be labeled with the student’s name and the date the test was taken written in pen on the test card. All test results must show the date of the test, the result and the student’s name.  
    2. Please plan ahead as some labs may experience delays in providing test results due to the holidays. 
    3. Students who test positive will need to stay away from campus until the end of their isolation period.  
  1. A recent positive COVID-19 test documented after Wednesday, October 6, 2021, uploaded to: https://forms.gle/KWJEzYWDczXgewR26 

 Please note that limited exemptions to these requirements will be approved for students who are not taking classes during the spring 2022 semester or who are enrolled in virtual-only programs. Excemption requests should be submitted using the following form: https://forms.gle/3zkq77mYRnj1hYCp6 

Not complying with the above requirements will have consequences for residential and non-residential students, which are described below.  

Residential Students: 

  • Non-compliance by scheduled move-in date: Not permitted to move-in/return to residence halls and historic houses and Cougar Card deactivation 
  • Non-compliance by January 17: Hold placed on account 
  • Non-compliance by January 31: $100 fine 
  • Non-compliance by February 14: Additional $100 fine 
  • Course registration will begin in March and the hold will prevent registration 

Non-Residential Students: 

  • Non-compliance by January 17: Hold placed on account 
  • Non-compliance by January 31: $100 fine and Cougar Card deactivation 
  • Non-compliance by February 14: Additional $100 fine 
  • Course registration will begin in March and hold will prevent registration 

 

Face-Coverings/Masks

For the remainder of the current semester and for the beginning of the spring semester, the College will continue to require face coverings in our classrooms and inside all campus facilities. The only exceptions are some exercise facilities, namely Johnson Gym, Silcox Gym and the George Street Fitness Center.  

 

The College requires face coverings for all members of the campus community, regardless of vaccination status, while around others indoors in all of its campus facilities, including classrooms and laboratories. The mask requirement does not apply in a student’s own residence hall room, a faculty or staff member’s private office (if alone) or while eating/drinking indoors on campus.

This requirement for wearing face coverings will be reviewed on a monthly basis to determine its appropriateness and duration.

The requirement of wearing face coverings when around others indoors aligns with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC). Thanks to our students, faculty, staff members and visitors’ willingness to comply with this directive so that the College of Charleston may mitigate the possible spread of COVID-19 and keep our campus community safe and healthy.

All students must wear masks or face coverings inside classrooms. NO MASK, NO CLASS!

We understand that accidents happen. Masks will be lost, forgotten or damaged; however, these are not acceptable excuses for showing up to campus or class without a mask on. To provide a safety net, the Stern Center has cloth face coverings available whenever the Stern Center is open. These masks are available for emergencies and mishaps; please do not treat them as your personal supply.

Another important point about face masks: not all face masks provide the same level of protection.

  • Masks with one-way valves or vents that allow air to be exhaled through a hole in the material do not prevent the person wearing the mask from transmitting COVID-19. Therefore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend these types of masks for controlling virus spread.
  • Neck gaiters are also not recommended. These circular fabric tubes worn around the neck and pulled up over the mouth and nose may be among the least effective types of face coverings for preventing the spread of respiratory droplets, according to a study by Duke University.

IN THE CLASSROOM

  • Classes that were not initially created as fully online will be conducted in a face-to-face manner at their scheduled time and location. 
  • For in-person classes, classrooms and course sections will be filled to the fire-code, regular capacity of the room.
  • In classes where there are a series of COVID-19 absences, faculty may elect to move the section to a fully online mode for the duration of the time the students are in quarantine. 
  • Students in quarantine or isolation should make arrangements with their professors to keep up on their coursework. 

NON-ACADEMIC AND STUDENT MEETINGS/GATHERINGS

  • Effective Monday, Nov. 8, the current limit of 50 people at College-sponsored indoor gatherings (on or off campus) will be lifted and will revert to the fire code capacity of indoor space. All other requirements for indoor gatherings remain in place as indicated: 

    • Face coverings are required, and social distancing is strongly encouraged.  

    • A non-student employee of the College must be present (in person or virtually) to help manage the event. 

    • Eating and drinking should be very limited. Food should be pre-packaged, and we encourage providing food and drink in a “to-go” format as guests leave the event. 

    • When possible and to minimize direct contact, events/gatherings should not include mingling or reception activities. 

    • Maintain a list of attendees in case follow-up is needed for contact-tracing purposes. 

     

STUDENT TRAVEL/STUDENT-AFFILIATED GROUP TRAVEL — Effective Friday, August 20, 2021

Students may participate in student organization travel as well as athletic competition and/or practices as part of Campus Recreational Services provided the travel is within a 50-mile radius of the College of Charleston (66 George Street, Charleston, S.C. 29424). Overnight stays are not permitted. All travel to and from must occur within the same day.

The College of Charleston recommends that when social distancing cannot be maintained in vehicular travel, masks should be worn by all participants and windows remain open in the vehicle to reduce transmission of COVID-19. When using buses or public transportation, face coverings are required in accordance with CDC and S.C. DHEC guidance.

Team captains and student organization leaders are required to keep a roster of College of Charleston students that are participating in travel related to events, practices, scrimmages or matches/games. These lists should be maintained for EVERY event affiliated with the College including student organizations as well as practices/scrimmages/games and be ready to be given to Student Health Services at a moment’s notice should contact tracing be necessary.

If travel participant rosters are not kept per event, all unvaccinated students exposed to positive cases as part of the travelling event will be required to quarantine per CDC, S.C. DHEC and CofC guidance.

Exceptions may be requested using the exception form.

Student Organization Travel Guidelines are outlined in The Compass: A Guide for Student Organizations on pages 30-34. All travel by student organizations must comply with the travel procedures and funding policies as outlined in guidelines. For more information student organizations may contact LaVerne Cordes, Student Involvement Business Manager (cordeslg@cofc.edu), or Kim McKale, Student Involvement Travel Coordinator (mckalekm@cofc.edu).

Sport Clubs Travel Guidelines are detailed in the Sport Clubs Handbook. All travel by sport clubs must be approved by the university. Information about the guidelines in the handbook should be directed to Eugene Sessoms, Director of Campus Recreation Services, sessomse@cofc.edu.

For those employees traveling for work, the CDC strongly recommends being vaccinated.

 

Do I have to indicate whether I am vaccinated or not?

Every student, including returning students, should complete the College of Charleston COVID-19 Vaccination Documentation Form. This information is critical to decision-making related to the operation of the school during the 2021-22 academic year.

The information entered into the Microsoft form is kept strictly confidential; neither parents nor students will receive an email that indicates their vaccination status – whether vaccinated or unvaccinated.

Do students who are fully vaccinated need to submit a COVID-19 test before move in or the start of class?

A COVID-19 test is not required if students upload their vaccine documentation. Students can exempt from return to campus testing if they are vaccinated — provided they have uploaded their vaccine documentation to https://go.cofc.edu/vax-upload

Are face coverings required on campus?

Yes. The College requires face coverings for all members of the campus community, regardless of vaccination status, while around others indoors in all of its campus facilities, including classrooms and laboratories. The only exceptions are some exercise facilities, namely Johnson Gym, Silcox Gym and the George Street Fitness Center.   

The mask requirement does not apply in a student’s own residence hall room, a faculty or staff member’s private office (if alone) or while eating/drinking indoors on campus.  This requirement for wearing face coverings will be reviewed on a monthly basis to determine its appropriateness and duration.

The requirement of wearing face coverings when around others indoors aligns with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC). Thanks to our students, faculty, staff members and visitors’ willingness to comply with this directive so that the College of Charleston may mitigate the possible spread of COVID-19 and keep our campus community safe and healthy.

All students must wear masks or face coverings inside classrooms.

NO MASK, NO CLASS!

We understand that accidents happen. Masks will be lost, forgotten or damaged; however, these are not acceptable excuses for showing up to campus or class without a mask on. To provide a safety net, the Stern Center has cloth face coverings available whenever the Stern Center is open. These masks are available for emergencies and mishaps; please do not treat them as your personal supply.

Another important point about face masks: not all face masks provide the same level of protection.

Masks with one-way valves or vents that allow air to be exhaled through a hole in the material do not prevent the person wearing the mask from transmitting COVID-19. Therefore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend these types of masks for controlling virus spread.

Neck gaiters are also not recommended. These circular fabric tubes worn around the neck and pulled up over the mouth and nose may be among the least effective types of face coverings for preventing the spread of respiratory droplets, according to a study by Duke University.

What should I do if I see someone not in compliance with the face covering mandate?

If you see any member of the campus community who is not in compliance with the face covering mandate, please report it using the following form: https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?CollegeofCharleston&layout_id=26.

How will quarantine and isolation be managed during the fall semester?

Non-vaccinated students who are identified as the close contact of someone that has tested positive for COVID-19 will be required to follow a quarantine-and-isolation protocol.

If unvaccinated campus members are deemed to be the close contact of a positive case, the College will follow COVID-19 disease mitigation strategies in accordance with public health officials.

Anyone who is positive for COVID, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, must isolate for 10 days, per CDC and DHEC guidance.

If a student is in isolation or quarantine, is there a plan for them to attend their classes virtually?

Students who are required to quarantine or isolate need to communicate with their faculty members. The student and faculty member will decide how to best have the student engage with the class. In some instances, they will be able to attend remotely but if that is not possible, faculty members will work with their students to make certain that they can keep up with their assignments.

As a student do I have the option to attend a class in person or virtually? If I start with in person, can I switch to virtual?

Most classes will be offered in person and are available depending upon demand, but if you enroll in an in-person class, you must attend in person. If you are enrolled in an in-person class, but decide you want it online, you will need to switch classes (from an in-person to online) before the drop/add deadline for full semester classes. For questions about class availability, contact the respective department chair/program director for options.

What is the travel guidance for the fall semester?

For College-sponsored international travel for faculty and staff (see U.S. State Department Travel Advisories):

Travel to countries with U.S. State Department travel advisories of Levels 1 & 2:

Travel Authorizations (TAs) will be considered through the current, regular review process, but must be accompanied by a separate explanation of support by the dean that acknowledges COVID-19 travel restrictions and protocols for the traveler in question. TAs should also include possible additional costs (charged to same index as the other travel expenses) that may be incurred due to aforementioned restrictions and protocols. The complete TA and accompanying explanations should be sent directly to the Controller’s Office.

Travel to countries with U.S. State Department travel advisories of Levels 3 & 4:

The TA must be accompanied by separate explanations of support by the dean and chair that acknowledge COVID-19 travel restrictions and protocols for the traveler in question. The TA should also include possible additional costs (charged to same index as the other travel expenses) that may be incurred due to the aforementioned restrictions and protocols.The complete TA and accompanying explanations will be reviewed by committee. Please send to delmastromp@cofc.edu.

For those employees traveling for work, the CDC strongly recommends being vaccinated.

Guests from foreign countries (all travel advisory levels):

TAs will be considered through the current, regular review process but must be accompanied by separate justifications from the chair and dean that acknowledge COVID-19 travel restrictions and protocols for the traveler in question. TAs should also include possible additional costs (charged to same index as the other travel expenses) that may be incurred due to the aforementioned restrictions and protocols. A COVID-19 release form will be required for each guest.The complete TA and accompanying justifications should be sent directly to the Controller’s Office.

Special Note: By October 15, 2021, the Provost’s Office, in consultation with the president and the Center for International Education, will update the campus community regarding the status of spring 2022 faculty-led and partner study-abroad programs.

I am taking all my classes online, do I have to submit COVID documentation?

No, if a student is not coming to campus for any reason, the student can fill out the following exemption form: https://forms.gle/3zkq77mYRnj1hYCp6.

How can I make sure you got my COVID-19 information? If I already uploaded the vaccination card, do I have to do it again before coming to campus?

If you uploaded vaccination status to Vax on the Bricks (go.cofc.edu/vax-upload) then further action does not need to be taken. At the end of the form, you can print a copy of your responses or email them to yourself. To confirm the status has been uploaded, you can try to upload and the form will say "already submitted" if the upload has been completed.

Will classrooms be filled to regular capacity?

Classes and course sections will be filled to the fire-code, regular capacity of the room. Donning a mask is required, and we will have hand wipe stations available at each classroom so students can wipe down their workspace as they enter the classroom.

What are the guidelines for student travel/student-affiliated group travel?

Below are the updated guidelines on College-related student travel, which will go into effect January 4, 2022.

  • Students traveling for any reason, including academic-related activities, are encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 within 2-3 days prior to the planned travel event. 
  • Do not travel if: 

    • You feel unwell 

    • You are unvaccinated and have been identified as a close contact 

    • You have tested positive and have not completed a 10-day isolation period 

    • You are awaiting COVID-19 test results 

  • Students traveling for any reason are also encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 soon after travel, preferably within 3-5 days. Self-monitor for COVID symptoms for 14 days following travel. 

  • While traveling in cars, please ensure all are masked and the windows are open at least a little to ensure adequate and constant circulation of fresh air.  

  • When traveling by bus or other public transportation, face coverings are recommended in accordance with CDC and S.C. DHEC guidance. 

  • If travel involves overnight stays, limit the number of people to a hotel room (e.g. one person per bed) to help minimize transmission of infection should someone become positive unknowingly during the trip. 

  • Consult with CDC guidance to ensure maximal safety while traveling: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html  

  • Faculty/staff advisors, team captains and student organization leaders are required to keep a roster of College of Charleston students who are participating in travel related to events, practices, scrimmages or matches/games. These lists should be maintained for EVERY event affiliated with the College. If contact tracing is necessary, these lists must be given to Student Health Services at a moment’s notice should contact tracing be necessary. 

    • If travel participant rosters are not kept per event, all unvaccinated students exposed to positive cases as part of the traveling event will be required to quarantine per CDC, SC DHEC and CofC guidance. 

  • Professors who wish to travel with students when vaccine validation is required should reach out to Lee Penny pennyll@cofc.edu in Student Health Services to obtain FERPA forms and information about the protocol to verify vaccine status of those traveling.