Health and Wellness

Are face coverings required on campus?

Both face masks and six feet of social distancing are required while on campus; it is not one or the other
Students, faculty and staff must always make every effort to maintain at least six feet or more between people and to limit the time of potential exposure to coronavirus, to reduce viral loads.

You must wear a face covering over your nose and mouth at all times while on campus. Even if you are alone and not near other people, you must still wear a face covering. The College will provide at least one reusable face covering to ALL students, faculty and staff and will make available training/guidance on proper use, removal and washing of reusable face coverings. Appropriate use of face masks or coverings is critical in minimizing risks to others near you. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. The mask or cloth face covering is not a substitute for social distancing.
The purpose of masks is to keep respiratory droplets from reaching others to aid with source control. However, masks with one-way valves or vents allow air to be exhaled through a hole in the material, which can result in expelled respiratory droplets that can reach others. This type of mask does not prevent the person wearing the mask from transmitting COVID-19 to others. Therefore, the CDC does not recommend using masks with an exhalation valve or vent for source control.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control advises that not all face coverings provide the same protection. Citing a recent study by Duke University, DHEC warns that neck gaiters may be among the least effective types of face coverings for preventing the spread of respiratory droplets. Neck gaiters are circular fabric tubes designed to be slipped on over the head, worn around the neck and pulled up over the mouth and nose.

You may also learn more at How to Wear Cloth Face Coverings.

Exceptions to wearing a face covering include:

If you are working outside or in a private office and can guarantee six feet or more of social distancing.
If you are in your assigned, on-campus residence hall space.
If you are actively eating. Please note that wearing a face covering and social distancing will be required in dining halls.
If an individual requires reasonable accommodations, per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) https://www.ada.gov/ada_intro.htm, a reasonable accommodation can be provided.
If a person is actively having trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove their face covering without assistance; or if the face covering presents or exacerbates another hazard or condition.

For disability accommodations:
Students go to the Center for Disability Services. disabilityservices.cofc.edu
Employees go to the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs. eop.cofc.edu

Can I wear a clear mask or face shield on campus?

Currently, there is not sufficient evidence from the CDC that clear face coverings are as effective as cloth face coverings in preventing the transmission of COVID-19.

As per the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidance: faculty, staff, students and campus guests must wear face coverings on campus. The CDC recommends that people wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in the same household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Masks are generally made of cloth and must be snug fitting and cover both the nose and mouth.

Clear face coverings may only be used in limited circumstances such as for faculty or staff who interact with students who are deaf or hard of hearing.Please note that face shields are not considered clear masks. (source: CDC guidelines)

Clear face coverings, and those with clear inserts, should be used only when necessary to provide for an approved accommodation for a disability. This applies to those seeking to communicate with the deaf or hard of hearing for which the mouth needs to be visible. Physical distancing must be maintained at all times, and a cloth face covering must be worn in all other circumstances that require a mask.

When wearing a clear face covering, maintain at least six feet of social distance, and at the conclusion of class, clean surfaces (podiums, desks, etc.) near the instructor's station.

Faculty may request a special accommodation (when approved by their chair and dean) to wear a clear face covering (e.g.the Badger Face Shield+) as an alternative for teaching purposes only (i.e. inside the classroom/lab).

Where a clear mask is not readily available or is not an appropriate option, consider if written communication, close captioning or other measures can be implemented.

Please note that this information may change as more direction is provided by the CDC and/or S.C. DHEC.

Students who have questions or need more information should contact the Office of Disability Services/SNAP.

Faculty and staff who need to discuss specific situations should contact their department chair or supervisor.

The clear face coverings below are recommended if you are teaching or working with colleagues approved for this disability accommodation. 

The clear face coverings below are recommended if you are teaching or working with colleagues approved for this disability accommodation.

Acceptable clear face covering Acceptable clear face covering Acceptable clear face covering

 

Badger Face Shield +

Badger face shield +

 

Clear face coverings pictured below are not acceptable due to the lack of evidence for their effectiveness in source control.

Unacceptable clear face covering Unacceptable clear face covering Unacceptable clear face coveringUnacceptable clear face coveringUnacceptable clear face covering

What do I do if I lose my mask or if it breaks?

For people who don’t have a mask, the College has locations around campus where courtesy masks can be obtained.

  • Public Safety at 89 St. Philip Street, Charleston, SC 29424.
  • Stern Center lobby at 71 George Street, Charleston, SC 29424
  • Campus Services HQ at 162 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29401
  • All residence hall front desks

What do I do if I feel sick and/or have COVID-19 symptoms?

Are you experiencing COVID-19 symptoms? They include:

  • Fever or chills (over 100.4° or 38°C)
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • New loss of smell or taste
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • New or unusual headache
  • Muscle aches
  • New onset of any gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or loss of appetite

I'm not feeling well and/or have symptoms:

  1. Follow CDC Guidelines   https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html
  2. Stay at home or in your dorm room until you can get a medical evaluation and avoid taking public transit
  3. Separate yourself from others
  4. Students: contact Student Health Services at healthservices@cofc.edu or 843.953.5520 to make an appointment and be sure to report all positive test results
  5. Faculty and staff: contact your supervisor and primary care physician
  6. Find a COVID-19 testing location near you:   https://cofc.edu/back-on-the-bricks/covid-19-testing/index.php
  7. If your test is positive, report your result via the self-report tool on the   Everbridge app.

    (For those who do not have access to the Everbridge app, a secure form for self-reporting a positive COVID-19 test is available at  go.cofc.edu/report-COVID19.)

    Everbridge mobile app users can self-report a positive COVID-19 status to the College of Charleston.

    Information submitted to the Everbridge app will be protected and kept confidential.

  8. Upload your results into the Student Health Services’ documentation system (MyCharleston > My Student Health > Upload > COVID Documentation or   https://cofc.medicatconnect.com  by Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020
  9. Await a call from the CofC contact tracing team

I have been in close contact (within 6 feet for 15 or more minutes) with someone who has been diagnosed with or tested positive for COVID-19:

  1. Quarantine for 14 days after date of last contact
  2. Consider getting tested after day 7
  3. Continue to quarantine for 14 days even if your test is negative
  4. If you live with a person who is COVID-19 positive and cannot maintain social distancing, quarantine is for the entire time the positive case is in isolation (10 days) plus 14 days (24 days total) even if you remain asymptomatic. Please see CDC guidance here:   https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html
  5. Any time a new household member gets sick with COVID-19 and you had close contact, you will need to restart your quarantine.

I have no symptoms and have not been exposed:

Practice social distancing and good hygiene AND watch for symptoms. Wear a face covering and get tested regularly.

Would you please define isolation and quarantine, and how this will be provided on and off-campus?

Quarantine is a period of watchfulness that is used for those who may have had exposure to a positive case (someone who is/was infected) and may become infected. Quarantine does not mean that someone is infected, sick, or will definitely become infected. In many cases, people who enter into a period of quarantine never become ill or infected.

In the case of COVID-19, because people can transmit the illness before they show signs of being ill (or even if they become infected but never feel very sick at all), the reason to quarantine is to keep those separated from others so that if they do become ill or develop an infection, they will not spread the illness to friends, classmates, or the community before they know they are sick. On-campus students will quarantine in their own residence and have meals delivered and daily check-ins by Student Health Services (SHS). Off-campus students need to provide their own food but can reach out to SHS as needed for any medical care. For all students, testing is offered as needed.

Students go into isolation when they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and either are awaiting test results or are known to be positive. On-campus students will move to Buist Residence Hall, where food will be provided and SHS will regularly monitor them. Off-campus students will isolate in their own housing, ideally in a single room with private use of a bathroom. They will need to provide their own food, but SHS will check in daily and provide guidance for medical care as needed.

Thus, in practice, quarantine and isolation are quite similar. However, the term quarantine is used for a period of waiting and watchfulness, while isolation refers to a period of separation to protect others from getting sick.

Watch the isolation vs. quarantine PSA at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=likkuqb980Q&feature=youtu.be

What will happen if I need to go into isolation and/or quarantine?

Anyone with slight upper respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms will be moved into Transitional Quarantine until their COVID-19 status is known. Transitional quarantine gives students private use of a bathroom and bedroom until they know the results of their COVID-19 test. This approach allows the medical professionals at the College to contain spread among roommates or other social contact and is VERY effective in keeping infection rates low.


Transitional Quarantine is for people with:

mild cold symptoms (common COVID-19 presentation in the early phase of the illness)
sore throat and headache (similar to strep) because this too can be COVID
traditional COVID-19 symptoms ranging from dry cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste and/or smell, fever, nausea or diarrhea


Where is Transitional Quarantine?

In spaces around campus where there is assured use of a private bedroom and bathroom

Isolation. Another very important strategy is to move those we do know have COVID into isolation and have their close contacts (anyone with whom they have spent more than 15 minutes at a distance of less than 6 feet) move into quarantine.

Quarantine. This small measure, can make a HUGE difference in containing infection rates in our residence halls. Quarantine is for:

People who have been identified by a positive case as someone they were less than 6 feet from for more than 15 minutes (with or without a mask)

Roommates and suitemates of positive cases. Even if you aren’t friends and don’t hang out much, you are considered household contacts per CDC guidance.


Where is Regular Quarantine?

If we are able to keep close contacts in their original space to quarantine because they have private use of a bathroom and bedroom we will try to keep them in their original assignment.
If private bedroom or bathroom use is not possible in the assigned room, and as long as there is enough space, the College is moving close contacts where they can have that private place.


If you are evaluated by someone in Student Health Services and asked to get ready to move, please gather your things and be ready to go. This measure will not be optional, it is mandatory and should happen promptly. It is a critical part of keeping infection rates low and keeping the campus open.

Is quarantine recommended for students, faculty and staff arriving from outside South Carolina?

The College is actively following CDC and local health department guidance, which currently recommends that anyone arriving in Charleston from abroad will need to quarantine for 14 days in their own residence before participating in any on-campus activities. Students arriving from international locations who plan to live on-campus will need to arrive by Aug. 9 so that quarantine time can be allowed before they can begin on-campus activities including classes. Athletes arriving from abroad will also need to plan for quarantine time and will need to connect with their coaches before participation in any athletic activities. Domestically travelling campus members will not need to quarantine. Please know though that this guidance may change at any time.

How will students address class attendance if in isolation or quarantine?

Faculty will be working with students to ensure there is minimal disruption to their academic work if they are required to quarantine or need to be in isolation because they test positive for COVID-19. If the student is sick and cannot complete the coursework, the student will need to work out a plan with the professor.

What should I pack if I am being moved for quarantine or isolation?

  • Enough clothing for two weeks
  • Twin XL sheets, towels and laundry detergent (isolated students only)
  • A favorite snack or sports drink. Meal delivery will include some standard snacks, but we aren’t able to personalize snack or meal orders (unless for dietary restrictions)
  • A thermometer
  • A supply of any over the counter medications you think you might need
  • Your prescriptions!
  • Books/ technology /chargers or anything else you may need for classes or connection to others during that time. Please know you won’t be able to receive mail or deliveries.
  • Your face covering. If you are in a shared suite, you'll need to wear it at all times except when sleeping, including when you answer the door for meal delivery.
  • Sanitizing wipes so you can wipe down surfaces as needed.

What if I forgot something in my room or need a package delivered to me while I am in quarantine or isolation on campus?

You can fill out a special request form go.cofc.edu/qi-essentials and we will make the delivery between Monday and Friday. We can't guarantee that we can provide all items you may request, but we will do our best.

Will SHS be able to handle a COVID-19 cases and its normal health care services?

The College of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) are joining forces to provide enhanced student health care, including psychiatric services, to CofC students. Additional information can be found on the SHS site.

Will the College provide the flu vaccine?

Yes. The College will provide the flu vaccine. Details will be provided at a later date.

Will you require antibody testing?

No, antibody testing is not recommended currently. There are no guidelines to suggest that this test is helpful mainly because one’s true immunity cannot be guaranteed even if antibodies are present.

How can I walk around campus safely?

Below are links to temporary building circulation plans, which will indicate how people should flow through buildings to maintain social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please diredct any questions or concerns about these plans to Facilities Management at facilitiessupport@cofc.edu.

Addlestone Library

Beatty School of Business

Bell Building

Calhoun Annex

CATO Center School of the Arts

Thaddeus Street Education Center Building (ECTR)

Harbor Walk East

Harbor Walk West

JC Long Building

Johnson Physical Education Center

Jewish Studies Center

Harry M. Lightsey Center

Maybank Building

Randolph Hall

Rita Liddy Hollings Science Center

Robert Scott Small Buidling

Silcox P.E. and Health Center

Simons Center for the Arts

School of Science and Mathematics

Tate Center

Will extended hours be offered to students for their healthcare?

The College of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) have joined forces to provide enhanced student health care, including psychiatric services, to CofC students. This service will augment the usual care that is offered at SHS, M-F 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Students can sign up for MUSC Virtual Urgent Care with these easy steps.

What happens in a class if a student tests positive for COVID-19?

If a student is determined to have been in class while thought to have been contagious for COVID-19 and all class participants wiped down any surfaces they planned to touch during class, sat six feet apart and wore masks, no one in the class will be considered a close contact. All will be considered low risk for contracting the illness from this person, and no one will need to be quarantined. If these practices were not followed and this is determined through contact tracing, the class will need to go into a 14-day quarantine in their place of residence. The College also has trained contact tracers to help ensure efficient and timely contact tracing when positive cases occur.

Will the College be providing contact tracing?

The College's default process will be human-based contact tracing. Staff from   Student Health Services  and the   Office of Human Resources will conduct manual contact tracing. The College is also exploring the possible use of smart phone technology to conduct contact tracing that will comply with personal privacy and data security requirements and will announce any plans at a later date.

All   CDC, SCDHEC, Occupational Safety and Health Administration ( OSHA)  and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines shall be followed regarding all contact tracing.

If there is a COVID vaccine, will it be required of students?

Maybe

The College currently has three vaccines that are required if you are a student. These vaccines are required because an outbreak of measles, mumps, pertussis or meningitis would have significant impact on our campus community as we saw last fall with the mumps epidemic. In the case of the mumps, we were grateful that almost all of our students were vaccinated against mumps, including those who acquired the illness. However, having most of the population vaccinated meant the cases we did have in our community were mild and not very contagious.

If/when a vaccine for COVID-19 becomes available, the College will certainly consider making it another one of our recommended vaccines. We will be careful to evaluate the guidance from international and national public health authorities in addition to the recommendations of the American College Health Association (ACHA) and move forward with a policy that is evidence based and best for our campus community.

If accommodations are needed or someone wants to consider being completely online due to health reasons this spring, what should they do?

They should reach out to their department chair or academic advisor.

Should students travel during the semester?

Although there is a current ban on student school-sponsored travel, personal travel will not be monitored. That said, students will be strongly discouraged from any travel while the pandemic is active. If CDC recommends quarantine upon return, quarantine will be indicated.

What if hospitals reach capacity?

The College will continue to monitor local conditions and act in accordance with state and local health officials.