Health and Wellness

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 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.

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 and staff who need this accommodation should contact the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs. Those who would need to wear clear face coverings to accommodate another individual would be notified.

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.

Faculty and staff who need to discuss specific situations, please 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.

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 percentage of the campus community has been vaccinated?

Our student body’s vaccination rate is 74 percent, one of the highest among public universities in South Carolina. Based on voluntary submissions, 74 percent of faculty and 58 percent of staff are fully vaccinated. 

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
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • 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 a secure form for self-reporting a positive COVID-19 test available at go.cofc.edu/report-COVID19
  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:

You can self report a close COVID-19 contact using the close contact form.

Fully vaccinated individuals who are exposed to a person who is positive for COVID-19 do not have to quarantine.

For those who are unvaccinated:

  1. Quarantine for at least 10 days after the date of last contact. College of Charleston contact tracers will work with the individual to determine the quarantine period.
  2. Consider getting tested on or after day 7.
  3. If the positive case is a roommate or someone else with whom the student cannot socially distance, College of Charleston contact tracers will work with the individual to determine the quarantine period. Please see CDC guidance here:   https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html
  4. 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 who are positive for COVID-19 should plan to move off campus for isolation immediately. For students requiring emergency housing for isolation or quarantine, 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

Under what circumstances will students need to isolate or quarantine?

COVID-19 Positive students both on and off-campus as well as faculty and staff (regardless of vaccination status):

  • 10-day isolation away from campus required
  • Isolation period determined from the date of the positive COVID-19 test
  • If symptoms of COVID-19 persist beyond 10 days, the isolation period may be extended

For individuals identified as close contacts of a positive COVID-19 case, the ensuing protocol will be followed.

Vaccinated individuals both on and off-campus:

  • No quarantine required
  • Monitor for COVID-19 symptoms
  • The CDC recommends masks for 14 days in public spaces following exposure and suggests testing between days 3 and 5 even if the individual has no symptoms
  • Note that a positive test will result in isolation, even for vaccinated individuals

Individuals with a documented positive COVID-19 test in the last 90 days both on and off-campus:

  • No quarantine recommended if documentation is on file at Student Health Services
  • Monitor for COVID-19 symptoms
  • Reach out to your primary care provider if you have concerns or questions

Unvaccinated staff and faculty or students who live off-campus:

  • Required to begin 10-day quarantine immediately
  • Affected individuals are expected to not report to campus during this time period
  • Quarantine expectations will be shared with close contacts by the contact tracing team

Unvaccinated students who live on-campus:

  • Required to begin 10-day quarantine immediately away from campus
  • Students are expected to not report to class or circulate on campus during this time period
  • Quarantine expectations will be shared with close contacts by the contact tracing team

Students who are not compliant with College of Charleston Isolation and Quarantine protocols may encounter conduct violation charges which will be addressed by the Office of the Dean of Students.

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.

What information or resources can the College provide regarding isolation or quarantine?

The College has compiled some important information and resources about COVID-19, preparing for and entering isolation and quarantine, and ways to make virtual connections, which we're including below for reference. Please take some time now to review this information and refer back to it as needed.

COVID-19 information for residential students

Rules of Conduct for students entering quarantine or isolation

Isolation guidelines for COVID positive students living on campus

Isolation guidelines for COVID positive students living off campus

What to pack for isolation and quarantine

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

Any on-campus student with upper respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms should reach out to Student Health Services immediately for assessment and possible rapid COVID testing. Some on campus students may 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:

cold or flu 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:

Unvaccinated 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)

Unvaccinated 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?

On campus students are encouraged to move off campus for quarantine or isolation. In special circumstances, students who are unable to move off campus may be provided with emergency housing accommodations.

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?

No. The College continues to actively following CDC and local health department guidance. Please know though that this guidance may change at any time.
Please note that testing is prudent if you have concerns about your COVID status.

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

What to pack for your time in isolation:

  • Enough clothing for 11 days
  • Pillows
  • Bedding and towels will be provided by the College
  • If you have a favorite snack or sports drink, be sure to bring those. Meal delivery will include some standard snacks. We are not able to personalize snack or meal orders (unless for dietary restrictions)
  • A thermometer. If you do not have one there will be one in the locker with your key
  • Your prescriptions and any over-the-counter medications you think you might need. This might include acetaminophen, cough and cold medication, and throat lozenges
  • Books/technology/chargers or anything else you may need for classes or connection to others during your time in isolation
  • Masks that you’ll need to wear while traveling to your isolation space and anytime you are outside your bedroom, including when you answer the door for meal delivery
  • The College will provide sanitizing wipes so you can wipe down surfaces as needed

What to pack for your time in quarantine:

  • Enough clothing for 11 days
  • Bedding and towels will be provided by the College
  • If you have a favorite snack or sports drink, be sure to bring those. Meal delivery will include some standard snacks. We are not able to personalize snack or meal orders (unless for dietary restrictions)
  • A thermometer. If you do not have one there will be one in the locker with your key
  • Your prescriptions and any over-the-counter medications you think you might need. This might include acetaminophen, cough and cold medication, and throat lozenges
  • Books/technology/chargers or anything else you may need for classes or connection to others during your time in isolation
  • Masks that you’ll need to wear while traveling to your isolation space and anytime you are outside your bedroom, including when you answer the door for meal delivery
  • Sanitizing wipes so you can wipe down surfaces as needed

PLEASE NOTE: If possible, residential students should plan to quarantine or isolate away from campus.

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

Students are encourageged to reach out to their faculty directly about how to best engage with the class. 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.

Will the College provide the flu vaccine?

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

Will the College 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.

Please describe the College's contact tracing protocol to include how presumptive positive students housed in dorms will be handled.

We learn about positive cases through a variety of methods. We then reach out to the student and do case investigation and contact tracing. If a student is demonstrating symptoms consistent with COVID-19, Student Health Services will work to get them tested as soon as possible.

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. 

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

Will the COVID-19 vaccine be required?

No. In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and S.C. DHEC guidelines, the College of Charleston strongly recommends its students, faculty and staff receive the COVID-19 vaccine. However, please note: a COVID-19 vaccination is not required for any student to enroll or participate in campus activities. Nor is the vaccine required for any employee to work at the College of Charleston.  

Every student, including returning students, should complete the College of Charleston COVID-19 Vaccination Documentation or Declination Form (https://forms.office.com/r/JyD5fwfA2p). This information is critical to decision-making related to the operation of the College 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. 

Will Student Health Services be able to handle COVID-19 cases and its normal health care services?

Yes. 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 Student Health Services site. Please also the after hours care site for assistance at night and weekends.

Will extended hours be offered to students for their healthcare?

The College has partnered with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) to provide 24/7 virtual care to actively enrolled students. Any actively enrolled student with a CofC email address will have access to this care at no additional cost. This service will augment the usual care that is offered at Student Health Services, M-F 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. For more information visit https://studenthealth.cofc.edu/after-hours-weekends-alt-care/index.php

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, unvaccinated students may be considered a close contact of this individual and may be required to quarantine. The College also has trained contact tracers to help ensure efficient and timely contact tracing when positive cases occur.

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

Students should reach out to the Center for Disability Services to discuss the accommodations process. 

What if hospitals reach capacity?

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

Will hand sanitizer still be widely available on campus?

Yes.