The Charleston Southern University Pandemic Task Force released its final recommendations and plans for the fall semester. CSU’s modified academic calendar begins earlier on August 19, with Winter Break beginning November 25.
The Return to Campus Guide includes resources that encourage shared responsibility and mutual commitment to the health of every student, faculty and staff member. Incorporated within the guide are requirements for screening, physical distancing, face coverings, hand hygiene protocols, cleaning and disinfection modifications, and a clear approach for infection control.
CSU requires that all residential students undergo a COVID-19 nasal swab test prior to their move-in date—a serologic test demonstrating the presence of antibodies may be submitted in lieu of a nasal swab. According to the task force recommendations, this policy, in line with other South Carolina institutions of higher education, will assist in minimizing exposure to fellow residents.
“Though the testing requirement does not eliminate all risk, it will mitigate risk as asymptomatic students could unintentionally expose others to COVID-19 upon their return to campus,” Laurel Glover, assistant professor of public health, said. Glover serves as the university infection control and COVID-19 coordinator, leading the task force in strategic planning. She recently assisted on the front lines with New York City’s pandemic relief efforts as a respiratory therapist.
The Return to Campus Guide is a 36-page document that highlights all areas of campus, including housing, dining, academics, health, student life, and athletics. Here are the primary concepts:
• Residential students have assigned check-in times the weekend of August 14-16, and have a two-hour time block with only two guests to assist with moving in to their residence hall.
• Masks are required in all facilities at all times, unless in one’s own dorm room or office. Masks are encouraged outside if social distancing cannot be maintained.
• Students and employees are required to monitor their health on a daily basis via the LiveSafe App. Students will display the app results to professors upon entry to classrooms. The app reports results to the university infection control and COVID-19 coordinator. Temperature screening will not be routinely completed.
• Classrooms have been modified to allow for six-feet social distancing and plexiglass barriers for faculty. All courses will be recorded for students who do not feel comfortable in in-person environment and for those who may feel ill. Many courses may also be completed fully online.
• CSU’s Division I athletics will commence with fall sport competition on September 3. Ongoing planning will align with CSU’s task force guidance and adhere to local, state and NCAA guidelines.
CSU launched a communication campaign over the summer called #BUCSAFE. It features a pledge to the health and safety of the campus community, and includes door signs, posters, and yard signs placed campuswide as kind reminders of how to mitigate the risk of COVID-19.
“Although 2020 typically indicates ‘perfect vision,’ our experience in the year 2020 has been anything but,” President Dondi Costin said in a video introducing BUCSAFE to the CSU family. “We may not have foreseen how this year would unfold, but I’m comforted by the fact that God placed the right people at the right time in the life of Charleston Southern University—as it says in [the book of] Esther, ‘for such a time as this.’”
All decisions by the task force, comprised of more than 40 campus representatives, are influenced by the research and guidance from agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. For more information on the BUCSAFE campaign or to view the full campus guidelines, go to charlestonsouthern.edu/BUCSAFE.
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