President Andrew T. Hsu sent the following message to the College of Charleston community on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019:
Dear Campus Community,
As many of you prepare to head out of town to be with family and friends over Thanksgiving, I want to provide a few tips and reminders about staying healthy while campus is closed.
As you know, the College continues to see new positive cases of mumps among members of our campus community. The College is advising those with active symptoms of mumps or those awaiting the results of a test for mumps to delay any travel plans on common carriers such as airlines and trains and to continue to self-isolate for five days from the onset of symptoms pending confirmation of the diagnosis. (See bulleted sections below for details on obtaining a doctor’s note to avoid cancellation and change fees.)
If it is not possible to change plans for commercial travel, and you are experiencing symptoms of mumps, you are advised to wear a mask to prevent the potential spread of mumps from respiratory droplets. Symptoms of mumps include tender swollen glands below the ear and along the jawline on one or both sides of the face and neck, headache, fever, muscle aches, fatigue, loss of appetite, testicular swelling and pelvic pain.
- Students who are self-isolating in residence halls over the break should contact front-desk staff to arrange meal delivery.
- Students remaining on campus during the break who begin exhibiting symptoms of mumps should visit a local medical facility or contact the College’s Public Safety Department at 843.953.5609 for assistance accessing medical care. Residential students may also contact their residence hall front-desk for assistance. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.
- Students remaining on campus during the holiday break due to the mumps outbreak may need to make changes to their airline, train or bus arrangements and will need to provide a doctor’s note to avoid change and cancelation fees. To avoid such fees, ask your healthcare provider for a letter stating the need for an isolation period. A doctor’s note from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control can also be obtained by calling the College’s Public Safety Department at 843.953.5609.
Away from Campus
- If you begin experiencing symptoms of mumps while traveling over the holiday break, please contact your healthcare provider or a healthcare provider in the area where you are staying. Tell the healthcare provider you are a student at the College of Charleston and that there is an active mumps outbreak on campus.
- Anyone experiencing symptoms of mumps or awaiting the results of a test for mumps should avoid further travel and self-isolate for five days from the onset of symptoms pending confirmation of the diagnosis.
- Those experiencing symptoms of mumps while traveling may need to make changes to their airline, train or bus arrangements and will need to provide a doctor’s note to avoid change and cancelation fees. To avoid such fees, ask your healthcare provider for a letter stating the need for an isolation period. A doctor’s note from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control can also be obtained by calling the College’s Public Safety Department at 843.953.5609.
- Our faculty have been advised that there may be instances where a student is unable to return to campus due to possible or diagnosed mumps symptoms and that accommodations should be made for the completion of final exams in these specific cases. Students should contact their professors to make alternative arrangements for exams due to a health issue.
- Another resource available to members of the campus community, whether traveling or not, is the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Careline, which is available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday to answer questions via phone at 855.472.3432.
- As always, there are simple prevention tips to reduce your risk of contracting mumps that everyone should follow: Practice preventive measures, such as regularly washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding activities that could transfer saliva (e.g., kissing and sharing personal items like toothbrushes, bottles/cups and tobacco/vaping products).
Please don’t take chances with your health and don’t put others at risk while traveling. The College will provide another update on the mumps outbreak on Tuesday, November 26, and will resume weekly updates during the week of December 2. In the meantime, Rongrong and I wish all of you and your families safe travels and a happy Thanksgiving.
Andrew T. Hsu, Ph.D.