College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu shared the following message with the campus community on Friday, Oct. 9, 2020:
I hope you are doing well. As we head into a busy commencement weekend, I am writing to remind you of a few of our most important policies and practices related to our COVID-19 response.
While our current positive cases remain relatively low, I do not want these numbers to give our campus community a false sense of security. As we have seen at other campuses, things can change very quickly due to the highly infectious nature of the disease. This is not a time to relax, but rather, a time to remain firm in our commitment to our Back on the Bricks plan. Simply put, our plan is working, and it is the reason we have been able to remain open for in-person/hybrid classes.
Along those lines, please take a moment to review these updates as they relate to our commencement celebrations this weekend and our quarantine and isolation policies:
- Commencement Weekend
With many members of the Class of 2020 returning to Charleston this weekend to participate in their rescheduled spring commencement ceremonies, we know that friends and former classmates will be eager to get together to celebrate. However, we want to remind you – as a current student – that our COVID-19 policies are still in place for you, and any time you are gathering with others, you must be in groups of less than 10, wear a face covering and practice social distancing. As always, we ask that you keep the health and safety of our entire community in mind as you make plans to recognize the achievements of our graduates.
- Quarantine and Isolation
Everything we are doing is to keep you safe and healthy – hence, the constant reinforcement and messaging on washing your hands, wearing your face coverings and limiting group gatherings. However, if you do become sick with COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who is ill, you will be contacted about how to self-isolate or quarantine. For students living in campus housing, a move to isolation or quarantine is mandatory and is in place to protect the larger community from a COVID-19 outbreak. Remember, COVID-19 is highly contagious, and we need to take every precaution to keep each other safe. A student’s refusal to move to quarantine or isolation is a violation of our COVID-19 policies and will result in a referral to the Dean of Students office as a conduct violation. We know that a move to quarantine or isolation is inconvenient and can seem overwhelming, but it’s also necessary to contain the illness. As a reminder, all residential students signed a contract addendum agreeing to follow public health directives, including moving temporarily until they are no longer infectious. A violation of this addendum can result in removal from the residence halls/historic houses.
- Encouragement from the Medical University of South Carolina
I would like to share with you a message I received from Dr. Eugene Hong, chief physician executive, at the Medical University of South Carolina, a close partner in the College’s overall COVID-19 response: “Although we may be growing a little weary of COVID-19,” Dr. Hong states, “it’s more important than ever to remain vigilant and help prevent the spread. As we enter into the colder months and holiday season, we want to be sure we keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe and healthy. Early data supports that an increase in the infection rate of young people can lead to an increased infection rate in older and more vulnerable populations in the same region. Keep up the great work and remain vigilant. We are all in this together. Be sure to social distance, wear your mask, wash your hands and follow the directions of the College.”
Every day, I am so impressed by the many ways our community has united around our shared goal of remaining on campus. But, I also know what an emotional drain this is on all of you. As you well know, this is a tough situation, but you are proving your resilience each and every day. To that end, I encourage you to engage in the many different activities that we have organized for you – everything from virtual get-togethers to socially distanced campus recreation events (https://cofc.campuslabs.com/engage/events). And, if you need additional support, please reach out to our staff in Student Health Services (firstname.lastname@example.org) or in Student Affairs (email@example.com). They are there to help.
We have been able to remain open because of our collective sacrifices and our collective resilience. As we move into the middle of the fall semester, I ask that you keep our shared goal in mind – because we are proving, day by day, that we can do this together!
Andrew T. Hsu, Ph.D.
College of Charleston