College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu sent the following message regarding COVID-19 updates on campus to faculty and staff on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021:
Dear Faculty and Staff,
Now that we have completed two full weeks of classes, I wanted to provide you a general update on where we stand with our ongoing response to the pandemic.
First, I want to thank everyone on campus for your incredible hard work and dedication to our students, your colleagues and this campus. Plain and simple, our university’s success is because of your extraordinary efforts.
As you well know, this semester is a difficult balancing act as we try to provide an “as normal” college experience for our students as we can, while at the same time, following practices and protocols that limit the spread of COVID-19. Our COVID-19 Leadership Team continues to monitor the situation closely, and we will pivot if and when we need to do so.
I attribute our successful first two weeks to our overall campus community’s response to COVID-19, meaning face mask compliance when indoors around others and our high vaccination rates among students, faculty and staff. Based on conversations with other university presidents, it appears that our student body’s vaccination rate of 74 percent is one of the highest among public universities in South Carolina. Regarding faculty and staff, at this time, based on voluntary submissions, 74 percent of faculty and 58 percent of staff are fully vaccinated.
I want to thank those faculty and staff that have been vaccinated. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), getting the vaccine is still the best and most effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19 and limit its potentially devastating effects for those who get sick.
As we progress into the semester, I want to make you aware of a few more COVID-related items:
- VACCINATIONS: As you know, we are incentivizing our entire campus community to get vaccinated and to share their proof of vaccination with us in order to be eligible for incentive prize drawings. Employees are eligible for $1,000 professional development grants and students can receive scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. We held our first drawing on August 26 and distributed 15 professional grants, totaling $15,000, and awarded 9 scholarships worth $17,000. We will hold our second drawing for student scholarships on Thursday, September 16 and a final round on October 7 when we will award another $15,000 in professional development grants and $51,000 in scholarships, so be sure to voluntarily submit your proof of vaccination before then in order to be eligible.
- FACE MASK COMPLIANCE: We will have a third-party group (similar to last year) working to remind students, faculty, staff and visitors to wear their face coverings indoors. We will target high-volume areas and class change times at different academic buildings.
- RAPID TESTS: The Office of Human Resources has a large supply of rapid take-home tests, so please go by Human Resources (with your College ID) if you need to pick one up. We also have more on back order.
- FUTURE BOOSTER CLINICS: We are working with MUSC now regarding the possibility of hosting future booster shot clinics on campus, if/when booster shots get approval/endorsement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, CDC and DHEC.
In closing, I want to again thank you for your incredible efforts thus far. They’ve made all of the difference, and they will continue to make a difference moving forward. The past 18 months were made possible because we did it together, and our present and future will be made possible, because we – again – will do it together. Go Cougars!
Andrew T. Hsu, Ph.D.
College of Charleston