December 10, 2021

Furman Focused Update

Dear Campus Community,

It’s final exam time. On behalf of the Furman community, we wish our students all the best as they bring their fall courses to a close. We are proud of the support we have shown one another this semester, and we are filled with gratitude for your diligence in keeping our community healthy and safe.

COVID-19 dashboard

There were two positive student COVID-19 cases on campus this past week, and there was one positive employee case.

The Furman Focused Dashboard was updated yesterday. We will update the dashboard on Thursday, Dec. 16, and again on Jan. 6. The dashboard will not be updated during winter break.

Free COVID-19 testing next week

In preparation for holiday travel, Furman is partnering with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) to offer freeCOVID-19 testing in the South Chapel Lot on Dec. 13-22, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Jan. 3-14, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Click here to pre-register for testing as it will expedite the process.

Anticipated Spring 2022 COVID protocols

We anticipate that our current COVID precautions will remain in place through at least the opening weeks of the spring semester.

Students, faculty and staff will travel the country for the winter break and return to campus simultaneously in January. It is flu season, and fraternity and sorority recruitment (large numbers of students spending a lot of time together) will commence right out of the gate. We want our current low numbers to continue through the remainder of this semester and through the first weeks of our return in January, and we believe that maintaining our current COVID precautions during that time will help us ensure that is the case.

Our COVID Response Committee and Public Health and Safety Advisory Group will continue to monitor the same data we have been monitoring for many months now, as well as any adjusted guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), SC DHEC and Prisma Health. Once we discontinue the masking requirement, which we hope to do during the spring semester, we want to be as confident as reasonably possible that we won’t have to reinstate it.

At this time, we don’t anticipate requiring students to provide a pre-arrival, negative COVID-19 test result when returning to campus in January. However, remember that free testing on campus with 24-hour results is a good option for returning students, faculty and staff.

Masking reminder at basketball games

Masks are required at all basketball games. Please wear your mask (when not eating or drinking) in this crowded, indoor space.

University closed for holidays

The university will be officially closed from Dec. 20 through Jan. 2. Campus housing reopens on Saturday, Jan. 8, and spring semester classes start on Monday, Jan. 10.

Federal mandate regarding vaccination of employees

The university is continuing to monitor the litigation regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s recently issued Emergency Temporary Standard requiring (1) employees to be vaccinated or (2) masked and tested weekly for unvaccinated employees. We will provide more information as we gain more clarity from the courts and regulatory agencies. In the meantime, we strongly encourage all faculty and staff to be vaccinated.

If you have any questions as we head into the holiday break, please email furman.focused@furman.edu.

Good luck on final exams, and Happy Holidays! See you in 2022!

Sincerely,

The COVID Response Committee