Updates for the Spring Semester
We hope you are enjoying a much deserved break with family and friends over the next several weeks. We look forward to welcoming our new and returning students in the New Year.
If you’ve been monitoring Greenville’s weekly disease measures reported by SC DHEC, you know that the two-week cumulative incidence rate is at its highest rate yet, which is of course concerning. Our COVID Response Steering Committee and the Public Health and Safety Advisory Group will continue to monitor these measures over the winter break.
We are still planning for your return in mid-January and in-person instruction starting on January 19. We will provide any spring semester updates to all students and families no later than January 8.
As you make preparations for the Spring 2021 semester, we want to provide you with some information and direct your attention to the Furman Focused website, which has been thoroughly updated with new information for the spring.
The Paladin Promise
In early January, students who were in person this fall and are returning to campus for the spring semester will receive an email instructing them to recommit to and sign the Paladin Promise. All new admits and transfers, as well as fall remote learners coming to campus for the spring semester will also receive an email in early January, instructing them to review the Return-to-Campus Guide for Students, commit to and sign the Paladin Promise, and sign their housing agreement.
Policy adjustments for the spring
The core tenants of the Paladin Promise remain the same for the spring semester. However, some aspects of the enforcement of the Paladin Promise have been adjusted based on student feedback. To fully understand your commitment to the Paladin Promise, students are expected to review the entirety of these policies.
Negative COVID test required in January
Upon return to campus in January, Furman will require all residential and commuter students (undergraduate and graduate) to obtain a negative PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 in order to access campus. This test should be obtained not more than 5 days prior to the date of campus entry. Rapid antigen test results will not be accepted. Please make plans now to get tested before leaving home as you will need to provide Furman with a negative PCR test result. In early January, students will receive an email with more instructions. In the meantime, you can read more information about Furman’s testing protocols here.
CDC adjusted the quarantine guidance
Furman will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recently reduced length of time required for quarantine. During the fall semester many students expressed that they were more comfortable and more able to focus on their studies when they quarantined at home or in an alternative family location. Understandably, not all students have such access, and will be provided with campus housing space specifically allocated for quarantine, if necessary.
You can read more about quarantine and other health and safety protocols here.
COVID testing on campus for symptomatic students
We are pleased to share that Prisma Health has approved the Earle Student Health Center staff to test symptomatic students for both Flu and COVID-19 at our on-campus testing tent on weekdays during the spring semester. Both tests will be required for students who develop symptoms for either illness.
Increased mental health support
The Counseling Center team and Student Life have been working tirelessly to bolster our mental health support resources for the spring semester. Students can expect to see additional full-time counselors, a mindfulness app, online self-guided interactive modules, a student-led mental health support and advocacy group, a graduate student intern, and an after-hours crisis call center. More information will be provided early next semester.
More activities and events in the spring
We are excited about the availability of more activities for students in the spring. In an effort to encourage students and student groups to plan activities, we have expanded the guidelines for indoor and outdoor events that adhere to our safety measures. Food will be allowed under certain conditions, and fire pits and fire barrels are available for use. We have expanded after-hours access to specific academic buildings and labs. We are currently reviewing the guidelines for club sports and intramurals. All 18 athletics teams are scheduled to compete during the spring semester with plenty of opportunities for students to cheer for our Dins!
If you have questions not answered on the Furman Focused website or more specifically in the Spring Semester FAQs, you may email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to seeing many of you in 2021.
Be well, and happy holidays!
Ken Peterson, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Connie Carson, Vice President for Student Life
Co-Chairs, COVID Response Steering Committee