January 21, 2022

Furman Focused update

Dear Campus Community,

Whether it’s the Omicron surge or closures/delays due to inclement weather, our community continues to display flexibility, resilience and care for each other. While we are still amid this expected COVID-19 spike both on campus and in Greenville, we are proud that the in-person student experience is working safely. The impact of COVID-19 continues to be manageable on campus and we are hopeful that we will be able to adapt our masking protocols in the coming weeks.

COVID-19 dashboard 

There were 16 positive student cases reported this past week by the Earle Student Health Center (ESHC), and 6 positive employee cases reported by Human Resources.

More than 84% of the student body is on record as vaccinated and boosted (if eligible). We are still tracking down booster records for 7% of the student body. Thank you for your continued diligence in keeping our community healthy and safe.

The Furman Focused Dashboard was updated yesterday and will be updated each Monday and Thursday.

Masking indoors continues for two more weeks

Since the Omicron surge has not peaked yet in either Greenville or on campus, masking continues to be required in ALL indoor locations on Furman’s campus at all times for two more weeks, at which point we will re-evaluate and make adjustments as conditions allow. This includes the PAC’s fitness center/court, Trone Student Center, basketball games in Timmons Arena, and the dining facilities.

Masks are not required in the following limited circumstances:

  • When students are in their residential rooms/apartments on campus (though it is strongly recommended that students mask when not in their own assigned rooms/apartments);
  • When actively eating or drinking in designated dining locations; or
  • When a faculty or staff member is alone in their own office (it is recommended that you mask if the door is open).

Free at-home COVID-19 tests

Residential households in the U.S. may order one set of four free at-home (rapid) tests from USPS.com. The online order form is quick and easy, and orders are expected to start shipping in late January. The most effective use of these kits is for when you are symptomatic. We do not recommend using them as a screening test. We do encourage students, faculty and staff to place an order as follows:

  • Faculty and staff, place an order with your home address (one order per household).
  • Students, place an order with your Furman address, but only one order per apartment or residence hall room. For example, only one resident in a North Village apartment should place an order, and then divvy up the kits among the group. Residence hall students should group up and designate a person to place the order. Let’s all be good stewards as this service is not intended to provide one individual with four kits.

Positive rapid COVID-19 test results

Because PCR test results have been delayed locally and nationally, Furman is currently accepting positive rapid test results. If you receive a positive result from a rapid test, report that result to the Earle Student Health Center (students) or Human Resources (faculty and staff). If you receive a negative result from a rapid test AND you are symptomatic, report your symptoms using the LiveSafe Health Survey.

Insurance coverage for COVID-19 tests

Faculty and staff received an email from Human Resources yesterday regarding insurance coverage for at-home (rapid) COVID-19 tests. Additional information may be found on the HR insurance benefits website.

Quarantine and isolation student support services

In an effort to clarify some misinformation among the student body, we want to reiterate our support protocols for quarantine and isolation:

  • Students have had to quarantine off campus since the Fall 2021 semester. This is not a new policy this semester.
  • There are a very limited number of isolation beds on campus for students who test positive for COVID-19. These are primarily for students who live far away. All students were instructed last summer to have a plan to quarantine/isolate off campus, if necessary.
  • Students in isolation are instructed to contact the Earle Student Health Center for any medical questions or concerns. To date, the ESHC has been able to respond to all students who have reached out to them.
  • Students in isolation on campus will receive guidance on how to access food from dining services utilizing our sick meal protocol. This was the protocol in the Fall 2021 semester, and it has been our protocol since before the pandemic for any contagious student.
  • Students in quarantine and isolation are instructed to communicate directly with each individual professor to make arrangements for accessing classes virtually, other options for maintaining progress in the class, and/or making up missed assignments. Students who have concerns about accommodations for missed classes should contact academic.deans@furman.edu.

We are closely monitoring the number of positive cases in our campus community to determine the appropriateness of any adjustments or contingencies. If you have any questions, please email furman.focused@furman.edu.

Have a fun, safe weekend!

Sincerely,

The COVID Response Committee