January 29, 2021

Furman Focused update: Orange Phase with relaxed campus restrictions

Dear Campus Community,

While the Furman community can do only its part to affect the overall disease prevalence in Greenville as a whole, students and employees have risen to the occasion once again during the first two weeks of the term to create a safe campus. Thank you for this and for your ongoing participation in the surveillance testing, which has yielded relatively low and manageable positivity rates.

We completed mandatory testing for 1,745 on-campus students this week. There were 16 asymptomatic positives from these tests (0.92% positivity rate). The Furman Focused Dashboard and Campus Operational Phases were updated yesterday, and the employee test results from January 28 will be posted in next week’s Dashboard once those results become fully available.

The overall community data in the Greenville area has not appreciably improved since last week, and the disease prevalence, positivity rate and strain on the local healthcare system all remain high. Thus, we will continue to operate in the Orange: High Precautions phase for the next week. However, because our data indicates that we have contained on-campus disease prevalence, we are going to lift and/or modify several restrictions outlined below, effective today.

Pods and low contact

Residential students may now have up to 8 total residential students (including the occupants) in North Village, 6 in The Vinings, 4 in South Housing or Clark Murphy double rooms, and 2 in South Housing or Clark Murphy single rooms. Commuters are not allowed in campus housing. Please see Paladin Promise Enforcement for details.

Students should continue to minimize overall contacts, wear masks and physically distance. Remember, our ability to move toward the yellow and purple phases will be contingent on maintaining low COVID prevalence rates and minimizing the use of our designated on-campus quarantine space, so please keep the total number of your close contacts over each 48-hour period low.

Avoid going off campus

Students should avoid leaving campus unless absolutely necessary. Please follow the Travel Policy and Guidelines if you do leave campus. Do not visit high-risk, off-campus venues where distancing and masking may not be rigorously followed (e.g., restaurants, bars, gyms). Data shows this is where the most disease spread occurs.

Dining

Effective today for dinner, students may eat inside the dining hall, with a maximum of four to a table. As much as possible, students should form four-person meal pods that remain consistent throughout the week. Bread & Bowl and The Milford Mall Lunch Tent in Hartness Pavilion will also have seating. The PalaDen and other dining facilities will remain to go only until further notice. Students are asked not to sit and socialize in the dining hall after finishing their meals.

Fitness center and pool

The PAC’s fitness center will reopen tomorrow (Saturday) at 9 a.m. for students only. The swimming pool and locker rooms (for swimmers only) will reopen on Monday with limited hours for students only. The PAC hours are available online.

Library and other academic buildings

The Duke Library and other auxiliary libraries will start expanded hours on Sunday. The libraries will continue to be closed on Saturdays, same as during the fall semester. The libraries’ hours are available online.

Academic buildings will continue to be open Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Buildings with expanded hours (e.g., music, art, science labs) may operate with the pre-approved oversight established by those department chairs.

Student activities

Off-campus internships and other engaged learning experiences will continue to be limited to virtual delivery. Organized community service, service-learning and community-engaged learning will also continue to be limited to virtual delivery.

On-campus, supervised undergraduate research is approved during regular operating hours.  Off-campus research will continue to be limited to virtual delivery.

Club sports may now operate under the Orange Phase guidance. Students may contact the club sports presidents or coaches for more information.

Whether on campus or off, there are many ways for students to connect and stay fit (mentally and physically). See this week’s edition of DINformation for upcoming opportunities.

Indoor and outdoor meetings and events

Except for academic course meetings and athletic competitions, indoor and outdoor organized events are limited to 10 individuals or a maximum capacity of the event space (whichever is fewer). This means that student groups and organizations may now plan indoor and outdoor meetings following these guidelines. As we continue to maintain the health of the campus and the conditions of the Greenville community improve, our hope is to allow for larger meetings and events.

Students may informally gather outdoors in groups of 10 or fewer, remaining physically distanced and wearing masks.

Student workers

Student workers may return to working in person. Supervisors will be asked to confirm student workers’ full compliance with Furman’s COVID safety protocols.

Surveillance testing

We will continue with our COVID surveillance testing next week, randomly testing 50% of the student body, split between Monday and Wednesday. Selected students will receive instructions the day prior to testing.

We will not test employees next week, but will determine the appropriate steps forward and communicate those steps in the coming week.

Please continue to follow the Paladin Promise, complete your daily LiveSafe health survey, and check the Furman Focused website and your email for regular updates.

Thank you again for your flexibility and patience. We are so proud of our community’s commitment to each other. Have a fun, safe weekend!

Sincerely,

Ken Peterson, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Connie Carson, Vice President for Student Life

Co-Chairs, COVID Response Steering Committee