January 7, 2022

Furman Focused, spring semester opening information

Dear Campus Community,

We are excited to start in-person classes on Monday. While the campus will open to students as planned, we know there will be positive COVID-19 cases within our community in the first several weeks of the term. It is important that our due diligence and care for one another continue so that we may have another successful semester.

The importance of the next two weeks

Like much of the country, the Greenville area is currently experiencing rapidly increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases, and the local healthcare system is once again challenged. The next two weeks are very important for our campus and our neighboring Greenville community, and each one of us plays a critical role. If we each commit to the following, we will successfully weather this Omicron surge together:

  • Wear a mask in the presence of others (see recommended mask types below).
  • Don’t just assume you have the sniffles or allergies. If you experience an onset of allergy-like symptoms or the sniffles, self-isolate immediately and submit a LiveSafe health survey. Students should report their symptoms to the Earle Student Health Center. Faculty and staff should get tested and contact Human Resources.
  • Take advantage of the free testing on campus or in the local community.
  • Keep your groups small, when possible.
  • Limit your engagement with the local community, as much as possible.

Masking indoors reinstated for two weeks

Effective today, masking is required in ALL indoor locations on Furman’s campus at all times for the next two weeks, at the end of which we will adjust if the conditions allow. This includes the PAC’s fitness center/court, Trone Student Center, and the dining facilities.

Masks are not required in the following limited circumstances:

  • When students are in their residential rooms/apartments on campus (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).

Booster requirement

We are so grateful that a majority of the students who are eligible for the booster have already provided proof of booster vaccination. Remaining eligible students who have not yet submitted this information are required to email a copy of their booster vaccination record to the Earle Student Health Center by Tuesday, Jan. 11. This booster vaccination data will be added to the bi-weekly COVID-19 Dashboard updates.

More information about the booster requirement is available in these FAQs on the Furman Focused website.

Surveillance testing and COVID-19 Dashboard

In preparation for some in-person activities already occurring on campus this week, 495 students who arrived early completed COVID tests, resulting in 22 positives (4.4% positivity rate). As in the Fall semester, the COVID-19 Dashboard will be updated biweekly on Monday and Thursday. Thank you to these students for taking the necessary steps to support a successful beginning to the spring semester.

We do not plan to perform asymptomatic testing on the remainder of the student body as they arrive, but invite all members of the community to test at the on-campus SC DHEC site in the South Chapel lot as frequently as desired.

Free COVID-19 testing

Furman continues to partner with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) to offer free COVID-19 testing in the South Chapel Lot through Jan. 14, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Click here to pre-register for testing, as this will expedite the testing process. (Note: If you don’t receive test results within 72 hours, call 1-888-697-9004 or email ACC-Testing at CustomerService@dhec.sc.gov to obtain results).

Free testing is also currently available on the Greenville Tech Northwest campus 3 miles south of Furman on Highway 25. SC DHEC offers other testing locations as well.

Recommended types of masks

Recently there have been several studies suggesting that surgical and N95/KN95 masks provide superior protection from the highly transmissible Omicron variant as compared to cloth masks. Those who are in high density environments for extended periods may prefer to use such masks at their own discretion. These masks may be purchased online and at various pharmacies.

Campus meetings, events, activities and travel

With the exception of masking in all indoor spaces, we have not made adjustments to the other health and safety protocols for campus events, activities, travel, visitor access, or off-campus experiences. Those who are responsible for planning individual activities, meetings, or events may choose to postpone their activities or conduct the activity virtually at their discretion. Meetings among faculty, staff and students in small office areas may also be held virtually for the next few weeks. We also recommend limiting your engagement with the local community for the next two weeks, and strongly encourage all members of the Furman community to wear masks indoors, especially in dense settings.

Classes will remain in-person using the same protocols that were in place during the Fall 2021 semester, including a continued requirement for full-time masking in classrooms. Success@Furman will be utilized for communicating with students and faculty about health-related absences.

Campus housing and dining this weekend

Campus housing opens tomorrow (Saturday, Jan. 8) at 9 a.m. The Dining Hall opens tomorrow for brunch at 10 a.m.

Furman Focused website

We have updated quite a bit of information on the Furman Focused website since the end of the fall semester, and want to draw your attention to a few areas:

You showed us this past fall that we can have a very safe, engaging and successful semester. We will all need to be more vigilant than ever, especially these first few weeks of the term. As always, thank you for your continued flexibility and adaptability as we collectively pursue the high-level learning experience for our students.

If you have any questions, please email furman.focused@furman.edu.

Sincerely,

The COVID Response Committee