March 26, 2021

Furman Focused Update: Purple Phase

Dear Campus Community,

The long-awaited day has finally arrived. We are excited to announce that we will be operating in the PURPLE: Basic Precautions phase next week. We have been able to make this transition to increased on-campus activities because of your diligence, and we applaud and recognize your efforts.

While Furman students, faculty and staff have done a remarkable job reducing COVID-19 incidence and transmission that is appropriate for the PURPLE Phase, the Greenville community numbers are still not quite where they need to be for a change in university-sponsored, off-campus engagement in the community (e.g., volunteering). In addition, we are not opening the campus to increased campus visitation at this time. For more information on the expanded on-campus activities that are now permitted, please carefully read the following updates.

While this is an exciting move, we must remain diligent, as we remain just on the border of YELLOW/PURPLE operations. This does not change our health and safety expectations about distancing, masking and handwashing. To remain in the PURPLE Phase, we must continue to maintain the low prevalence of disease on campus. It won’t take much to move back to the YELLOW Phase, which means students must continue to avoid bars, crowded restaurants and any location where masking and distancing aren’t being practiced. 

COVID dashboard

We completed surveillance testing for 307 on-campus students this week, resulting in 3 asymptomatic positives (0.98% positivity rate). There were 4 additional positive cases reported by the Earle Student Health Center. The Furman Focused Dashboard and Campus Operational Phases were updated yesterday.

Surveillance testing

We will continue with our COVID surveillance testing next week, testing 20% of the student testing pool, split between Monday and Wednesday. Selected students will receive instructions the day before testing. We will not conduct surveillance testing for employees next week.

Tip of the week: Get vaccinated to avoid surveillance testing and quarantine

Consistent with recent CDC guidance, students and employees who are fully vaccinated will no longer be included in our surveillance testing program and will not have to quarantine due to an exposure.

How to submit documentation of vaccination

Students, faculty and staff who have received the complete dose of the COVID vaccination are encouraged to voluntarily share their vaccination record.

For employees, this information will not be shared or stored as part of personnel records, and no personnel actions will be taken based on whether employees have received the vaccine. Please submit only your vaccination record and do not include any medical information along with it.

Course withdrawal deadline extended

The course withdrawal (W) deadline has been extended until April 7. Remember that a course withdrawal means the course will be listed on your transcript with a grade of “W” but will not impact your GPA in any way. Please reach out to your academic advisor if you are considering a course withdrawal.

On-campus indoor meetings and events

Per the PURPLE Phase guidance, effective Monday, indoor organized events may now include over 30 individuals, not to exceed the maximum capacity of the event space. Physical distancing and masking are still required.  This means that student groups and organizations may continue to plan indoor meetings following these guidelines.

On-campus outdoor meetings and events

Per the PURPLE Phase guidance, effective Monday, outdoor organized events may now include up to 50 individuals. Physical distancing and masking are still required. These gatherings should not include food or beverages, unless approved by Furman Focused and managed by Dining Services. This means that student groups and organizations may continue to plan outdoor meetings following these guidelines.

Students may now also informally gather outdoors in groups of up to 30. These larger gatherings should continue to remain physically distanced with masking, and should not include food or beverages.

University-sponsored off-campus events

Student organizations cannot plan, host or sponsor off-campus activities. Because the Greenville community numbers are still not quite where they need to be for a change in university-sponsored, off-campus engagement in the community, the YELLOW phase operations protocols will continue for off-campus activities for the upcoming week.

Visitation in campus housing

All campus housing visitation policies remain the same (see Section 8 of the Supplemental Student Conduct Code).

Ice cream returns to the DH

The soft-serve ice cream machines have not been available in the dining hall this year because of the additional staffing necessary to serve it to students. The problem is solved. Effective March 31, staff and faculty have volunteered to serve ice cream in the dining hall on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Faculty and staff interested in assisting may contact Tony McGuirt.

Student activities

Some exciting events are being planned for the coming weeks ahead (e.g., FUSAB events, LDOC celebration, senior class send-off event, and awards ceremonies).

Intramurals and club sports may now operate under the PURPLE Phase guidance. Students may contact club sports presidents or coaches for more information.

The Cothran Center for Vocational Reflection has several upcoming programs that can help to address mental and emotional challenges that are currently being faced by students. On March 31, 7:30-8:30 p.m., Elise Dudley ’21 will lead participants in 30 minutes of musical reflection around the Trone Center Fire Pit. Following the reflection time, s’mores will be available. Space is limited, so students should register here.

Visitors to campus, campus gate changes

The campus remains closed to the general public. Campus visitors who are participating as leaders of student or employee events are approved to be on campus. Admissions will continue to offer restricted, outdoor campus tours to the individual families of accepted students. Employees and their families are still permitted to come to campus to walk the lake (no indoor access). Parents and families of students may continue to come to campus to visit in outdoor spaces. Barnes & Noble is accessible to these approved visitors. More information about visitors is available here.

During the PURPLE Phase, the campus gates will return to normal hours and will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

Spring holiday weekend

Although we discourage traveling off campus, we realize that some students will travel home to be with family for the long weekend on April 2-4. Students who plan to travel are encouraged to review Furman’s Travel Policy and Guidelines as they make preparations. Furman will not require a negative COVID test to return to campus after that weekend, but surveillance monitoring may be adjusted as necessary during the following week.

Students, remember that you can reach out to your peers on the student advisory group to ask questions and send them suggestions to share with the steering committee.

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.

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