In order to make our return to campus as safe as possible, all members of the Furman University community will need to do their part to monitor their own health and protect others.
The university is continually monitoring health conditions on campus to determine what additional steps are necessary to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Take these precautions to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Read the answers to the most often asked questions related to health and safety.
It is important for each visitor and member of our community to recognize that even though the university will take precautions to reduce the risks of COVID-19 on campus, individuals can never be completely shielded from all risk of illness caused by the virus, and everyone in our campus community shares the responsibility for the health of the community.
Do not go to class or work if you have a fever of 100.4° or above.
Students with symptoms of COVID-19 or those who have recently had close contact with a symptomatic person should remain in their residence and contact the health professionals at the Earle Student Health Center for additional guidance (864.522.2000, monitored 24 hours daily).
Employees with symptoms of COVID-19 should initially contact their supervisor and consult medical guidance through PRISMA’s tele-health page or their personal care provider.
All students and employees are expected to self-monitor and report their own health and symptoms daily through the LiveSafe app, which may be downloaded here: Apple | Android. Students and employees without access to a smartphone can use this web form for the daily health and exposure screening.
Students and employees are expected to provide their own digital thermometer for daily use to facilitate an effective health screening.
Personal and community protective measures are Furman’s best strategies to reduce viral transmission and keep our community well. It is the responsibility of each member of our community to familiarize themselves with the guidance provided, recognizing that guidance may change over time with emerging scientific evidence about the virus and disease transmission. We will continually evaluate our recommendations and revise them based on federal, state and local guidance as needed.
COVID-19 is a highly transmissible disease primarily spread through respiratory droplets. Respiratory droplets containing the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be released into the air when someone infected with the virus coughs, sneezes, talks, or breathes. These droplets can land in the mouth, nose or eyes and can be inhaled by someone nearby (typically, within 6 feet), or can land on nearby surfaces. Further, the virus can be spread in this way even if the infected person has no symptoms.
To most effectively reduce the chance for infection, distances of a minimum of 6 feet between individuals should be maintained whenever practical. If you are unsure how far is far enough, spread out your arms and imagine others around you are doing the same. If your hands would touch, you are too close together. Classroom seating and common areas (e.g., lounges, office areas, library spaces, and the Physical Activities Center) have been arranged to facilitate physical distancing.
Face coverings protect others from infectious droplets that are released from your nose and mouth. If you are infected, you are most likely to spread the virus via droplets when you sneeze, cough, talk, or breath, even if you have no symptoms. All students and employees are required to wear cloth face coverings at all times when in campus buildings. Cloth face coverings should include at least two layers of fabric that fully cover the nose and mouth, and fit snugly and comfortably against the side of the face. Individuals requiring any accommodations with respect to masks should contact the Student Office for Accessibility Resources at SOAR@furman.edu (students) or Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org (employees). Download the CDC’s guide to Using Cloth Face Coverings [PDF].
When outdoors, if physical distancing (more than 6 feet) can be expected to be reasonably maintained, masks may be removed, but should always be carried with you in the event you encounter situations where distancing is not possible. While routinely wearing a face covering may be a new experience, it has been shown to be very effective for reducing transmission and demonstrates respect and concern for others who may be at high risk of COVID-19 complications.
Wear face coverings when not alone in vehicles.
Students must use face coverings in the common spaces and hallways of campus housing, including laundry rooms and lounges. Students must also use face coverings inside their assigned housing space when guests are present.
Furman will issue cloth face coverings to all students and employees and provide training on their use and care. Additional face coverings may be purchased on campus or brought from home.
In general, face shields are not acceptable as a replacement for face coverings for general campus use. Face shields are appropriate for faculty to use in a lecture situation where physical distancing can be accomplished. They may also find special use in some labs, for example, where toxic vapors could accumulate in a cloth covering, or in conversations with students who may read lips due to hearing impairment (again, with physical distancing). Face shields should be curved around the face and drop below the chin per CDC guidance, and should be disinfected between each use (by the user) using manufacturer’s suggested protocols. They should not be shared among users at any time.
Employees must complete virtual Return to Campus training, and will receive an email from Human Resources or their supervisor to complete this before reporting to campus.
All students will be required to review the Return-to-Campus Guide for Students, commit to the Paladin Promise, and sign their housing agreement and COVID-19 Assumption of Risk and Release form before picking up housing keys and attending in-person classes. Students will receive an email with instructions to view this video and complete these forms.
All students will also need to submit their Fall Student Return Plan by August 10 (extended deadline).
Students and employees should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible. This is especially important after using the restroom, blowing your nose, and interacting with spaces that include frequently touched items such as door handles and desktops. If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer containing at least 60% isopropyl alcohol may be substituted.
Students and employees should avoid any in-person contact with those who are symptomatic and/or who have tested positive for the virus. If coughing or sneezing occurs without a mask, use a tissue, your sleeve or the crook of your elbow to prevent droplet spread, and wash your hands. Get in the habit of refraining from touching your face, and do not share drinks, phones, eating utensils or other personal items.
Addressing indoor air quality has been cited as a way to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. All HVAC systems in campus buildings are filtered, and no buildings have “sealed air” construction. We are updating plans to change HVAC filters more frequently, researching upgraded filters that are compatible with our HVAC systems and maximizing air exchanges to optimize the percentage of outside air. While opening windows can increase outside air, it also increases humidity, which strains HVAC systems, and increases pollen and mold spores, which shorten the life of filters. “Medical grade” or HEPA filters are incompatible with HVAC systems on campus. We will continue to review recommendations and adjust our maintenance practices accordingly.
Facilities Services, Housing and Residence Life, and Dining Services have each developed enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols for common areas and high-touch surfaces including classrooms, labs, and offices, consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
Each Furman student or employee has a shared responsibility for the health of our campus and the greater Greenville community. As an indication of our joint pledge both to ourselves and the health and safety of our classmates and colleagues, all students and employees will be asked to commit to the principles of The Paladin Promise before they return to campus.
Students and employees are expected to provide their own digital thermometer for daily use to facilitate an effective health screening as outlined above. Students who are unable to provide their own thermometer should go to the Earle Student Health Center to request one (there is a limited supply). The university has purchased no-touch infrared thermometers that may be used by major operating units such as the PAC, Dining Services, Furman Police, Housing and Residence Life, and Athletics.
Colleges and universities across the country have adopted various testing protocols. Furman is following the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the American College Health Association, Prisma Health, and Furman epidemiologists.
In mid-September, Furman tested all on-campus students who arrived in the first phase of the campus reopening and required returning second- and third-year students to be tested prior to arriving on campus that week. (Read the campus announcement about this testing.) The university has since added a randomized testing process in which 10% of students will be tested each Tuesday and Friday through the remainder of the fall semester. (Read the campus announcement about random testing for students.) Since the beginning of the fall term, significant improvements in local testing availability, sampling modalities (e.g., saliva or nasal swab) and turnaround time have evolved. Simultaneously with those capacities, SC DHEC has recommended more regular testing for those living in higher density environments. With these improved opportunities and changes in guidance, Furman’s Public Health and Safety Advisory Group developed the model for the randomized testing, which will provide an additional layer of information to help identify and track undetermined sources of underlying disease on campus.
The protocols that were already in place, including symptomatic testing, contact tracing and student adherence to the Paladin Promise, have been highly successful in preventing viral spread and identifying close contacts. But, as previously noted, the value of a single test is limited to a single point in time; the data provided by random sampling twice per week will help to identify any changes in disease prevalence that might evolve, and assist with contact tracing should a cluster develop.
For students experiencing COVID-related symptoms, the Earle Student Health Center is accessible by phone 24 hours a day to provide guidance, and as appropriate, a medical order for a COVID test with a local Prisma provider. If a student is too ill to drive and/or does not have access to a personal vehicle, transportation for testing will be arranged by the Earle Student Health Center and provided by Prisma’s MobileCare. Symptomatic students will be asked to shelter in place in their individual residence (meals delivered and course access provided online) until laboratory results are returned, typically 24-48 hours. Furman’s Student Sickness Benefits Plan will cover any difference in cost for the required test that may not be covered by a student’s primary health insurance plan.
In accordance with South Carolina Department of Health and Education (SC DHEC) guidance, Furman strongly recommends that any student asked to quarantine through the university’s contact tracing protocol obtain a test for COVID-19 before returning to class and activities. This can be ordered through the Earle Student Health Center, or obtained by an independent provider (typically obtained 5-7 days post initial exposure, or at the first indication of symptoms).
While the test will not reduce or lengthen the period of quarantine for an asymptomatic individual, it can serve as a very valuable indicator to the family or campus community of whether an active infection is present.
Students who test positive for COVID-19 or who meet the criteria for an exposure (close contact within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes with anyone testing positive for COVID-19, within 48 hours prior to the time of the initial onset of their symptoms) will be isolated or quarantined for up to 14 days. We realize many families may prefer to have their student at home for isolation or quarantine, and Furman needs students to return home if at all practical. If not practical (because students live too far away or are too ill to travel, for example), the university will provide isolation or quarantine space. This will include procedures for health checks, meal delivery, remote learning, and other support services.
More guidance may be found in the Paladin Promise, which is not only an obligation to health and safety, but also a personal commitment to help each other be successful personally, academically and professionally.
All students, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to remain in the South Carolina Upstate area during the Fall semester. University-sponsored travel must be approved. For student groups and organizations, only essential travel will be authorized. Faculty/staff travel should be limited to those trips deemed critical for business and must be approved by a member of the Senior Administrative Team. All approved employee travel must be registered with the appropriate supervisor and include a safety plan.
Furman is also identifying additional policies to determine other ways to promote the health and safety of our students and employees. Among others, this will include policies on accommodations for students/employees with elevated health risks as well as policies surrounding campus visitation, hosting outside events, social gatherings, and participation and attendance at athletics events and activities.
The university will closely monitor the evolving circumstances related to COVID-19, along with rapidly developing scientific knowledge and medical resources, to determine the appropriateness for adjustments and contingencies. For general questions about the fall semester, please email email@example.com.