COVID 19 virus graphic

COVID Testing, Vaccinations & Boosters

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges and universities across the country adopted an array of effective testing protocols, and more recently many have required COVID vaccinations and boosters for their residential populations. Furman is following the guidance provided by recognized national, state, and local clinical and public health experts in requiring COVID-19 vaccination and boosters, as well as testing for the SARS-CoV-2 virus when appropriate.

COVID Vaccinations and Boosters

Furman University requires all students to be immunized against COVID-19. The university also requires all eligible students not previously exempted to obtain a booster vaccination no later than Jan. 11, 2022. (Per CDC recommendations, boosters should be obtained six months after receiving a second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or two months after the J&J vaccine. For those students who do not yet meet these criteria, a booster should be obtained within two weeks of the date of eligibility.)

Once boosted, students must submit a copy of their vaccination card to furmanstudenthealth@PrismaHealth.org. A simple photo of the card attached to an email will suffice.

Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to be immunized against COVID-19 and to receive the booster vaccination when eligible. If a faculty or staff member has been fully vaccinated or has received a booster, and they have not yet provided this information to Human Resources, a copy of their vaccination card should be submitted to humanresources@furman.edu as soon as possible.

Student COVID-19 Booster Requirement FAQs

Why is Furman requiring the booster?

Furman continues to follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) which has clearly articulated the recommendation and potential benefits for a booster injection to enhance COVID immunity 6 months after completing the initial Pfizer or Moderna series or 2 months after completing the J&J vaccination. While we recognize that there is a certain degree of natural immunity also conferred by an active infection, the recommendations are still clear regarding optimal protection both for the individual and for the larger community. Per CDC guidelines, an individual who is eligible for a booster, but who has not received this additional protection, is required to quarantine if exposed to a close contact (i.e., 5 day minimum, followed by a negative COVID test and additional 5 days wearing a mask at all times around others). In contrast, individuals who have received the booster are not required to quarantine, which reduces the risk of missing in-person classes, leaving campus, etc. due to an unforeseen exposure to another positive individual.

Who is eligible for the booster vaccine?

Individuals are eligible for the booster 6 months after completing the primary series of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine OR 2 months after completing the primary series of the J&J vaccine.

I’m boosted. Where do I send the documentation?

Please submit a copy of your vaccination card showing the booster to furmanstudenthealth@PrismaHealth.org. A simple photo of the card attached to an email will suffice.

Can I get the booster when I return to campus?

Yes, you can email the Earle Student Health Center at furmanstudenthealth@PrismaHealth.orgto schedule an appointment to receive the Moderna booster.

Can I request an exemption to the booster vaccine?

Yes, students can email the Earle Student Health Center at furmanstudenthealth@PrismaHealth.org requesting a strong personal objection exemption to the booster. By requesting this exemption, the student acknowledges that they understand that if contact tracing identifies them as a close contact they will be required to quarantine off campus for a minimum of five days, get a negative test on day five and wear a mask for an additional five days (CDC recommendations).

If I am eligible for the booster, but recently tested positive over the break, what do I do?

Common practice is to wait until symptoms have fully resolved before receiving a booster, and we understand that some healthcare professionals suggest an additional 2-week period prior to receiving the vaccination. Furman is allowing students who have recently tested positive to wait a full 30 days before complying with the booster requirement to accommodate these concerns, provided a copy of the positive test has been submitted to the ESHC.

If I am vaccinated, but not yet eligible for the booster, will that make me a close contact if exposed to a positive case, thus resulting in quarantine?

No, if you are vaccinated, but not yet eligible for the booster, you will not have to quarantine, unless symptomatic (which means you will get tested ASAP). You will be required to mask around others for 10 days, monitor for symptoms and get tested on day 5.

If I am vaccinated AND eligible for the booster, but have not yet received the booster, will that make me a close contact if exposed to a positive case, thus resulting in quarantine?

Yes, you will have to quarantine for five days. Then you will be tested on day 5. If the test result is negative, the Earle Student Health Center will release you from quarantine and you will be required to mask around others for 5 additional days and monitor for symptoms.

This is why getting the booster immediately is so important to your ability to participate in classes and campus activities this semester without disruption.

If I am exempt from the vaccination requirement, will that make me a close contact if exposed to a positive case, thus resulting in quarantine?

Yes, you will have to quarantine off campus for five days. Then you will be tested on day 5. If the test result is negative, the Earle Student Health Center will release you from quarantine and you will be required to mask around others for 5 additional days and monitor for symptoms.

If I am exempt from the vaccination requirement, but have tested positive for COVID in the last 90 days, will that make me a close contact if exposed to a positive case, thus resulting in quarantine?

No, you will not have to quarantine, unless symptomatic. You will be required to mask around others for 10 days, monitor for symptoms and get tested on day 5.

If I tested positive for COVID over winter break, should I report that to Furman?

Yes, please send documentation of your positive test result to furmanstudenthealth@PrismaHealth.org.

Vaccination Records

In order to maximally benefit from the release from testing and quarantine provided by vaccination, students, faculty and staff who have received the complete dose of the COVID vaccination may share their vaccination card with the Earle Student Health Center (students) and Human Resources (faculty and staff).

Furman strongly encourages every member of the campus community to be vaccinated.

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 additional medical information along with it.

Student COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement FAQs

Is the COVID-19 vaccine required for faculty, staff, or students?

On June 1, Furman announced that it will require proof of vaccination for all students. On December 30, Furman announced the COVID booster will be required for the return to campus in January 2022.

While there are no plans to require the COVID-19 vaccination for faculty and staff, employees are strongly encouraged to vaccinate as soon as possible.

Students, faculty and staff in South Carolina may use https://vaxlocator.dhec.sc.gov as a resource for scheduling an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Why is Furman requiring students to get vaccinated?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in May that individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 may forgo wearing masks and physical distancing in most indoor and outdoor settings. In light of this guidance by the CDC, the American College Health Association (ACHA), South Carolina health officials, and our faculty epidemiologists, and considering the high rates of vaccination that will result from this requirement, we are confident that we will return to normal operations in the fall.

Why is Furman not requiring faculty and staff to get vaccinated?

Employees are strongly encouraged to vaccinate as soon as possible. Our decision not to require the vaccine for employees is consistent with common standards of practice and consistent with our approach to all other immunizations (e.g., we do not require employees to vaccinate against common community-acquired infections). We have always, however, required students to submit their vaccination records. As a residential campus, students are in close proximity to one another in housing, dining facilities, athletics, and social activities. Additionally, Furman must provide support resources to students who get sick while they are away from home, unlike employees who remain off campus when ill and seek support in the external community.

Why is Furman requiring the vaccine at this time?

Comprehensive scientific studies have provided clear evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines are both safe and highly effective at protecting against SARS-CoV-2 infection, disease severity and reducing transmission https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/effectiveness.html. Having a high rate of vaccination will allow us to resume normal operations in the fall. Furman allows for students with a medical contraindication, religious requirement or strong personal objection to seek an exemption to the vaccine requirement.

Will Furman be tracking the total number of immunized students, faculty and staff on campus?

Yes, these data are available on the COVID Dashboard, which will be updated weekly.

Will Furman provide access to the vaccine?

The Moderna vaccine is available to students at the Earle Student Health Center.

Students, faculty and staff may use https://vaxlocator.dhec.sc.gov as a resource for scheduling an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine. Students in other geographic areas are encouraged to utilize their own state and local resources for vaccine access, as vaccines are now broadly available in all states. For example, see this state-by-state guide listing at https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-get-a-covid-19-vaccine-a-state-by-state-guide-11611703769.

How does a student submit their vaccination card?

Students who have received complete dose(s) of the COVID vaccination are required to submit their vaccination card by emailing a copy of it to furmanstudenthealth@prismahealth.org.

What vaccines comply with Furman’s requirement?

Students who completed a COVID-19 vaccination series with a vaccine that has been authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) or an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson) will comply with Furman’s immunization requirement.

What are the requirements for international students?

If international students know they will be unable to get the vaccine in their home country and provide proof, they should email furmanstudenthealth@prismahealth.org with the subject line “International Student Vaccine Extension” and indicate that they will need to get the vaccine when they arrive on campus. All international students will be in low-to-no contact upon arrival to campus, tested for COVID-19 on the second day, and vaccinated (if necessary) after receiving a negative test result.

International students who have received a vaccine not WHO or FDA approved will be required to receive an FDA-approved vaccine upon arrival to campus to comply with the COVID-19 policy, but will not be required to quarantine if they have no symptoms.

What are the requirements for graduate students?

Graduate students enrolled in courses for the Fall 2021 semester who plan to come to campus for any reason must comply with the vaccination requirement and follow the same instructions as undergraduate students.

How can students request an exemption from the vaccination requirement?

Students may request an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for one of the following reasons:

  1. Medical Contraindication
  2. Religious Beliefs
  3. Strong Personal Objection

These students must submit Furman’s Immunization Exemption Request [PDF].

Will there be any limitations or expectations for students who are unvaccinated?
  1. Unvaccinated students who are symptomatic for COVID-19 or a close contact of an individual who is symptomatic or positive for COVID-19, will be required to report exposures or symptoms to the Earle Student Health Center and subsequently quarantine or isolate.
  2. Unvaccinated students who are exempt from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement as a result of a Strong Personal Objection will be responsible for covering all costs and expenses not covered by insurance, including but not limited to medical, travel, quarantine/isolation, testing, treatment, and other personal costs and expenses associated with COVID-19.
  3. Unvaccinated students who are exempt from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement as a result of a Strong Personal Objection and who are subsequently required to quarantine or isolate must do so off campus. Furman will not provide quarantine and isolation space, or any services related to quarantine and isolation, including, but not limited to, meal deliveries or related medical support for unvaccinated students. This includes students living in a housing assignment that might be suitable for quarantine or isolation.
  4. Unvaccinated students may be excluded from activities that require individuals to be vaccinated against COVID-19 (e.g., NCAA athletics, study away, internships).
  5. Furman does not guarantee remote access to academic courses and/or any other offerings during quarantine or isolation for unvaccinated students who are exempt from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement as a result of a Strong Personal Objection.
  6. Tuition, room and board charges will not be reduced for students (vaccinated or unvaccinated) who are required to quarantine/isolate off campus.

Faculty or Staff Vaccination Expectations

How does a faculty or staff member submit their vaccination card OR a signed acknowledgement of Furman’s expectations for unvaccinated employees?

All faculty and staff must submit EITHER a copy of their completed COVID-19 vaccination card to humanresources@furman.edu OR submit a signed acknowledgement of Furman’s expectations for unvaccinated employees. As a reminder, this information will not be shared or stored as part of an employees’ personnel record.

Will there be any limitations or expectations for faculty or staff who have not submitted proof of vaccination?
  1. Employees who have not submitted proof of being fully vaccinated to Human Resources are expected to continue to mask and distance indoors, and mask outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  2. Employees who have not submitted proof of being fully vaccinated to Human Resources who are symptomatic for COVID-19 or a close contact of an individual who is symptomatic or positive for COVID-19, will be required to report exposures or symptoms to Human Resources via the LiveSafe Health Survey and subsequently quarantine or isolate.
  3. Employees will be responsible for covering all costs and expenses not covered by insurance, including but not limited to medical, travel, quarantine/isolation, testing, treatment, and other personal costs and expenses associated with COVID-19.
  4. Sick leave or personal time must be used, as normal, for quarantine or isolation.

At-Home COVID Tests for Employees

Effective January 15, the federal government now requires insurance companies and group health plans to cover the cost of over-the-counter COVID-19 at-home tests.

Furman’s Group Health plan, administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) has established processes and procedures to comply with this new rule and will reimburse its members (covered faculty, staff and dependents) for the purchase of over-the-counter COVID-19 at-home tests. These tests must be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be eligible for reimbursement.

Currently with this mandate, the BCBS health plan will reimburse up to 8 over-the-counter COVID-19 tests per covered individual each month. For example, a family of 3, all covered under Furman’s health plan, would be eligible for reimbursement of up to 24 tests (8 tests times 3 individuals) each month. This limit only applies to over-the-counter at home tests and does not include tests received from your medical provider or any other external vendor.

See the websites and forms below.

Please email Human Resources, humanresources@furman.edu with any questions you may have.

COVID Testing

Students who are either symptomatic, or who may be close contacts of an individual who is symptomatic or has tested positive for COVID-19, are required to contact the Earle Student Health Center (instead of seeking assistance in the external community) for the following reasons…

  1. The ESHC can coordinate and expedite reliable testing if needed, providing an immediate on-campus testing option in most cases.
  2. The ESHC can clarify and explain what type of exposure a student may have had to an infected individual (i.e., primary vs. secondary), thus helping to decrease anxiety.
  3. The ESHC can immediately initiate contact tracing, thus protecting close contacts and the Furman community.

Any student in the external community in receipt of a positive result for COVID-19 should isolate immediately, submit the LiveSafe Health Survey, and await instructions from the ESHC staff.

Surveillance Monitoring

Surveillance monitoring has proven to be an excellent mechanism to monitor disease prevalence among the college community.  While at the present time we do not anticipate the need for random surveillance monitoring as in the prior year, should circumstances change such that this becomes prudent (e.g., viral outbreak), those who are not vaccinated will be notified accordingly and provided with further instructions.

Flower sprouting between cracks in cement

Quarantine and Isolation FAQs

Have questions about quarantine and isolation?

Read the quarantine and isolation FAQs