COVID Vaccination & Testing
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 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, as well as testing for the SARS-CoV-2 virus when appropriate.
Following the recommendations and guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American College Health Association (ACHA), the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Prisma Health, and our faculty epidemiologists, Furman University will require all students to be immunized against COVID-19 for the Fall 2021 semester. With the high rates of vaccination that will result from this requirement, we are confident that we will return to normal operations in the fall.
While there are no plans to require the COVID-19 vaccination for Furman employees, faculty and staff who have not yet received the vaccination are strongly encouraged to do so as soon as possible. A high level of vaccinations across our entire campus community will ensure our ability to loosen and remove COVID-19 restrictions and protocols.
Faculty, staff and students may want to consider using https://vaxlocator.dhec.sc.gov as a resource for scheduling an appointment if they have not yet started the vaccination process.
Watch the Furman CLP: Vaccination Forum.
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 voluntarily share their vaccination card with the Earle Student Health Center (students) and Human Resources (faculty and staff).
Sharing your record also helps Furman understand how many of our community members are vaccinated, and as this fraction increases, will provide opportunity for a more expedient return to “normal”. Furman strongly encourages ever member of the campus community to be vaccinated, as this will positively impact our ability to have in-person activities at increased capacities.
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
On June 1, Furman announced that it will require proof of vaccination for all students enrolled in the Fall 2021 semester.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yes, these data are available on the COVID Dashboard, which will be updated weekly throughout the summer.
The Earle Student Health Center has submitted a request to Prisma Health for approval to administer the vaccine to students.
In the meantime, South Carolina 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.
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 email@example.com by August 1. Failure to meet this deadline may result in a student’s inability to maintain enrollment in their fall courses and/or their access to campus being restricted.
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.
If international students know they will be unable to get the vaccine in their home country and provide proof by August 1, they should email firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.
Students may request an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for one of the following reasons:
- Medical Contraindication
- Religious Beliefs
- Strong Personal Objection
These students must submit Furman’s Immunization Exemption Request [PDF] by August 1. Failure to meet this deadline may result in a student’s inability to maintain enrollment in their fall courses and/or their access to campus being restricted.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 after August 1. This includes students living in a housing assignment that might be suitable for quarantine or isolation.
- Unvaccinated students may be excluded from activities that require individuals to be vaccinated against COVID-19 (e.g., NCAA athletics, study away, internships).
- 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.
- 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
By August 1, all faculty and staff must submit EITHER a copy of their completed COVID-19 vaccination card to email@example.com 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sick leave or personal time must be used, as normal, for quarantine or isolation.
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…
- The ESHC can coordinate and expedite reliable testing if needed, providing an immediate on-campus testing option in most cases.
- 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.
- The ESHC can immediately initiate contact tracing, thus protecting close contacts and the Furman community.
- Should you test positive, the ESHC is able to help coordinate effective remote learning, meal delivery, and other support.
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 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.