Preparing for the return of students

How We’re Leading

COVID Response Steering Committee

To plan for a return to in-person instruction for the fall semester, the university created a COVID Response Steering Committee, co-led by the Provost and the Vice President for Student Life, and comprised of the Vice President for University Communications, the Associate Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, the Associate Provost for Engaged Learning, the Associate Provost for Integrative Science, the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Services, the Associate Vice President for University Communications, the Associate Athletic Director, and the Chief of the Furman Police Department.

This Steering Committee met 3-4 times per week throughout the fall semester, working directly with the Public Health and Safety Advisory Group and the COVID Operations Team.  These planning teams will continue to meet throughout the spring semester overseeing the university’s health and safety efforts.

The COVID Response Steering Committee was guided by these core principles last summer and throughout the fall semester, and will continue to be guided by them during the spring.

  1. Safely teaching students in an in-person setting continues to be our top institutional priority. Any program, event, or service that has the potential to interfere with the student experience may need to be deprioritized.
  2. Students thrive when they have safe places to sleep, eat, exercise, and socialize. These remain essential, even though they may look different than before the pandemic.
  3. The university has developed protocols aimed at preventing and stopping the spread of the virus, such as asymptomatic surveillance testing, cleaning and disinfecting, screening, contact tracing, isolation, quarantine, and social distancing and the use of face coverings.
  4. The university has provided faculty, staff, and students access to the same basic information, formal education and training regarding COVID-19.
  5. In all planning (including for contingencies), concern for vulnerable populations and accessibility for people with disabilities has been and will continue to be taken into consideration.
  6. The university will continue to 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.

The COVID Response Steering Committee was grateful to see our students have the opportunity for in person learning through our scheduled last class day of November 20, in large part to the campus community’s careful application of these principles, and their adherence to the Paladin Promise.

Public Health and Safety Advisory Group

  • John Wheeler, chair, associate provost for Integrative Science
  • Elaine Baker, director of Sports Medicine, director of the St. Francis Therapy Center at Furman
  • Anna Cass, epidemiologist, assistant professor of Health Sciences
  • Carmela Epright, medical ethicist, professor of Philosophy
  • Ann Knowles, M.D., medical director of the Earle Student Health Center
  • John Milby, chief of police
  • Meghan Slining, epidemiologist, associate professor of Health Sciences
  • Bernie Stanton, director of risk management
  • Natalie The, epidemiologist, associate professor of Health Sciences

Student Advisory Group

The COVID Student Advisory Group serves as a liaison between the COVID Response Steering Committee and the student body. This group meets with members of the steering committee every Friday morning. There is representation from residential students, commuters, remote learners, student-athletes, fraternity and sorority life, student diversity council, student government, and various other student organizations. These students have agreed to be available to the student body, who may ask them questions and/or send them suggestions to share with the steering committee.

If student groups would like a member of the COVID Response Steering Committee to attend one of their meetings for a Q&A, please email furman.focused@furman.edu to make those arrangements.

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 spring semester, please email furman.focused@furman.edu