Summer COVID-19 Guidelines
Weekly COVID-19 testing is not required over the summer, but the university is still offering free testing for faculty and staff.
- Daily saliva testing is available on campus. Please check the schedule often as times and locations may change.
- You can also get tested off campus.
- It is very important that anyone that develops significant symptoms of COVID-19, like fever, cough or shortness of breath, contact their healthcare provider for evaluation. If needed, an appointment for a test will be scheduled.
- At this time, diagnostic tests are at covered at no cost for State Health Plan members. Please visit PEBA's website for the most current information.
The university strongly encourages all students, faculty, and staff to get fully vaccinated in order to protect themselves and the community. In addition, we recommend everyone complete their booster vaccination once eligible.
- University Health Services has free walk-up vaccine clinics and booster shots at the Center for Health and Well-Being from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily.
- Vaccine appointments on campus can also be made through MyHealthSpace, or you can find a vaccine in the community.
- COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are also available at the Center for Health and Well-Being. University Health Services is currently administering Moderna and Johnson and Johnson boosters. See more information on the UHS site.
- If you have received the vaccine, please upload your vaccine record into the MyHealthSpace portal. The portal is compliant with federal health privacy law and your records will not be shared. For instructions on how to upload a copy of your completed vaccine card to MyHealthSpace visit our COVID-19 Vaccine Information page. If you received your vaccine on campus through University Health Services, your vaccine status will be updated automatically.
State Health Plan Insurance Coverage
PEBA, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and Express Scripts are continuing to monitor information about the COVID-19 vaccines. Visit PEBA's website for the most recent information regarding vaccine coverage for State Health Plan and MoneyPlus participants.
On November 29, 2021 we sent notification to impacted employees regarding federal Executive Order 14042, “Ensuring Adequate COVID-19 Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors.” The Executive Order requires federal contractors--including the University of South Carolina--to ensure that all employees who work on or in connection with a federal contract to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive approval for a medical or religious exemption.
On December 7, 2021, a federal court in Georgia issued a preliminary injunction preventing the federal government nationwide from enforcing the Executive Order’s vaccine mandate for federal contractors and employees. Therefore, the university is suspending the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for our employees who work on or in connection with a federal contract. Vaccinations are still recommended for those who are medically eligible. Visit our COVID-19 site for more information. The University of South Carolina is committed to complying with all federal requirements and we will provide additional updates as needed.
Face coverings are required in the following spaces:
- Medical facilities, including the Center for Health and Well-Being, Thomson Health Center, COVID-19 testing facilities, VA School of Medicine campus and any other medical facility.
Face coverings are encouraged for people in the following situations:
- If you are at high risk for illness – those who are elderly, immunocompromised, pregnant or who have certain medical conditions.
- If you live or regularly interact with someone at high risk for illness.
- If you have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine.
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19.
- If you work in spaces where it is difficult to remain a safe distance apart.
- On public transportation.
Additional guidelines and recommendations:
- Voluntary masking in all remaining areas of campus is supported.
- The face covering requirements will remain until conditions and public health recommendations dictate a policy modification.
- Medical-grade face coverings, such as N95, KN95 or surgical masks, are more effective than cloth coverings. No matter the face covering you choose, make sure it fits tightly over your nose and mouth to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets.
- Employees who have medical conditions that make wearing a face covering difficult
are encouraged to talk with their supervisor about alternative options. Depending
on the situation and the needs of the unit, these alternatives may include using a
plastic face shield as an alternative or modifications to a physical workspace such
as a transparent physical barrier.
Policy UNIV 3.04 Communicable Disease Outbreak Mitigation Measures [pdf] includes specific directives concerning the need for and use of face coverings on campus.
For more information about face coverings, please refer to our frequently asked questions.
The university has modified its operations to protect the health and well-being of our campus community. The most important thing you can do to keep yourself and others safe is to follow the safety guidelines. This includes:
- Monitoring yourself for symptoms every day.
- Staying home if you are sick.
- Wearing your face covering.
- Washing your hands frequently.
- Maintaining a safe distance from others.
- Disinfecting surfaces and maintaining a clean workspace.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has many videos and information on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. You can find some videos here.
If you are experiencing stress or anxiety, seek help. Employees have 24/7 access to counseling services through the Employee Assistance Program.
State Health Plan members who need to see a doctor can take advantage of PEBA's Telehealth services.
- Isolate off campus for five full days to prevent the spread of illness regardless of vaccination status.
- Following this isolation, if symptoms completely resolve, the individual may leave isolation but must wear a face covering at all times for an additional five days when around others.
- Fully vaccinated individuals who completed a two-dose Moderna vaccine series within the last 6 months, two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine series within the last 5 months or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the last 2 months and those who have received a booster are not required to quarantine following exposure to a positive COVID-19 infection if they are not showing any symptoms. However, they should wear a face covering around others for 10 days and receive a COVID test 5 days after exposure.
- Individuals who have had a confirmed COVID-19 infection within the last 90 days (tested positive using a health care-conducted viral test) are not required to quarantine following exposure to a positive COVID-19 infection if they are not showing any symptoms. However, they should wear a face covering around others for 10 days and receive a COVID test 5 days after exposure.
- Unvaccinated individuals must quarantine off campus for 5 days, get a test on day 5, and wear a mask around others for 5 additional days following exposure to a positive COVID-19 infection.
- Individuals who received a Moderna vaccine series more than 6 months ago, Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine series more than 5 months ago or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson more than 2 months ago and have not received a booster must quarantine off campus for 5 days, get a test on day 5, and wear a mask around others for 5 additional days following exposure to a positive COVID-19 infection.
- All students living on campus are required to file a quarantine and isolation plan with Housing and Residence Life. Please update your plan for spring 2022; emergency arrangements will only be available under extreme circumstances.
- The Health Attestation form is automatically routed to the appropriate Human Resources representative, and employees only need to submit this form one time.
- For technical issues with the eform, please contact the South Carolina IT Service Desk at 803-777-1800 or place a ticket with the Help Desk.
- Staff members who cannot make this affirmation should contact their supervisor. Faculty members who cannot make this affirmation and who will be working on campus should contact their department chair.
Employees are expected to monitor their own health on a daily basis and take appropriate actions if they are not feeling well. Employees who are sick are to stay home and employees who exhibit symptoms of illness at the workplace are to return home.
- Notify their supervisor and stay home or return home.
- Follow up with their health care provider or call the university's Coronavirus Phone Bank (803-576-8511) if they are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
- Notify Environmental Health and Safety at 803-528-8191 so EHS can investigate and determine if this potential illness meets the OSHA reporting requirements for a workplace illness.
- University Health Services offers quick tips for appropriate actions to take if an employee has been in close contact [pdf] with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
Supervisors can help create a safe work environment by identifying ways to reduce points of shared contact, increase physical distancing, and encourage employees to follow the safety guidelines. Remember that not all employees have been fully vaccinated. Maintaining safety protocols in the workplace is an important step in maintaining the health and safety of all members of our campus community.
Units are encouraged to employ a broad range of solutions to address their specific circumstances including:
- Restricting non-essential visitors.
- Utilizing video or phone conferencing instead of face-to-face meetings.
- Reducing the number of workstations or staggering schedules.
- Placing plexiglass wellness screens or other barriers that would limit the connection to other workstations or in areas such as check-in stations, customer service greeting areas etc.
- Reducing the number of chairs in waiting areas.
- Reassessing flow patterns throughout the building to allow for reduced contact and discourage congregation.
- Ensuring signage to encourage physical distancing, hand washing, etc.
Promoting a Healthy Campus Workplace:
To maintain a safe on-campus work environment the university has adopted enhanced cleaning protocols, made workplace modifications, and distributed protective equipment and cleaning products. Safety guidelines have been adopted campus wide.
Supervisors need to be creative and flexible to find the right balance between operational requirements and individual concerns, drawing upon a variety of options and a broad range of resources such as:
Staggered schedules can help reduce traffic in the workplace by having employees arrive and depart at different times.
It can also provide flexibility for personnel who might need additional time in the morning or in the afternoon to cover their family responsibilities.
Some employees may benefit from modified work hours. Supervisors will need to ensure that employees working non-standard hours have opportunities to connect with other members of the team, receive clear guidance, and obtain adequate input on their work.
With supervisor approval, employees may use accrued time off for related absences (compensatory time, annual leave, or sick leave, as applicable) to cover time during which they are unable to work.
Depending on the complexity of the situation, including the requirements of the unit and the needs of the employee, a hybrid solution may be required that incorporates more than one option, for example combining an adjusted schedule with periods of leave.
In situations where all other options have been exhausted it may be necessary to place an employee on Leave Without Pay.
The pandemic has created additional challenges for employees who have school age or pre-school children. The information on our parenting resources webpage is provided to assist employees who need to balance childcare and work.
Your HR Contact is available to assist you as you navigate the COVID-19 guidelines. If you need additional support please reach out to Human Resources.