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College of Charleston Campus Advisory: COVID-19 Update for Spring ’22

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The following message was sent to the College of Charleston campus community on December 31, 2021:

Dear Campus Community,

College of Charleston leadership continues to monitor both the medical and scientific progression of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as legal and public policy developments. As has been the case since early spring 2020, conditions can change quickly. The College’s foremost priority is to provide our students with a safe and healthy learning and living environment and our employees with a safe and healthy workplace.

At this point, the College will reopen for business as scheduled on Tuesday, January 4, 2022.  Residence halls will reopen on Wednesday, January 5, 2022, and classes for the Spring 2022 semester will begin in-person on Monday, January 10, 2022. The Spring 2022 Return to Campus protocols announced to campus in November 2021 remain in place. Face coverings will continue to be required indoors on campus.

In keeping with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the College is amending its quarantine and isolation protocols, effective January 1, 2022. Highlights of the new protocols are below:

  • COVID-19 positive students, faculty and staff both on and off-campus (regardless of vaccination status):
    • 5-day isolation away from campus required.
    • Your isolation period is determined from the date of the positive COVID-19 test. Day 1 of isolation begins the day after the positive test date.
    • If you have no symptoms after five days and you are without fever for 24 hours and not on fever-reducing medicines, you may return to campus but  MUST wear a mask while around others for an additional five days.
    • If your symptoms have not improved on day 5, a full 10-day isolation away from campus is required.
  • Students, faculty and staff that have close contact with an individual who has tested positive:
    • For those who have received their initial COVID-19 vaccination series recently (within six months for Pfizer and Moderna and within two months for Johnson and Johnson) or who have received their booster:
      • No quarantine required.
      • Masks are required for 10 days in public spaces following exposure.
      • Monitor yourself for COVID-19 symptoms. If symptoms develop, stay home and seek testing.
      • If asymptomatic, testing is encouraged on day 5 or after, but is not required.
    • For those who have not completed their initial COVID-19 vaccination series or for those who received their initial vaccination series some time ago (more than six months out from their second Pfizer or Moderna shot or more than 2 months after the J&J vaccine and not yet boosted):
      • Required to complete 5-day quarantine away from campus; if asymptomatic on day 5, you may return to campus and adhere to strict masking around anyone for another 5 days.
      • Monitor yourself for COVID-19 symptoms. If symptoms develop, stay home and seek testing.
      • Quarantine expectations will be shared with close contacts by the College’s contact tracing team.

It is critical that students, particularly on-campus residents, make quarantine and isolation plans now before returning to campus. Given the transmission rates of the omicron variant, students will need to be prepared to implement their respective plans quickly, thereby reducing the risk to the greater campus community. Furthermore, it is imperative that students who are contacted by the College’s COVID-19 Team respond promptly and follow the provided directives. If that team cannot reach you within a reasonable timeframe, they will use your emergency contact to provide you with the necessary guidance. Failure to respond may result in student conduct charges.

The omicron variant presents challenges that we, as a campus community, have not yet faced and will require a new set of solutions. The College will change and adapt its plans and protocols as required. However, there is an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 in any public space where people gather. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious virus that can lead to severe illness and death. We must work together to follow the campus protocol.

Please be on the lookout for further guidance about various campus COVID-19 protocols (for example: limits on group gatherings or in-person meetings) as adjustments are likely to be made. If the quarantine and isolation plan outlined above does not adequately control virus spread and campus-based transmission becomes unmanageable, the College of Charleston is prepared to implement a more robust plan, which may include longer quarantine and isolation periods and/or virtual instruction and gatherings.

As always, please continue to monitor the Back on the Bricks website for the most comprehensive and up-to-date campus plans and protocols.

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