Charleston, South Carolina – Charleston Southern University has 17 confirmed positive coronavirus cases as of Tuesday. That includes 14 students and 3 employees.
CSU resumed In-person classes about three weeks ago and students also have the option to take classes virtually.
University officials are requiring students and employees to take daily health assessments through an app called LiveSafe when they are entering certain areas on campus. The self-screen process is required to enter places like the classrooms, the cafeteria, and the library.
Students must verify they’ve passed the screening by showing a screenshot of their results.
School officials say they also have 32 students in isolation, seven are on campus in CSU’s dedicated isolation housing. There are also five employees in isolation.
CSU says based on interviews with each individual, those in isolation awaiting test results may have been exposed to the virus and are symptomatic. The university wants to limit their ability to spread the virus in case they have been infected. Officials say the majority of students in isolation have shown mild symptoms.
Senior CSU student Zach Howell says he likes the app that screens for coronavirus symptoms.
“I think it’s really good. I think it helps us keep track of everything,” Howell said. “It allows us to keep a double check on ourselves too. We’re having to be honest with ourselves like what we’re feeling.”
Howell says campus is one of the places that he feels the safest.
“It feels good to be back and seeing other people’s faces even though they are behind masks,” Howell said. “We know that we are moving forward ahead, we know that we are moving forward together.”
Students are advised to complete the assessment before leaving home if they are commuting or from their dorm rooms on campus.
It asks if they have symptoms and provides a reference list. It also asks if they’ve been in contact with someone with COVID-19 or if they’ve tested positive for the virus.
CSU’s Infection Control Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Public Health Laurel Glover says the school has a pandemic task force that works to make the campus safe.
“We have tried to highlight the importance to all of our community that even if it’s the most mild symptom, even if you’re not sure if it’s something attributable to COVID-19 we really don’t want you to come to campus,” Glover said. “We are going to work with you to make sure that you can continue to learn virtually or work virtually.”
Glover says CSU initially saw a spike when classes resumed, she says that was expected. The school reported 26 cases after classes resumed.
As a result, CSU cancelled sports, face-to-face meetings and activities outside of the classroom for two weeks. That two-week period ends on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
“Being a senior, it does kind of hurt a little bit that some of these things are cancelled, but at the same time I know that it’s for the better of everyone else,” Howell said. “If it means keeping everyone else safe, it’s worth taking the sacrifice of cancelling things for now.”
The school has a pandemic task force and provides guidance for students and employees if they don’t pass the daily health assessments.
“The students and employees have a quick and easy way to reach out and say, ‘Hey, here’s what I’m experiencing’ and then I can follow-up with them and determine if they need to quarantine, if they need to isolate or if further follow-up is needed,” Glover said.
The school also requires masks to be worn and there is no in-person Chapel. It’s being held virtually.
There is social distancing in classrooms and plexiglass barriers for faculty. The fall school calendar also ends at the end of November instead of December to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
“Genuinely, we want the students to have a meaningful experience while they are here and connection with other people particular for CSU is a big part of that,” Glover said. “We are going work very hard to make sure the students can safely have some safe in-person activities.”