The Covid-19 numbers are still rising in South Carolina, colleges start the new student year with protocols amid high infection rate

The situation with the Covid-19 in South Carolina is getting more intense since the daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise for some time now.

While health experts urge people to get vaccinated, schools and colleges are starting the school year with high infection rates with no clear pandemic measure in place.

The latest information from the College of Charleston indicates that the college will require students and staff to follow certain protocols as majority of students are back for in-person teaching.

On the emergency meeting that took place on Tuesday as a result of the recent Covid-19 across the state, the college officials decided to require all students and staff to wear masks while they are on college regardless of their vaccination status.

The college announced that the face mask requirement is the only measure for now. Social distancing or other precautions are not currently required.

“It’s really a concern from many faculty members that they have small children at home, and they are taking care of elderly parents who are at risk,” CofC President Andrew Hsu said. “There are small children who aren’t vaccinated yet, so that’s really the reason behind that.”

However, the college officials decided to put extra precaution measures to keep everyone safe. According to them, unvaccinated students are obligated to bring a negative PCR test before returning to campus. Those vaccinated are not required, but are strongly encouraged.

The college is currently offering incentives for students to get vaccinated. As of now, the college plans to stick to in-person classes, but there is also option available for virtual learning.

“There is still a selection of online courses, so if students wanted to remain virtual and take all their courses online, they would work with an advisor to do that,” Alicia Caudill, CofC Executive Vice President for Student Affairs, said.” But we know that most our students wanted to be in person so that’s what we’re planning for so most students will be in in person classes.”

Faculty members that have an accommodation request will have to go through the American Disabilities Act or the Family Medical Leave Act to teach online.

Some faculty members have expressed concern with the accommodation process, and other policies in place for the Fall semester.

In an early August survey conducted by the by the American Association of University Professors’ CofC, more than 300 professors said that they are worried about their safety and therefore the safety of their families.

The problem with the face masks has already been addressed, but majority of them are worried because no vaccine requirement has been enforced at the campus that might result in Covid-19 spread among students and staff.

The college is doing everything they can to prevent the spread of the virus in the campus and keep everyone safe as much as they can. According to the college, they are monitoring around 40 cases for now.

“Right now, we’re following CDC and DHEC guidelines as closely as possible. We are doing the maximum that we’re allowed my South Carolina law, so we think right now our campuses and our classrooms are safe,” Hsu said.

Monica Doyle

Editor-in-Chief

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