Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources for Students
The University of South Carolina Beaufort is working diligently to prepare for students, faculty, and staff to return to campus. Internal Working Groups have developed strategies, policies, and procedures – in line with best practices established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) as well as regional, state, and local experts – to mitigate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our Sand Shark family. Cooperation and compliance with safety measures are our best means to protect the health and wellbeing of our community.
As of August 1, 2020
- August 5, 2020: Town Hall with Chancellor Al M. Panu and Senior Administrators
- COVID-19 Student FAQ
- Watch: July Town Hall for Students and Families
- Watch USCB’s 2020 Virtual Commencement
- CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
- DHEC: https://www.scdhec.gov/infectious-diseases/viruses/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19
We recognize that this is a stressful and unprecedented time. There are several resources on campus ready and willing to assist. Please reach out to any of the offices below, and someone would be happy to speak with you.
- Questions for USCB’s Public Health Team: USCBCOVID19@uscb.edu or (843) 208-8099
- Vice Chancellor of Student Development: firstname.lastname@example.org or 843.208.8120
- Housing and Judicial Affairs: email@example.com or (843) 208-8722
- Counseling Services: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Accessibility Services: email@example.com
- Financial Aid: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bursar (Bills): email@example.com
- Department of Public Safety: (843) 208-8911
Fall 2020 Revised Academic Calendar
USCB will resume face-to-face instruction on its three campuses for Fall 2020. Because your well-being remains our priority, the fall semester calendar has been revised, running straight through with no Fall Break. Face-to-face classes will begin Wednesday, August 20 and conclude Wednesday, November 24. After Thanksgiving Break (November 25-29), students will not return to campuses – instead finishing the fall semester remotely then returning to campuses for the spring 2021 semester.
Fall 2020 Semester Calendar
- August 20: Classes begin
- September 7 (Labor Day): No classes
- October 15-16: Fall Break is cancelled; Normal class schedules will be followed
- November 3 (Election Day): Remote classes will be held
- November 24: Face-to-face classes end
- November 25-29: Thanksgiving Break
- November 30-December 2: Remote classes will be held
- December 3-4: Remote reading days
- December 7-14: Remote final exam period
Return to Campus Training
All students are required to complete the “Beaufort COVID-19 Health for Students,” which may be accessed via Blackboard (under your courses tab). Additional trainings:
Hygiene and Physical Distancing
The USCB community is required to comply with public health guidelines in regards to hygiene-related best practices. Please follow these tips from the CDC on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19:
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds - especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Maintain at least 6 feet distance between yourself and others at all times
- Do not gather in groups.
- Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
- Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Students are expected to follow federal, state, local, and USCB guidelines at all times regarding events, gatherings, or meetings. Physical distancing should be practiced at all times. This includes, but is not limited to, classrooms, lounge spaces, offices, bathrooms, and lobby areas. Students, faculty, and staff are expected to adhere to all signage related to physical distancing.
Personal Protective Equipment/Face Masks
Every USCB student will be provided a personal health kit (by the Housing Office), which will include two reusable face masks, pocket hand sanitizer, and a germ key. Face masks/cloth face coverings are required to be worn by all students (and all USCB employees) on all campuses when in the presence of others and in all settings where six-foot social distancing is difficult to maintain. Face masks/cloth face coverings are not required while alone in private rooms in residence halls or enclosed offices.
Appropriate use of face masks/cloth face coverings is critical to minimizing risks to those around you. You can spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. Face masks/cloth face coverings mask must cover the nose and mouth to be effective. Home-made or commercially manufactured face masks/cloth face coverings help contain a wearer’s respiratory emissions. It is recommended face coverings are made primarily of cotton and double-layered.
Reusable face masks/cloth face coverings must be properly laundered after each day’s use. After one day’s use, they must be laundered before another day’s use. Having a week’s supply of face masks/cloth face coverings can help reduce the need for daily laundering.
Various spaces on campuses, e.g., classrooms, dining and recreational facilities, libraries, and the bookstore, are reconfigured to support six-foot social distancing. Further, plexiglass, face shields, and social-distancing signage and decals will be utilized to promote safe practices.
Supplies will be provided for cleaning of shared spaces throughout the day. Before you leave a classroom, shared study space, shared dining space, or shared recreation/activity space, you are required to wipe down all surfaces to ensure the health and well-being of other community members.
Most importantly, students, who are sick or who may be sick, should stay at home (whether residence halls or off-campus housing) and should be tested. SCDHEC recommends that people, who have been infected with COVID-19, remain in isolation until: a) at least 10 days have passed since their symptoms began, b) they have no fever (body temperature of 100.4°F or less using an oral thermometer) for 3 days without the use of fever-reducing medicines, and c) their symptoms are improving. Some people may require more than ten (10) days to feel better.
Using the CDC’s Self-Checker, students are required to self-monitor daily for the following symptoms:
- Fever Greater Than 100.4°F
- Shortness of Breath or Difficulty Breathing
- Sore Throat
- Muscle or Body Aches
- Chills or Shaking
- New Loss of Sense of Smell and/or Taste
- Congestion or Runny Nose
- Nausea or Vomiting (more common in children)
- Diarrhea (more common in children).
COVID-19 Testing, Care, and Contact Tracing
The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) does not recommend testing all students, faculty, and staff upon return to campuses. The reasoning is that antibody tests continue to be unreliable, and viral tests are a snapshot in time but provide no indication or assurance for whether an individual will test positive or negative at any other point in time. Thus, USCB will not engage in mass testing; however, the university has entered a partnership with Beaufort Memorial Hospital (BMH) in order to provide access to testing for any individual – faculty, staff, or student – who wants to be tested. Testing is free of charge (but subject to change based on federal and state funding for testing supplies and personnel).
BMH will return to campuses to offer flu vaccination clinics in early fall and will provide ongoing telehealth services via an app and a kiosk on the Bluffton campus, Library #227. These services are available to all USCB students, who are encouraged to download the BMH Care Anywhere app. Telehealth provides a virtual visit with a healthcare provider. Students who require further care will be referred to a local BMH healthcare provider or advised to seek hospitalization if the health concern is potentially serious. USCB will have access to Registered Nurse staff and a medical director to support campus health operations and collaborate with DHEC on COVID-19 cases.
SCDHEC is responsible for the process of contact tracing. USCB’s Public Health Response Team has completed contact-tracing training through the Johns Hopkins University and will support SCDHEC to implement contact tracing and additive practices, e.g. verification of student class attendance, seating charts, student ID swipes, and portable swipes at student events.
Quarantine, Isolation, and COVID-19 Illness
Most importantly, students, who are sick or who may be sick, should stay at home (whether residence halls or off-campus housing) until they are well. SCDHEC recommends that people, who have been infected with COVID-19, not go out until: a) 10 days have passed since their symptoms began, b) they have no fever (body temperature of 100.4°F or less using an oral thermometer) for 3 days without the use of fever-reducing medicines, and c) their other symptoms have improved.
Students who live in the residence halls are required – by the recently-updated USCB housing contract – to follow all public health guidelines, including those related to quarantine and isolation. In the event that students require quarantine or isolation, USCB’s standard protocol is for students to return to their primary residences. If they are unable to return home, the university will provide alternate housing on-campus for the duration of their quarantine or isolation. During this period, the student must avoid all unnecessary contact with others. The period of isolation will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the Public Health Response Team. Further, that team will work with housing, dining, and others to ensure that the student is supported.
Every student, who lives in USCB’s residence halls, must complete forms for Move-In Health Screening (within 48 hours of arriving to campus) and My Personal Health Plan, which the Housing Office will keep on file. The plan is a record of each student’s preferred plans in the event that quarantine or isolation is necessary. Further, all quarantined or isolated students (whether at home or on campus)), including commuters, should submit the COVID-19 Student Report Form, so that USCB personnel may assist with faculty notifications and any other needed academic accommodations.
Transportation and Travel
As a mitigation strategy, USCB will not offer the Palmetto Breeze shuttle because this kind of mass transit – many people in a single vehicle – is not viable in the short run. We strongly recommend that, if you travel in personal vehicles between campuses or for off-campus events, you limit the number of people per vehicle as much as possible. Whenever possible, the number should be limited to one person per vehicle. If more than one person is in the vehicle, vehicle occupants must:
- Wear face masks/cloth face coverings
- Use hand sanitizer regularly
- Allow for the circulation of outside air
Support for Emotional Well-Being
The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for each of us. Counseling Services will continue to support students and will offer new virtual walk-in appointments, workshops, and other opportunities to help students cope with the stressors caused by COVID-19.
Living on Campus
Following recommendations and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), we have implemented the following:
- All apartments and common areas were deep cleaned/disinfected over the summer then sealed (no one entering until Fall);
- All bedrooms are now single occupancy (no doubles);
- No more than six (6) people are allowed to be in any apartment at one time;
- Overnight guests must be registered with the Housing office 24 hours prior to arrival;
- Students are required to follow hygiene and cleaning protocols for the well-being of the entire Sand Shark community;
- Quarantine and isolation rooms have been reserved in the residence halls. However, in the event that students require quarantine or isolation, USCB’s standard protocol is for students to return to their primary residences.
Dining on Campus
Every associate in any dining facility will be screened daily for symptoms of COVID-19. Further, all are required to wear face masks at all times and gloves when handling food. Plexi health shield barriers have been installed at registers and points of service. Dine-in seating is limited to 45 people (with signage to indicate where students may sit for physical distancing), and diners must sanitize their hands before entering the cafeteria and must wear masks except when actually seated and eating.
Further, to give students more flexibility and to provide better value, USCB’s meal-plan options have been restructured to incorporate a declining balance system. This enhancement eliminates overpayment (i.e., the need to use a full meal swipe) at times when students want to buy smaller items (e.g., coffee or a smoothie).
Yes. After careful assessment, all USCB classrooms have been reconfigured for a 33 percent COVID-19 occupancy. While all other USC system institutions are using 50 percent occupancy, we believe 33 percent provides for six-foot distancing. Computer labs are also configured for 33 percent occupancy. Signage will guide students to seats that are physically distanced from classmates and professors.
In consultation with The Sun Conference and our Council of Presidents, USCB has committed to participating in practice and competition this Fall season. While the safety of our student-athletes, staff members and fans remains a top priority, we also recognize the importance of providing our student-athletes the opportunity to participate in the sport they love. Following NAIA guidelines, we will be delaying our Fall start dates, limiting travel rosters, limiting competition dates, and instituting testing mandates. In addition, we will be following rigorous cleaning processes, checkpoint procedures, and stressing mitigating practices.
Following conference and university procedure, travel to away games will be strictly monitored. All away travel will be limited as much as possible. When travel is necessary, student-athletes temperature will be monitored before, during and after the trip, bus seating will be limited and grouped, as much as possible, by campus housing groupings, masks will be required at all times when not in practice or competition. As when at home, mitigating practices will be stressed and expected. Our athletic training staff and athletic administration have been in communication regarding safety practices and protocols with our away opponents.
Fans will be allowed to attend athletic events. However, in light of the current circumstances, certain protocols will be in place for home events, e.g., face masks required by all fans and spectators, no use of permanent seating permitted, no restroom facilities will be open to the public at the soccer venue, concessions will not be provided, interaction with players will not be permitted. With these restrictions in mind, and cognizant of the trials our community has been facing these past several weeks and months, USCB Athletics has decided to NOT charge admission this Fall to any home athletic event.
To open safely, the Rec Center will utilize modified hours, limited capacities, strict cleaning procedures, and physical distancing measures.
- Fitness Center: no more than 10 patrons
- Group fitness studio: 2 patrons with 10x10 squares marked
- Basketball court 1: individual workout areas and for basketball shootaround purposes, 1 per goal.
- Individual workout squares marked.
- Court 2: 17 patrons
- Showers/Locker-room: 1 at a time
- A deep clean will be completed prior to opening and at closing.
- The fitness center and basketball courts will shut down every 2 hours for a deep clean.
- Bathrooms (sinks, faucets, restroom door handles, toilet handles, toilet seats) will be cleaned every hour.
- Staff will follow a strict and specific cleaning schedule.
- Disinfectant wipes, spray, and hand sanitizer will be placed abundantly throughout the facility.
- Pre-use and post-use wipe down protocol on all equipment.
- Staff and patrons will be held accountable for strict cleaning standards; must be a shared responsibility with the patrons and employees.
Patron Health Protocols
- Face coverings are required in the lobby for check-in and in all non-workout areas.
- To check-in, patrons will complete a brief health questionnaire and have their temperature taken. Patrons that do not pass the health questionnaire or present with a reading above 100.4 will not be allowed to enter the facility that day.
- Upon entering fitness center and/or gym, patrons will be asked to present their Sand Shark ID to the front desk staff and then the patron will swipe their university ID through the scanner.
- Patrons are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings while working out, but not required.
- Required hand sanitizer before workout.
- Staff and patrons will utilize one-way entrance and exit. Traffic flow patterns have been marked throughout the facility.
- Signage will designate physical distancing at the front desk area, group fitness room, weight room, and other areas as needed.
- All cardio and weight equipment is spaced, at minimum, 6 feet apart.
- Selectorized weight equipment and some cardio is moved to court 2 to assist in social distancing.
At this time, the following activities/services will be prohibited and/or unavailable:
- Indoor sports equipment (volleyball, basketball, pickleball, etc.)
- Towel service
- Water fountains for drinking (only available for refilling)
- Hard to clean fitness equipment (bands, slam balls, etc.)
Because of the bookstore's small foot print, the textbook section of the bookstore will be off limits. Students can avoid long lines and long waits by ordering course materials early through the website. The quickest and safest way to receive your course materials is to choose "shipping" or "store pick up" at checkout. Your materials will be safely boxed and shipped to you or be available for a quick store pick-up. To receive updates "like" Facebook page @SharksCoveBookstore
COVID-19 Student Toolbox
- CDC’s Self-Checker
- COVID-19 Educational Training for Students
- COVID-19 Signage
- COVID-19: Guidelines for University Operations
- Emergency Aid Application
- Move-In Health Screening
- My Personal Health Plan
- USCB COVID-19 Internal Working Groups
- USCB Public Health Response Team
- USCB Communicable Disease Outbreak Mitigation Measures
- USCB Communicable Disease Outbreak Quarantine/Isolation Policy
Student Government Association Vlogs
- Olayah’s Mask Making 101:
- Antonia’s Day at Work:
- Drew’s Store Outing: