UofSC to require face masks in classrooms, library as part of phased campus reopening plan

Four-phase transitional reopening plan for students, faculty, and staff to begin June 1
Updated: May. 27, 2020 at 5:03 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The University of South Carolina has implemented a face-covering policy for its Columbia campus.

The new policy, according to UofSC President Bob Caslen, is part of the phased campus reopening plan. It requires all individuals on campus to wear a face covering whenever physical distancing is difficult or the risk of infection is high.

This policy will be mandatory for anyone in Student Health Services, the Thomas Cooper Library, the Russell House, and all classrooms.

Students, faculty, and staff asked to carry a face covering of their choice at all times in case they have to be in an environment where a face covering is required.

“Put simply, we wear face coverings in order to protect others, and as Gamecocks, we pledge to demonstrate concern for others,” Caslen wrote in a message on the university’s website. “The research is clear: an infected person wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of COVID-19 to others. It could be easy to assume that you don’t need to wear a face covering if you feel fine, but we all know that asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 could unknowingly spread the virus to those around them.”

UofSC will also install additional hand sanitizing stations, implement social distancing protocols, and disinfect “high-touch areas” around campus.

The university also unveiled a plan that consists of four phases allowing select groups of students, faculty, and staff members to return to campus.

In the first phase, university departments will bring no more than 30% of their workforce back to campus. These employees are deemed essential to academic, research, and extra-curricular activities and will return to support institutional operations, research and teaching activities, student support services, athletics, and the return of students and other faculty and staff. Employees who are high-risk and vulnerable are urged not to return during this phase. That phase begins on June 1.

The second phase will see an additional 30% of departments’ workforce return to campus. These employees will return to help enhance preparations for the return of students.

The third phase brings back the remaining employees to finalize preparations ahead of the start of the fall semester.

The final phase will begin on August 3 and will last through the end of the academic year. At this time, the university will return to full operations while implementing mitigation strategies that have put in place for faculty, staff, and students.

Free COVID-19 testing for returning employees and students will take place at Colonial Life Arena on June 1 and 2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. You are asked to bring your health insurance card and Carolina ID to be tested.

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