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Division of Human Resources

COVID-19 Guidelines

The health of the campus depends on everyone doing their part to reduce the risks of COVID-19. These resources are provided to help departments and employees learn what guidelines to follow to keep everyone safe. 

Vaccinations:

In compliance with federal Executive Order 14042, the University of South Carolina is requiring designated employees impacted by a federal contract to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 18, 2022 or receive approval for a medical or religious exemption before that date.

Who's Required

Full-time and part-time faculty and staff as well as student employees who fall under the following categories are required to get vaccinated: 

  1. Employees working on or directly named on a federal contract, even if they work remotely.
  2. Employees who work in connection or support a federal contract in any way (e.g., human resources, legal, business administrators, research administration, facilities workers, etc.) even if they work remotely.
  3. Employees working in the same location or interacting with people in #1 and #2 above, including those working and/or meeting regularly (including teaching) in the same buildings. Employees are considered working in the same location if they share a workplace and/or if they may interact in common areas such as lobbies, elevators and stairwells, meeting rooms, break rooms and parking garages.

The university has identified this list of buildings on the Columbia campus [pdf] that are considered covered contractor workplaces.

 

Notification

The Division of Human Resources will notify employees on November 29 who have been identified as potentially unvaccinated or partially vaccinated and who fall under any of the categories above to inform them of the requirement. 

 

Vaccine Deadlines

To comply with the executive order, employees must complete the vaccination process or submit their request for a medical or religious exemption by January 4, 2022. This means they must receive their single (Johnson & Johnson) or first and second (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine dose(s) no later than the following dates:

  • Moderna: first dose by December 7, 2021; second dose by January 4, 2022
  • Pfizer: first dose by December 14, 2021; second dose by January 4, 2022
  • Johnson & Johnson: single dose by January 4, 2022

University Health Services administers the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines for free to eligible members of the UofSC community. Log into MyHealthSpace to schedule an appointment. All three vaccines may also be accessed through community vaccination sites nationwide.

Once employees covered under this Executive Order receive their final dose, they must upload an image of their completed vaccine card into MyHealthSpace no later than January 4, 2022. If their vaccine was administered through University Health Services, they do not need to do anything because their status will be updated automatically.

For student employees, temporary staff, or adjunct faculty members who are covered under this Executive Order and who will be separated before the holiday break and rehired in January, this vaccination requirement will apply to them upon the effective date of their rehire.

 

Medical and Religious Exemptions

Employees who need to apply for an exemption from this requirement for medical or religious reasons, can complete the Vaccination Exemption Form [pdf] along with required attachments and submit them to the Employee Relations Office at uscer@mailbox.sc.edu by January 4, 2022.

 

More Information

The federal guidance also requires designated employees to comply with current CDC guidance regarding mask-wearing and physical distancing in the workplace. 

Please review answers to frequently asked questions or visit the White House’s Safer Federal Workforce Task Force website for more information about the vaccine mandate. 

If you have questions regarding the mandate, medical and religious exemptions, or the definitions of covered contracted employees, please contact the Employee Relations Office at uscer@mailbox.sc.edu.

If you have questions regarding the vaccine or uploading your vaccine card into MyHealthSpace, please contact UofSC’s Coronavirus Phone Bank at 803-576-8511.


COVID-19 Testing:

To safeguard the health and safety of all members of our campus community, monthly COVID-19 diagnostic testing is required for all employees who are working on campus during the fall semester. Testing is also required for employees or affiliates who will be coming to campus to use campus services. 

Information about the testing requirements are available on the Current COVID-19 Guidelines page.

Free saliva testing is available on campus through University Health Services. Testing is also available at multiple locations throughout the state. Employees who obtain their test off-campus must upload their own tests results into MyHealthSpace.

For more information about testing, please refer to our frequently asked questions

 

Face Coverings:

Face coverings are required at all times inside all campus buildings, unless you are in your own residence hall room or private office or you are eating inside campus dining facilities. They are also required on shuttles, buses and other forms of university transportation.

Employees who have medical conditions that make wearing a face covering difficult are encouraged to talk with their supervisor about alternative options. Depending on the situation and the needs of the unit, these alternatives may include using a plastic face shield as an alternative or modifications to a physical workspace such as a transparent physical barrier.

Policy UNIV 3.04 Communicable Disease Outbreak Mitigation Measures [pdf] includes specific directives concerning the need for and use of face coverings on campus. 

For more information about face coverings, please refer to our frequently asked questions


Guidelines for Campus Safety:

The university has modified its operations to protect the health and well-being of our campus community. The most important thing you can do to keep yourself and others safe is to follow the safety guidelines. This includes:

  • Monitoring yourself for symptoms every day.
  • Staying home if you are sick.
  • Wearing your face covering.
  • Washing your hands frequently.
  • Maintaining a safe distance from others.
  • Disinfecting surfaces and maintaining a clean workspace.

If you are experiencing stress or anxiety, seek help. Employees have 24/7 access to counseling services through the Employee Assistance Program.

 

Daily Health Monitoring:  

Employees working on campus must complete the Health Attestation form and monitor their own health daily. For help completing the form, please refer to the COVID-19 Attestation instructions.

  • The Health Attestation form is automatically routed to the appropriate Human Resources representative, and employees only need to submit this form one time.  
  • For technical issues with the eform, please contact the South Carolina IT Service Desk at 803-777-1800 or place a ticket with the Help Desk.
  • Staff members who cannot make this affirmation should contact their supervisor. Faculty members who cannot make this affirmation and who will be working on campus should contact their department chair.

Employees are expected to monitor their own health on a daily basis and take appropriate actions if they are not feeling well. 

  • Notify their supervisor and stay home or return home.
  • Follow up with their health care provider or call the university's Coronavirus Phone Bank (803-576-8511) if they are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19.  
  • Notify Environmental Health and Safety at 803-528-8191 so EHS can investigate and determine if this potential illness meets the OSHA reporting requirements for a workplace illness.
  • University Health Services offers quick tips for appropriate actions to take if an employee has been in close contact [pdf] with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.


Frequently Asked Questions

All employees including full-time and part-time faculty and staff as well as student employees who fall under the following categories:

  1. Employees working on or directly named on a federal contract, even if they work remotely.
  2. Employees who work in connection or support a federal contract in any way (e.g., human resources, legal, business administrators, research administration, facilities workers, etc.) even if they work remotely.
  3. Employees working in the same location or interacting with people in #1 and #2 above including those working and/or meeting regularly (including teaching) in the same buildings. Employees are considered working in the same location if they share a workplace and/or if they may interact in common areas such as lobbies, elevators and stairwells, meeting rooms, break rooms and parking garages.

The university has identified this list of buildings on the Columbia campus [pdf] that are considered covered contractor workplaces.

We sent notifications on November 29, 2021 to employees who fall into any of the categories below for whom we do not have verification of full vaccination to inform them that they must either be fully vaccinated by January 18, 2022 or approved for a medical or religious exemption before that date.

  1. Employees working on or directly named on a federal contract, even if they work remotely.
  2. Employees who work in connection or support a federal contract in any way (e.g., human resources, legal, business administrators, research administration, facilities workers, etc.) even if they work remotely.
  3. Employees working in the same location or interacting with people in #1 and #2 above including those working and/or meeting regularly (including teaching) in the same buildings. Employees are considered working in the same location if they share a workplace and/or if they may interact in common areas such as lobbies, elevators and stairwells, meeting rooms, break rooms and parking garages.

The university has identified this list of buildings on the Columbia campus [pdf] that are considered covered contractor workplaces.

If you are fully vaccinated:

If you are fully vaccinated and have not uploaded an image of your completed vaccine card into MyHealthSpace, follow these instructions.   

If you are partially vaccinated:

You are considered "fully vaccinated" when it has been two weeks after the last dose of the vaccine. This means if you have only received one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you must receive your second dose by January 4, 2022 in order to be fully vaccinated by January 18, 2022.

Once you receive your final dose, you must upload an image of your completed vaccine card into MyHealthSpace no later than January 4, 2022. If your vaccine was administered through University Health Services, you do not need to do anything because your status will be updated automatically.

If you are currently unvaccinated:

If you are notified that you are a “covered employee” under the federal contractor mandate, you are required to get vaccinated.

If you would like to apply for a medical or religious exemption, please complete the Vaccination Exemption Form [pdf] along with required attachments and submit them to the Employee Relations Office at uscer@mailbox.sc.edu by January 4, 2022.

You are considered "fully vaccinated" when it has been two weeks after the last dose of the vaccine. This means you must receive your single (Johnson & Johnson) or first and second (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine dose(s) no later than the following dates:

  • Moderna: first dose by December 7, 2021; second dose by January 4, 2022
  • Pfizer: first dose by December 14, 2021; second dose by January 4, 2022
  • Johnson & Johnson: single dose by January 4, 2022

University Health Services administers the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines for free to eligible member of the UofSC community. Log into MyHealthSpace to schedule an appointment. You can also access all three vaccines through community vaccination sites nationwide.

Once you receive your final dose, you must upload an image of your completed vaccine card into MyHealthSpace no later than January 4, 2022. If your vaccine was administered through University Health Services, you do not need to do anything because your status will be updated automatically.

If you are a student employee, temporary staff, or adjunct faculty member who received notification of coverage by this Executive Order and will be separate before the holiday break and be rehired in January, this vaccination requirement will apply to you upon the effective date of your rehire.

No. Regardless of work location, you must be fully vaccinated by January 18, 2022 or have an approved medical or religious exemption.

You must be active in PeopleSoft to access MyHealthSpace and have claimed your account. If you think you are not active, please contact your HR Contact so they can ensure you are able to upload your proof of vaccination.

This means you are not in compliance with the mandate and there will be consequences to include initial education and counseling on the benefits of receiving the vaccine.

Please complete the Vaccination Exemption Form [pdf] along with required attachments and submit them to the Employee Relations Office at uscer@mailbox.sc.edu by January 4, 2022.

No. Individuals who have already uploaded their completed vaccine card into MyHealthSpace do not need to take any action.

No. The executive order does not permit an exemption for those who have previously had the COVID-19 virus or for those who have antibodies to COVID-19.

No. The executive order does not permit testing as an alternative for or replacement for vaccination. Monthly testing is still required for faculty, staff and students as outlined on the COVID-19 website

No, not at this time. Fully vaccinated is defined as being two weeks past the final dose of the vaccine. 

You are considered "fully vaccinated" when it has been two weeks after the last dose of the vaccine. This means you must receive your single (Johnson & Johnson) or first and second (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine dose(s) no later than the following dates:

  • Moderna: first dose by December 7, 2021; second dose by January 4, 2022
  • Pfizer: first dose by December 14, 2021; second dose by January 4, 2022
  • Johnson & Johnson: single dose by January 4, 2022

University Health Services administers the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines for free to eligible members of the UofSC community. Log into MyHealthSpace to schedule an appointment. You can also access all three vaccines through community vaccination sites nationwide.

Once you receive your final dose, you must upload an image of your completed vaccine card into MyHealthSpace no later than January 4, 2022.

If your vaccine was administered through University Health Services, you do not need to do anything because your status will be updated automatically.

If you are already vaccinated and have not uploaded proof of vaccination, follow these instructions to assist us in complying with this effort.

If you are a student employee, temporary staff, or adjunct faculty member who received notification of coverage by this Executive Order and will be separated before the holiday break and be rehired in January, this vaccination requirement will apply to you upon the effective date of your rehire.

Yes. You will be required to get vaccinated by your effective date of rehire.

Yes. All international COVID-19 vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) or any other governing regulatory body are accepted.

Please call UofSC's Coronavirus Phone Bank at 803-576-8511 and they will validate your vaccination and reissue you a new card.

If you have questions regarding the mandate, medical and religious exemptions or the definitions of covered contracted employees, please contact the Employee Relations Office at uscer@mailbox.sc.edu.

If you have questions regarding the vaccine or uploading your vaccine card into MyHealthSpace, please contact UofSC's Coronavirus Phone Bank at 803-576-8511.

Yes. To protect the health and well-being of the campus community, a COVID-19 diagnostic test is required for all faculty and staff members who are new employees or who are returning to work on campus during the fall and who are not yet vaccinated. Testing sites will be open on campus to support faculty and staff testing.  

Faculty and staff members who have received all required doses of a COVID-19 vaccine may submit documentation of vaccination in place of the diagnostic test.

If you are tested on campus, your results will automatically upload into the MyHealthSpace system. 

If you are testing off-campus, you will need to upload your own test results.

Information about on campus testing is available on UofSC's COVID-19 Testing website.

Unless you are working 100% remotely, you are required to get monthly testing to ensure they are not putting themselves or others at risk.   

All employees are encouraged to monitor their own health daily and take appropriate actions if they experience symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or believe they have been exposed to the virus.  

Employees who come to campus to use facilities and services are required to get monthly testing to ensure they are not putting themselves or others at risk.  

All employees are encouraged to monitor their own health daily and take appropriate actions if they experience symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or believe they have been exposed to the virus.  

Yes. All faculty and staff must provide proof of one of the following by Wednesday, August 18, 2021.

    • a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test conducted between Aug. 8 to Aug. 18
    • proof of a prior positive COVID-19 infection within the last 90 days
    • a completed COVID-19 vaccination record

Employees are also required to do be tested once every 30 days throughout the semester. 

On campus tests are offered at no cost to employees.

Employees who are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 are encouraged to obtain a COVID-19 SAFE test

If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, contact your health care provider or call UofSC's Coronavirus Phone Bank (803-576-8511) and follow their direction regarding testing.

Yes. Testing will be available through University Health Services.

If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, contact your health care provider or call UofSC's Coronavirus Phone Bank (803-576-8511) and follow their direction regarding testing.

The State Health Plan adheres to the testing guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

More information about which tests are currently covered is available from PEBA.

Monthly COVID-19 diagnostic testing is required for employees during the fall semester. 

Employees who are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 are encouraged to obtain a COVID-19 SAFE test

On campus tests are offered at no cost to employees.

Employees may test more frequently than once every 30 days.

If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, contact your health care provider or call UofSC's Coronavirus Phone Bank (803-576-8511) and follow their direction regarding testing.

Yes. Face coverings are required at all times inside all campus buildings, unless you are in your own private office or you are eating.

They are also required on shuttles, buses and other forms of university transportation.

Policy UNIV 3.04 Communicable Disease Outbreak Mitigation Measures [pdf] includes specific directives concerning the need for and use of face coverings on campus.

Areas where employees are required to wear face coverings include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Entrances/Exits
  • Hallways/Stairs
  • Elevators
  • Breakrooms/Copy rooms
  • Bathrooms
  • Conference rooms
  • Desks that regularly interact with other employees, students, or visitors

Employees may take off face coverings inside buildings when:

  • They are alone in an enclosed private office.
  • They are alone in a private cubicle that has walls high enough to provide a physical barrier to mitigate the spread of respiratory particles under normal circumstances. For example, if the cubicles are in an area where all occupants are normally seated, the walls would need to be as high or higher than the face of a seated person. If the cubicle is in a high traffic area, then the walls would need to be as high or higher than the face of a standing person of average height.

A private office is an enclosed space with a single occupant.  

A cubical may be considered a private office if the cubical walls are high enough to provide a physical barrier that blocks respiratory particles under normal circumstances. For example, a reception desk with a high counter would not be a private cubical since a normal interaction involves someone speaking over the counter. (Other protective equipment such as a wellness screen might mitigate this risk, but unless the space is enclosed it is not a private office.)

It is recommended that you keep your face covering close to your desk. If somebody walks into your office, you should wear your face covering while interacting with the visitor.

If you are close to a doorway, you may want to consider keeping the door partially or fully closed, particularly if you are not fully vaccinated and in an area with substantial foot traffic.

If your desk is in an area that frequently has individuals walking past it, you should wear a face covering.

 

Unless there are physical barriers between workspaces that can effectively block respiratory droplets under normal working conditions,  you and your co-worker(s) should wear a face covering.

Employees who do not have a private office may continue to eat or drink at their desk if allowed by office policy. However, it is recommended that employees only take the face covering off while actively eating or drinking.

Employees should utilize discretion if it means removing their face coverings for a long period of time surrounded by other individuals. Face coverings should only be removed while actively eating or drinking and should be replaced as soon as they complete the active consumption of their meals.

Employees are encouraged to respectfully remind fellow employees of the guidelines. If you do not feel comfortable addressing the situation directly, you should have a discussion with your supervisor and request that they discuss the face covering requirements with the employee or the employee’s supervisor.

Employees who have a health condition are encouraged to talk to their supervisors about alternative options. Depending on the situation and the needs of the unit, these alternatives may include using a plastic face shield as an alternative or modifications to a physical workspace such as a transparent physical barrier.

No. Employees are expected to self-monitor their temperature and overall health daily.

Some areas on campus, such as the University Health Center, are taking daily temperatures.

When you submitted the online form your  Health Attestation is automatically routed to the appropriate Human Resources representative.   

No. Once you have completed your  Health Attestation form you no longer need to complete a daily screening form.  

You are still expected to monitor your own health every day and not report to work if you are sick.  

If you are sick contact your supervisor. If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 contact your health care provider or call UofSC's Coronavirus Phone Bank (803-576-8511) 

Yes. Testing is available through University Health Services.

The State Health Plan adheres to the testing guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

More information about which tests are currently covered is available from PEBA.

Use of restrooms should be limited based on size to ensure at least 3 feet of distance between individuals.

Wash your hands thoroughly afterward to reduce the potential transmission of the virus.

Bear in mind that not all of your colleagues will be fully vaccinated. To protect the health of all members of our community you are encouraged to continue to hold meetings using the extensive range of available collaboration tools. For example, Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, or telephone.

Identify areas where personnel are likely to congregate and implement physical distancing protocols.

Yes, we suggest limiting walk-ins and schedule appointments for customers when possible.

As with most communicable diseases, common hygiene practices are the best way to mitigate the spread of germs. 

  • Cover mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.
  • Wash hands often for 20 seconds.
  • Clean shared surfaces and equipment often.
  • Avoid touching eye, nose and mouth
  • Stay home if sick and call your doctor if needed.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has many videos and information on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. You can find some videos here.

 


Balancing Childcare and Work

The pandemic has created additional challenges for employees who have school age or pre-school children. The information on our parenting resources webpage is provided to assist employees who need to balance childcare and work.


Information for Supervisors

Tools to help you as you support your employees.

 

Information for HR Contacts

Access remote work status trackers, webinar information and FAQs.


Additional Resources


Return-to-Work Plan

In June, 2020 the university began a phased expansion of on-campus operations. year. Phase 1 was June 1-21, 2020, Phase 2 was June 22-July 13, 2020, Phase 3 was July 14-Aug. 3.  Phase 4 covered the 2020 academic year.

 

Executive Order, Return to Normal Operations

On March 5, 2021 Governor McMaster issued Executive Order 2021-12, which directed “all state agencies to immediately expedite the transition back to normal operations”  

The university implemented a plan to finalize the safe return to on campus work [pdf]. Based on the plan most administrative personnel and staff returned to the campus workplace during the week of March 15, 2021 and the university completed the Return to Normal Operations Plan on April 17, 2021.

This information is subject to change.


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