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Weather Update: UofSC Columbia campus will be closed Friday, Sept. 30 due to inclement weather. Classes are canceled and only essential personnel are required to report to campus. See sc.edu/weather for updates.

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. 

Guidelines for Employees

Weekly COVID-19 testing is not required over the summer, but the university is still offering free testing for faculty and staff.

  • Daily saliva testing is available on campus. Please check the schedule often as times and locations may change. 
  • You can also get tested off campus.
  • It is very important that anyone that develops significant symptoms of COVID-19, like fever, cough or shortness of breath, contact their healthcare provider for evaluation. If needed, an appointment for a test will be scheduled.
  • At this time, diagnostic tests are at covered at no cost for State Health Plan members. Please visit PEBA's website for the most current information. 
For more information about testing, please refer to the:

The university strongly encourages all students, faculty, and staff to get fully vaccinated in order to protect themselves and the community. In addition, we recommend everyone complete their booster vaccination once eligible.

  • University Health Services has free walk-up vaccine clinics and booster shots at the Center for Health and Well-Being from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily.
  • Vaccine appointments on campus can also be made through MyHealthSpace, or you can find a vaccine in the community
  • COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are also available at the Center for Health and Well-Being. University Health Services is currently administering Moderna and Johnson and Johnson boosters. See more information on the UHS site.
  • If you have received the vaccine, please upload your vaccine record into the MyHealthSpace portal. The portal is compliant with federal health privacy law and your records will not be shared. For instructions on how to upload a copy of your completed vaccine card to MyHealthSpace visit our COVID-19 Vaccine Information page. If you received your vaccine on campus through University Health Services, your vaccine status will be updated automatically.
 State Health Plan Insurance Coverage

PEBA, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and Express Scripts are continuing to monitor information about the COVID-19 vaccines. Visit PEBA's website for the most recent information regarding vaccine coverage for State Health Plan and MoneyPlus participants.

On November 29, 2021 we sent notification to impacted employees regarding federal Executive Order 14042, “Ensuring Adequate COVID-19 Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors.” The Executive Order requires federal contractors--including the University of South Carolina--to ensure that all employees who work on or in connection with a federal contract to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive approval for a medical or religious exemption.

On December 7, 2021, a federal court in Georgia issued a preliminary injunction preventing the federal government nationwide from enforcing the Executive Order’s vaccine mandate for federal contractors and employees. Therefore, the university is suspending the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for our employees who work on or in connection with a federal contract. Vaccinations are still recommended for those who are medically eligible. Visit our COVID-19 site for more information. The University of South Carolina is committed to complying with all federal requirements and we will provide additional updates as needed.

Face coverings are required in the following spaces:

  • Medical facilities, including the Center for Health and Well-Being, Thomson Health Center, COVID-19 testing facilities, VA School of Medicine campus and any other medical facility.

Face coverings are encouraged for people in the following situations:

  • If you are at high risk for illness – those who are elderly, immunocompromised, pregnant or who have certain medical conditions.
  • If you live or regularly interact with someone at high risk for illness.
  • If you have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If you work in spaces where it is difficult to remain a safe distance apart.
  • On public transportation. 

Additional guidelines and recommendations:

  • Voluntary masking in all remaining areas of campus is supported.
  • The face covering requirements will remain until conditions and public health recommendations dictate a policy modification. 
  • Medical-grade face coverings, such as N95, KN95 or surgical masks, are more effective than cloth coverings. No matter the face covering you choose, make sure it fits tightly over your nose and mouth to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets.
  • 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

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.

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.

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

State Health Plan members who need to see a doctor can take advantage of PEBA's Telehealth services.

Following the most updated guidelines from the CDC and SCDHEC, students, faculty and staff who test positive for COVID-19 will be expected to:

  • Isolate off campus for five full days to prevent the spread of illness regardless of vaccination status.
  • Following this isolation, if symptoms completely resolve, the individual may leave isolation but must wear a face covering at all times for an additional five days when around others.
  • Fully vaccinated individuals who completed a two-dose Moderna vaccine series within the last 6 months, two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine series within the last 5 months or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the last 2 months and those who have received a booster are not required to quarantine following exposure to a positive COVID-19 infection if they are not showing any symptoms. However, they should wear a face covering around others for 10 days and receive a COVID test 5 days after exposure.
  • Individuals who have had a confirmed COVID-19 infection within the last 90 days (tested positive using a health care-conducted viral test) are not required to quarantine following exposure to a positive COVID-19 infection if they are not showing any symptoms. However, they should wear a face covering around others for 10 days and receive a COVID test 5 days after exposure. 
  • Unvaccinated individuals must quarantine off campus for 5 days, get a test on day 5, and wear a mask around others for 5 additional days following exposure to a positive COVID-19 infection.
  • Individuals who received a Moderna vaccine series more than 6 months ago, Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine series more than 5 months ago or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson more than 2 months ago and have not received a booster must quarantine off campus for 5 days, get a test on day 5, and wear a mask around others for 5 additional days following exposure to a positive COVID-19 infection.
  • All students living on campus are required to file a quarantine and isolation plan with Housing and Residence Life. Please update your plan for spring 2022; emergency arrangements will only be available under extreme circumstances.

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. Employees who are sick are to stay home and employees who exhibit symptoms of illness at the workplace are to return home.

  • 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

No, weekly COVID-19 testing is not required over the summer, but the university is still offering free testing and vaccinations for students, faculty and staff.

  • Daily saliva testing is available on campus. Please check the schedule often as times and locations may change. 
  • You can also get tested off campus.
  • It is very important that anyone that develops significant symptoms of COVID-19, like fever, cough or shortness of breath, contact their healthcare provider for evaluation. If needed, an appointment for a test will be scheduled.
  • At this time, diagnostic tests are at covered at no cost for State Health Plan members. Please visit PEBA's website for the most current information. 

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

If you are testing off-campus, you can upload your own test results.

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

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 encouraged (not required) for employees during the summer. 

Campus community members are invited to test more frequently than once a month if that is their preference or if they believe they have had a risk.

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.

Monthly COVID-19 diagnostic testing is encouraged (not required) for employees during the summer.

Campus community members are invited to test more frequently than once a month if that is their preference or if they believe they have had a risk or have symptoms.

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.

Employees who are not able to upload their results into the MyHealthSpace portal, may submit their results to University Health Services in person. 

No. However, employees working in spaces where it is not possible to maintain safe distances are encouraged to wear face masks.

Masks are required inside medical facilities, including the Center for Health and Well-Being, Thomson Health Center, COVID-19 testing facilities, VA School of Medicine and any other medical facility.

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

Masks are only required within medical facilities, and testing sites. 

Employees are encouraged to wear face coverings when it is not possible to maintain safe distances such as in:

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

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 not required, but it is recommended that you keep your face covering close to your desk.

No. If your desk is in an area that frequently has individuals walking past it, you should keep your face covering close to your desk.

 

Face masks are not required, but please be considerate of your co-worker(s) and their safety concerns.

Employees who do not have a private office may continue to eat or drink at their desk if allowed by office policy. 

Yes, however employees should utilize discretion when in areas that don't allow for safe distancing. 

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.

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.


Support Services 

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.

Review changes that occurred to filling deadlines and benefits as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Visit PEBA's website for the latest information pertaining to COVID-19 and State Health Plan and MoneyPlus benefits.

  • Vaccine Coverage 
  • COVID-19 Test Coverage
  • Reimbursement for At-Home Tests 
  • Telehealth Services
  • Flexible Spending Accounts

Decisions regarding eligibility for unemployment are made by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW)

If you are unable to work or have a reduction in hours you may qualify for unemployment benefits, even if you are still employed with the university.

You may file an unemployment claim online. SCDEW processes all unemployment claims.  

Please note: The university only provides SCDEW requested information regarding the lack of work and does not make any decisions regarding the approval or disqualification of unemployment benefits.

 

Tools for Supervisors and HR Contacts

Supervisors have access to tools to help support employees as they navigate challenges related to COVID.

HR Contacts have access to remote work status trackers, webinar information and FAQs.

 

Archived Return-to-Work Plans

In June, 2020 the university began a phased expansion of on-campus operations. 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.

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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