CoronaVirus Update Header

Greetings Columbia College Family,

Please know we are aware of the concerns, worries and uncertainty you may be experiencing given the massive disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an unprecedented time for us all, and I assure you that the decisions that have been made for our students, faculty and staff, are first and foremost to ensure your health, safety and wellbeing. In accordance with the guidance issued by South Carolina Governor McMaster and the City of Columbia, Columbia College will extend our online instruction through the end of the spring semester. This will include all final exams. 

I understand that this change may bring about many questions, and in the information provided below, I hope to provide answers to most of them. As a community, we ask for your continued patience in the days and weeks ahead, as we navigate this unprecedented time. 

  • Online Learning: We will continue online learning through the end of the semester, including all final exams. 
  • Residence Halls: We are in the process of developing a seamless move-out procedure that follows the health and safety recommendations outlined by DHEC and the CDC. This process applies to all students, including those currently residing on campus. Please review the Resident Move Out Letter for details on that process. 
  • Commencement: We have made the very difficult, but necessary decision, to postpone our Spring 2020 commencement ceremony. May graduates will be able to participate in our August 1 graduation. I welcome ideas from our graduating seniors about additional ways to celebrate this milestone achievement. Please share your ideas with the Provost Administrative Assistant Tanya Moore by emailing tmoore@columbiasc.edu.  
  • We will be hosting a "virtual graduation slideshow" on May 2 at 10 am on the Columbia College SC Facebook page. The slideshow will feature photos of our graduates, including their major and plans after graduation. If you are a graduating senior, please fill out the following form to submit your information for our virtual graduation slideshow. 
  • Remittance of Fees: With this major change in the academic structure, we know that many are wondering about room and board charges because almost all residence hall students have moved off campus. While the residence hall contract does not require a refund, the Board of Trustees, upon recommendation of the Administration will provide remittance for all resident students. Based upon Federal guidelines, this will be done on an individual basis from the time you officially left the residence halls.  
  • Graduating seniors in the residence halls will receive a cash remittance for prorated costs as soon as possible, but not later than April 30, 2020.
  • First year, sophomores, juniors and non-graduating seniors will receive their remittance when the CARES Act Funds are finalized, which we hope will be soon.  
  • Summer Classes: Due to the uncertainty of the length of the impact of COVID-19 and the need for certainty, all undergraduate summer courses will be offered online. Faculty have worked tirelessly and creatively to adjust to online delivery of classes and will continue to provide excellent learning experiences.
  • Summer and Fall Registration: Registration for summer and fall classes will take place according to the following start dates published in the 2019-2020 Academic Calendar: Monday, March 30 for all Evening College, all Online Programs, and Women’s College Seniors and Juniors; Thursday, April 2 for Women’s College Sophomores, and Monday, April 6th for Women’s College First-Years. Advisement appointments will be virtual (via email, phone or video conferences). Advisors will be contacting their advisees on how to set up appointments. 
  • Room Lottery & Selection for Fall 2020: The Room Lottery and Selection started on Thursday. If you forgot to sign up for selection, no problem! Email reslife@columbiasc.edu so we can get you placed. We are excited by the number of room assignments to date and look forward to you staying in campus housing in the fall, as we return to normalcy. 
  • Events and Performing Arts Presentations: City, State and Federal, as well as Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have mandated no gatherings of more than 10 people and in many instances, no more than three people. Consequently, all on-campus events have been cancelled at least until April 30, 2020.
  • Honors & Awards: The College’s Honors & Awards program scheduled for Sunday, April 19 will be implemented in a different format this year. We look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of all of our koalas in creative ways. Stay tuned.
  • Sports: The NAIA and AAC have suspended all athletic competitions through the end of the Spring 2020 sports season. Practices and workouts on campus are not permitted through this period.  Non-residential students who have equipment to be returned are asked to email Debbie Wardlaw, Director of Athletics, or call 803-786-3723 for instructions. 
  • Bookstore: The Bookstore has extended the deadline for rentals by 15 days. More information will be provided at a later time regarding returning your books. 

These times of turbulence and uncertainty require us to respond with compassion, kindness, and thoughtfulness. Our patience will be stretched; our worry level will elevate. Still, we will work through it together. We extend our heartfelt thanks to each of you for the many ways in which you have enabled all of us to respond with integrity during these difficult times.

Peter T. Mitchell, EdD

Interim President

March 23, 2020 Update

We previously reported that two students from Columbia College had been tested for COVID-19. We have been informed that the results came back negative for both of those students. For this news and for their health, we are thankful.  

Another student has reported being directly exposed to COVID-19 through a family member who has a positive test result. That student does not have test results of their own. However, in accordance with the advice of health authorities, that student is treating their situation as if they were in fact positive for COVID-19. If you were in a class with this student, we are sending an additional communication.  

It is essential that all students, faculty, and staff who are known to have been exposed and are tested, regardless of results, report the information to the College. This improves our ability to trace cases of the virus to inform and protect our community. This news and that being relayed through health care officials and public announcements emphasizes the pressing need to practice social distancing. 

As a reminder, symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. COVID-19 is spread mainly person-to-person through respiratory droplets, or by touching an object with the virus on it and touching the mouth, nose or eyes. Information on how to protect yourself from COVID-19 is here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html

We ask that everyone stay diligent in looking for possible signs of exposure and infection and to seek medical help as soon as possible to prevent further spread of infection. We appreciate our community’s continued efforts to keep the College informed.

March 18, 2020 Update

Dear Columbia College Community: 

As we continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in South Carolina and across the country, our priority remains the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and local community. This week, local and federal governments and the CDC have implemented a number of new measures and recommendations to help ensure the health and safety of our communities.  We want to reassure you that Columbia College is monitoring COVID-19 developments and guidance and will update our policies and protocols accordingly. 

  Student Health

We previously communicated that a Columbia College student sought testing for the coronavirus. The student’s test came back negative for COVID-19 and we are thankful for their well-being. One other Columbia College student, who did not live in campus housing, was recently tested for COVID-19. The individual has complied with CDC guidance and is self-quarantined. We will update you when new information becomes available.

 

We appreciate the continued patience and understanding that our College community has exhibited during this evolving health situation. We will continue to share relevant updates as they become available.

Campus Offices: Offices continue to be staffed throughout the day during normal business hours. As we try to minimize traffic flow and practice social distancing, we require that you please call an office/staff member directly before visiting. Please visit our Staff Directory for a complete listing of contact numbers.  

Computer Labs: Students are reminded that the computer lab in Bush Science Center (Room #121) remains available on a 24/7 basis. The building is accessible using your student ID.  

Laptops:  A limited supply of laptops is available for students to check out for the completion of your academic work.  If you need to check out a laptop, please email Chuck Walsh at cwalsh@columbiasc.edu. The laptops are available on a first come first serve basis.

Dining Services:  The dining hall is continuing its to-go box only option. This option is available to both students and employees who are permitted on campus.  No one is permitted to stay and eat in the dining hall.  Please see our previous announcement on March 12, 2020, regarding dining hall hours. The Terrace Café remains closed until further notice. 

Campus Spaces: The Library, George’s Gym and Spears Music Center continue to be closed to all members of the community. 

Athletics: The NAIA and AAC have suspended all athletic competitions through the end of the Spring 2020 sports season. Practices and workouts on campus or as a team are not permitted through this period.

City of Columbia Curfew: For those in the residence halls and local to Columbia, starting tonight, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the City of Columbia is imposing a citywide curfew nightly from 11pm-6am. During this time, the only exceptions are public safety, traveling for work and medical emergencies. 

MESSAGE FROM THE CITY

CC Prayer Time: Rev. Boyd will hold community prayer every Thursday at 12 noon for the next three weeks. To access weekly prayer please utilize the information below.

Join Zoom Meeting:

https://zoom.us/j/944512326?pwd=czROUHNIL2VYZEJVN0RyTWxWZk5uUT09

Meeting ID: 944 512 326

Password: 003426

Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/aczai9g1MC

Additional guidance for preventing the spread of COVID-19 continues to be available on our Health Advisory Page, and the DHEC and CDC websites. 

All community members are reminded that even though classes have moved online, Columbia College’s Faculty & Staff and Student Handbook policies continue to apply. 

Remote Classes: As the Governor has indicated, public schools and universities have been asked to move online through March 31. In accordance with this, Columbia College will remain online through Friday, April 3. Additional information will be shared as we approach this date, with any continuance or adjustment. 

 Columbia College will continue to use Canvas as the primary online learning platform to facilitate the student academic experience. Students experiencing issues connecting to Canvas should contact Jesika Brooks at 803-786-3716 or jbrooks@columbiasc.edu. Students who have questions about other tools and resources being used in their classes should contact their instructor for further information and may also contact the Student Help Desk at 803-786-3007 for additional assistance. 
March 12, 2020 Update

CLASSES WILL MOVE ONLINE BEGINNING MARCH 16TH.

Dear Columbia College Community,

Amid the global COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, Columbia College must take measures to respond to this situation and play our part in efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

Although there are still no known cases at Columbia College, the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff is our top priority. It is our obligation to do what we can to limit the spread of the disease and protect the members of our community, particularly those who are most vulnerable.

After meeting today with senior leadership, and following the guidance of the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), we have made the following decisions about our campus schedule, which will be reviewed and communicated on a weekly basis:

Beginning on March 16th, all classes will move online, utilizing CANVAS and other remote platforms to facilitate the learning experience. Students need to be prepared to resume classes online March 16th, taking all required textbooks and other materials when leaving campus this weekend. Students will need to continually check their Columbia College email, to stay in contact with their professors.  Residence Halls: Residence halls will close on Sunday, March 15th at noon. We recognize that some students will need to stay on campus (i.e. international or out-of-state students; student teaching candidates; and in town internships/field placement where your facility/school is still open). If you are in one of these categories, please submit a request by Friday, March 13 at 4:00 pm. All other students will need to leave their dorms by the date and time above.  Faculty & Staff: The college will remain open during this time for faculty and staff. Any employee experiencing symptoms, please seek medical attention and notify your direct supervisor.   Dining Services: The dining hall will move to a to-go box only option starting Friday, March 13th during dinner. Students are not permitted to stay and eat in the dining hall. The Terrace Café will close on Friday, March 13 at 2:00 p.m.
  • Weekday Hours:  
  • Breakfast: 8:30 – 9:30 am 
  • Lunch: 12:00 – 1:00 pm 
  • Dinner: 5:00 – 6:00 pm  
  • Weekend Hours: (Saturday & Sunday) 
  • Brunch: 11:30 am – 12:30 pm  
  • Dinner: 5:00 – 6:00 pm

 

We continue to comply with CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting the college which includes focusing on common areas, handrails, exercise equipment, and heavily trafficked areas.

Additional guidance for preventing the spread of COVID-19 is available on our Health Advisory Page, and the DHEC and CDC websites. 

We will continue to provide additional details as we have them. This decision was not made lightly and we understand that these changes may pose an inconvenience. We are confident that our plan for the upcoming weeks will help Columbia College do our part in lessening the spread of COVID-19. Your safety is our top priority and we remain committed to supporting our community with the resources needed to provide and receive an excellent education.

  • Campus Events: In an effort to maintain social distance for gatherings of large groups, all campus-sponsored events are being postponed (i.e. Miss Columbia College Pageant, Shakira Jordan’s Memorial Service, Spring Formal, Women’s Leadership Conference, Dance performances, etc.). Admissions events, such as Open House and campus tours are being postponed or conducted virtually. 
  • Campus Spaces: Please be aware that during this time other services such as the Library and George’s Gym will be closed. 
  • Graduate Classes: Graduate classes will meet as scheduled this weekend.
  • Athletics: An update regarding practices and games will be provided to in-season athletes (Track and Field, Softball, Tennis, Golf, Lacrosse) on Friday, March 13 by the Athletics Department. In the event you are a residential athlete, you must fill out the request form to stay on campus. (refer to the Housing section of this email).  
March 11, 2020 Update

Dear Columbia College Community,

The health and safety of the Columbia College family is our priority. In consultation with the Board, DHEC and local officials, Columbia College is gathering and assessing the latest developments regarding the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and its impact on our college, staff and student body.

At this time, one Columbia College student, who does not reside on campus, has sought medical tests for the coronavirus. The student is currently under self-quarantine at her home awaiting test results. We are monitoring the situation, and we will keep you informed as soon as the test results are released.

College officials are actively engaged in daily planning in an effort to inform and reduce the risk to faculty, staff, students, and visitors from the virus. Some schools have chosen to hold classes remotely online for students, we are considering all options and what is best for our campus. We will update you as decisions are made. 

While other institutions are just going on Spring Break, as you know, Columbia College had Spring Break last week. During that time classrooms and residence halls underwent a deep cleaning with disinfectants. This included attention to all hard surfaces. Our staff continues to disinfect areas on a daily basis. 

Here’s what officials suggest that you do to stay healthy:

• Follow proper hand-washing procedures.

• Stay home and practice social distancing when you are sick.

• If you are concerned about your health or are showing symptoms like fever, cough or shortness of breath, you should call your doctor or health care provider. 

For general information about COVID-19, DHEC has set up a Care Line. Call 1-855-472-3432. The line will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. If you experience symptoms, in addition to seeking medical attention, please inform Student Affairs at (803)786-3856.

In the meantime, thank you for your patience and understanding during this time. Please continue to monitor your Columbia College email for future communications.

Carol A. Moore, PhD
President

 

March 7, 2020 Update

As you prepare to return to campus from Spring Break, we are mindful of the continued sensitivity to and cautiousness around the COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The South Carolina Department of Health has issued notice of two possible but unconfirmed cases – one in Charleston and one in Kershaw County.  

“No additional precautions are recommended for the public at this time, beyond the simple daily precautions that everyone should always take steps to stop the spread of illness, including getting the flu vaccine, washing your hands, covering your cough, and appropriately disposing tissues and other items contaminated with respiratory droplets,” said Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist.

In an abundance of caution, we ask for your assistance. Please monitor yourself for any symptoms that may mirror those of the flu or Coronavirus. If any of of these symptoms arise, please remain home and seek medical attention, as appropriate.

For all, when you return to campus, if you experience any symptoms, please report them to Student Affairs.

The College continues to monitor announcements from the SC Department of Health (DHEC) and the CDC. Check the College advisory page for ongoing updates. 

>> DHEC Official Update March 8, 2020

>> DHEC Official Update March 6, 2020

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Given the growing concern around the spread of COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, Columbia College is actively reviewing its emergency response processes to keep you in the know of any important information as it develops.

This advisory is to provide background information on COVID-19 and precautions to help prevent the spread of the virus.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) will update their website with any additional information as it becomes available here.

Background

  • Cases of 2019 novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) respiratory illness were first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019, and the novel Coronavirus was identified as the cause in January 2020.
  • Since then, cases have been confirmed in multiple countries outside of China, including the United States (U.S.).
  • Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases such as pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome.
  • COVID-19 is a respiratory infection caused by a newly identified coronavirus that is responsible for the current outbreak and not previously known to cause human illness.
  • Fourteen days is believed to be the longest time between when a person may have been exposed to novel coronavirus and when symptoms may begin (the incubation period).
  • The chances of being infected are low unless a person traveled to China or had contact with someone who is a lab-confirmed or probable case of COVID-19. A probable case is defined by the CDC criteria and is referred to as a “person under investigation (PUI).”
  • Screening of all individuals traveling from China into the U.S. at major international airports seeks to further reduce the risk of transmission in the U.S. Most cases outside of China are travel-associated; however, transmission person-to-person can occur.
    o COVID-19 symptoms primarily include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
    o Other less common symptoms may include sore throat, chills, muscle aches, headache, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea.
     
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing kits to test for COVID-19 that state public health laboratories will soon be able to perform. Testing must be coordinated through DHEC and must be confirmed by CDC.
  • There is no vaccine or specific treatment for COVID-19 infection currently; care to relieve symptoms is supportive only.

Recommendations for prevention

Here are some precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Self-isolate if you become sick.
  • Avoid contact with respiratory secretions.

Clinical/Symptom Screening

COVID-19 symptoms primarily consist of measured or subjective fever (> 38°C or 100.5°F), cough, and/or difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Other less common symptoms may include sore throat, chills, muscle aches, headache, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea. Testing for COVID-19 is specific and not included in commercially available respiratory viral pathogen panels and must be coordinated through DHEC. Also, there is no vaccine or specific treatment for COVID-19 infection; care is supportive only.

For any persons with a consistent travel history and any of the above symptoms, providers should immediately report to their regional DHEC office for further discussion of laboratory testing and necessary control measures.

Additional Resources

An attached screening tool is provided and can be utilized to assist with the screening process. Contact your regional DHEC office if your institution will need further assistance or guidance to conduct an appropriate symptom and exposure risk screen.

PLEASE CHECK THESE SITES FREQUENTLY FOR UPDATES CONTAINING THE MOST CURRENT INFORMATION AVAILABLE.