Keeping Our Campus Safe 

Our priority is to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff at Columbia College. To safeguard our campus and limit the spread of COVID-19, we have instituted the following policies. We will continue to monitor updates from health officials and update policies and make changes to these policies as appropriate. 

Wil Lou Gray

Current Policies Regarding COVID-19

For questions or to report your positive COVID test, please contact Beverly James at bjames@columbiasc.edu or 803.786.3107.

Effective March 14, 2022:

Mask Policy

  • Masks are not required outdoors, regardless of vaccination status, unless otherwise indicated by the College. 
  • Masks are not required indoors, regardless of vaccination status, unless otherwise indicated by the College. We continue to strongly encourage everyone to take responsibility for self-monitoring any symptoms and reporting symptoms to a doctor for further instructions. Please follow CDC guidance (outlined below) regarding quarantine and isolation.
  • Everyone is encouraged to take precautions for your personal safety and the safety of others. Precautions could include getting vaccinated, wearing a mask indoors, and practicing appropriate distancing.
  • Please be respectful of others, their personal space, and all health and safety practices. We continue to take seriously the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and visitors. Be aware that there may be students, faculty, or staff who have chosen to wear a mask or socially distance. While these practices are not requirements at this time, such personal choices should be respected by all members of the campus community. Those planning events should consider holding them outdoors where possible or in spaces where physical distancing is possible to accommodate everyone. If a person asks you to mask in their personal office, please be gracious in honoring that request or consider making alternate arrangements such as a Zoom meeting. 

Testing Policy

  • Weekly testing for unvaccinated individuals is no longer required. Tests can be obtained from the second floor of Edens Library at no charge. Please report positive tests to Human Resources so that the College can notify DHEC to assist in their monitoring.
While enacting these policies, we will remain courteous and respectful of all people so as not to stigmatize or discriminate against any groups.  
GUESTS ON CAMPUS 

Outside visitors are allowed on campus. However, they must follow the COVID-19 policies of the campus. A downloadable copy of the policies will be available on the College’s COVID-19 updates page of the website.

QUARANTINE AND ISOLATION CARE POLICY 

Residential Students: 

  • Upon exposure to someone with a positive COVID test, residential students must notify the Human Resources at 803-786-3107 or 3784 and also complete the COVID Assistance Form. It will then be determined if self-quarantine is necessary given the circumstances (during non-business hours, please call CCPD 786-3333 and you will be connected with the Student Affair’s Administrator on-call).
     
  • Students must quarantine off-campus and are not allowed to remain in their residence hall.
     
  • Students living on campus who test positive for COVID-19 must notify Human Resources at 803-786-3107/3784 during regular business hours and complete the COVID Assistance Form. During non-business hours, the student must call the Columbia College Police Department (CCPD) at 803-786-3333, and CCPD will contact the Student Affairs Administrator On-Call. The Administrator On-Call will work with the student to assist in contacting the student’s family to arrange transportation from campus. The student must leave campus immediately 

Quarantine

Quarantine is a strategy used to prevent transmission of COVID-19 by keeping people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 apart from others.

Who does not need to quarantine?

If you had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and you are in one of the following groups, you do not need to quarantine.

  • You are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines.
  • You had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days (meaning you tested positive using a viral test).
  • You should wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days from the date of your last close contact with someone with COVID-19 (the date of last close contact is considered day 0). Get tested at least 5 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19. If you test positive or develop COVID-19 symptoms, isolate from other people and follow recommendations in the Isolation section below. If you tested positive for COVID-19 with a viral test within the previous 90 days and subsequently recovered and remain without COVID-19 symptoms, you do not need to quarantine or get tested after close contact. You should wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days from the date of your last close contact with someone with COVID-19 (the date of last close contact is considered day 0).

    Who should quarantine?

    If you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19, you should quarantine if you are not up to date on COVID-19 vaccines. This includes people who are not vaccinated.

    What to do for quarantine

  • Stay home and away from other people for at least 5 days (day 0 through day 5) after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. The date of your exposure is considered day 0. Wear a well-fitting mask when around others at home, if possible.
  • For 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19, watch for fever (100.4◦F or greater), cough, shortness of breath, or other COVID-19 symptoms.
  • If you develop symptoms, get tested immediately and isolate until you receive your test results. If you test positive, follow isolation recommendations.
  • If you do not develop symptoms, get tested at least 5 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.
    • If you test negative, you can leave your home, but continue to wear a well-fitting mask when around others at home and in public until 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.
    • If you test positive, you should isolate for at least 5 days from the date of your positive test (if you do not have symptoms). If you do develop COVID-19 symptoms, isolate for at least 5 days from the date your symptoms began (the date the symptoms started is day 0). Follow recommendations in the isolation section below.
    • If you are unable to get a test 5 days after last close contact with someone with COVID-19, you can leave your home after day 5 if you have been without COVID-19 symptoms throughout the 5-day period. Wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days after your date of last close contact when around others at home and in public.
    • Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings, until after at least 10 days.
  • If possible, stay away from people you live with, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19, as well as others outside your home throughout the full 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • If you are unable to quarantine, you should wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days when around others at home and in public.
  • If you are unable to wear a mask when around others, you should continue to quarantine for 10 days. Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings, until after at least 10 days.
  • See additional information about travel.
  • Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask, such as restaurants and some gyms, and avoid eating around others at home and at work until after 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • After quarantine

  • Watch for symptoms until 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • If you have symptoms, isolate immediately and get tested.

Quarantine in high-risk congregate settings

In certain congregate settings that have high risk of secondary transmission (such as correctional and detention facilities, homeless shelters, or cruise ships), CDC recommends a 10-day quarantine for residents, regardless of vaccination and booster status. During periods of critical staffing shortages, facilities may consider shortening the quarantine period for staff to ensure continuity of operations. Decisions to shorten quarantine in these settings should be made in consultation with state, local, tribal, or territorial health departments and should take into consideration the context and characteristics of the facility. CDC’s setting-specific guidance provides additional recommendations for these settings.

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Isolation

Isolation is used to separate people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 from those without COVID-19. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. At home, anyone sick or infected should separate from others, or wear a well-fitting mask when they need to be around others. People in isolation should stay in a specific “sick room” or area and use a separate bathroom if available. Everyone who has presumed or confirmed COVID-19 should stay home and isolate from other people for at least 5 full days (day 0 is the first day of symptoms or the date of the day of the positive viral test for asymptomatic persons). They should wear a mask when around others at home and in public for an additional 5 days. People who are confirmed to have COVID-19 or are showing symptoms of COVID-19 need to isolate regardless of their vaccination status. This includes:

  • People who have a positive viral test for COVID-19, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms.
  • People with symptoms of COVID-19, including people who are awaiting test results or have not been tested. People with symptoms should isolate even if they do not know if they have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • What to do for isolation

  • Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.
  • Stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible.
  • Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Take steps to improve ventilation at home, if possible.
  • Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets.
  • Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask when you need to be around other people.
  • Learn more about what to do if you are sick and how to notify your contacts.

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    Ending isolation for people who had COVID-19 and had symptoms

    If you had COVID-19 and had symptoms, isolate for at least 5 days. To calculate your 5-day isolation period, day 0 is your first day of symptoms. Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed. You can leave isolation after 5 full days.

  • You can end isolation after 5 full days if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved (Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation​).
  • You should continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public for 5 additional days (day 6 through day 10) after the end of your 5-day isolation period. If you are unable to wear a mask when around others, you should continue to isolate for a full 10 days. Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings, until after at least 10 days.
  • If you continue to have fever or your other symptoms have not improved after 5 days of isolation, you should wait to end your isolation until you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved. Continue to wear a well-fitting mask. Contact your healthcare provider if you have questions.
  • See additional information about travel.
  • Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask, such as restaurants and some gyms, and avoid eating around others at home and at work until a full 10 days after your first day of symptoms.
  • If an individual has access to a test and wants to test, the best approach is to use an antigen test1 towards the end of the 5-day isolation period. Collect the test sample only if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved (loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation). If your test result is positive, you should continue to isolate until day 10. If your test result is negative, you can end isolation, but continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public until day 10. Follow additional recommendations for masking and avoiding travel as described above.

    1As noted in the labeling for authorized over-the counter antigen testsexternal icon: Negative results should be treated as presumptive. Negative results do not rule out SARS-CoV-2 infection and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or patient management decisions, including infection control decisions. To improve results, antigen tests should be used twice over a three-day period with at least 24 hours and no more than 48 hours between tests.

    Note that these recommendations on ending isolation do not apply to people with moderate or severe COVID-19 or with weakened immune systems (immunocompromised). See section below for recommendations for when to end isolation for these groups.

    Ending isolation for people who tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms

    If you test positive for COVID-19 and never develop symptoms, isolate for at least 5 days. Day 0 is the day of your positive viral test (based on the date you were tested) and day 1 is the first full day after the specimen was collected for your positive test. You can leave isolation after 5 full days.

  • If you continue to have no symptoms, you can end isolation after at least 5 days.
  • You should continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public until day 10 (day 6 through day 10). If you are unable to wear a mask when around others, you should continue to isolate for 10 days. Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings, until after at least 10 days.
  • If you develop symptoms after testing positive, your 5-day isolation period should start over. Day 0 is your first day of symptoms. Follow the recommendations above for ending isolation for people who had COVID-19 and had symptoms.
  • See additional information about travel.
  • Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask, such as restaurants and some gyms, and avoid eating around others at home and at work until 10 days after the day of your positive test.
  • If an individual has access to a test and wants to test, the best approach is to use an antigen test1 towards the end of the 5-day isolation period. If your test result is positive, you should continue to isolate until day 10. If your test result is negative, you can end isolation, but continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public until day 10. Follow additional recommendations for masking and avoiding travel as described above.

    1As noted in the labeling for authorized over-the counter antigen testsexternal iconexternal icon: Negative results should be treated as presumptive. Negative results do not rule out SARS-CoV-2 infection and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or patient management decisions, including infection control decisions. To improve results, antigen tests should be used twice over a three-day period with at least 24 hours and no more than 48 hours between tests.

    Ending isolation for people who were severely ill with COVID-19 or have a weakened immune system (immunocompromised)

    People who are severely ill with COVID-19 (including those who were hospitalized or required intensive care or ventilation support) and people with compromised immune systems might need to isolate at home longer. They may also require testing with a viral test to determine when they can be around others. CDC recommends an isolation period of at least 10 and up to 20 days for people who were severely ill with COVID-19 and for people with weakened immune systems. Consult with your healthcare provider about when you can resume being around other people.

    People who are immunocompromised should talk to their healthcare provider about the potential for reduced immune responses to COVID-19 vaccines and the need to continue to follow current prevention measures  (including wearing a well-fitting maskstaying 6 feet apart from others they don’t live with, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces) to protect themselves against COVID-19 until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider. Close contacts of immunocompromised people—including household members—should also be encouraged to receive all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses to help protect these people.

    Isolation in high-risk congregate settings

    In certain high-risk congregate settings that have high risk of secondary transmission and where it is not feasible to cohort people (such as correctional and detention facilities, homeless shelters, and cruise ships), CDC recommends a 10-day isolation period for residents. During periods of critical staffing shortages, facilities may consider shortening the isolation period for staff to ensure continuity of operations. Decisions to shorten isolation in these settings should be made in consultation with state, local, tribal, or territorial health departments and should take into consideration the context and characteristics of the facility. CDC’s setting-specific guidance provides additional recommendations for these settings.

    This CDC guidance is meant to supplement—not replace—any federal, state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations.

GROUP ASSEMBLIES

Events and large gatherings must continue to go through the College’s protocols.

Classroom Capacity: Classroom assignments are based on normal capacity. If there is a need for social distancing due to un-vaccinated rates or increased positive COVID cases, the classroom capacity will be re-evaluated.

Dining Hall Capacity: Dining hall will operate based on normal capacity. If there is a need for social distancing due to un-vaccinated rates or increased positive COVID-19 cases, then seating will be adjusted and indicated with appropriate signage. Tables and other high traffic / high touch areas will continue to be cleaned and disinfected frequently. However, there will no longer be the expectation that every table will be cleaned and disinfected after each seating of diners.

Outdoor Event Capacity: Outdoor events will operate based on normal capacity. If there is a need for social distancing due to un-vaccinated rates or increased positive COVID-19 cases, seating will be adjusted and indicated with appropriate signage. In addition, we will review the CDC guidance on large gatherings (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/large-gatherings.html, accessed on 5/19/21) and consider requiring masks for certain events. Those requirements will be part of the event approval process.

Indoor Event Capacity: Indoor events will operate based on normal capacity. If there is a need for social distancing due to unvaccinated rates or increased positive COVID-19 cases, the seating will be adjusted and indicated with appropriate signage. In addition, we will review the CDC guidance on large gatherings (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/large-gatherings.html, accessed on 5/19/21) and consider requiring masks for certain events. Those requirements will be part of the event approval process.

As of January 3, 2022, all faculty, staff and students who work, live, visit or study on-campus are strongly encouraged to obtain a vaccination of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. 

PERSONAL SANITATION AND RESPIRATORY ETIQUETTE
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. 
     
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and running water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol.
     
  • The College will provide hand sanitizer in common areas and at all building entrances. Bottles of soap and paper towels are in all bathrooms at handwashing areas.
     
  • Practice good respiratory etiquette, including coughing and sneezing into your elbow or a tissue and turning away from others when coughing or sneezing.
     
  • Don’t use other individual’s phones, desks, books, computers, and equipment, when possible. When it is not possible, all borrowed equipment should be disinfected before and after each use.
     
  • The College has provided hand sanitizer inside the classrooms and across campus in shared common areas. Every student should disinfect their hands when entering and leaving these shared common areas.
JUDICIAL PROCESS FOR STUDENTS

Refer to the Student Handbook.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

As further guidance and vaccination data becomes available, the College will continue to evaluate and update its health protocols.

Columbia College’s leadership will continue to prioritize the health and safety of faculty, staff, students and the community, and any adjustments to policy and procedures will be made in conjunction with internal and external public health experts.

Information about COVID Education Funding

The information posted below outlines our commitments and assurances in compliance with Section 18004(e) of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Higher Education Relief Funds