CofC requiring random coronavirus tests throughout semester


ByAlexis Simmons|January 11, 2021 at 3:51 PM EST - Updated January 11 at 8:05 PM

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Now that College of Charleston classes began for the spring semester Monday, students will face mandatory COVID-19 testing.

College President Andrew Hsu says there are several efforts they have underway to help reduce the spread of the virus in a letter sent to students.

Hsu says one of the biggest changes is how they are conducting testing. CofC officials say the school is going to select students at random to receive COVID-19 tests beginning Jan. 25. School leaders say participation will be mandatory.

They’re aiming to test 300 student a week, with an additional 50 appointments available for others who want to be tested. School leaders say the plans are still tentative until finalized with the healthcare partners.

If students do not comply, their student Cougar Card will be suspended until they are tested for COVID-19. The student identification card gives students access to events, facilities and services including use as a personal debit card, according to the College website. It also allows students to check out library books and take free CARTA bus rides.

CofC student Greyson English says she’ll comply if she’s randomly selected to get tested.

“If it helps bring back everything back to normal, I’ll be perfectly fine with it,” English said.

School officials say students who continue to be non-compliant may be charged with a student conduct violation and potential conduct action.

“I think that’s a good idea, you have to have some form of punishment to make people take the test,” CofC student Meghan Roberts said.

However, not all students agree with the efforts.

“I don’t think they should require anybody to do any of that kind of testing,” CofC student Seth Cullin said.

Hsu says CofC will host weekly testing events in partnership with the Medical University of South Carolina and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Approximately 40% of classes are being offered fully online during the spring semester. The remainder of classes are a combination of in-person or hybrid.

English says while she prefers in-person learning she’s nervous about the possible spread of the virus in her classrooms.

“I am happy that they’re trying to regulate everything, I learn better in person sometimes unless it’s a class that I can teach myself,” English said. “I’m happy about being in-person because it’s going to help me do better in class, but I’m also on the edge about it.”

Students who live in campus housing were required to submit negative COVID-19 tests before moving in. Employees were highly encourages to get tested.

Students who do not come to campus will not need to be part of the mandatory testing.

Coronavirus testing at other college campuses

Charleston Southern University also resumed in-person and online classes on Monday. All students who live on campus were required to provide a negative COVID-19 test before returning. School officials say they offered rapid testing for students.

Officials with the Citadel Military College say they’re allowing students back on campus in phases to eliminate crowds beginning this week. Classes will resume next Tuesday. Every cadet is required to get tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus. Cadets are restricted from leaving campus temporarily to help prevent the spread of the virus.

The University of South Carolina is requiring all students, faculty and staff to get tested for COVID-19 monthly. In-person and virtual classes resumed Monday and everyone returning to campus is required to submit a negative COVID-19 test. University officials say they conducted more than 74,000 Covid tests last semester. University leaders say they meet with local hospital officials weekly and they will adapt their safety plans as needed. The University of South Carolina plans to administer coronavirus vaccines on campus when the supply is available. There are fines and consequences for students who do not comply with the monthly testing requirements after receiving a warning.

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