COVID-19 Resources for Students

The University of South Carolina Beaufort continues to monitor the dynamics of the coronavirus pandemic and continues to work with state and local partners, SC Department of Health and Environmental Control and Beaufort Memorial Hospital, on mitigation best practices, following closely national guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control. Cooperation and compliance with mitigation protocols are our best means to protect the health and well-being of our community.

Testing for COVID

Latest Updates

As of February 15, 2021

  • During the spring term 2021, USCB will implement random surveillance testing.  Each week 100 students and employees (combined total of 100) will be selected and notified via email.  This group will be tested:
    • In Bluffton: (Advancement Conference Room, Hargray Building, 2nd Floor)
      • Mondays 11:00am – 1:00pm and 3:00pm – 5:00pm
      • Thursdays 11:00am – 1:00pm
    • In Beaufort: (Conference Room, Beaufort College Building, 1st Floor)
      • Wednesdays 11:00am – 1:00pm
  • During these regularly-scheduled testing hours, any student or employee may be tested. You do not have to sign up. Just show up if you are exhibiting symptoms, believe that you may have been exposed, or want to be tested for any reason.
  • USCB is following progress of COVID-19 vaccine distribution in South Carolina very closely.  Working with SCDHEC, we will offer on-campus vaccine clinics as soon as the vaccines are made available to us.  We anticipate being part of a Phase 2 Rollout in the spring.  We will update the university community as we learn more.
  • During the spring 2021 semester, if you test positive for COVID-19, have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, suspect you may have contracted COVID-19, or have been directed to isolate or quarantine please complete the Student Report Form. Once you complete the form, you will be contacted by the Public Health Team with information about next steps.
  • Read Chancellor Al M. Panu’s State of the University Address.
  • Twindemic FAQ
  • COVID-19 Student FAQ
  • CDC:

Campus Resources

We recognize that this is a stressful and unprecedented time. There are several resources on campus ready and willing to assist. Please reach out to any of the offices below, and someone would be happy to speak with you.

USCB will resume face-to-face instruction on its three campuses for Spring 2021. Because your well-being remains our priority, the spring semester calendar has been revised to include five single-day Student Well-Being Breaks in place of the traditional five-day Spring Break.

Spring Semester Calendar

  • January 11:  Classes begin
  • January 18:  MLK Day – No classes
  • January 27:  Student Well-Being Break – No classes
  • February 12:  Student Well-Being Break – No classes
  • March 4:  Student Well-Being Break – No classes
  • April 6:  Student Well-Being Break – No classes
  • April 26:  Student Well-Being Break – No classes
  • April 27:  Reading Day
  • April 28:  Final Exams begin
  • April 30:  Commencement
  • May 5:  Final Exams end

The USCB community is required to comply with public health guidelines in regards to hygiene-related best practices. Please follow these tips from the CDC on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds - especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet distance between yourself and others at all times
  • Do not gather in groups.
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
  • Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Students are expected to follow federal, state, local, and USCB guidelines at all times regarding events, gatherings, or meetings. Physical distancing should be practiced at all times. This includes, but is not limited to, classrooms, lounge spaces, offices, bathrooms, and lobby areas. Students, faculty, and staff are expected to adhere to all signage related to physical distancing.

Every USCB student will be provided a personal health kit (by the Housing Office), which will include two reusable face masks, pocket hand sanitizer, and a germ key.  Face masks/cloth face coverings are required to be worn by all students (and all USCB employees) on all campuses when in the presence of others and in all settings where six-foot social distancing is difficult to maintain.  Face masks/cloth face coverings are not required while alone in private rooms in residence halls or enclosed offices.

Appropriate use of face masks/cloth face coverings is critical to minimizing risks to those around you. You can spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. Face masks/cloth face coverings mask must cover the nose and mouth to be effective. Home-made or commercially manufactured face masks/cloth face coverings help contain a wearer’s respiratory emissions. It is recommended face coverings are made primarily of cotton and double-layered.

Reusable face masks/cloth face coverings must be properly laundered after each day’s use. After one day’s use, they must be laundered before another day’s use. Having a week’s supply of face masks/cloth face coverings can help reduce the need for daily laundering.

Various spaces on campuses, e.g., classrooms, dining and recreational facilities, libraries, and the bookstore, are reconfigured to support six-foot social distancing.  Further, plexiglass, face shields, and social-distancing signage and decals will be utilized to promote safe practices.

Supplies will be provided for cleaning of shared spaces throughout the day. Before you leave a classroom, shared study space, shared dining space, or shared recreation/activity space, you are required to wipe down all surfaces to ensure the health and well-being of other community members.

Most importantly, students, who are sick or who may be sick, should stay at home (whether residence halls or off-campus housing) and should be tested. SCDHEC recommends that people, who have been infected with COVID-19, remain in isolation until: a) at least ten (10) days to feel better. days have passed since their symptoms began, b) they have no fever (body temperature of 100.4 degrees F or less using an oral thermometer) for 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medicines, and c) their symptoms are improving. Please note that some people may require more than ten (10) days to feel better.

Using the CDC’s Self-Checker, students are required to self-monitor daily for the following symptoms:

  • Fever Greater Than 100.4°F
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath or Difficulty Breathing
  • Sore Throat
  • Muscle or Body Aches
  • Headache
  • Chills or Shaking
  • New Loss of Sense of Smell and/or Taste
  • Congestion or Runny Nose
  • Nausea or Vomiting (more common in children)
  • Diarrhea (more common in children).

USCB tests all residential students as they return to campus. Further, ongoing testing protocols – consistent with SCDHEC recommendations – include: 1) routine testing for student athletes in alignment with National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) recommendations, 2) random surveillance testing of 100 students and employees weekly, and 3) testing for any student or employee who reports symptoms, believes they might have been exposed, or requests testing.

Our health and wellness partner, Beaufort Memorial Hospital, provides ongoing telehealth services via the BMH Anywhere app (for Apple or Android) and a kiosk on the Bluffton campus in Library #227.  These services are available to all USCB students, who are encouraged to download BMH Care Anywhere . Telehealth provides a virtual visit with a healthcare provider. Students who require further care will be referred to a local BMH healthcare provider or advised to seek hospitalization if the health concern is potentially serious. USCB will have access to Registered Nurse staff and a medical director to support campus health operations and collaborate with DHEC on COVID-19 cases. 

SCDHEC is responsible for the process of contact tracing. USCB’s Public Health Response Team has completed contact-tracing training through the Johns Hopkins University and will support SCDHEC to implement contact tracing and additive practices, e.g. verification of student class attendance, seating charts, student ID swipes, and portable swipes at student events.

Most importantly, students, who are sick or who may be sick, should stay at home (whether residence halls or off-campus housing) and should be tested. SCDHEC recommends that people, who have been infected with COVID-19, remain in isolation until: a) at least ten (10) days to feel better. days have passed since their symptoms began, b) they have no fever (body temperature of 100.4 degrees F or less using an oral thermometer) for 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medicines, and c) their symptoms are improving. Please note that some people may require more than ten (10) days to feel better.

Students who live in the residence halls are required – by the recently-updated USCB housing contract – to follow all public health guidelines, including those related to quarantine and isolation. In the event that students require quarantine or isolation, USCB’s standard protocol is for students to return to their primary residences. If they are unable to return home, the university will provide alternate housing on-campus for the duration of their quarantine or isolation. During this period, the student must avoid all unnecessary contact with others. The period of isolation will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the Public Health Response Team. Further, that team will work with housing, dining, and others to ensure that the student is supported.

Every student, who lives in USCB’s residence halls, must complete forms for Move-In Health Screening (within 48 hours of arriving to campus) and My Personal Health Plan, which the Housing Office will keep on file. The plan is a record of each student’s preferred plans in the event that quarantine or isolation is necessary. Further, all quarantined or isolated students (whether at home or on campus)), including commuters, should submit the COVID-19 Student Report Form, so that USCB personnel may assist with faculty notifications and any other needed academic accommodations. 

As a mitigation strategy, USCB will not offer the Palmetto Breeze shuttle because this kind of mass transit – many people in a single vehicle – is not viable in the short run. We strongly recommend that, if you travel in personal vehicles between campuses or for off-campus events, you limit the number of people per vehicle as much as possible. Whenever possible, the number should be limited to one person per vehicle. If more than one person is in the vehicle, vehicle occupants must:

  • Wear face masks/cloth face coverings
  • Use hand sanitizer regularly
  • Allow for the circulation of outside air

The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for each of us. Counseling Services will continue to support students and will offer new virtual walk-in appointments, workshops, and other opportunities to help students cope with the stressors caused by COVID-19.

Following recommendations and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), we have implemented the following:

  • All bedrooms are now single occupancy (no doubles);
  • No more than six (6) people are allowed to be in any apartment at one time;
  • Overnight guests must be registered with the Housing office 24 hours prior to arrival;
  • Students are required to follow hygiene and cleaning protocols for the well-being of the entire Sand Shark community;
  • Quarantine and isolation rooms have been reserved in the residence halls. However, in the event that students require quarantine or isolation, USCB’s standard protocol is for students to return to their primary residences.

Every associate in any dining facility will be screened daily for symptoms of COVID-19. Further, all are required to wear face masks at all times and gloves when handling food. Plexi health shield barriers have been installed at registers and points of service. Dine-in seating is limited to 45 people (with signage to indicate where students may sit for physical distancing), and diners must sanitize their hands before entering the cafeteria and must wear masks except when actually seated and eating.

Further, to give students more flexibility and to provide better value, USCB’s meal-plan options have been restructured to incorporate a declining balance system. This enhancement eliminates overpayment (i.e., the need to use a full meal swipe) at times when students want to buy smaller items (e.g., coffee or a smoothie).

Yes. After careful assessment, all USCB classrooms have been reconfigured for a 33 percent COVID-19 occupancy. While all other USC system institutions are using 50 percent occupancy, we believe 33 percent provides for six-foot distancing. Computer labs are also configured for 33 percent occupancy. Signage will guide students to seats that are physically distanced from classmates and professors.

In consultation with The Sun Conference and its Council of Presidents, USCB has committed to participating in practice and competition for the spring 2021 season. While the safety of our student-athletes, staff members, and fans remains a top priority, we recognize the importance of providing our student-athletes the opportunity to participate in the sports they love and to which they have devoted considerable time and energy. Following National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) recommendation, we will limit travel rosters and institute testing mandates. In addition, we will be following rigorous cleaning processes, checkpoint procedures, and stressing mitigating practices.

Following conference and university procedures, travel to away games will be limited and strictly monitored. When travel is necessary:

  • Student-Athletes’ temperatures will be monitored before, during, and after each trip
  • Bus seating will be limited and grouped by campus housing rosters to the extent possible
  • Masks will be required at all times except in practice or competition
  • All mitigation protocols required at home will be expected on the road, and our athletic training and athletic administration staffs communicate with colleagues at opponent campuses with regard to safety practices and protocols.

Fans will be allowed to attend athletic events. However, in light of current circumstances, strict protocols are in place for home events:

  • Face masks are required
  • Limited permanent seating is available at the baseball and softball venue
  • Limited use of restroom facilities is permitted at the baseball and softball venue
  • No interaction with players is permitted prior to or immediately following competition

With these restrictions in mind and cognizant of the challenges our community has faced in the last year, USCB Athletics will not charge admission for any home athletic event during the spring 2021 season.

For the well-being of campus communities, the Rec Center will operate with modified hours, limited capacity, strict cleaning procedures, and physical distancing.

Capacity Limits

  • Fitness Center: no more than 10 patrons 
  • Group fitness studio: 2 patrons with 10x10 squares marked
  • Basketball court 1: individual workout areas and for basketball shootaround purposes, 1 per goal.
  • Individual workout squares marked.
  • Court 2: 17 patrons 
  • Showers/Locker-room: 1 at a time

Cleaning Procedures

  • A deep clean will be completed prior to opening and at closing.
  • The fitness center and basketball courts will shut down every 2 hours for a deep clean.
  • Bathrooms (sinks, faucets, restroom door handles, toilet handles, toilet seats) will be cleaned every hour.
  • Staff will follow a strict and specific cleaning schedule.
  • Disinfectant wipes, spray, and hand sanitizer will be placed abundantly throughout the facility.
  • Pre-use and post-use wipe down protocol on all equipment.
  • Staff and patrons will be held accountable for strict cleaning standards; must be a shared responsibility with the patrons and employees.

Patron Health Protocols

  • Face coverings are required in the lobby for check-in and in all non-workout areas.
  • To check-in, patrons will complete a brief health questionnaire and have their temperature taken. Patrons that do not pass the health questionnaire or present with a reading above 100.4 will not be allowed to enter the facility that day. 
  • Upon entering fitness center and/or gym, patrons will be asked to present their Sand Shark ID to the front desk staff and then the patron will swipe their university ID through the scanner.
  • Patrons are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings while working out, but not required.
  • Required hand sanitizer before workout.

Physical Distancing

  • Staff and patrons will utilize one-way entrance and exit. Traffic flow patterns have been marked throughout the facility.
  • Signage will designate physical distancing at the front desk area, group fitness room, weight room, and other areas as needed. 
  • All cardio and weight equipment is spaced, at minimum, 6 feet apart.
  • Selectorized weight equipment and some cardio is moved to court 2 to assist in social distancing. 

Restrictive Use

At this time, the following activities/services will be prohibited and/or unavailable:

  • Indoor sports equipment (volleyball, basketball, pickleball, etc.)
  • Towel service
  • Water fountains for drinking (only available for refilling)
  • Hard to clean fitness equipment (bands, slam balls, etc.)

Because of the bookstore's small foot print, the textbook section of the bookstore will be off limits. Students can avoid long lines and long waits by ordering course materials early through the website. The quickest and safest way to receive your course materials is to choose "shipping" or "store pick up" at checkout. Your materials will be safely boxed and shipped to you or be available for a quick store pick-up. To receive updates "like" Facebook page @SharksCoveBookstore