Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs

Updated April 6, 2020

Questions about Academic Calendar and Grading

All Summer School classes, including Maymester, will be held online this summer. See the complete message that was sent to students via email on March 30, 2020.

Students will not be able to register for a class on the summer school schedule unless it is listed as an online section. More online sections are likely to be offered on the summer schedule.

Questions can be emailed to summer@cofc.edu.

On March 30, 2020, students were notified by email that the College has approved an Alternative Grading Policy for Spring 2020.

The policy includes a new pass-fail grade-type for this semester. Students will be able to choose between the standard grade type (A-F) or the new pass-fail grade type (PS/NS) for each course completed in Express II or full-semester Spring 2020.

The full policy can be accessed at the following link: emergency.cofc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Alternative-Grading-Options-Final.pdf

The Registrar’s office has created a list of common questions and answers about this grading alternative at the following link: https://registrar.cofc.edu/grades/covid-19-grading-policy.php

We are hopeful that the fall semester will be on its normal schedule. However, we will keep everyone up to date if that schedule changes.

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Questions about CofC’s Response and Cases on Campus

On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) was signed into law. The FFCRA contains two different paid leave types that apply to both permanent and temporary employees at the College of Charleston who are not able to work (on campus or remotely) due to the COVID-19 response. Affected employees who are not able to work and would like to apply for this leave need to submit an application. The application link and additional details are available at https://emergency.cofc.edu/families-first-coronavirus-response-act-employee-guidance/

The College of Charleston has encouraged private apartment operators and landlords to work with students and families regarding their leases during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the College does not have any contractual or legal authority over these private entities. Students who have off-campus leases should contact their landlords if they have any questions about their leases.

On March 31, President Andrew Hsu sent a letter to the operators of student apartments and asked that they consider providing rent abatements or payment options to reduce the burden on families and students during this difficult time.

President Andrew Hsu sent the following message to the campus community on March 25, 2020:

Dear Campus Community:

As you know, the College announced last night via our Cougar Alert system that we have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a member of our campus community. Our Office of Student Health Services has been in contact with this individual, and we are confident that all appropriate self-isolation measures have been taken.

Our investigation determined that this individual was last present on campus on March 9. At that time, this person was not ill. The person did not develop symptoms until much later. The College of Charleston has consulted with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and has determined that, given the course of the individual’s illness, this person posed no threat of infection while on campus.

Going forward, the College has adopted the following guideline: Due to the rapidly evolving nature of the pandemic and the unique circumstances surrounding each case and its verification, the College will not be able to reliably report on all cases in those affiliated with the College. As such, the College does not intend to publicly announce each additional case unless it involves a DHEC-validated case in a member of the campus community who was on campus at a time or for a duration that would require the individual notification of affected persons.

Sincerely,

Andrew

 

Andrew T. Hsu, Ph.D.

President

The College of Charleston continues to closely monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic for its ongoing and potential impacts on our university community. The health and safety of our university community is our top priority, and we are taking appropriate actions to support our students in the United States and overseas.

The College was made aware on March 24, 2020, that one of our employees tested positive for COVID-19. University officials have taken appropriate measures to ensure the health and safety of the campus community. Our investigation determined that this individual was last present on campus on March 9. At that time, this person was not ill. The person did not develop symptoms until much later. The College has consulted with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and has determined that, given the course of the individual’s illness, this person posed no threat of infection while on campus.

In addition, the College has also learned of other potential unconfirmed cases among members of the campus community and continues to investigate if and/or when any of these individuals were last on campus. Appropriate actions will be taken as soon as more information becomes available.

Due to the rapidly evolving nature of the pandemic and the unique circumstances surrounding each case and its verification, the College will not be able to reliably report on all cases in those affiliated with the College. As such, the College does not intend to publicly announce each additional case unless it involves a DHEC-validated case in a member of the campus community who was on campus at a time or for a duration that would require the individual notification of affected persons.

For the latest information on the presence of coronavirus in South Carolina, visit the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

On March 19, 2020, President Hsu announced the extension of the e-learning period through the end of the spring semester. 

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Questions about Campus/Student Services

Unused Dining Dollars will carry over each semester until a student graduates or separates (through withdrawal or a leave of absence) from the College. Cougar Card Services will refund the Dining Dollar account balance for graduating or separated students after receipt of the Dining Dollar Refund Form. Refunds cannot be issued for account balances less than $10. Refunds will be issued via direct deposit if an account is set up with the Treasurer’s Office. If direct deposit is not set up, a check will be mailed to the primary address on file or as stated in the request.

The Counseling Center is a great resource for students experiencing anxiety.

These are challenging times for all of us as we navigate new technology and readjust our everyday lives. TAO Connect is an app and online resource program that helps you explore wellness topics and guides you through creating strategies that can be applied in your daily life. Maybe you are looking for some strategies for dealing with this stressful time or maybe you want to preventatively learn some meditation and mindfulness techniques prior to final exams. The pathways on TAO can help you address these and many more areas. And, you can access all of this from the comfort of wherever you are.

Each treatment/ pathway in TAO consists of 6-7 highly engaging educational modules, including interactive activities to help you learn strategies and skills. Typically, a program can be completed within 6 to 9 weeks when committing about 15 minutes a day. Additionally, if focused problems unexpectedly surface, such as anxiety or stress, you can always access individual modules to reinforce what you have learned.

Here’s how to get started:

Go to https://thepath.taoconnect.org/local/self_help/signup.php to set up an account. You must use your g.cofc.edu email address.
Fill out your general information and submit it. You’ll be sent an email with a temporary password momentarily.
Click the link in the confirmation email to login and change your password to set up your account.
You’re ready to go!

If you have questions or need further assistance, please contact the Counseling Center at counseling@cofc.edu or 843-953-5640.

Also, just a reminder, you can find more information about accessing multiple areas of support available to you here.

Yes. Refunds will be issued and will be calculated based on a prorated daily rate beginning the week after spring break when the College moved to online instruction. Refunds will be processed by the College over the next two weeks and will be posted to students’ MyCharleston accounts.

This policy was developed in collaboration with the other state public higher education institutions and the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. Read President Hsu’s messaeg to students and families.

What is the process for moving out of the residence halls and houses?

The initial move-out period concluded March 23.

Students who were either unable to get their belongings during the initial move-out time period or who did not complete the March 19 move-out form were emailed Thursday, March 26, with a survey providing the following options for move-out:

• I am available to move out April 23-26
• I am available to move out May 1-3.
• I have already removed all my items from my room.
• I am not available to move out April 23-26 or May 1-3.

If you received this email, please complete the survey by Monday, March 30, at 5:00 p.m.

Students who requested an exception to stay on campus due to extenuating circumstances have been notified of the College’s decision to grant or deny the request.

Effective Monday, March 23, at 8:00 p.m. residence halls and historic houses have limited authorized access for the remainder of the spring semester.

How do I retrieve my personal items during the April 23-26 or May 1-3 move-out period?

Students are required to complete the survey emailed Thursday, March 26, to notify us of your plans. The deadline to complete this survey is Monday, March 30, at 5:00 p.m.

Campus Housing will send you a confirmed move-out date and time by April 13. You will need to strictly adhere to your confirmed time slot to help us maintain social distancing protocols and the health of everyone involved. Again, due to the constantly evolving nature of the situation, even confirmed dates could be subject to change. The most up-to-date information can always be found on the College of Charleston’s COVID-19 website.

During the move-out process, please continue to practice social distancing, and please limit the number of friends or family who help you, especially inside the building. Finally, limit the number of people in elevators; use the stairs if you are able.

Students will not be permitted to stay overnight.

If you are experiencing any symptoms, including fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing or in the last 14 days you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 OR have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19, DO NOT return to campus. We will coordinate with you directly upon completion of the form.

A limited number of carts will be available, and we encourage you to bring your own if possible. Please also bring your own sanitizing wipes and gloves for your own use, and to wipe down any shared carts when you are done.

All College of Charleston surface parking lots will be available to you and will not be ticketed. Additionally, the St. Philip Street Garage (PG) will be open for your use, free of charge.

Upon arriving on campus for move-out:
1. Please park your car first.
2. Pack your belongings.
3. Remove all trash and perishables from your room
4. Check out of your room. Residence Life staff will provide instructions onsite for returning your keys.
5. Move your car to the loading area near your residence hall or house and load up.
6. Wipe down your cart and return it to the lobby. (You will need to bring sanitizing wipes with you.)

Can I simply show up to campus and get my belongings?

Effective Monday, March 23, at 8:00 p.m. residence halls and historic houses have limited authorized access for the remainder of the spring semester. Campus Housing is determined to take care of everyone in the safest and most efficient way possible. This does mean, however, that we cannot currently accommodate one-off requests for students to come to campus to move out.

How do I forward my student mail?

Please complete the following survey to forward your student mail.

https://cofc.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9TwEG3YZnoJBszj

Will I get a refund on my housing, meal plan and parking?

Message from the President: Update on Refunds Related to Campus Housing, Parking and Meal Plan Fees

What about storing my belongings?

Students who indicated on their move-out form that they could not make it back to campus during the initial move-out period ending March 23 were emailed Thursday, March 26, by Campus Housing to coordinate the removal of items. In the meantime, we want to assure you that your belongings are safe and secured within the residence halls and houses.

I couldn’t get back to campus during the initial move-out period of March 20-23 and have perishables and trash in my room.

College of Charleston staff will access your room to remove perishable food items and trash.

I’ve already moved out, but how do I know if I checked out correctly? 

If you have already moved out and you are unsure if you have properly checked out, please email housing@cofc.edu to let us know. If you still have your key, you can mail it to us at the below address.

Mail to:

College of Charleston

Campus Housing

66 George St.

Charleston, SC 29424

What do I do with my key if I have already moved out and did not return it?

Please include your name, CWID, and residence hall room with the key. Please mail key(s) in a bubble-wrap or similar envelope to ensure the envelope does not tear through mail processing.

Mail to:

College of Charleston

Campus Housing

66 George St.

Charleston, SC 29424

The Career Center is fully online and here to help you with your job search! Students may schedule appointments with our staff to be held via email, phone, or Zoom. Any career-related questions, as well as resumes or cover letters that you would like us to review, can be emailed to careercenter@cofc.edu.

Summer Orientation sessions are scheduled for their original dates and times. You can see the entire list at orientation.cofc.edu.

The College is actively monitoring updates related to COVID19 and will be informing students and family members as soon as possible should any adjustments be made to the orientation schedule. If a change needs to be made, students will be informed via email and our website (orientation.cofc.edu) will be updated.

We are looking forward to welcoming all new students and family members throughout the summer. If you have any additional questions, please let us know.

CofC Virtual Visitor Center

Please have your student reach out to the Center for Student Learning: cslstud@cofc.edu.

Please direct questions to the Financial Aid office at: financialaid@cofc.edu.

 

Books and other course materials are available for purchase online via the College of Charleston Barnes & Noble website with free ground shipping on all orders.

Additionally, through their partnership with VitalSource, Barnes & Noble is offering students free eTextbooks through the remainder of the spring 2020 semester. These eTextbooks can be accessed through the VitalSource website.

Rented textbooks can be returned using a free shipping label. Students will be sent email reminders starting April 19 with return rental information and a link to the prepaid label. More detailed information can be found on the College of Charleston Barnes & Noble website.

Students will be able to sell back their textbooks once the College of Charleston resumes in-person classes. Barnes & Noble is developing additional plans for remote textbook buybacks and will provide updates once those are finalized.

diningservices@cofc.edu
843.953.1414
Instagram: @cofcdining

Dining Services is offering breakfast, lunch and dinner pick-up during one time period (11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.), from the pick-up window at City Bistro.

For more details and to learn about made-to-order, ready-to-eat meals and Meal Kit options, please go to the Dining Services website or feel free to contact us.

All students, with or without a meal plan, are welcome to get meals. Current meal plan holders will swipe their Cougar Cards as usual. For those students who do not currently have a meal plan, we ask that each student present their Cougar Card to confirm student status when picking up their meals.

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Questions about Travel Abroad

  • The College has suspended all College-sponsored domestic and international travel through June 30, 2020.
  • All College-sponsored international travel for faculty, staff, students and incoming visitors who have not yet departed has been canceled for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester.* Exceptions to this institutional directive will be handled case by case, and an exemption must be approved by the appropriate division head in coordination with the President’s Office.
  • The CDC recommends avoiding all non-essential travel to countries under CDC Warning Level 3 (Avoid Non-Essential Travel).
  • Any CofC student, faculty or staff considering non-College-sponsored travel to countries where there is an active outbreak of the COVID-19 virus are urged to follow CDC travel recommendations at the following link: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • CofC students, faculty and staff returning from countries under CDC Warning Level 3 (Avoid Non-Essential Travel) travel notices must self-quarantine off-campus for at least 14 days before they can return to campus. The College will work with all returning students to maintain their academic progress.
  • The College’s Center for International Education maintains a list of FAQs directed at students and parents with questions about study abroad and exchange programs. These FAQs can be accessed at the following link: Center for International Education Study Abroad FAQs

*If students are advised to return and they choose to remain in that location, they must sign and submit an Acknowledgment of Full Assumption of All Risks and Waiver of Liability form. Students who choose to remain in an overseas location after being asked by the College to return cannot be guaranteed support from the College.

The College has suspended all College-sponsored international travel through Aug. 15, 2020. This suspension applies to all faculty, staff, students and incoming international visitors.

All of our students in College-sponsored international programs have returned. The College has contacted students participating in affiliate programs (which are not directly controlled by the College) in countries under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Level 3 Travel Advisory (avoid nonessential travel) and has strongly encouraged them to return to the U.S. and has offered assistance in coordinating those return plans.

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Questions about Campus Events

Spring Commencement ceremonies have been postponed. This event will still happen, just not when it was originally scheduled. We do not have a new date as of yet for the Class of 2020, but we will communicate that as soon as possible.

Even without a commencement ceremony on May 8-9, 2020, the official graduation date for seniors will still be May 11, 2020, once final grades are received. Regardless of the timing of the postponed ceremonies, diplomas will be mailed this summer.

Category: COVID-19-events

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Questions about COVID-19 Symptoms and Prevention

Self-quarantine means separating and restricting the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

If you live with a spouse or family member who has been asked to self-quarantine, you should follow these guidelines:

  • The person in your home should ideally sleep in a separate bedroom, use a separate bath and not share common spaces.
  • Clean your hands. All persons sharing living quarters with someone who is under self-quarantine should clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub frequently.
  • Monitor yourself for symptoms. If you are sharing living quarters with someone who is under self-quarantine, monitor yourself closely for the development of fever and respiratory symptoms. If you develop a fever, cough, or sore throat, seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office, emergency room or CofC Student Health Services, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Don’t visit those who are under self-quarantine.
  • Clean common surfaces. The virus is not spread very well from contact with soiled household surfaces, but it’s still a good idea to clean surfaces that you share with the person who is under self-quarantine (or any sick person) such as door knobs, telephones and bathroom surfaces. Use a standard household disinfectant. Wash your hands after cleaning the area.
  • Wash laundry and dishes safely. If you are washing used linens (such as bed sheets and towels) for the person who is under self-quarantine, use household laundry soap and tumble dry on a hot setting. Avoid “hugging” laundry and use a laundry basket or bag while carrying it to the washing machine to prevent self-contamination. Clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub right after handling dirty laundry. Dirty dishes and eating utensils should be washed in a dishwasher or by hand with warm water and soap.
  • For additional guidance on preventing the spread of coronavirus in homes and residential communities, visit the the CDC website.

There is no vaccine to prevent this virus, and the CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

The following general actions can help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • 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.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms, according to the CDC. Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection. People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

At this time, the CDC recommends avoiding non-essential travel to countries under CDC Warning Level 3 (or higher) travel notices.

The US Department of State has also issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory (Do Not Travel) for the Lombardy and Veneto regions of Italy.

The latest travel advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of State can be accessed at the following links:

Person-to-person spread is occurring, although it’s unclear exactly how it is transmitted and how easily the virus spreads between people.

Symptoms may be flu-like, ranging from mild to serious, and include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing.

COVID-19 is a newly identified coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of pneumonia illness. It was first identified in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

Since then, the virus has been identified in multiple other countries, including cases in the U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and usually cause mild to moderate illness in people. This new virus is a public health concern because:

  • It is newly identified and so little is known about it.
  • Two other human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, have caused severe illness.

The most up-to-date information about the status of COVID-19 can be found at the following links maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization:

If you have symptoms of fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing and in the last 14 days, you:

  • Have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 OR
  • Have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19.

You should:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office, emergency room or CofC Student Health Services, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • College of Charleston students may call Student Health Services Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 843.953.5520. After hours, students can call Public Safety dispatch at 843.953.5609.
  • Several South Carolina health systems are offering free telehealth options to the public. The following telehealth options are available to anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms in South Carolina. In order to access the free consult, use the promo code COVID19.
  • College of Charleston faculty and staff should contact their healthcare provider or call the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control at 843.441.1091.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Not travel while sick. Please do not use public transportation or show up at your health care provider without an appointment or prior contact seeking guidance. CofC students should call Student Health Services at 843.953.5520 for guidance.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available

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Additional Resources

  • The DHEC Care Line is available to provide general information about COVID-19 by calling 1-855-472-3432 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. seven days a week. The Care Line hours are extend to 9 p.m. tonight. Because call volume has been high, callers are urged to be patient if they receive a busy signal and try their call at a later time.
  • To learn the latest from the CDC on the COVID-19, visit the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) FAQ page.