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USC to require COVID-19 testing of returning students, faculty and staff

Beginning Spring 2021, University of South Carolina will require periodic testing for coronavirus at Columbia campus

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Beginning with the Spring 2021 semester, all students, faculty and staff returning to the University of South Carolina Columbia campus will be required to undergo periodic COVID-19 testing. 

UofSC President Bob Caslen announced the plan in a letter sent to the campus community as a way to track and possibly reduce the spread of the virus as the number of positive cases continue to rise in South Carolina and across the nation. Health experts predict the trend of increased COVID-19 cases to continue through the winter months as people move indoors.

 Coupled with other strategies—such as wearing face coverings, social distancing and washing hands—testing is one of the best ways to reduce the spread of the virus.

According to the letter, the spring 2021 plan includes:

  • All students, faculty and staff living, learning or working on the Columbia campus must show proof of testing prior to returning to campus. Return testing was required in the fall for those living in university housing, which includes residence halls, 650 Lincoln, Park Place, Greek Village, Greene Crossing and YOUnion. Off-campus students who are enrolled in at least one face-to-face or hybrid class must also be tested prior to classes starting.
  • Testing can include current COVID test results, evidence of a previous positive test or presence of COVID-19 antibodies.
  • All students, faculty and staff who work on campus or are enrolled in at least one face-to-face or hybrid class must also participate in a required testing cycle of at least one test every 30 days. The university will assign a specific testing week each month and participants will have the flexibility to complete their test Monday through Thursday of their assigned week.
  • Additional details, including dates for required return testing, can be found on the university’s COVID-19 testing site.

Free testing for the UofSC community is widely available at multiple on-campus sites throughout the week and results are typically returned within 24 hours. More than 5,000 people have been tested in the past week. For more information on testing, COVID-19 dashboard statistics and the university’s response plan, visit www.sc.edu/safety/coronavirus.

UofSC was one of the first universities in the nation to offer saliva-based testing to its campus. Combined with nasal swab testing, UofSC has conducted more than 45,000 free tests since Aug. 1.