• By Alyssa L. Brennan

CCU safety measures put in place for Fall 2020 semester due to COVID-19


Coastal Carolina University has pushed back the date set for in-person classes to begin as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to grow across the United States.

Originally, students were planning to be back in the classroom on Aug. 19, but that date has now been set to Sept. 8. However, classes still began online on the original date. CCU is also providing the option for students to livestream all of their classes for the entire semester instead of returning to the classrooms in September.

Coastal Carolina University began a Coastal Comeback Countdown on July 20. Every day until classes began, the Office of University Marketing sent out an email with a video attached which explains one of the new safety measures that will be put in place for the protection of students and staff during the fall semester.

To kick off the countdown, the university sent out an email discussing the importance of wearing a face covering once students and staff return to campus. Masks will be required in all buildings and outside where social distancing is not possible. Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Peter Paquette also sent out an email further explaining expectations for students upon returning to campus such as: holding other students accountable for protecting the community, limiting the amount of people in a dorm at a time, and not partying.

CCU will be following the social distancing guidelines and making sure everything is sanitized properly as well, one of the emails from the university said. When students return, there will be 500 sanitation stations across campus.

“Sanitation will be a top priority this fall at Coastal Carolina University, with crews taking extra steps to keep everything clean and disinfected,” one of the emails said.

To watch the videos for more information on each regulation and adjustment for the semester, students can go to their Coastal emails, search “Coastal comeback countdown” on YouTube, or visit the university’s social media accounts.

Director of Student Health Services Caesar Ross explained some of the changes students will see if they choose to return to campus for face-to-face instruction. He also wants students to be aware of the fact that molecular COVID testing is available on campus. Right now, the turn-around time for COVID test results at the Student Health Center is between two to five days. Ross said they are hoping to upgrade the type of testing, so that the center will be able to provide the results before students leave the building.

The Student Health Center will not be taking walk-ins at this time; all visits will require an appointment. All students will also be screened upon arrival for COVID-like symptoms before being admitted into the center. If payment is required for a visit, the center will be charging the student’s account instead of accepting cash or card as another precaution. The specific reason will not be listed on the account; it will simply read: “Medical fee.”

Ross encourages students “to always be well and be safe,” and hopes that students will remember the 3 W’s: watch the distance between yourself and others, wear a face mask and wear it properly, and to wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds and to only use hand sanitizer if you are unable to use soap and water.

“Student health services are here to support those who require our assistance. After all, our role is to keep students healthy, and in the classroom, whether that is in person or virtually,” Ross said.

CCU President David DeCenzo shared his thoughts on the measures taken to reopen campus in the final countdown video.

“In looking back, it is remarkable what we have done to prepare this campus for the return of our students, faculty and staff. It was a unified goal. People wanted to come back; we wanted to open up campus. Certainly, there was a strong desire to do everything we could to get campus opened,” DeCenzo said. “Students understand that they have some responsibility. We can put the best plans out there, but it requires all of us to do those things that are necessary.”

DeCenzo has faith that CCU will only grow and become stronger after getting through this difficult time.

“This is probably not the way I anticipated spending my final months as president, but there was a need to ensure that we put in place those things that are going to be critical, so that this university can continue to move forward,” he said. “When you’re in the midst of a crisis, the things that you do to deal with the crisis more often make you stronger and I think I’m seeing that on this campus. I firmly believe that we will be a stronger institution.”

For more information about how the health center will be operating, visit https://www.coastal.edu/health/.

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