The situation with the COVID-19 coronavirus is rapidly evolving. Unfortunately, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is investigating multiple cases of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. As of this afternoon, four presumptive positive cases were identified after testing for COVID-19 was completed at DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory. These are in addition to the two presumptive positive cases the agency announced on March 6. That brings the total number of presumptive positive cases to six. The GSSM leadership team is continuing to monitor health conditions as we receive guidance from local and state health officials regarding the status of COVID-19.

Per DHEC, “In line with CDC guidance, the department does not recommend closing schools or canceling public events at this time. DHEC will monitor absentee rates in schools and businesses as well as reports of illness in the community to determine if or when closures may be recommended. DHEC also is providing updated recommendations to schools and day care facilities, colleges and universities, and organizers of large events. That updated information is publicly available at scdhec.gov/COVID19. DHEC continues to be in communication with state agencies and community partners.” The complete communication can be found here.

Here are some preventative steps that GSSM is taking:

  • We encourage everyone to follow standard recommendations to stay healthy during the cold and flu season. This includes frequently washing your hands with soap and using hand sanitizer, covering your cough or sneeze, and not sharing food/drinks/utensils, etc.
  • Our housekeeping staff is diligently disinfecting high-contact surfaces such as light switches, desks, doorknobs, and handrails throughout the day, a practice we have made routine during flu season each school year. Clorox and Lysol wipes are available in classrooms. While we aim to keep a continual supply in the classrooms, if for any reason the supply in a given classroom runs out, students should notify their instructor or GSSM Facilities. Residence Life staff also has Clorox and Lysol wipes that are available to students.  
  • We recently purchased a second portable fogger and plant-based cleaner for the sanitization of different areas around the school. We also have an outside Bio-hazard cleaning company on state contract that is open 24 hours. 
  • Our food service contractor, Aramark, is committed to having a sanitary dining environment for our students, and the dining staff continues to use a food-safe sanitizer (Quat) to disinfect serving stations and dining areas after each meal. The use of personal beverage containers has also been temporarily banned. Aramark’s response to COVID-19 can be found here
  • Our Athletic Director uses a portable fogger and plant-based cleaner at the end of each week to sanitize the weight room, locker room, and training room. 
  • We have implemented a visitor protocol advising all campus visitors to call campus security before attempting to enter the building if they have had flu-like symptoms and/or have been out of the country in the past 14 days. 

Look for official updates from the school via email, on our coronavirus response webpage and from authoritative sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and DHEC.
 
We continue to monitor this rapidly changing situation and respond based on guidance received from public health officials. We are prepared to respond according to this guidance and based on our institutional response plan as the situation dictates. The safety of our community is our top priority. We will continue to provide regular updates and information regarding any new response guidance that we receive.