Dear Wofford Community,
As I watch positive COVID-19 test results decline on campus and the number of people who have been fully vaccinated go up, I have great hope and optimism for a return to the Wofford experiences and traditions we all cherish.
The pandemic is not over, and we must continue to follow public health guidance, but there does seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel. This week Spartanburg Regional Medical Center has been offering walk in vaccine appointments at USC Upstate. VCOM, just across Church Street from the campus, has plenty of vaccine appointments available, and next week Wofford will hold a vaccine clinic on campus (Wednesday, April 28 and Thursday, April 29, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium, visit musc.co/covidoutreach to make an appointment). I strongly encourage everyone to take the opportunity to get vaccinated if you have not already done so. By taking advantage of these opportunities, I believe our community can be largely vaccinated by early summer.
We continue to consult with experts at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center and the Department of Health and Environmental Control, but at this point Wofford College intends to require vaccination for students returning to campus for the fall semester. The college will accommodate medical and religious exemptions, as with other vaccines, but the expectation will be that our community of learners will overwhelmingly consist of vaccinated individuals. If you have been vaccinated, please upload a copy of your card to the Wellness Center Patient Portal, found at my.Wofford.edu.
As we have learned during the pandemic, guidelines may change based on expert advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With that in mind, the following thresholds and policies will apply:
If we can get to the point of HERD IMMUNITY with the vast majority of our community (at least 80 percent) showing proof of vaccination by the start of the fall semester, we may be able to operate in the fall under pre-pandemic guidelines. With mandatory student vaccinations, we anticipate full in-person instruction and a return to athletics competition and large social events, such as first-year orientation, Homecoming, Family Weekend, sorority and fraternity formals and tailgating.
If vaccination levels are above 50 percent but below the level of herd immunity, we will begin the semester with normal in-person instruction without a routinely provided online option, but with enhanced safety measures (masks, physical distancing, surveillance testing, enhanced cleaning, etc.). Although reasonable medical accommodations will be considered, getting the vaccine is the best way to ensure that you remain safe from the most dangerous effects of COVID-19.
If less than 50 percent of our student population has been vaccinated by the beginning of the semester, we will begin the semester in physically distanced classrooms, with a mix of instruction modes similar to the fall and spring semester.
Vaccination and herd immunity are the best ways to ensure that we will be fully together in the fall. Thank you all for your continued commitment to the safety of our community and the integrity of the college’s academic program.
Nayef H. Samhat