CIU 2021 COVID-19 Response

CIU's Coronavirus Response

University officials continue monitoring the latest developments with the U.S. COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on University operations. Updates and new information will be added as needed and the community will be notified through email and updates to the ciu.edu/covid19 website.

CIU continues to be open and operational.

For reliable, up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 please visit the Center for Disease Control’s website.

Please see below for the latest update from CIU.  If you have additional concerns or questions, you may contact the school at (800) 777-2227.

From the President - Spring Update

Greetings from CIU!

We are pleased to announce a successful Fall 2020 semester with very low levels of illness. The Spring 2021 semester will begin as scheduled on Monday, January 11, 2021.

Thank you to our students, faculty and staff for working hard to follow the safety guidelines put in place on campus.  Because of their efforts, we are able to continue offering on campus, in person instruction.

We continue to closely monitor the situation and to follow the plan put together by our COVID-19 taskforce, based on the advice from local and national public health authorities and guided by the following core principles:

  • Do everything we can to maintain the health and safety of our community
  • Take all appropriate steps to mitigate the spread of the virus
  • Maintain our strong academic and student life offerings

Please join with me in praying for God’s wisdom and protection as we welcome students back in the coming semester. This is truly a time when we have the opportunity to live out our core value of prayer and faith.

In Christ,

Mark Smith

President

2020-2021 Calendar

Our commitment to the safety, health and well-being of the CIU community has been the priority in decision-making for the 2021 Academic year. 

The December Commencement has been combined with the May 2021 Commencement.

The Spring 2021 term will begin as scheduled on Monday, January 11 and follow the published schedule as noted in the complete 2020-2021 Academic Calendar.  The semester will end as planned on April 30, 2021.

Any additional safety measures will be communicated via ciu.edu/covid19.

Student Life

Health and Wellness

Student Health

Working in collaboration with local public health department, Health Services will:
  • Ask students and employees to use the coronavirus@ciu.edu e-mail with health concerns.  Students in the residence halls should also report health concerns to their RA.
  • Direct students, faculty or staff with symptoms to testing locations.
  • Work with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to complete contact tracing, identification and quarantine of all persons exposed to COVID-19.
  • Handle case management of all persons with COVID-19 symptoms and/or diagnosis and all persons under quarantine after exposure, including placement in isolation/quarantine housing, psychological support, support for basic needs and ongoing monitoring while isolated.
  • Carry out ongoing tracking of influenza-like illness (ILI) and COVID-19 symptoms, through coronavirus@ciu.edu and other means.

Counseling Services

  • Counseling will be available in person or virtually.

Screening Protocol

  • Prior to arrival, all students will be asked to acknowledge that they are in good health, symptom free, and not still under any quarantine period.
  • Once the semester has begun, Health Services provides temperature checks for concerned students. Students in the Residence Halls may see their RA or the Residence Life Office for temperature checks.

Quarantine Procedures

If a residence hall student is symptomatic and Health Services determines that quarantining is recommended, or if a residence hall student tests positive for COVID-19, the following steps will be taken:

  • The student will be asked to return home for the quarantine period. CIU will assist the student, within reason and where possible, in getting home.
  • If returning home is not an option:
    • Arrangements for quarantining on campus are made. Students are housed one per room.
      • Health Services does regular checks on quarantining students and give further guidance as necessary.
      • Physical Plant will provide additional cleaning in the room/residence hall where the student was housed.
      • Meals are delivered to students in quarantine.
      • The student will be permitted to return to their original room once cleared by Health Services.

Contact Tracing

  • DHEC manages contact tracing with individuals who test positive for COVID-19.  CIU will assist students who tests positive with contact tracing efforts.
Fitness Center
  • Social distancing, hand washing/sanitizing and masks are required for students using the Fitness Center.
  • Each room in the Center is being cleaned and sanitized regularly, and "sanitation stations" have been set up to promote hand sanitation.
Residence Halls

Occupancy

Rooms are set up to provide distancing for occupants while sleeping/studying.

Training

Residence Life Staff, RAs and CLCs and students undergo regular health and safety training.

Move-in

    • Move-in procedures follow health and safety guidelines and will be communicated to students.

    Lounges and Other Common Areas

    • No outside guests are allowed in common areas other than the lobbies of Memorial and Founders, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    • Masks are encouraged.
    • The Physical Plant has increased the level of cleaning and sanitization.

    Visitors

    • No outside visitors are allowed in the residence halls except for the main lounges in Memorial and Founders, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    • Residents who wish to socialize with residents from other halls should do so in the Student Center, other campus common areas (not including residence halls) or outside.
    Sanitization
    • Sanitization dispensers will be located near entry/exit points
    • Cleaning agents will be available on each hall for residents.
    • Necessary supplies will be provided by both the Physical Plant (cleaning agents, hand sanitizer) and Health Services (thermometers, masks).

    Reporting

    • Students and employees should use the coronavirus@ciu.edu e-mail to report health concerns. Students in the residence halls should also report health concerns to their RA/RD.

    Chapel/Events

    • Reduced seating capacity based on social distancing, additional locations, live feeds and outside venues are being used to ensure the continuing safety of students, faculty and staff at weekly chapel gatherings and scheduled events.

    Cafeteria

    CIU’s food service provider, Hallmark, is following its own "HMS Safe Reopening Plan COVID-19."   Highlights include:

    • Daily screening of employees.
    • Instructions for use of personal protective equipment, i.e., masks and gloves.
    • Procedures for cleaning and sanitizing.
    • Preparation of meals for students in quarantine.
    • Provision for social distancing in the dining room.
    • Changes to systems of food delivery to minimize contact, with self-service options being eliminated except for pre-packaged items.

    Sanctions

    • Persistent violaters of social distancing guidelines, quarantining restrictions or general careless behavior demonstrating negligence toward the CIU student body, faculty and/or staff will be sanctioned. Sanctions may include denial of access to campus facilities, activities or services and possible loss of funding in the case of student organizations.

    Pine View Properties

    • Student Life requests that students who are Pine View residents report suspected illness to coronavirus@ciu.edu and observe quarantine requirements in their apartment space. 
    Academics and Classrooms

    Masks are encouraged for all students in classrooms. Classrooms are configured to promote physical distancing.

    Each classroom is equipped with a sanitation station, providing supplies so students and faculty can clean surfaces and shared computers and equipment when they enter and leave the space.

    All courses are designed so that students who are in quarantine can complete them remotely.   Faculty communicate with students who are in quarantine or during a remote learning period to ensure that students understand the expectations of and resources available to them.

    Classes / Teaching Plan

    • Where possible, faculty accept assignments via electronic means in order to limit students' use of public printers and copiers, which are high touch items.
    • There is a flexible absence policy for students who have reported their illness to coronavirus@ciu.edu and who are sick and quarantining. All other absences will fall under CIU’s standard absence policy.
    • Students are encouraged to wear masks in class and in situations where social distancing is not practical.
    • In order to reduce the amount of travel off campus, as many on-campus Christian Service Learning assignments will be developed as possible.
    • Faculty will make adjustments in the weighting of attendance and/or class participation grades for students who are quarantined or ill.

    Class Size and Classroom

    • Appropriate distance in classroom seating has been observed by placing classes in larger classrooms and using the Chapel and other non-standard spaces as classrooms.
    • CIU provides frequent cleaning of classrooms, making sure chairs/desks/tables are wiped down.
    • Disinfectant wipes are available in classrooms to allow students to clean classroom surfaces.

    Academic Calendar

    The Academic Calendar will run as published in the CIU Student Handbook. Any changes or adjustments to the Academic Calendar will be communicated to the students via email.

    Library and Academic Success Center


    • The stacks are open to patrons.
    • There is normal access to library collections; all items on return carts will be quarantined for 72 hours.
    • A self-checkout system is in place.
    • All workshops are being held virtually.
    • Only two students at a time are allowed to use open group study rooms.
    • There is a 72-hour quarantine of collection items, including all returned materials.
    • Interlibrary Loan (ILL) items are quarantined for 24 hours before they are available for checkout.
    • Return dates for ILL materials are set by the lending institution.
    Emergency CARES Act Fund

    CIU has signed and returned the Certification and Agreement form for HEERF funds and has used 100% of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide HEERF grants to students. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided Columbia International University with $338,471 in Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds for student grants. The funds are targeted to give students cash to cover their expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and childcare. During the week of May 18, 2020, CIU dispersed CARES Grants to approximately 626 students.

    Grants were awarded to students based on guidelines from the US Department of Education. To be considered students had to be eligible for federal student financial aid as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Additionally, students had to be enrolled in the Spring of 2020 in classes that were not exclusively online prior to the closure of campus. Following the federal government's recommendation to prioritize students with the greatest need, CIU made decisions accordingly. Undergrad Pell Grant recipients received $676, Undergrad non-Pell Grant recipients received $510 and residential graduate students received $330.  Students with a missing or incomplete FAFSA did not receive grants.

    Students did not have to apply and no additional action on part of the recipients is anticipated. Funds were sent directly to the student and not credited to their CIU student account.

    View the Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Reporting under CARES Act.

    RAM Athletics

    CIU’s athletics programs will follow the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) and Health Services best practices and guidelines. The priority will be on the health and safety of student-athletes, mitigating the risks of sports participation through hygiene and regular health screening.

    Athletic competitions will be held in venues with adjusted maximum attendance and physical distancing, based on local and state guidelines. When possible, athletic teams will compete with regionally located teams in order to reduce travel to and from remote locations.

    Providing the lowest health risk possible and still maintaining the integrity of competition is the highest priority for RAMS Athletics.  CIU coaches and administration will uphold and communicate the importance of cleanliness and social distancing with their athletes.

    Student Athlete Travel Restrictions
    • Athletics will follow all NAIA and American Athletic Conference (AAC) guidelines in regard to team travel.
    • Overnight travel by teams will be minimized as much as possible
    Sports Venues (inside and outside)
    • At each location, masks are required and 6-foot social distancing is recommended.
    • All Athlectic facilities are being regularly cleaned, sanitized and monitored to ensure the health and safety of students.
    Public Athletic Events
    • Fan attendance is capped at 250 per athletic event.
    • Fans are required to waer masks and 6-foot social distancing is recommended.
    Visiting Teams

    Visiting teams and travel parties, including coaches and staff, are required to complete screenings prior to participation on CIU’s campus. Visiting teams’ sports medicine staffs are responsible for oversight of any medical screening and care.

    Visitors to Campus

    CIU’s campus remains open to the public and guests are welcome.  Masks are encouraged unless they severely prohibit the purpose for the visit (chapel speakers, guest musicians, visiting faculty, etc.)  Guests and visitors will avoid gathering in large groups and must practice social distancing.

    Rams Athletics

    CIU’s athletics programs will be conducted consistent with the NAIA and NCCAA and Health Services best practices and guidelines. Attendance may be limited and venues may be configured to allow for appropriate social distancing.

    Sports Venues (Inside and Outside)

    At each location, signage will be posted and seen by the public stating:

    • 6 foot social distancing is recommended
    • Keep hands washed / sanitized
    • Masks are encouraged

    Each location will have additional “sanitation stations” to promote hand sanitation.

    Additional cleaning for each venue will be provided.

    Student workers have additional cleaning and monitoring duties.

    Offices and Operations

    Open Office Spaces & Lobbies

    • Employees, faculty, students and guests are encouraged to wear masks in any open office space or lobby.
    • Sanitation stations with masks, hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes and sprays are located in all departmental common areas.

    CIU Guestrooms
    • CIU will ensure that all guests will experience a healthy environment and services in keeping with the university’s policies and protocols. Stringent cleaning and sanitizing for each guest room includes deep cleaning before guest arrivals with extra attention paid to the high contact points.  No turndown service or housekeeping will be offered during visits until determined to be safe.
    Admissions & Campus Tours
    • Prospective students and their families are welcome on the CIU campus and may register for their personal visit on CIU.edu. Campus guests will begin their visit at the Administration building and will be instructed about campus policies, physical distancing and encouraged to wear a mask which will be provided.
    • Personal visits and campus tours will limit the size of groups to comply with physical distancing requirements.

     

    Library and Academic Success Center

    See Guidelines under Academics and Classrooms

    Employees

    Travel

    All travel must be approved by the President’s Cabinet member over the department making the request.

    Travel is not prohibited but will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Current CDC guidance on the area to be traveled to will be consulted in making the decision to approve or not approve travel.

    Practices

    Employees are required to stay home if they show any symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat or new loss of taste or smell.

    • Employees should alert CIU to their symptoms at coronavirus@ciu.edu and contact their health provider.
    • Employees should stay home until symptom free and have received the go ahead to return from Health Services.
    • Employees should maintain social distancing at work. If space is shared, schedules may be staggered and personnel should wear face coverings. Workstations may be rearranged but we are trying not to move offices.
    • Employees are encouraged to wear masks in situations where social distancing is not practical.
    • Employees with special situations should work with their supervisor on appropriate arrangements. Special situations include:
      • Childcare issues
      • Over 65
      • Having underlying medical conditions or living with or caring for someone who has them.

    Employee Center for Disease Control (CDC) Guidelines

    • Faculty and staff should limit close personal contact and maintain 6 foot social distancing.
    • Faculty and staff in individual offices should consider working with office doors shut.
    • Faculty and staff should engage in frequent hand washing, the use of hand sanitizer and sanitizing of surfaces regularly:
      • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as feasible.
      • Use hand sanitizer after interactions with people or objects if soap and water are not readily available.
      • Cover coughs and sneezes into the sleeve or elbow, not hands.
      • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces (buttons, door handles, counters, workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, etc.) regularly. Physical Plant will provide disinfecting wipes or sprays for computer labs, classrooms and public spaces for individuals to clean surfaces regularly.
      • Avoid touching your face.
      • Refrain from shaking hands.
    • Faculty and staff should avoid using other employees’ phones, desks, offices or other work tools and equipment when possible. If necessary, clean and disinfect them before and after use.
    • Faculty and staff should remain mindful of physical distancing in small spaces including elevators, hallways, stairwells and restrooms.
    • Faculty and staff should eat in a location that allows for appropriate physical distancing (e.g. outdoors, in an enclosed or private space, in an office with the door closed, etc.).

    Note: All visitors to campus, including contractors, vendors, guest speakers, etc., will be expected to follow these guidelines.

    Communication

    Communication of Expectations to Students Prior to Campus Arrival

    The Pandemic Response Task Force has developed a communication flow that informs the entire CIU population.

    For Student Life, student communication liaisons are:

    • Student App/Student E-mail – Tyler Tong (Student Services)
    • Residence Halls (via RAs, hall meetings) – Brion Burns (Dir. of Residence Life)

    Communication Flow To Students, Parents and Employees

    Content for the communications will be sent on behalf of CIU’s Provost from the approved fall 2020 Practices & Procedures. All communications will include a link to ciu.edu/covid19.

    Website

    Communications via Website:  Website will contain an outline of the approved Fall 2020 Practices and Procedures

    Communication via Signage

    University Communications will provide an online CIU branded tool box of all campus signs for multiple uses; each building has a coordinator who posts signage. Request CIU Covid-19 Signage.

    Sources

    President’s Planning Guidance (May 6, 2020)

    Close Contact and/or Service Industry Employers Reopening Guidelines, accelerateSC (May 2020).

    Considerations for Reopening Institutions of Higher Education in the COVID-19 Era, American College Health Association (May 7, 2020).

    Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Institutions of Higher Education, CDC (May 2020).

    Reconnect Columbia: Playbook for Reopening Business in the COVID-19 Era, Columbia Chamber of Commerce (April 29, 2020).

    South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control guidance for institutions of higher education.

    Informational Videos

    Part of CIU’s response to the Coronavirus 19 outbreak is to provide information to the CIU community that will help reduce the spread of viruses. Please take time to view the two videos below from the Centers for Disease Control. Then please closely follow the advice they provide. Total viewing time for the videos is about 3 ½ minutes.

    1. Do your part to stop the spread of flu at colleges and universities
    2. Clean hands help prevent the flu

    Additional videos from the CDC can be viewed at CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 Videos. Topics found there are:

    1. What is Coronavirus Disease 2019?
    2. What’s my risk?
    3. How to protect myself?
    4. COVID-19 Stop the spread of germs

    More updates and information will follow as needed.