Coker University to demand masks, step up COVID safety precautions

HARTSVILLE, SC – Starting Tuesday, all Coker University staff and students will be required to wear indoor masks along with other policies.

In a statement, Coker University said:

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Coker remained convinced that students coming to campus expect and have a right to a safe environment. Likewise, employees deserve a workplace that avoids preventable harm. Recognizing that free vaccination options are readily available throughout the United States:

  • Universal masking requirements and physical distancing will be in place until collective immunity is met, as recommended by the CDC (80%).
  • Coker plans to run in-person classes for the fall semester 2021 and will continue to follow CDC and SC DHEC recommendations on classroom capacity.
  • Coker will follow all CDC, SCDHEC and local protocols when considering community service and internship opportunities.
  • CDC Guidance for Higher Education

“But the point is, we need to increase our vaccination numbers. You know we find that for our employees, for our faculty and staff, we are about 80% vaccinated. For our students, however, we’re only 45%. So we hope that with all the students who come back this year, they start to see how important it will be for them to get the vaccine, ”said Riccards.

Patrick Riccards of Coker University said staff and students returning next week must show proof of vaccination or present a negative COVID test within 72 hours of arriving on campus. In addition, every student and employee is required to wear masks indoors regardless of their immunization status and must practice social distancing.

“If a student comes to us and doesn’t have that negative test or has tested positive, we won’t let them move in,” Riccards said. “There will be some who say we are going too far. We think not. We believe that we have an obligation to every student who writes a tuition check to ensure that they gain full university experience and in order to do that we need to take some of these steps.

Riccards also said the university is setting up vaccination clinics for August and is already working on another in September.

Click on the link to Coker University’s COVID Policy for the 2021-22 academic year.

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Susan W. Lloyd

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