Dear Clemson Family:
We are heading into the home stretch of the semester now that spring break is behind us. Our students have done a great job complying with our post-spring break testing policies, with more than 13,400 students tested this week and a very low percent positive rate of under 1 percent.
New research recently published by our faculty in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health showed that our robust testing strategy has been effective in helping us curb COVID-19 cases on our campus. Models in this research showed that our surveillance-based testing strategy led to a 154 percent decrease in positive COVID cases. The study was a collaboration between researchers in the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences (CBSHS), the College of Science (COS) and the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Science (CECAS) along with our Student Health Services team in Student Affairs. You can read more about the study here. I am proud that Clemson is serving as a model for other institutions to follow, and greatly appreciate the work of our public health experts who helped us navigate the complexity of the pandemic while prioritizing the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and community.
As a reminder, COVID testing on our main campus is moving back to Littlejohn Coliseum starting Monday, March 29.
Vaccination clinic coming to Littlejohn Coliseum April 5
I am happy to share that we are partnering with the Medical University of South Carolina to offer a vaccine distribution clinic on Monday, April 5, at Littlejohn Coliseum for a limited number of Clemson employees and students. MUSC Health is offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and a follow-up date for second dose application is scheduled for April 26. More information about the clinic will be available next week. The vaccination clinic is one additional way we’re working to provide vaccine access to our population.
We have also partnered with Ingles Markets to help make vaccines available to our faculty and staff. Employees who responded to our vaccine survey and expressed an interest in receiving a vaccination are now being contacted by their local Ingles pharmacy to set up an appointment, and I want to thank Ingles for partnering with us to help our employees get vaccinated. Additionally, we continue to work with SC DHEC to be able to distribute the vaccine ourselves and, while we await allocations, we will continue to try to coordinate further opportunities with other medical partners.
I encourage any faculty and staff members who want to get vaccinated to seek additional opportunities through SC DHEC, their local pharmacy or their doctor’s office.
We’re excited to be one of 21 schools selected to participate in a nationwide clinical trial of the Moderna vaccine. The clinical trial is co-sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). To be eligible for the trial, students must not have tested positive for COVID-19 previously and need to be in the immediate area of Clemson’s main campus for a consecutive five-month period to ensure weekly testing compliance and the delivery of nasal swabs.
To sign up to take part in the trial, visit PreventCOVIDU.org, fill out the registration form and select Clemson from the drop-down menu of participating institutions.
Having a high percentage of vaccinated students, faculty, and staff will help us ensure that the Fall semester is as safe and normal as possible. If you want to know more about the vaccine, several of our faculty from different departments have offered their expert opinions on the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine in this article.
Return to workplace planning
We are continuing to move forward with returning the majority of our employees to the workplace in accordance with the governor’s order for state employees to return to their offices. I want to reiterate that the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff remain our top priority, and we are asking supervisors to be flexible with their employees and consider each individual’s circumstances when making plans to return to the workplace. You can read more about return to workplace planning here. I want to thank all of our faculty and staff for their patience throughout this planning process, and I am especially appreciative for their hard work over the past year.
Save the date for Give Day
Mark your calendars for our 6th annual Give Day on April 21, an opportunity to come together as Tigers to help move Clemson forward. Every gift that day will go towards helping fund scholarships and other opportunities for students on their Clemson journey.
As March draws to a close, I want to encourage you again to check out our special series celebrating the outstanding women who have made incredible contributions to Clemson, to our state or to their fields of study. We are fortunate to have them as part of our Clemson Family.