How to Stay Safe and Healthy at the College of Charleston

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With students back on campus and in classrooms, the College of Charleston campus is in full swing for the 2021–22 academic year.

With health and safety top of mind as students settle into campus life, here are some tips to help keep CofC’s Cougars protected and feeling their best.

Be Well

1. Get the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine teaches our immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. While the COVID-19 vaccine is not required for CofC students or employees, it is strongly encouraged and can protect you from getting sick with COVID-19.

College of Charleston Student Health Services (SHS) offers the COVID-19 vaccine, both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, to students. Students will be able to select the vaccine they receive once they arrive.

  • To schedule an appointment:
    • Log into
    • Click on the appointments tab (top middle of patient portal menu bar).
    • Scroll down to “Appointment Reason” box, select “Covid Vaccine Administration.”
    • Select “Student Health Services Online Scheduling.”
    • Select “COVID Vaccine” as reason.
    • Click “Submit.”
    • Select your preferred date by clicking on the date on the calendar and then select your preferred time.
    • Complete required forms to confirm your appointment.

Appointments are booked on a first-come, first-served basis. Additional appointments will be made available as more vaccines are received.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) guidance for COVID-19 vaccination can be found on the agency’s website. Vaccination appointments can be made online by using gov/vaxlocator or by calling DHEC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line at 1.866.365.8110.

The best way to tell if you’ve got enough distance is to stand two arms’ lengths from another person.

2. Practice social distancing. A good rule of thumb to avoid sharing germs is to keep a distance of about two arms’ lengths from another person. That will help reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus and other seasonal illnesses.

3. Wear a face covering when indoors or in a large group outside. Face coverings are required inside all campus facilities when around others. Wearing a mask that covers both the nose and mouth protects against the coronavirus in several ways, including limiting the spread of respiratory droplets to others and protecting us from the respiratory droplets of others. So, mask up, please!

4. Regularly wash your hands. Washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to deactivate the coronavirus and other germs.

5. Get a COVID-19 test regularly. Sometimes people are asymptomatic and unknowingly spread the virus. By getting tested regularly, you can protect yourself and the people around you. The College will hold regular COVID-19 testing events throughout the fall semester. Visit the Back on the Bricks website for upcoming testing events.

6. Student Health Services is available to evaluate and treat your medical needs if you start to feel under the weather for any reason. SHS is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. SHS can provide rapid COVID-19 testing for students who are symptomatic. Please call to make an appointment; walk-up COVID-19 testing is not offered. For CofC students who are physically in the state of South Carolina and fall ill outside SHS hours, the Medical University of South Carolina’s 24/7 Virtual Urgent Care Platform is available free of charge.

7. Self-report to your COVID status to the College. If you test positive for COVID-19 or are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, use the following links to self-report:

Self-reporting a positive case or a close contact helps the College track virus spread, initiate support services and inform decision-making. Students are encouraged to review the Isolation and Quarantine page on the Back on the Bricks website to learn more about isolation and quarantine protocols for fall semester.

student gets a covid test

CofC is hosting COVID-19 testing events throughout the semester.

8. Make mental health a priority. Getting back into the swing of college can be stressful, and if you’re new to campus, adjusting to life at CofC can be even more daunting. There are plenty of resources available for support that will help you manage your stress in healthy ways.

The Counseling Center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to provide consultations, individual sessions and support groups. Students can request appointments or information by phone at 843.953.5640, or by filling out the “Online Appointment Request” link on the center’s webpage.

Students 4 Support, CofC’s trained and certified student-run volunteer group, is available Monday through Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m. during the school year. Students can reach out by texting “4support” to 839863.

Public Safety Vehicle in front of Randolph Hall

Safety First

1. Emergency Notifications and Alerts: As a CofC student, you are automatically enrolled into the Cougar Alert Emergency Notification system. The four types of notifications are:

  • Cougar Alert: These alerts are reserved for major emergencies or life-threatening situations occurring on or near campus.
  • Campus Advisory: These advisories are intended to provide information about events or issues on campus that warrant notification but that do not pose an immediate danger to health and safety. Examples include case updates on public health matters (e.g., COVID-19), facilities-related issues and isolated incidents that do not rise to the level of a Cougar Alert.
  • Community Advisory: These advisories are issued for major incidents, crimes or public safety issues occurring off campus. Examples may include flooding, major structure fires, major crimes and widespread street closures or traffic delays that may impact access to or departure from campus.
  • Timely Warning: These warnings are sent in response to crimes that pose a serious or continuing threat to students and/or employees, pursuant to the federal Jeanne Clery Act. Examples of incidents that may warrant a Timely Warning are criminal homicide, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault and burglary.

In the event of an emergency, the campus community will receive alerts via text, email, phone and the College’s Everbridge app. Instructions for downloading the Everbridge app are available at

2. Make sure your contact information is current. You can check your contact information and/or make changes to your information by logging into your MyCharleston account. Here is how to check your information:

  • Log on to MyCharleston.
  • Students click on the Academic Services tab, and faculty/staff click on the Employee tab.
  • Click on the Banner Self-Service link.
  • Click on the Personal Information link.
  • Click on “Update this Phone Number” and/or “Update E-mail Addresses” link.
  • Follow the instructions for making the necessary change.
  • If you want to add parents to this list, please include the parent’s contact information on the “parents” section of the dropdown tab.
  • Hit the submit button to make the changes.

the glass window of the department of public safety at the college of charleston

3. Stay safe on and around campus. The Department of Public Safety provides several services for the campus community. The department offers safety escorts to members of the College of Charleston community as a safe alternative to walking alone at night. Public safety officer escorts are offered 24 hours a day to get you to or from locations on campus.

Another safety measure provided by the College is the Cougar Shuttle. The shuttle operates seven nights a week from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. during the spring and fall semesters. This service provides free transportation on the Charleston peninsula to all students with a current Cougar Card. Schedule a ride by calling 843.352.8886.

The College also has several emergency call boxes positioned at key locations across campus. These boxes provide direct emergency contact with Public Safety.

4. Register your bike and/or computer with Public Safety. Often, these are easy targets for theft, and registering them serves as a deterrent to would-be thieves. It also helps law enforcement in identifying and returning a found or stolen item to the owner. The registration is a free service offered through the Department of Public Safety.

5. Know where to go for help. You can find additional safety information and tips on the Department of Public Safety website. The Public Safety offices are located at 89 St. Phillip St. across from McAlister Hall. For emergencies, call 911 for help. For non-emergency situations, contact Public Safety at 843.953.5609.