Coastal Carolina University responds to viral TikTok over COVID-19 policy

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CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — Coastal Carolina University is responding after viral TikTok claimed the university isn’t providing accommodations for students who are in quarantine and who are COVID-19-positive.

Several parents and students also reached out with concerns in regards to the COVID-19 policy. With the school year underway, sophomore Jessica Bauwens has missed several of her classes after testing positive for the virus.

In a 3-minute TikTok video that’s received more than 100,000 likes, she reads an email sent to the president of the university.

“I understand that university wants us in-person but when you fail to accommodate the rather large number of students who are positive and missing class, I question Coastal’s true intentions of student’s academic success,” Bauwens said in a TikTok video.

She also created a petition online that’s received more than 3,000 signatures since being posted on Saturday.

While in quarantine, she’s worried she may fall behind in one of her classes because additional resources, like Zoom, she claims, aren’t being provided.

“One of my classes is strictly lecture-based,” she said. “There is no Powerpoints. There is nothing else to go off of aside from the lecture,. I am now learning from somebody else’s notes because there is no other way for me to attend that lecture.”

She’s also concerned about a part of the policy that reads:

If a student is placed in quarantine or isolation in response to a positive Covid-19 test or contract tracing, those absences (assuming documentation) would be excused, and faculty should work with absent students as they would in any other excused absence situation.

Bauwens worries if excused absences would be honored for students who tested negative for COVID-19. CCU provost Dan Ennis is working to clear up the concerns.

“Well there’s actually been no change,” Ennis said. “There’s a misunderstanding in which someone introduced the idea that a positive or negative matters for an absence.”

Ennis ensured students who are in isolation due to COVID-19 testing will be excused for those absences.

“We have to be flexible and we have to support our students,” he said. “So, in those circumstances, if a student is not sure of their status, then communication is the answer.”

The policy leaves it up to professors to decide how to provide additional resources for students who are in quarantine. Some students believe accommodations should be streamlined.

Ennis said mask wearing and vaccinations will help prevent situations like this.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control will host a vaccine clinic on-campus Friday. Faculty members hope the clinic well help keep COVID-19 cases low and students in the classroom.

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