HARTSVILLE, S.C. — Starting Tuesday, all Coker University staff and students will be required to wear masks indoors along with some other policies.

In a release, Coker University said:

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Coker has remained committed to the belief that students coming to campus expect, and are entitled to, a safe environment. Similarly, employees deserve a workplace that avoids preventable harms. Recognizing that free vaccination options are readily available throughout the United States:

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

“But the fact of the matter is we need to get our vaccination numbers up. You know we are seeing for our employees for our faculty and staff we’re vaccinated at approximately 80%. For our students though we’re only at 45%. So we are hoping that with all of the students that are coming back this year that they are beginning to see how important it will be for them to get vaccinated,” Riccards says.

Coker University’s Patrick Riccards says staff and students returning next week must show proof of vaccination or present a negative COVID test within 72 hours of arrival on campus. Also, each student and employee is required to wear masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status and must practice social distancing.

“If a student comes to us and does not have that negative test or has tested positive we are not going to let them move in,” Riccards says. “There will be some who may say we are going to far. We don’t believe so. We believe we have an obligation to every student that writes a tuition check to make sure that they are getting the full college experience and to do that we have to take some of these steps.”

Riccards also said the university is bringing in vaccination clinics for the month of August and already working towards another one in September.

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