Last updated 1/20/2021, 4:45 p.m.

Francis Marion University continues to monitor developments related to the spread of COVID-19, its treatment, and prevention. This includes monitoring case numbers and other data in the state, in our community, and on our campus.

COVID-19 Cases at FMU





Percent of Campus Community


Current Quarantine

Students quarantined: 16

Cumulative Cases - Spring Semester

Students Cases: 16

Employee Cases: 1

Spring Semester case count began Jan. 19, 2021 — the first day of spring classes. Fall semester count includes all cases from March 25 to Dec. 12, 2020.

Total case count for 2020 at FMU was 96 cases — 78 student cases, 18 employee cases.

COVID-19 in the Community

*The figures in this chart are reported to Francis Marion University by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, and represent the daily totals from the eight-county Pee Dee Region of South Carolina.

COVID-19 in South Carolina

R(0) (sometimes called R(t)) is used to by epidemiologists worldwide to define the potential for spread of COVID-19, and other diseases at a specific time. If Rt > 1, the virus will spread out and the disease will become an epidemic; if Rt = 1, the virus will spread locally and the disease is endemic; if Rt < 1, the virus will stop spreading and the disease will disappear eventually.

The R(0) or R(t) number is derived from a mathematical model as opposed to a specific measurement.

The effective reproduction number (R(0) or R(t)) characterizes the COVID-19 spread rate. It models the average number of secondary infectious cases produced by a primary infectious case.

The R(t) shown here, and the associated modeling, was developed by Xihong Lin’s Group in the Department of Biostatistics at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University. More at: The directional arrow shows directional trend  in R(t) value (increasing or decreasing) since last report.


Returning to Campus, Spring 2021

Francis Marion University is committed to the safety of the FMU community during the COVID-19 pandemic. FMU’s fall 2020 COVID-19 policies and procedures will remain in effect entering the Spring 2021 semester. Some highlights include:

• Masks are required in all indoor spaces and at all University events.

• Plexiglass barriers will be in place in classrooms and offices across campus.

• Appropriate distancing (at least six feet between individuals) is required at all times on campus.

• Classroom seating will be reconfigured to accommodate greater spacing. New classroom spaces will be utilized as needed.

• Classrooms will be cleaned and disinfected between classes. All University buildings will be cleaned on an enhanced schedule, and will be disinfected at regular intervals.

• Residence hall occupancy will be reduced. Service at dining facilities will be reconfigured to eliminate close personal contacts.

• University events will be postponed, or held with limited attendance in well-spaced areas.

Protocols for Spring 2021

• Students should be familiar with all FMU policies and procedures related to the pandemic, including the wearing of masks on campus and appropriate social distancing.

• Residential students are required to present proof of a recent, negative COVID-19 test at check-in prior to entering residence halls for the spring semester. Residence halls open January 12. Classes begin on January 19.

• Residential students should be tested for COVID-19 by their preferred healthcare provider or at one of the dozens of free testing sites operated by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control across South Carolina. A list of DHEC testing sites is available here Note that testing locations and dates change frequently.

• Tests must be conducted not more than one week prior to check-in date. For example, a student checking in on January 12 must have been tested no earlier than January 5. A student checking in on January 13 must have been tested no earlier than January 6, etc.

• Accepted tests include PCR, antigen, and saliva tests. Home tests will not be accepted.

• Students must present proof of a negative test at check-in, which will begin on January 12. Written or electronic proof is acceptable. If possible, email the proof to prior to check-in.

• No appointment is required for spring check-in. Students can report their corresponding check-in location (see locations below) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Jan. 12-18. Check-in will include a temperature screening, a brief questionnaire, and verification of negative COVID-19 test.

Check-In Locations: Forrest Villas — Heyward Community Center; Village Apartments — Logan 3; Residence Halls — Study Room (back of Housing Office); New Students — Housing Office Lobby

• Students who arrive on campus without a test may be tested by FMU Student Health, but this will delay check-in and result in a testing charge being added to the student’s account. Students who test positive will be quarantined.

• Students who receive a positive result on their return-to-campus test should notify FMU’s COVID-19 Response Office (843-661-4665 or, and remain at home through the quarantine period. Students who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms after their return-to-campus testing, but before returning to campus, should remain at home and consider being tested or re-tested.

• Students who tested positive for COVID-19 prior to returning to campus, or prior to January 2021, are required to produce a negative test to return to campus housing. Contact the COVID Response Office for more details.

• Residential students may quarantine on campus if their personal situation requires it. Contact the FMU Housing Office (843-661-1361) for details.

• Students should be familiar with all FMU policies and procedures related to the pandemic, including the wearing of masks on campus and appropriate social distancing.

• No return-to-campus test for COVID-19 is required for non-residential students.

• Students who feeling sick, or who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms prior to the start of classes, or at any time during the semester, should remain at home and consider being tested. Testing is provided by FMU Student Health (843-661-1844).

• Students who test positive for COVID-19 should contact the FMU COVID-19 Response Office (843-661-4665 or to determine their quarantine dates.

• Student-Athletes should be familiar with all general FMU policies and procedures related to the pandemic, including the wearing of masks on campus and appropriate social distancing, as well as FMU Athletics procedures.

• All student-athletes must be tested prior to returning to campus for the Spring 2021 semester. FMU Athletics and individual team coaches will communicate details of the athletic testing plan to all student-athletes.

FMU Faculty and Staff will report positive tests for COVID-19, or close contacts with COVID-19, to their supervisors and isolate or quarantine as appropriate. FMU is continuing to follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) guidelines for isolation and quarantine.

FMU faculty and staff should be familiar with all FMU policies and procedures related to the pandemic, including the wearing of masks on campus and appropriate social distancing.

• No return-to-campus test for COVID-19 is required for faculty and staff.

• COVID-19 testing is available for faculty and staff members at FMU Student Health (843-661-1844).

COVID-19 Response Office

FMU’s new COVID-19 Response Office was created to provide members of the FMU community with information and resources related to the University’s response to the pandemic. The office will coordinate FMU’s contact tracing procedures, and monitoring.

FMU Student Health Office

FMU’s Student Health Center provides a front-line healthcare resource for the FMU community. It’s manned Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. by qualified medical practitioners who can provide immediate aid or referrals for a variety of problems.The Student Health Center is located in Room 217 on the second floor of the Smith University Center on FMU’s Main Campus. Contact the office by telephone at 843-661-4665 or by email at


Students will be using the HealthChampion mobile app to answer a few brief questions each morning to provide a snapshot of how they are feeling. The app is available in both the App Store and Google Play. The assessment will take less than a minute to complete each day and results from the assessments will be monitored by the COVID-19 Response Office staff, who will communicate with those students whose symptoms indicate a need for follow-up.

Click here  for a detailed guide on app installation and use.

The University Center on a sunny day.

COVID-19 Response Office

COVID-19 Response Office

Office: University Center, Suite 205
Hours: Mon-Fri, 8:30 am to 5 pm
Phone: 843-661-4665

Swampfox Alerts

Francis Marion University’s SwampFox Alerts system provides the University with a fast and efficient means for notifying the FMU community — students, faculty and staff — when campus emergencies occur. The alert system can be used 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It sends messages via text, email, social media, on campus message boards, and to University-owned computers.

Depending upon the nature of an emergency, the system may send users multiple messages, adding updated information as it becomes available. SwampFox Alerts are used for public safety emergencies and for official university information such as closings. It is only used in the case of an emergency.

Click the link below to find out more about FMU’s SwampFox Alerts system.


The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) directs institutions receiving funds under the Act to submit reports describing the use of funds distributed from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). FMU’s reports can be accessed below.