Tuesday, October 26, 2021
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President of University of South Carolina Tests Positive for COVID-19


University of South Carolina (USC) President Bob Caslen tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday, November 24. He is currently asymptomatic and isolating at home.

Caslen joins a handful of university and college presidents that have been hit by the virus since the start of the fall semester.

Caslen was appointed as president of the state’s largest institution of higher learning in 2019. As precautionary measures in the pandemic, he gets tested at least three times a week through the university, which offers saliva-based and nasal swab tests to students, faculty, and staff. 

“My diagnosis reinforces the need for everyone to get COVID tested regularly to protect yourself and your loved ones,” Caslen said.

USC Precautionary Measures

Prior to his diagnosis, Caslen announced that the university would implement mandatory testing for students, faculty, and staff who work on campus or are enrolled in at least one in-person or hybrid class.

Individuals who plan to return to the school for the spring semester must present proof of testing before entering campus.

COVID-19 Hits Other University Presidents

Last October, at least three other university presidents contracted the coronavirus. This includes Florida State University President John Thrasher, University of Notre Dame President Reverend John Jenkins, and St. Augustine University President Irving McPhail.

Thrasher and his wife tested positive on October 6. He had previously tested negative on October 2. The couple isolated themselves at home.

Jenkins was criticized last month for his “failed leadership amid the COVID-19 crisis,” as he was spotted with other faculty members at an event held in the White House Garden. At the occasion, President Donald Trump formally nominated Amy Coney Barrett, a Notre Dame law professor, to the Supreme Court.

He quickly drew ire for failing to observe social distancing measures at the event, despite the university itself being very strict with COVID-19 protocols. After the event, multiple attendees tested positive, including President Trump and Jenkins.

Jenkins submitted a letter to students, faculty, and staff expressing regret for his “error in judgment.”

Irving McPhail passed away due to complications of coronavirus infection. After he reported experiencing headaches and a fever, he was quickly hospitalized and placed on a ventilator. He died two weeks after contracting the virus and is survived by his wife, daughter, son, and five grandsons.

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