SC State Fire

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COVID-19 Related Documents

School Safety Considerations in Response to COVID-19

South Carolina State Fire Marshal Offers Guidance on Determining Emergency Maximum Occupancy Rate in Compliance with Executive Order No. 2020-21

Message from the State Fire Marshal

South Carolina Fire Service Family,

State Fire and Fire Academy leadership continues to work diligently to resume SCFA classes in phases that meet the needs of our customers and provide for the safety of our students and staff. Effective July 1, 2020, we will resume classes on the Columbia campus with limited capacities and extra safety measures in place.

In these unprecedented times, State Fire is working to ensure the safest training environment for our students and guests. Resuming classes and programs at our Columbia campus requires us to take heightened levels of precautions due to the increased number of individuals reporting to campus. For example, we are limiting class sizes and augmenting classroom setups to allow for social distancing, restricting access to some areas of campus by non-employees, providing extra cleaning and disinfecting, providing boxed meals instead of congregate dining in the cafeteria, requiring overnight guests to stay in single-occupancy dorm rooms, conducting screenings for students and guests prior to campus admission, placing plexi-glass partitions on podiums, and requiring all campus employees to wear face masks, cloth coverings or clear face shields when social distancing is not possible.

Please note that due to COVID-19, all participants should stay home if you are sick.  All participants are also strongly encouraged to adhere to the following in an effort to minimize any spread on campus:

  1. Practice social distancing of at least six feet distance to the greatest extent possible.
  2. Wash hands frequently (20 seconds with soap and water) or use of a sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  3. Avoid touching of eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  4. Cover mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and throw used tissues away immediately after use.

In addition to these measures, all students and guests will be required to wear a face mask or cloth covering while in classrooms and when social distancing is not possible. This is due to the extended amount of time students and instructors spend together in a classroom environment. Students must provide their own face mask or cloth covering to attend classes on the Columbia campus. Instructors will be provided clear face shields to wear in place of face masks, to facilitate instruction. While performing skills or skill instruction, students and instructors should maintain social distancing to the extent possible and wear a facemask, cloth covering, or face shield unless wearing one would interfere with the ability to perform or teach the skill.  Participants are strongly encouraged to actively analyze their environment for potential hazards to limit the spread of COVID-19.

While we cannot require students to wear face masks or cloth coverings during regional classes conducted at host departments, we strongly encourage host departments to consider requiring it of students and we strongly encourage students to choose this practice when it is not required.

Students registered for classes on the Columbia campus will receive an email with further instructions and guidance. If a student has a health or medical reason that would prevent them from wearing a face mask or cloth covering to attend a class or event, a staff member will be available to discuss a suitable alternative.

This deliberate phased approach to resuming classes aligns with other State Public Safety Training Centers, accelerateSC, and guidance provided to state agencies. Again, our goal is to meet the needs of our customers and provide for the safety of our students and staff, as best we can.

Remember, you can always continue your fire service education online!

The South Carolina Fire Academy’s online learning platform is available 24/7, and we are working on ways to expand our current offerings! Click for requirements and check out our free class offerings: Online Training.

Thank you for your patience, understanding, and for your commitment to saving lives and protecting property. We will get through this…together.

Jonathan C. Jones

State Fire Marshal