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Testing, Isolation, and Quarantine | Responsible Reopening

Testing

Testing to diagnose COVID-19 is one component of a comprehensive strategy and should be used in conjunction with promoting behaviors that reduce spread, maintaining healthy environments, maintaining healthy operations, and preparing for when someone gets sick. Mount Union’s testing strategy aligns with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s Responsible RestartOhio: Guidance for COVID-19 Testing at Institutions of Higher Education.

The University will focus its efforts on quickly testing students, faculty, and staff members who become symptomatic, which is considered the most critical success factor for the sustained re-opening of campuses this fall according to Responsible RestartOhio: Guidance for COVID-19 Testing at Institutions of Higher Education.

 

Isolation

The term “isolation,” as defined by the CDC, is used in reference to the separation of sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. Thus, in the case of COVID-19, isolation will be required for those who have tested positive for the illness.

When a student is diagnosed with COVID-19, they can either go home to recover or they will be isolated in a college-owned house on campus, reserved specifically for isolation. Faculty and staff members diagnosed with COVID-19 should isolate at home while avoiding close contact with other individuals until their test results are returned.

When diagnosed with COVID-19, the Alliance City Health Department (or health department of jurisdiction) will follow up with those who have tested positive daily and monitor their temperature and symptoms. Initially, they will also conduct a thorough contact tracing interview to ascertain who else might be considered a probable case for COVID-19. Any impacted community member will be notified.

 

Quarantine

The term “quarantine,” as defined by the CDC, is used in reference to the separation and restriction of the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. Thus, in the case of COVID-19, quarantine will be required for those who have been closer than six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes two days before illness onset or, for asymptomatic individuals, two days prior to the date on which they received their test for COVID-19.

If a campus community member is identified in this way, they will be required to quarantine, in a designated location, for at least 14 days. Students can either quarantine at home or on campus. Students may be relocated to a new room assignment for quarantine and once there will be required to stay in their rooms and always wear a mask when leaving their room; students in quarantine should only leave their rooms for healthcare appointments. Faculty and staff members needing to quarantine should do so at home while avoiding close contact with other individuals until their test results are returned.

During quarantine, campus community members will monitor their temperature and symptoms and keep a log of any possible symptoms if they occur. The Alliance City Health Department will be checking in with probable cases several times a week.

Testing, Isolation, and Quarantine FAQs

  1. How will the testing of symptomatic or exposed members of the campus community be carried out?

    Testing of symptomatic or exposed students will be coordinated by the Mount Union Student Health Center in partnership with Aultman Alliance Community Hospital and the Alliance Family Health Center. Testing will be completed as soon as possible (dependent upon the type of test completed, lab result turn-around times, and other factors) after the individual becomes symptomatic, preferably within the same day when the individual develops symptoms.

     

    Faculty and staff should contact their primary healthcare provider regarding testing upon becoming symptomatic or exposed to the virus. They should seek testing within 24 hours of becoming symptomatic, preferably within the same day of developing symptoms.

     

    Only COVID-19 viral testing is recommended at this time for symptomatic patients. The State of Ohio does not recommend antibody testing for symptomatic individuals, because it is not yet known if people can be infected with the virus more than once.

  2. Can a student choose to quarantine/isolate on campus?

    Yes. If a student remains on campus for quarantine/isolation, the Office of Residence Life and Dining Services will work together to deliver food. If a student is not on a meal plan, the cost of food delivery will be $165 per week. If students who are not residential need quarantine/isolation housing, they can move in at a cost of $100 per week plus the cost of meals.

  3. Can a student choose to quarantine/isolate at home?

    Yes. Should a student choose to return home for quarantine/isolation, they must notify the health department in their local jurisdiction and follow its requirements regarding quarantine.

  4. Where should a faculty or staff member quarantine/isolate?

    Faculty and staff members who display symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been exposed to the virus should quarantine/isolate at home while avoiding close contact with other individuals until their test results are returned.

  5. How will contact tracing for positive and probable cases be conducted?

    Guided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local public health agencies, Mount Union has established protocols for evaluating individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19. In line with those protocols, the Alliance City Health Department oversees contact investigation and notification for cases diagnosed within its jurisdiction. Contact investigation and notification for cases diagnosed outside of the Alliance jurisdiction will be handled by the respective local health districts. Persons who have had close contact with those who have tested positive (or probable) will be notified by the Alliance City Health Department or health district of jurisdiction in accordance with standard public health principles. According to the CDC, for COVID-19, a close contact is defined as anyone who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick until the time the patient was isolated. If you are not notified, then you are not deemed to have increased risk because of exposure to those who have tested positive (or probable).

     

    If the symptomatic individual tests positive, based on the extent of the contact, some very close contacts (e.g., roommates, intimate partners, etc.) who are asymptomatic may also need tested to determine if they are an asymptomatic positive.

    CONTACT MONITORING PROCESS

    UNDERSTANDING CONTACT TRACING

  6. How will the academic studies of students be impacted during quarantine/isolation?

    It is critical that symptomatic or exposed individuals not physically attend class or work or participate in other campus community activities. Students in quarantine/isolation should work with the Office of Student Accessibility Services regarding accommodations required for the continuation of their coursework.

  7. How will work for faculty and staff be impacted during quarantine/isolation?

    It is critical that symptomatic or exposed individuals not physically be at work or participate in other campus community activities. Faculty and staff members in quarantine/isolation should work with their supervisors or the Office of Human Resources to determine if remote work is an option.

  8. When will quarantined/isolated individuals be permitted to return to active campus life?

    In order to return to work, classes, and/or campus activities, individuals who have been in isolation/quarantine must provide documentation of “release” from the local health department of jurisdiction that has coordinated the required isolation/quarantine; or, as an alternative, the individual can provide to the University evidence of a post-isolation/quarantine negative COVID-19 test. Students should coordinate such communications and pertinent documentation through the Student Health Center. Similarly, faculty and staff are required to work with the Office of Human Resources for communication and submission of documents. The University reserves the right to deny individuals a “return to campus” until adequate documentation is received. 

  9. Will random testing be conducted on campus?

    The University may participate in voluntary, surveillance COVID-19 testing of small cohorts of campus community members throughout the academic year, based upon the availability of tests. The goal would be to test a small percentage of asymptomatic individuals from across campus to assess the prevalence of the disease within the campus community. The specific individuals to be tested each interval could be selected based on the pattern of positive cases seen across the campus (e.g., selected from within a specific residence hall, office building, academic discipline, athletic team, or student organization where there have been positive cases).

  10. Will entrance testing be required of returning students, faculty, and staff?

    At this time, the CDC does not recommend entry testing of all incoming or returning students, faculty, and staff. Testing of all students, faculty and staff for COVID-19 before allowing campus entry (entry testing) has not been systematically studied. It is unknown if entry testing in IHEs provides any additional reduction in person-to-person transmission of the virus beyond what would be expected with implementation of other infection preventive measures (e.g., social distancing, cloth face covering, hand washing, enhanced cleaning and disinfection). See the CDC website for additional information regarding its recommendations for testing.

TESTING, ISOLATION, AND QUARANTINE REOPENING RESOURCES

View more resources with regard to Mount Union's Fall 2020 Responsible Reopening and testing, isolation, and quarantine at the University.