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COVID-19 Testing, Isolation, Quarantine, and Vaccination

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 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, depending upon their current housing situation on campus, they may be isolated in a room at a nearby hotel on a floor reserved specifically for the purpose of isolation of Mount Union students. Once there, students will be required to stay in their rooms and should only leave their rooms for healthcare appointments. 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 University’s Health Services Coordinator (or health department of jurisdiction) will follow up with those who have tested positive. 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 and/or masking and monitoring 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.  Quarantine recommendations will be dependent on vaccination status, per Ohio Department of Health and the CDC recommendations.

If a campus community member is identified in this way, they may be required to quarantine, in a designated location, for at least five (5) days. Students can either quarantine at home or on campus. Students may also be relocated to the nearby hotel being used for isolation purposes 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 University Health Services Coordinator will be checking in with probable cases.

 

Vaccination

The COVID-19 vaccine is now available. Visit the Ohio Department of Health website for a Priority Populations Fact Sheet and a listing of vaccination providers throughout the state. If you are eligible for vaccination, you can also register by calling the Alliance City Health Department Call Center at (330) 821-7373.

Although the COVID-19 vaccine is not being required at Mount Union, we strongly encourage members of the campus community to consider receiving it to protect themselves and others. This vaccination offers us the best opportunity to continue full operations on campus. As restrictions and health orders end within Ohio, vaccination becomes particularly important for maintaining a healthy University environment. If you have not yet received your vaccination, here are some providers within the Alliance community.

Being completely vaccinated can be beneficial as it reduces risk of contracting the virus and may keep you from quarantine if you are a close contact to a positive. However, being fully vaccinated does not completely prevent you from being place in quarantine. This will be determined by the public health professional. 

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 to the quarantine/isolation hotel or designated housing assignment.

  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 and the University Health Services Coordinator 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, the University Health Services Coordinator, 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. What are the quarantine procedures for those who have received the COVID-19 vaccination?

    Once two weeks have passed since receiving the final dose of COVID-19 vaccine, those who are fully vaccinated and up to date do not have to quarantine if exposed to the virus unless they are displaying symptoms; but should wear a mask around others for 10 days after your last exposure. It is recommended to get a test on day five. For more information regarding COVID-19 vaccinations, please visit the CDC website.

  10. Will random testing be conducted on campus?

    Beginning the week of October 26, weekly surveillance testing protocols began in partnership with the Alliance Family Health Center through the use of its mobile testing unit. Each week, the institution randomly tests 3% of its campus community members in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Responsible RestartOhio recommendations.

     

    Testing is held on Tuesdays between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in the Peterson Field House of the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex.

     
    Get more information on Mount Union's COVID-19 surveillance testing.

  11. 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 recommendations for testing.