All students – undergraduate and graduate – were required to be tested for COVID-19 before returning for the fall semester. This pre-arrival test was a condition of being able to engage in any in-person instruction or other campus activities. Faculty and staff are not required to be tested before returning to campus.
All students were tested again shortly after returning to Quinnipiac. The university partnered with the Broad Institute, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based genomic research center, to perform all of Quinnipiac’s on-campus testing.
Currently the is using a statistical sampling methodology to conduct weekly testing of approximately 15% of all undergraduate residential and non-residential students. This sampling strategy is based upon scientific guidelines and will aid in the early detection of asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic infections. QU will also have the ability to conduct rapid testing within Student Health Services for symptomatic individuals or those feeling ill. These test results are generated in about one hour.
The state of Connecticut is not requiring universities to test faculty and staff for COVID-19, however, faculty and staff enrolled in the university’s medical plan can get a COVID-19 test at no cost to them, regardless of whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic. Any employee who feels the need to be tested in encouraged to do so. Following are two resources to help make it easy for you to find a COVID-19 testing location or provider:
Anthem has waived copays and cost shares for COVID-19 testing for employees & dependents covered under Quinnipiac’s medical plans. Employees can use Anthem’s COVID-19 testing locator to locate participating providers in their area. Employees can also log into their Anthem.com account or view the Sydney app to search for a participating testing site.
Community Health Center, Inc. (CHCI)
CHCI is making COVID-19 testing available for FREE at multiple drive-up or walk-up locations throughout Connecticut. You do not need to have any symptoms to be tested and an order from a healthcare practitioner is not required. You will not be asked for insurance information. A CHCI clinician will perform a deep nasal swab test and results will be available in 2-3 business days. No appointment is necessary. Visit CHCI’s website for further information and testing locations, or call their COVID Testing Hotline at 475-241-0740.
Students, faculty and staff have also been asked to monitor for symptoms daily using a new mobile app that helps with the early identification and isolation of possible infections. Symptom checking, and the modifications we have made to all classrooms and facilities to enable faculty, staff and students to remain socially and physically distanced while wearing face coverings, will help us significantly reduce the chances for transmission.
Contact tracing is an important step in staying ahead of the spread of COVID-19. Time is of the essence for an effective contact tracing program because the primary focus is on finding those individuals who have been in contact with a positive or presumed positive (symptomatic but not yet tested positive) case of COVID-19.
In addition to partnering with the Quinnipiack Valley Health District, Quinnipiac has assembled and trained its own team of on-campus contact tracers to ensure a rapid response to contact tracing needs. Our team includes faculty, staff and student volunteers, including individuals from our Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. These volunteers completed training from both the state of Connecticut and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.
Contact tracing is only effective with your support and participation if you’re contacted. Here are 5 key things you need to know about how our contact tracing system at Quinnipiac works:
1. How do we determine if you are a contact who may be at risk?
To be considered a contact by the Quinnipiack Valley Health District and the CDC, a person needs to have been within 6 feet of the positive or presumed positive case for more than 15 minutes. Our contact tracing team then performs additional evaluation to confirm a true exposure, which is why it is important to practice the physical distancing and mask-wearing protocols we have established, and our classrooms and facilities have all been modified to space people apart from each other.
2. Is contact tracing only used after a person tests positive for COVID-19?
Quinnipiac is being extra cautious and will deploy contact tracing both when an individual is confirmed positive and if an individual has reported symptoms but their test result is not yet available. This includes symptoms reported through the QU symptom checking app. As a result, a call from a contact tracer does not necessarily mean you have been exposed to a positive COVID-19 case. Given the abundance of caution we’re exercising, there will be situations in which a student ultimately is found to have a common cold or other illness, but we will ask those individuals and their contacts to quarantine until we have a confirmed negative COVID-19 test.
3. What happens if I’m confirmed as a contact of a possible COVID-19 case?
Residential students will be asked to move into the university’s designated quarantine housing and non-residential students will be asked to quarantine in their off-campus housing. Students also have the option to quarantine at home, if feasible. Student Health Services will assist with the transition into quarantine and provide more detailed information on the quarantine process and necessary health protocols. Students will be released from quarantine as soon as a confirmed negative test result is received from the presumed case. If a positive case is confirmed, contacts will be required to remain in quarantine for 14 days.
4. Will professors be notified when students move into quarantine or isolation?
Professors will not be notified. Following FERPA, best practices and advice from the local health department and CDC, we must limit personally identifying information about positive cases and contacts to protect individuals’ privacy and avoid potential stigma. Students should notify their professors that they will be attending class remotely if the class requires in-person attendance, but it is at their discretion whether they want to mention that they’ve been moved into quarantine housing. We have staff dedicated to assisting our students in quarantine and isolation, and those students will check in daily and be monitored for any changes in their health.
If a student is too ill to participate in classes, Student Health Services will provide its standard notification excusing the student from classes for medical reasons. We are working with dean’s offices on notification processes for students in a clinical placement or lab course who need to quarantine, as well as documentation that will be used to confirm those students are cleared with a negative test to return to their clinical assignment.
5. If a contact was in a classroom, does a professor need to request the room be cleaned?
No, our facilities department is already integrated into our contact tracing processes and will be notified if a classroom needs to be disinfected. In addition, as part of our standard cleaning protocols this fall, classrooms are disinfected every weekday morning before the start of classes, and students and faculty are expected to spray and wipe down desks and surfaces at the end of each class using the disinfectant product provided in every classroom.
If you have more questions about contact tracing, please contact the leaders of Quinnipiac’s contact tracing team, Jason Burke (email@example.com) and Wendy Sewack (firstname.lastname@example.org).