Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)
Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)
We have a process in place to test you for COVID-19 within 24 hours of your campus arrival, and you will be assigned a test time based on your move-in slot. We will be testing from Noon until 8 p.m. on August 15-20; those moving in after 8 p.m. will be tested the following day. Faculty, staff, and the small number of students who remained on campus over the summer will be tested a few days prior to this. RAs and JCs will be tested on August 9.
We will be conducting a second round of tests beginning the 15th day after your first test. This second round of testing will complete the “baseline” testing for fall semester. The College will cover the costs of testing.
The College has partnered with Mayo Clinic and will be using Mayo’s PCR nasal swab. The swab will be administered by a health care professional and a sample will be gently taken from your nasal cavity. That means we’re using short swabs, not the long version that goes into your sinus cavity.
Testing will be conducted in the air-conditioned Skoglund Gymnasium. We anticipate having results in 48-72 hours from Mayo and will be concentrating on informing anyone who tests positive first so they can be isolated. If your test is positive, we will be calling you directly to work through next steps. If your test is negative, you will receive an email letting you know.
Testing is not optional. All students, faculty, and staff returning to campus must be tested. Even if you have been tested before or have tested positive for antibodies, you must participate in the college’s baseline testing process.
All students will be expected to quarantine on campus until the college has completed its baseline testing process and received the results (anticipated to take slightly over two weeks). Students will not be permitted to leave campus during this period of time. They will be permitted to attend classes and other activities as long as they observe physical distancing, face covering, hand hygiene and other health and safety guidelines.
From the time you arrive to the time we receive the results from the second round of testing, you will need to stay on campus and remain within your residence hall “family,” limiting yourself to attending class, meals, and other essential activities. Students living off campus will need to limit their activities to their residence and campus. During this time, it is critical that you adhere strictly to the prevention measures (e.g., physical distancing, face coverings, etc.) outlined in our Community Standards. We expect that we will have some positive test results in our baseline testing; until those cases are identified and the student moves to isolation to recover, we need to take reasonable steps to mitigate the transmission of the virus on campus.
The College will conduct ongoing, randomized testing throughout the semester. Each week, 2 percent of the College’s students, faculty, and staff will be tested. Individuals may receive an email at some point asking them to participate in one of these tests. Randomized testing reduces the chances of an outbreak by testing asymptomatic individuals who wouldn’t otherwise know they are infected. The College will also cover the costs of these tests.
Positive cases will be reported weekly on the College’s COVID-19 website.
Those in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be required to quarantine for two weeks. As appropriate, this can be within your room on campus, a designated space on campus, or at your home (if, as stated above, it is within regional driving distance and your family composition and home layout are conducive to quarantine). Close contact is defined by the Minnesota Department of Health as contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within six feet for more than 15 minutes.
The college has reserved three Honor Houses where students who test positive for COVID-19 will isolate. Students will be transported to the house with the items they need for isolation (clothing, toiletries, study materials), and the college will bring meals to the house for them. Students who have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19 should stay in their living quarters and monitor their health. Meals may be picked up by roommates or friends at Bon Appetit.
Once a minimum of 10 days of isolation is completed and the individual is symptom free and has gone 24 hours without a fever without the use of medication, they may request to be moved out of isolation.
All students, as well as faculty and staff who will be on campus prior to September 15, 2021.
Mayo Clinic’s PCR nasal swab. A Health Care Professional will administer the test. This is a nostril swab, not one that penetrates the sinus cavity. Both nostrils will be swabbed with the same swab and the specimen placed in a tube.
Results will be known between 48-72 hours after the test. If you test positive, a Health Care Professional will call you regarding next steps. If you test negative, you will receive an email within about a week.
A student will be isolated for 14 days in an honor house or other isolation facility. They will also have the choice of having a family member pick them up so they can isolate at home. Faculty and staff are expected to isolate at home.
A Contact Tracing Team made up of St. Olaf staff will reach you after a positive result to help ascertain who you may have been in contact with and when. Each team member underwent six hours of training through Johns Hopkins to learn about the process and how to keep confidentiality. After learning of a potential exposure, they will call the person you came in contact with and only reveal that they may have been exposed and the date when the exposure occurred. No names or events will be shared.
The Team is building a pipeline with the Minnesota Department of Health to share information so that county and state statics can be constantly updated. St. Olaf will not be informing an individual’s health care provider or family members of test results.
St. Olaf will treat all test results as confidential. We will use the information gathered only for the purposes of notifying the Department of Health of any positive tests, ensuring those who test positive quarantine for an appropriate period of time, and for contact tracing purposes to help prevent the spread of the virus on campus. The information will not be used for any other purposes. After the information is used at the beginning of the academic year for our reopening purposes, it will not be stored in any student or personnel files, or any other college database.
When you signed up for testing you received the informed consent form that all individuals will need to sign on the day of testing. By providing the form in advance, we hoped to give you an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the form in order to help expedite the testing process when you go to have the test performed. Before undergoing the test you will be asked again to acknowledge your consent to testing. Before doing so you can and should ask whatever questions you have of the health professionals who will be administering the tests, and if for any reason you’re not comfortable moving forward with testing you can withdraw your consent to testing.