As we begin the fall semester, I would like to review some of the steps the College has taken to keep our campus safe. We all have a communal responsibility to preserve our shared health. With this in mind, I would like to share our strategy for testing, symptom tracking, contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine for the community. These measures will help to limit the spread of COVID-19 on campus and in our surrounding community. I can not stress enough that testing and isolation alone will be ineffective if we do not practice the behaviors that limit transmission of the virus such as wearing face coverings, avoiding large social gatherings, practicing physical distancing, cleaning personal spaces, limiting travel, and spending time outdoors when you can.
All students approved to be on campus are being tested this week at check-in. The average turnaround time for results will be about 24 hours. Students will be notified of the results as soon as possible, and those who test positive will transition to housing units designated for this purpose.
Bailey Health Center will conduct surveillance testing on students throughout the semester. Each week, a cohort of students will be asked to report to the health center for testing so that we can effectively monitor the prevalence of infection on campus.
Testing is available for faculty and staff beginning next week. Prior to testing, employees will need to fill out a brief screening questionnaire online or at the health center. Visit the Bailey Health Center homepage, select the patient portal, enter your Lafayette credentials, and select “forms” on the menu. The COVID-19 screening form will be used to establish a proper ICD-10 insurance diagnostic code for testing. Employees will be given an order for SARS-COV-2 by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) at Bailey and referred to an off-campus testing facility. Testing should be covered by health insurance.
Bailey Health Center has been designated by the Pennsylvania Department of Health as an approved point-of-care testing site for COVID-19. We are using the same highly sensitive PCR technology available in hospital laboratories. Our platform can test up to four samples per hour with a turnaround time of 45 minutes. On-site testing will be available during the semester to students and employees with severe symptoms. The availability of testing reagents is still limited due to the surge in cases throughout the country; we will use point-of-care testing selectively for individuals with concerning symptoms.
Each morning all students, faculty and staff will be expected to complete a daily symptom and history questionnaire. The personalized link with screening questions can be completed in less than a minute. Based on your responses, you will be prompted to make decisions to keep our campus safe. The health center is able to monitor the daily symptom checker; however, the data will be purged daily so that no personal health information is stored.
The College has a team of individuals trained and certified to perform contact tracing. We are working collaboratively with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to enhance internal contact tracing on campus. Students and employees who have come in close contact with an individual with a confirmed positive test will be asked to self-quarantine for two weeks while monitoring for symptoms. Employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 should contact their supervisor and notify the health center so that we may initiate contact tracing. In addition, if you are living in the same household of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please contact the health center.
Isolation and quarantine
Asymptomatic individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate for 10 days while monitoring for symptoms. Symptomatic individuals who test positive should isolate for 10 days and have no fever for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication, and symptoms should be resolving. If you are a student, someone from the Health Center will check in with you every day, and meals will be delivered to your residence. If you are an employee, please check in with your personal physician or Bailey Health Center for evaluation and clearance to return to work.
Quarantine refers to separating individuals at increased risk of contracting the virus due to travel from a high-prevalence area or having close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual. Students returning to campus from high-prevalence states will self-quarantine until they are retested one week after arriving on campus. Quarantine due to contact with an individual with COVID-19 is for 14 days regardless of the testing strategy.
Working together, I am confident that we can keep our campus community safe. Our health is in each of our hands.
Dr. Jeffrey Goldstein
Director of Health Services