COVID-19 FAQs - Spring 2021

Two Wells students sit on boathouse dock, looking at Cayuga Lake

Frequently Asked Questions

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Screening, Testing and Contact and Precautionary Tracing

Screening

What daily screening is required?
Any employee, student or visitor physically present on the Wells College campus on any given day, including weekends -- even if only for a few minutes -- is required to fill out a brief, five-question survey prior to their arrival. Students and employees receive an email early each morning with a link to the survey. Visitors may access the survey at this link.  

What is the purpose of the daily screening?
Wells, like all other colleges and universities in New York State, is required by the governor’s executive order to institute a daily health screening for all campus constituents. 

What questions are asked in the daily screening form?
The screening asks the following questions:

  1. Have you been diagnosed/ tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 14 days?
  2. Have you experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 within the past 14 days?
  3. Have you had close contact with anyone who has had symptoms, tested positive for, or been diagnosed with COVID-19? *
    * “Close contact” is defined as being closer than 6 feet for more than 15 minutes.
  4. Have you traveled outside of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or Vermont for more than 24 hours in the last 10 days?

If you answer “yes” to any of the questions and you are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you will be assigned a “red” status and will be prohibited from entering campus until you are able to consult with a medical professional. For your convenience, the screening form will prompt you to schedule a brief telemed appointment, typically within one to two hours. 

If I am “contact traced” due to a potential exposure, but I am not determined to have been a close contact and thus permitted to resume my daily campus activities, how should I answer that question on the daily screening?
The contact tracer should be able to guide you on how to fill out the daily screening. If you still have questions, please contact Jonathan Rowe, the College’s COVID-19 coordinator, at jrowe@wells.edu or 315-364-3258.

Testing

 

What testing is required?
COVID-19 testing is required for all Wells College students, staff and faculty while campus is in operation. There is no cost to the individual for this on-campus testing. There are three main circumstances that warrant testing:

  • Ongoing “surveillance” testing: during the spring 2021 semester, all campus community members (except those working/studying 100% remotely) must be tested once per week. Testing usually occurs on Monday and Tuesday afternoons in the Stratton Hall atrium. All individuals must make an appointment in advance and arrive at their assigned time. In addition, student-athletes will be tested prior to athletic competitions. 

  • Contact testing: If during the contact tracing process, an individual is identified as having been in close contact with a COVID-positive person, the College will require those individuals to be tested and put into quarantine. Students who attend classes where 6 feet of social distancing and mask wearing requirements are observed do not have to be contact-traced if a classmate tests positive.

  • Precautionary testing: If during the contact tracing process, an individual has been identified as having had minimal contact with a COVID-positive person but not enough to warrant being placed in quarantine, that individual will undergo precautionary testing. Examples might include testing other students on the same residence hall floor, or other members of an athletic team or student organization who may have had casual contact with the infected individual.

When is testing offered and how do I obtain the test?
Testing is available free of charge to all students, faculty and staff on a weekly basis, usually on Monday and Tuesdays from 1 to 5 p.m. in Stratton Hall’s atrium. Instructions are sent each week on how to make an appointment in advance; pre-registration is required.

What type of tests are being used for on-campus testing? Are the tests reliable?
During the spring 2021 semester, Wells College is using Abbott’s BinaxNOW rapid test kits. The tests are far less invasive than traditional PCR nasal swab tests, and provide results within 15 minutes. In a recent clinical study, the Abbott rapid test had a sensitivity of 97.1% and a specificity of 98.5%.

How will I learn the result of my COVID-19 test?
If your result is negative, you will be sent an email later that same day with that result. Anyone who tests positive will be notified immediately by phone, so that the contact tracing process can be initiated without delay.

If a student is getting re-tested several times due to possible exposure, then why aren’t they being placed in quarantine?
Students who are investigated as a possible contact but determined not to be a close contact are not required to quarantine and are allowed to attend classes. Those students are required to participate in additional precautionary testing in order to monitor any onset of disease.  

Contact/PRECAUTIONARY Tracing 

Who gets selected for contact tracing? Why?
The contact tracing begins with asking the infected individual about other people they had been in contact with during the duration of their illness. Infected individuals will be asked about roommates, family members, colleagues and others with whom they have interacted in recent days. The contact tracer will also ask about whether the infected person has any symptoms, and other comorbidities that may have an effect on their situation.

The contact tracer then uses that information to get in touch with those other people in an effort to determine whether these contacts fit the CDC’s criteria for “close contact”: “someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic clients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.”

If an individual is contacted by a contact tracer, does that person then have to quarantine?
Not necessarily. Contact tracing is essentially an investigative procedure. Only those individuals identified as having “close contact” according to CDC guidelines (see definition above) are subject to further actions such as quarantine or isolation.

If a student is contact-traced, are they still allowed to go to class? Shouldn’t they be in quarantine?
Students who are identified as a “close contact” are placed in quarantine and are not allowed to attend classes until their quarantine period ends. Students who are investigated as a possible contact but determined not to be a close contact are not required to quarantine and are allowed to attend classes. Those students are required to participate in additional precautionary testing in order to monitor any onset of disease.   

Notification Process

What office will provide official information about whether a student has been directed to not attend classes in person?  When will that notice be made?
If a student has been identified as a COVID-positive individual or has been placed in quarantine due to potential exposure, the Dean of Students’ office will contact the student’s faculty members with a notice that the student is excused from attending class in person. The notice to faculty will be issued the same day as the positive result is received, whenever possible. Some delay may occur for results reported over the weekend..

What office will provide official information about whether an employee has been directed to not report to campus?  When will that notice be made?
If an employee has been identified as a COVID-positive individual or has been placed in quarantine due to potential exposure, the Human Resources office will notify the employee’s supervisor  with a notice to that effect. Notice to supervisors is normally provided the same day as the positive test result is received.

Is the entire campus notified in the event of a positive COVID-19 case on campus?
No. Our top priority in this situation is to begin the contact tracing process as soon as possible. Those who may have been exposed will be contacted, interviewed and also take a rapid COVID-19 test. Results are posted weekly on the COVID-19 dashboard website (https://wells.edu/covid-19-dashboard). A broad-based notification is only made in the event of possible widespread and/or uncontrolled spread of the virus.

Will the College pause campus operations due to people testing positive for COVID-19?  
The College’s reopening plan lays out in detail several tiers of infection spread (“pinpoint,” “scattered,” “widespread,” etc.), with recommended actions for each level. The decision to suspend campus operations is made on a case-by-case basis and depends on a number of factors, including the nature and location(s) of the viral spread; whether affected individuals are symptomatic or asymptomatic; current federal, NYS and local guidance; and other circumstances. 

Compliance

How do we know if members of our community are being tested? Who is monitoring compliance with these requirements?
All students, faculty and staff who are present on campus during any given week MUST get tested that week. Incidents of non-compliance will be followed up upon by the Office of Human Resources (for employees) or the Dean of Students’ office (for students). 

What happens if I don’t get tested as required? 
Supplemental testing times are provided for students, faculty and staff who fail to attend the weekly testing session. A temporary waiver of the weekly test requirement can be obtained by contacting Jonathan Rowe, the College’s COVID-19 compliance officer, at jrowe@wells.edu or 315.364.3258. Without the waiver, missing a test incurs a “first strike” penalty. Students who fail to attend the supplemental testing the same week they miss the regular testing session receive a “second strike” penalty. If a “third strike” occurs, the student will be removed from campus for the remainder of the semester under the code of conduct. Employees who fail to comply with testing requirements are subject to discipline under the College’s disciplinary process.

Who do I contact if I disagree with the test results, or don’t get my results?
If you have any questions about results or the testing process, please contact Jonathan Rowe, COVID-19 coordinator, at jrowe@wells.edu or 315.364.3258.

What do I do if I believe another student or employee is violating COVID-19 protocols on campus?
Members of the community may anonymously report such concerns using this online form:
https://www.wells.edu/covid-19-reporting-form 
The College takes all reports of possible violations of Wells College COVID-19 health policies seriously. Please note, however, that report submissions lacking sufficient information may not be investigated. Matters of student, faculty or staff discipline are confidential.

Classroom Issues / Faculty Questions

How will a faculty member learn if a student has been placed in isolation or quarantine?
If a student has been identified as a COVID-positive individual or has been placed in quarantine due to potential exposure, the Dean of Students’ office will contact the student’s faculty members with a notice that the student is excused from attending class in person. The notice to faculty will be issued the same day as the positive result is received, whenever possible. Some delay may occur for results reported over the weekend.

If I learn that a student has been directed to not attend in-person classes, how do I prevent the student from being identified by Teams or Zoom when they join the class through the online format?
It is recommended that faculty confirm with the student that they agree to join the class remotely, knowing their identity will likely be revealed through the online platform. If the student does not agree, we encourage faculty to provide the student with access to class information that does not require the student to attend online while in isolation or quarantine.

How/when would OTHER students in that class be notified that a classmate is in isolation or quarantine, if at all?
Other members of the class would be notified only if they fit the CDC’s definition of having been in close contact with the infected person (“someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic clients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated”). In this situation, the contact tracer will provide guidance to those individuals about whether they are allowed to continue attending classes in person. 

If a student is contact-traced, are they still allowed to go to class? Shouldn’t they be in quarantine? 
It depends on what the contact tracer determines after interviewing the potentially exposed student(s). Being contact traced does NOT necessarily mean that the individual has met the definition of “close contact,” nor does it mean that the person would need to be put into quarantine.  

What should I do if a student tells me they have to miss class due to a COVID-related concern, but I did not receive an official notice?
Absences under this sort of circumstance should be considered an unexcused absence.Students are required to follow the class attendance policy; absence from class is subject to penalty according to the syllabus.  If official notice from the office of the Dean of Students is not provided, the student who misses class should be considered absent.

What should I do if a student tells me they don’t trust the rapid test so they won’t go to class if a classmate is either in isolation or quarantine?
Absences under this sort of circumstance should be considered an unexcused absence.  Students are required to follow the class attendance policy; absence from class is subject to penalty according to the syllabus.  If official notice from the office of the Dean of Students is not provided, the student who misses class should be considered absent.

If a student comes to me and says they think they’ve been exposed and would prefer to attend class virtually instead of in person, how should I respond to that? 
If a student believes they have been exposed but not yet contacted by a contact tracer, they need to immediately contact Jonathan Rowe, the College’s COVID-19 coordinator, at 315.364.3258 or jrowe@wells.edu.  

Isolation and Quarantine

Who is required to enter into isolation and why?  
Isolation is required for anyone testing positive for COVID-19 under New York State Health Department and CDC guidelines. The NYS Contact Tracing Tool form can help you identify other individuals with whom you may have had close contact. For more detailed information, please visit the NYS website.

Who is required to enter into quarantine and why?
Quarantine is required for anyone who meets the criteria of a “close contact” of a person testing positive. The CDC defines “close contact” as “someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic clients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.”

How will I get my meals and any academic or personal support I need while in isolation or quarantine?
All regularly scheduled meals will be provided as “to-go” meals through Hallmark Dining Services, with delivery by Campus Safety officers. 

What happens if I don’t agree to go or leave before my isolation / quarantine period ends?
Students who don’t comply with the requirement to enter isolation or quarantine, or who leave before their designated end date, will be removed from campus for the remainder of the semester under the code of conduct.

Are students placed in single or double rooms when placed in isolation / quarantine?
Single-room assignments are normally made except when the students involved are already roommates.

How long do I have to stay in isolation / quarantine?
The current requirement is ten (10) days.

Who will help me move my belongings if I have to go to isolation / quarantine?
Students are expected to bring their own essential belongings when moving to isolation or quarantine. Out of concern for the safety of employees, we do not require employees to assist with moving student belongings. Dollies and van services can be obtained to provide assistance when needed. 

Travel

What are the current guidelines for domestic travel to/from New York State?
As of April 1, 2021, New York State advises the following:
Asymptomatic domestic travelers arriving in New York State from other U.S. states and territories are not required to test or quarantine. Domestic travelers do not need to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from laboratory confirmed COVID-19 within the previous 3 months.
• However, while not required, quarantine, consistent with the CDC recommendations for international travel, is still recommendedfor all other asymptomatic domestic travelers for either 7 days with a test 3-5 days after travel or 10 days without a test.
Symptomatic travelers must immediately self-isolate and contact the local health department or their healthcare providers to determine if they should seek COVID-19 testing. To read more, please visit the NYS Dept. of Health COVID-19 website.

Do I need to fill out the New York State Travel Form if I am entering New York from another state?
As of April 1, 2021, NYS advises that all individuals coming into New York from another U.S. state or territory, or any other country, whether or not such person is a New York resident, are required to complete the NYS Traveler Form upon entering New York, unless you are coming from a contiguous state for routine work purposes or for less than 24 hours. Contiguous states to New York are Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont.


This page was last updated on April 2, 2021.

 

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