In order to maintain as safe and healthy a campus community as possible, we’ve instituted an aggressive testing policy for all students, but it’s also imperative that faculty and staff be frequently tested for COVID-19.
In preparation for the fall semester, we required those of you returning to on-campus work to take a COVID-19 test before significant on-campus engagement with students. Additional guidance for ongoing faculty and staff testing–depending on your level of engagement with students–is below and can also be found on the Bears Return pages of our website.
1. If you have very frequent interactions with students or campus visitors, particularly in ways that cannot reliably include physical distancing and/or student mask wearing (such as campus safety, athletic trainers and residence life staff), we encourage you to consider weekly testing.
2. If you have routine interactions with students or campus visitors in a physically distanced manner with student mask wearing (such as in-person classroom instructors), we encourage you to consider testing every other week.
3. If you have only occasional interactions with students, or if in-person interactions are for a very short duration of no more than a few minutes, we encourage you consider testing monthly.
Employees should use their own discretion when choosing how often to get tested.
Your results should be shared as follows:
–Faculty should provide results to the dean’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org, or though this Qualtrics survey: https://go.ursinus.edu/TestingSurvey.
–Athletics staff should provide results to email@example.com.
–All other staff should provide results to human resources at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Currently, Independence Blue Cross (the college employee health insurance provider) and many other insurance plans cover COVID testing. The college continues to evaluate more cost-effective testing strategies for students, which may include opportunities for faculty and staff, but at this time, student testing is at capacity so we cannot include faculty and staff in those processes.
Regular testing for COVID-19 serves multiple purposes for our community including monitoring the overall health of the campus; identifying infected individuals so they can isolate and not infect others; and triggering the contact tracing process so that exposed individuals can quarantine.
The early experience on other college campuses has suggested that transmission happens outside of the classroom, primarily through social interactions between students. This suggests that it is important to test students every week, and to test faculty and staff often enough to know if there is significant transmission brought onto campus from them.
The CDC defines a “contact” of someone who tests positive for COVID-19 as someone who was in the presence of an infectious individual for 15 minutes or more at a distance of less than six feet. Classroom seating has been restructured on our campus so that the classroom setting will not confer any contacts. In a similar vein, the college requires all in-person interactions between students and faculty or staff to follow similar guidelines, so that a positive case among the student body does not imply any contacts among the faculty and staff requiring quarantine.
If for any reason your interactions with students must last for more than 15-minute at a distance closer than six feet, or if your interactions with students require physical contact, you are required to register those interactions with the Virus Task Force by emailing me at email@example.com and Carol McMillin at firstname.lastname@example.org. This will help prevent any erroneous identification of contacts.
As always, faculty and staff are required to practice regular mask wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing whenever on campus. Thank you for your continued commitment to making our campus safe this academic year.