Royals Safe Together

Collecting, Tracking and Reporting of Active COVID-19 Cases on Campus

Important Information and Clarifications

Screening Tests: Beginning the week of Aug. 24, the University began screening tests for all students, faculty and staff on campus in a proactive effort to identify individuals with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, especially when they do not have symptoms. Identifying positive cases through this process was our intention and expectation. Doing so helps isolate individuals who may be contagious but never develop symptoms. This reduces the spread of the virus when compared to only identifying persons who test positive after getting symptoms.

Notification of Test Results: Over the past several days, individuals started to receive results from screening tests. Students receive a call from Student Health Services and employees from Human Resources to provide initial instructions, including the need to isolate. 

Contact Tracing: The University’s team of contact tracers reach out to positive students and employees about 24 hours after they receive test results. Contract tracers then begin calling individuals identified as close contacts. 

University Support for Students in Isolation and Quarantine: Students living in University housing will remain in their residence or be placed in temporary housing specifically designated for isolation or quarantine depending on individual circumstances. Students will be escorted to the temporary housing by a member of the Residence Life Staff and should bring clothes and other personal items with them. Some students are isolating or quarantining at their off-campus or home residence.

Important Definitions 

Positive Case Activity: 

  • The number reported below includes positive laboratory results for the SARS-CoV-2 virus BOTH from individuals who participated in screening testing and from individuals who were tested after they developed symptoms. 

Isolation Activity:  

  • The number reported below includes positive case activity for the week, any individuals still in isolation from a previous week, and individuals in isolation pending test results. Individuals who have tested positive are required to isolate for at least 10 days.
  • Isolation is used to separate people infected with SARS-CoV-2 from people who are not infected.
Quarantine Activity: 
  • The number reported below includes BOTH individuals directed to quarantine AND any individuals still in quarantine from a previous week.
  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who had “close contact” within someone testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 to see if they become sick.
  • A “close contact” is a person who has close contact (closer than 6’ for 15 minutes or more) with a person who has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.
  • Following CDC guidelines, the University does not provide testing for individuals in quarantine. Because the virus can show up at any time between 2-14 days after exposure, a person in quarantine cannot shorten their time in quarantine by testing negative for SARS-CoV-2.
  • Individuals in quarantine are not positive cases.
Meeting Criteria to Discontinue Isolation or Quarantine: 
  • The number reported below includes individuals who have met the criteria for release from isolation or quarantine over the preceding week. Student Life has developed a helpful infographic to explain the University’s guidelines.

Report of Active Cases of COVID-19 on Campus

The University has instituted a practice to provide regular updates about active cases of COVID-19 on campus. During the past week (Sept. 14 - 20), the University reports the following:

Campus Metrics Summary for Sept. 14 - 20*

  • The University conducted 979 screening tests of students and employees with a weekly positivity rating of 3.78%. The positivity rate on testing for the 3,945 tests completed in all four weeks is 3.45%.
  • 37 students tested positive through screening tests, 11 reported symptoms and tested positive through Student Health Services, and 10 reported a positive test from an off-campus provider. All students testing positive are in isolation. Five students are in isolation pending test results. University contact tracers identified and notified students to quarantine as per established protocols.
  • No employees tested positive through screening tests. One employee reported they need to quarantine. Two employees are in isolation due to reported symptoms/responses to the wellness app. Two employees remain in isolation from the previous week. No work areas required deep cleaning or disinfecting as a result of this week’s activity.
Reported Positive Student Cases: 58
Students in isolation: 63 (includes newly reported positive cases)
Students in quarantine: 138
Students meeting criteria to discontinue quarantine or isolation: 274

Reported Positive Employee Cases: 0
Employees in isolation: 4
Employees in quarantine: 1
Employees meeting criteria to discontinue quarantine or isolation: 4

*Note: Information provided reflects activity within a given week. Because the general timeframe for isolation (10 days) and quarantine (14 days) overlaps with weekly reporting, numbers between weeks will differ.

Testing for Members of the Campus Community

As noted in the “Testing and Contact Tracing” section of the Royals Safe Together Plan, the University has established a protocol to undertake testing in response to positive cases on campus. As an added safety measure, the University will implement Covid-19 screening tests beginning the week of Aug. 24, 2020. Due to availability issues, the University will use individual tests rather than the pooled testing approach previously announced. Individual test results will usually be available within 24 - 48 hours. We may shift to a pooled testing approach should it become available as the semester progresses.
All students who will attend on campus classes, including on- and off-campus students and commuters, are required to be tested. Any member of the University community who is fully remote and will not need access to campus during the fall semester does not need to be tested.  If you will be on campus for any reason, testing is required. Royal Card access will be curtailed for students and employees not being tested because they are remote or because they refuse to be tested.
The University expects to collect 1,200 samples to be tested each week, meaning that students and employees on campus should expect to be tested at least three times during the fall semester. Sampling for the tests will be done by licensed healthcare providers contracted through Interim Healthcare. University employees will staff the check-in area.  The University will also provide maintenance assistance with sanitizing and intermittent cleaning.

Samples will be collected with the following procedure:

  • In order to assist with scheduling, students and employees will be placed in one of several groups.
  • Each group will receive an invitation by email from which they can identify a testing appointment for the coming week. Screening testing will take place Monday – Thursday of each week from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 
  •  Royal Card is required for swipe access to the facility. Participants will also need to show their Royal ID to the check-in staff. Anyone without a campus ID will not be admitted. Daily wellness screening should be completed by all participants prior to scheduled testing. 
  • Testing appointments will be scheduled in 15-minute intervals with the actual test expected to take less than 15 minutes. Results will be available 24 – 48 hours after the samples are received by the lab. Only participants who test positive will be notified of their result.
  • Masks are required at all times for both participants and staff. Healthcare staff are required to wear additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) according to CDC guidelines.
  • All persons will be at least six feet apart at all times. Participants will remove masks briefly for swabbing, which will take place in separate, closed-off areas. Medical staff will be required to keep PPE on at all times.
  • Testing will take place in the rear court in the Long Center. Refer to the campus map.
  • Enter through the Byron Complex (Royal Card required to access the building). Once in the lobby, turn right. The entrance to the rear court of the Long Center will be through a set of doors, past the stairs.

The University engaged Contamination Source Identification, LLC (CSI). CSI employs the FDA-recommended, TaqPath RT-QPCR COVID-19 test system. Test samples will be gathered using through throat swabbing. CSI has been certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Health to perform COVID-19 testing and is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and The Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA).
As per guidance of Pennsylvania Department of Health, CSI will report all COVID-19 test results, positive and negative, to the National Electronic Disease Surveillance System. As per CLIA regulations, all specimen-associated data will be retained in CSI’s secured, L7-Informatics Enterprise Science Platform Laboratory Information Management System, which is deployed in a HIPAA-compliant secured environment.

  • Students with questions should contact Student Life by phone at (570) 941-7680.
  • Faculty/Staff with questions should contact Human Resources at (570) 941-7767.

To locate the on-site testing location, refer to the campus map below.

Map showing tesing locations on campus

Personal Reporting Requirement

As part of our shared responsibility to keep each other safe, members of the University community must report if they have COVID-19-related symptoms, have tested positive for COVID-19, or were exposed to another person suspected of or testing positive for COVID-19.

The University’s Pandemic Safety Officer maintains a comprehensive accounting of all active cases on campus in cooperation with Student Health Services and Human Resources.

Students who tested positive for COVID-19, have COVID-19 related symptoms, or were exposed to another person suspected of or testing positive for COVID-19 must remain in their residence hall room, apartment or home and contact Student Health Services at or (570) 941-7667.

Employees who tested positive for COVID-19, have COVID-19 related symptoms, or were exposed to another person suspected of or testing positive for COVID-19 must remain at home and contact Human Resources at or (570) 941-7767.

Contact Tracing

The University has identified and trained staff to undertake a confidential contact tracing process when a member of the University community tests positive for COVID-19, has COVID-19 related symptoms, or was exposed to another person suspected of or testing positive for COVID-19. Student Health Services, Human Resources and the Pandemic Safety Officer work collaboratively to manage contact tracing activity. All members of the University community must cooperate with contact tracing.

Employee Contact Tracing Process:

Upon notification of an employee with a COVID-19 diagnosis (confirmed or suspected), in accordance with the PA Department of Health and the CDC Guidelines, the contact tracers overseen by the Vice President for Human Resources will conduct the following steps:

  • Inform the employee to isolate, return home if at work or not come to work if at home.
  • Interview employee to determine the onset of symptoms and to identify close contacts. (All contact tracers completed the Johns Hopkins University Contact Tracing Training program).
    • Contacts of the interviewed employee will be contacted by a contact tracer and notified of their potential exposure.
    • The identity of the interviewed employee will not be shared when a call is made to a contact employee.
    • Employees identified as close contacts will be directed to quarantine and to contact their health care providers to coordinate testing. Students identified as close contacts will be directed to Student Life who will coordinate their testing and quarantine as appropriate;
  • Work with employees who are required to isolate or quarantine and their Supervisor or Dean to establish remote work opportunities when feasible.
  • Coordinate cleaning of work space, and other areas as applicable, with Facilities Operations and the department.
  • Maintain communication and monitor with employee and contacts until case resolved.
  • Coordinate with Supervisors/Deans, as well as the employee, about return to work.

Student Contact Tracing Process:

Student Life has assembled a team of over 30 staff to serve as student contact tracers who have completed the Johns Hopkins University Contact Tracing Training Program. Staff were also trained in the use of contact tracing software developed by Medicat, the University’s student medical records system. The system keeps confidential medical records secure from non-medical providers, including the contact tracers.

  • The contact tracing process will determine who, if anyone, would need to be tested or quarantined as a result of positive test on campus.
    Based on the level of exposure, determined by time and circumstances, to a person with a positive test or symptoms awaiting a positive test individuals may be identified who are required to be tested, or quarantine or both.
  • Once contact tracers determine a positive case and begin the process, Student Health Services will work with Residence Life if a student needs to isolate or quarantine as described in the plan.