Royals Safe Together

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

Important Information and Clarifications

Screening Tests (now called surveillance testing by CDC): The University conducted surveillance tests for all students, faculty and staff on campus during the Fall semester to proactively 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 helped isolate individuals who may have been contagious but never developed symptoms.

Notification of Test Results: Students received a call from Student Health Services and employees from Human Resources to provide initial instructions, including the need to isolate, if their test result was positive.

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

University Support for Students in Isolation and Quarantine: Students living in University housing generally remained in their residence or were placed in temporary housing specifically designated for isolation or quarantine depending on individual circumstances. Students were escorted to the temporary housing by a member of the Residence Life Staff and were instructed to bring clothes and other personal items with them. Some students isolated or quarantined 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 surveillance 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

During the fall 2020 semester the University instituted a practice to provide weekly updates about active cases of COVID-19 on campus. We will resume with regular updates during the spring semester.

Testing for Members of the Campus Community

As noted in the “Testing and Contact Tracing” section of the Royals Safe Together Plan, the University established a protocol to undertake testing in response to positive cases on campus. As an added safety measure, the University implemented Covid-19 surveillance tests beginning the week of Aug. 24, 2020. Due to availability issues, the University used individual tests rather than the pooled testing approach previously announced. Individual test results were usually available within 24 - 48 hours.
All students who attended on campus classes, including on- and off-campus students and commuters, were required to be tested. Any member of the University community who was fully remote and did not need access to campus during the fall semester did not need to be tested. For those who were on campus for any reason, testing was required. Royal Card access was curtailed for students and employees not being tested because they are remote or because they refused to be tested.

The University expected to collect 1,200 samples to be tested each week, meaning that students and employees on campus were tested as many as three times during the fall semester. Sampling for the tests were done by licensed healthcare providers contracted through Interim Healthcare. University employees staffed the check-in area. The University also provided maintenance assistance with sanitizing and intermittent cleaning.

Samples were collected with the following procedure: 

  • In order to assist with scheduling, students and employees were placed in one of several groups.
  • Each group received an invitation by email from which they were able to identify a testing appointment for the coming week. Surveillance testing took place Monday – Thursday of each week from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Royal Card was required for swipe access to the facility. Participants needed to show their Royal ID to the check-in staff. Anyone without a campus ID was not admitted. Daily wellness screening were to have been completed by all participants prior to scheduled testing.
  • Testing appointments were scheduled in 15-minute intervals with the actual test expected to take less than 15 minutes. Results were available 24 – 48 hours after the samples were received by the lab. Only participants who tested positive were notified of their result.
  • Masks were required at all times for both participants and staff. Healthcare staff was required to wear additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) according to CDC guidelines.
  • All persons were at least six feet apart at all times. Participants removed masks briefly for swabbing, which took place in separate, closed-off areas. Medical staff were required to keep PPE on at all times.
  • Testing took place in the rear court in the Long Center.

The University engaged Contamination Source Identification, LLC (CSI). CSI employs the FDA-recommended, TaqPath RT-QPCR COVID-19 test system. Test samples were gathered using through throat or nasal 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 reported 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.

Personal Reporting Requirement for University Community Members on Campus

Personal Reporting Requirement for University Community Members on Campus
As part of our shared responsibility to keep each other safe, employees and members of the University community who are on campus 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. Students not on campus during the winter break and intersession should contact their own health care provider and do not need to report to Student Health Services during this time period.

Students on campus 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.

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.