Royals Safe Together

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

Important Information and Clarifications

Surveillance Tests : The University will continue conducting surveillance tests for all students, faculty and staff on campus during the Spring semester to proactively identify individuals with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, especially when they do not have symptoms. Identifying positive cases through this process is our intention and expectation. Doing so helps isolate individuals who may have been contagious but never develop symptoms.

Notification of Test Results: Individuals who test positive through surveillance testing will receive a call from a PWNHealth physician to alert them of their results. Students will then be contacted by Student Health Services and/or a member of the Contact Tracing team, and employees will be contacted by Human Resources to provide instructions, including the need to isolate. All individuals will be able to access their results, regardless of whether it is positive or negative.

Contact Tracing: The University’s team of contact tracers reaches out to positive students and employees within 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 generally remain in their residence or will 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 will be instructed to bring clothes and other personal items with them. Some students may isolate or quarantine 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 someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.
  • Following CDC guidelines, the University provides testing for individuals in quarantine. Individuals identified as “close contacts” of someone testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 will be required to quarantine for 10 days. Their quarantine may end after day 7 if the individual receives a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from a test sample collected no sooner than day 5 after last possible exposure, with the date of last possible exposure being Day 0, provided the individual is not showing any symptoms. The University will test students in quarantine utilizing this timeline.
  • 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 April 12-18*) the University reports the following:

Campus Metrics for April 12-18*

  • The University conducted 1,030 surveillance tests of students and employees with a weekly positivity rate of .78%. The cumulative positivity rate on surveillance testing this semester is .63% on 11,029 tests processed.
  • Eight students tested positive through surveillance testing, one student reported symptoms and tested positive on campus, and five students reported a positive test from an off-campus provider. All students testing positive are in isolation or completed the necessary isolation. University contact tracers identified and notified students to quarantine as per established protocols. 14 students were able to shorten their quarantine time frame due to the quarantine testing protocols.
  • No employees tested positive through the University surveillance tests. Two employees tested positive through non-University tests. One employee is in isolation due to reported symptoms/response to the wellness app. Three employees reported the need to quarantine due to possible exposure outside of the University. No employees remain in quarantine or isolation from the previous week. 
Reported Positive Student Cases: 14
Students in isolation: 15

Students in quarantine: 23
Students meeting criteria to discontinue quarantine/isolation: 71
Reported Positive Employee Cases: 2
Employees in isolation: 3
Employees in quarantine:3
Employees meeting criteria to discontinue quarantine/isolation: 0

*Note: Information provided reflects activity within a given week. Because the general timeframe for isolation and quarantine (10 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 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, which will resume the week of February 8, 2021. Individual test results will be available within 48-72 hours of sample collection and can be viewed via Labpass.  Results may read as follows:

  • Positive: SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was detected in the sample
  • Negative: SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was not detected in the sample
  • Test Not Processed (TNP) or Unsatisfactory: there was an issue with the sample itself, and the Broad Institute was not able to process it.  Students who receive a TNP result are not required to be retested, but will be contacted and offered a retest.
  • Invalid: the test did not detect a clear positive or negative result. Depending on the circumstances, individuals may need to be retested.  Students will be contacted to arrange a retest.
  • Inconclusive: one of the two probes detected SARS-CoV-2, and the individual should be retested.  Students who receive “Inconclusive” results will be contacted to arrange a retest.

All students who will attend on campus classes, including on- and off-campus students and commuters, and all faculty and staff planning to access campus at any time, are required to be tested. Any member of the University community who is fully remote and does not need access to campus during the spring semester does not need to be tested. For those who are 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. Read more about spring semester testing.

The University expects to collect 1,000 samples to be tested each week, meaning that students and employees on campus will be tested as many as three or four times during the spring semester. Sampling for the tests is conduct via an anterior nasal self-swab, supervised by licensed healthcare providers. University employees staff the check-in area. The University also provides maintenance assistance with sanitizing and intermittent cleaning.

Samples are collected with the following procedure: 

  • In order to assist with scheduling, students and employees are placed in one of several groups.
  • Each group receives an invitation by email from which they are able to identify a testing appointment for the coming week. Surveillance testing will take place Monday and Tuesday of each week from 8 a.m. to 4p.m.
  • Royal Card is required for swipe access to the facility. Participants need to show their Royal ID to the check-in staff. Anyone without a campus ID will not be not admitted. Daily wellness screening are to have been completed by all participants prior to scheduled testing.
  • Testing appointments are scheduled in 15-minute intervals with the actual test expected to take less than 15 minutes. Results will be available within 48-72 hours of sample collection. All individuals tested will have access to their results.
  • Masks are required at all times for both participants and staff. Healthcare staff is required to wear additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) according to CDC guidelines.
  • All persons will remain at least six feet apart at all times. Participants remove masks briefly for swabbing. Medical staff are required to keep PPE on at all times.
  • Testing takes place in the rear court in the Long Center.

The University engaged CIC Health for surveillance testing. CIC Health works with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, which supplies and processes the PCR COVID-19 test, and with PWNHealth, whose physicians authorize referrals for testing and ensure proper testing compliance. PWNHealth provides clinical oversight and care coordination, and facilitates the mandatory reporting of test results to public health authorities. CIC Health also utilizes ixlayer, a secure, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-compliant platform for managing scheduling and reporting of test results.

Test samples are obtained through anterior nasal self-swabs supervised by licensed medical providers.

  • 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

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 test 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 test 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 identify close contacts. (All contact tracers completed the Johns Hopkins University Contact Tracing Training program)
  • Contact employees identified as close contacts to notify them of their potential exposure and direct them 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. The identity of the positive employee will not be shared when a call is made to a close contact
  • 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 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.