Faculty FAQ on COVID Testing
Does the Student Health center have COVID tests, and are they testing students? I’ve heard my students say that they are being directed to get tests off-campus.
Student Health Services (SHS) offers close contact and symptom-based COVID-19 testing for students, faculty, and staff. Testing is provided via CCU’s partnership with LabCorp, and test results are being returned to Student Health Services within 48 hours. Student Health Services has also obtained a Cepheid Xpert Xpress diagnostic testing platform (30 minute results), which is the gold standard for point-of-care testing. Please note that there are nationwide shortages of associated testing media which may result in periodic testing delays as we await replenishment of supplies.
Some students who are quarantined have requested tests in hopes that a negative test result may result in their release from quarantine. In those cases, SHS is not administering tests (again, unless the student is symptomatic or has had “close contact” rather than simple contact or exposure) because students are not allowed to test out of the quarantine requirement (Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) Guidance
If a student takes a test off-campus, are they responsible for reporting it (or electing not to report it) to the University?
Yes, if a student (or faculty or staff member) takes a test off-campus they are responsible for sharing their positive result with the University. If a student tells you that they have had a positive test result, please report that by sending an informative email to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on this topic is included on the Comeback FAQs webpage.
My students have told me that if a student exhibits symptoms, they are required to self-quarantine, but not take a test to confirm whether they are COVID positive.
We ask all students, faculty, and staff to isolate if they feel ill and consult with a medical professional, either at SHS or at another provider. If the medical professional determines they are symptomatic for COVID-19 and should be tested, then a test is required. More information on this topic is covered by the following question on the Comeback FAQs webpage.
Students who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms should contact SHS. Based on SHS’ telehealth assessment, SHS may initiate isolation orders (isolation for 10 days). Asymptomatic close contacts to laboratory confirmed or presumed positive students are required to quarantine for 14 days in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and SCDHEC Guidance; also, per CDC and SCDHEC Guidance when individuals are in quarantine they may not test out of the quarantine requirement.
Is it true that the student health center currently has a 48-hour wait for appointments due to volume?
Wait time is variable, but indeed, SHS is experiencing a significant volume of calls and contacts. The office is working diligently to reduce wait times and see students as soon as possible. Students who are experiencing symptoms are instructed to self-isolate until they can be seen by a medical provider.
How is CCU counting and reporting cases? What is included in the dashboard?
Case numbers are published on Friday mornings, reflecting data collected from Wednesday to Wednesday. This allows one day for SHS and the contact tracing team to evaluate and clean the data (i.e., examine duplicate reports, collect missing data, etc.). These numbers include positive testing from SHS, surveillance testing, testing of student athletes, and student, faculty, staff, and affiliate positive cases reported to the University.
The positive cases are of those individuals who were actively engaged on campus, posing a risk to the campus community, and reported during the specific period. For example, a student who lives at home in Ohio and is taking classes online may inform CCU that they have tested positive, but because that student has not been on campus, they are not counted in the caseload numbers. The same is true of a student who lives off-campus but in the local area; if they do not have any in-person courses and have not been on campus, they would not be counted. However, if a student is streaming all of their classes and has visited the library or SHS or other on-campus services, that individual would be counted in the caseload numbers.