Process for students
Students who develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, test positive for COVID-19, or have been informed they need to isolate or quarantine, must contact the VCU COVID-19 call center at 1-804-MYCOVID or 1-804-692-6843 to be connected with Student Health Services.
Student Health Services will provide additional instructions regarding testing, isolation and/or quarantine. Symptoms will be monitored and the student should refer to a medical provider if symptoms worsen.
Process for employees
Employees who develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, test positive for COVID-19, or have been informed they need to isolate or quarantine, must contact the VCU COVID-19 call center at 1-804-MYCOVID or 1-804-692-6843 to be connected with Employee Health.
Employee Health will provide additional instructions regarding testing, isolation and/or quarantine. Symptoms will be monitored and the employee should refer to a medical provider if symptoms worsen.
Q: What will I be asked if I call the 1-804-MYCOVID call center?
A: Interviewers will ask for name, date of birth, address, race and ethnicity. They will also ask about symptoms and any recent known exposure to COVID-19, and may request an email address to provide additional resources. You will not be asked for your Social Security Number, immigration status or financial information. Information collected during interviews is used only by public health agencies. If you are symptomatic or have tested positive you will be asked to identify close contacts and locations on campus where you have spent time in the recent past.
Q: If I do not attend classes/activities on campus, or if I telework exclusively, do I have to report a positive test result or symptoms to Student Health Services or Employee Health?
A: Yes. VCU is tracking all positive cases and potentially positive cases in the VCU community.
Q: What happens when someone reports a positive test result to Student Health Services or Employee Health? Who gets notified?
A: Student Health Services and Employee Health reports positive cases to the Virginia Department of Health. VCU and VDH work together to contact those who may have been exposed to the positive case. Student Health and Employee Health also immediately notify:
- Residential Life and Housing to make arrangements for on-campus isolation and/or quarantine if needed for residential students.
- VCU Facilities Management to begin closing, cleaning and disinfecting of impacted spaces. VCU Facilities Management works with VCU Records and Registration to notify students if a class must be relocated.
Q: What is contact tracing?
A: Contact tracing is the process of identifying individuals who had close contact with someone infected with an infectious disease and providing guidance to prevent them from spreading it. Contact tracing is not a new tool; public health professionals use it every day for other contagious diseases like measles and tuberculosis (TB). It is an important part of how Virginia and VCU can stop the spread of COVID-19. A joint VCU-Virginia Department of Health (VDH) team of contact tracers will conduct contact tracing for VCU students and employees.
Q: Will I be contacted if someone in my class or facility has tested positive for COVID-19?
A: Close contacts who have been exposed to COVID-19 will be notified by VCU/VDH contact tracers with instructions to quarantine. The definition of a case and exposure/close contact can be found at www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/frequently-asked-questions/exposure-to-covid-19/. VCU contact tracers are an extension of the Virginia Department of Health. The process follows all VDH protocols in order to protect an individual's privacy, including health information. If you are not known to have been exposed, you will not be contacted by VCU contact tracers.
Q: Will VCU contact tracers know anything about me? How will they contact those I may have been in contact with?
A: Your personal medical information is not shared with VCU contact tracers; however, the information of those you may have been in contact with is shared with contact tracers. When they contact someone who may have been exposed, the conversation will go something like, “I’m calling because you have been exposed by someone who tested positive for COVID-19.” Your identity will never be provided to the contact or anyone else.
Q: What is considered exposure?
A: Exposure to COVID-19, means you had close contact with someone with COVID-19. Close contact includes:
- Living with a person who has COVID-19
- Providing care for a person who has COVID-19
- Being within 6 feet of a COVID-19-positive person for a total of 15 minutes or more over the course of a 24-hour period; it is also considered as an exposure whether one or both parties were wearing a mask; and it is still considered as an exposure whether the infected person was symptomatic or asymptomatic of COVID-19, as long as they later test positive for COVID-19; or
- Having exposure to respiratory secretions from a person with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed or sneezed on, sharing a drinking glass or utensils, kissing)
A person with COVID-19 is considered to be contagious starting from 2 days before they started experiencing symptoms (or 2 days before they tested positive if they never had symptoms) until they meet the criteria to discontinue isolation.
For more information on exposure, visit https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/local-exposure/.
Q: What if someone in my class, office or building tests positive for COVID-19? Is that considered exposure? Will I be notified?
A: If you are known to have been exposed (see exposure definition above) to someone who tests positive for COVID-19, you will be contacted by VCU contact tracers. VCU will make every effort to notify you if your class is relocated or your office is closed for cleaning due to a known COVID-19 positive individual having occupied a space. However, please understand that cleaning must often happen faster than notifications can be made.
Q: I was informed that my class was relocated (or my office was closed) for cleaning. Does that mean I should get tested or quarantine?
A: Not necessarily. Those who are known to have been exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19 should quarantine and contact Student Health Services or Employee Health for more direction about testing. You should continue to monitor your health and call the 1-804-MYCOVID call center if you begin to experience symptoms. If you are not contacted by contact tracers and have had no known exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual, you do not need to quarantine. You should, however, continue to follow health and safety protocols and monitor your health.
Q: How can I find out about positive cases within the VCU community?
A: VCU's COVID-19 dashboard provides transparent details about the number of positive cases in our community and additional information related to those in quarantine and in isolation. The dashboard will be updated daily Monday through Friday and will be the most accurate way to track COVID-19 at VCU.
Q: How can I get information that is more specific than what is reported on VCU’s dashboard?
A: It is important to note that VCU will not widely communicate details about individual cases to the community or to media outlets out of respect for the privacy of any COVID-19 patients. Several privacy laws apply to the communication of information about students, employees and patients that could result in the unintentional disclosure of individual health information and status. For this reason, VCU will provide data on the dashboard in an aggregated format and does not provide information on particular groups or specific locations so as to avoid the inadvertent identification of individuals' health information and status. Working with our partners in the Virginia Department of Health, our Student Health Services and Employee Health offices will work to notify individuals reported to them who may have been exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case so that they may monitor their own health symptoms and self-quarantine.
Q: I think I may have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and I self-quarantined. When and how can I be cleared?
A: Contact Student Health Services or Employee Health about quarantine and/or isolation clearance. Those who may have been exposed are generally directed to quarantine for 14 days and are released from quarantine after 14 days from their last known contact, if symptom free. Those who test positive for COVID-19 are instructed to isolate. In general, those who test positive can be around others after:
- At least 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
- At least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication and
- Symptoms have improved
Q: I live in a VCU residence hall and I have symptoms of COVID-19. What should I do?
A: Students experiencing symptoms must contact the VCU COVID-19 call center at 1-804-MYCOVID or 1-804-692-6843. Residential Life and Housing created this guide to help our fall 2020 residents reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our residential community. Infection and exposure to COVD-19 can happen at any time with little or no time to react and prepare for isolation or quarantine. We encourage our residents to use this guide as a tool to prepare for isolation or quarantine before moving to campus. For more information, visit https://housing.vcu.edu/together/isolation_quarantine/.
Q: What happens if I need to isolate in on-campus isolation housing?
A: When a residential student shows symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, Student Health Services notifies Residential Life and Housing so they can relocate the student to isolation housing in order to separate that student from others who are not sick. When this happens, residents move to Gladding Residence Center III or The Honors College for the duration of the isolation period or until they are released by Student Health Services. Residential Life and Housing contacts the student to review information, talk with them about next steps, and coordinate transportation to isolation housing.
Q: If I must quarantine, can I do so in my own room?
A: Individuals who came into contact with a positive or symptomatic individual are notified to begin a 14-day self-quarantine period. Self-quarantine can often be completed within the resident’s own room. On occasion, residents may be temporarily relocated to quarantine into another on-campus space when they are unable to fully quarantine within their own space. The most common reason for this to occur is if they have a roommate who does not need to quarantine.
Q: What kind of support/supplies do students in isolation housing/under quarantine receive?
A: Students in both isolation and quarantine receive a health kit which includes the following items: a surgical face mask, hand soap, 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrush, toilet paper, tissues, hand sanitizer, paper towels, Virex or CP64 disinfectant, thermometer strips, four clear plastic garbage bags, two clear plastic bags for dirty linens, a “be safe” instruction guide, and a menstruation kit if needed. Residents in isolation also receive a linen kit that includes sheets, blankets, a pillow, bath towels, hand towels, and washcloths.
Students in isolation or quarantine also receive meals prepared by Dining Services including an initial food kit that includes plenty of clear liquids, soups, and snacks. Subsequently students are then provided a daily delivery of fresh meals throughout the time in isolation or quarantine. Students are given a link to share any dietary restrictions they may have to ensure the meals meet their needs.
In order to best support students during the isolation and quarantine period, students are provided with several resources for academic support, Student Health Services, University Counseling Services, virtual programming and other connection opportunities. Residential Life and Housing staff call isolation and quarantine students throughout the week to check in and students are provided a dedicated Residential Life and Housing on-call number they can contact for any assistance.
Q: What happens when a student moves out of isolation space?
A: When a student moves out of an isolation space, VCU cleans the room removing linens and trash, removing and replacing the shower curtain and hooks, and utilizing both disinfecting spray and electrostatic spray to disinfect all surfaces in the room and bathroom. When a student is released from either isolation or quarantine, they are provided with instructions on trash/linen removal, CDC guidelines for completing laundry, and are reminded to utilize the provided Virex disinfectant spray to wipe down surfaces in their permanent space.