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Clarification: At this time, public health experts do not recommend widespread testing of asymptomatic individuals (individuals who are not experiencing symptoms) for the purpose of establishing that a particular population is free of COVID-19, considering the limited usefulness of a single administration of testing (single administration could miss cases in the early stages of infection or subsequent exposures resulting in transmission, and would only provide COVID-19 status for individuals at that specific point in time). However, to help mitigate COVID-19 positive individuals returning to campus housing and to gauge the prevalence of COVID-19 among asymptomatic individuals, VCU made the decision to test all residential students prior to their return to campus and then continue to test a sample of asymptomatic students and employees each week once classes began.
Clarification: The Public Health Response Team closely monitors the level of testing conducted each week at VCU as well as the positivity rate among each group of tests (symptomatic and asymptomatic). As part of our testing strategy, VCU processed more than 6,000 COVID-19 tests between August and September. In addition to referring individuals with symptoms for testing, VCU conducts testing each week on a sample of asymptomatic individuals. We hired a contact tracing team dedicated to collecting contact information from those who test positive/have symptoms. This team was trained by the Virginia Department of Health and has allowed us to conduct extensive outreach and direct those who are known to have been exposed to quarantine. The PHRT follows the Outbreak Management Plan outlined on pages 12 and 13 of the Return to Campus plan. This plan explains how VCU would reduce campus activity in phases in order to manage any outbreaks in partnership with VDH. VCU is currently in Phase 4. VCU communicates changes in operations and safety protocols as decisions are made.
Clarification: VCU follows state and federal guidelines and updates the One VCU: Responsible Together plan as guidance and protocols change. Though VCU follows CDC guidelines, our protocols may differ at times. VCU mainly operates under guidance from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and we adjust our strategies and protocols based on the guidance and direction of VDH. Changes and reminders are communicated at least weekly from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clarification: VCU Student Health Services and Employee Health refer individuals with symptoms for testing conducted by VCU Health; however, students and employees have the right to be tested where they choose. Students and employees who, on their own accord, test at a primary care physician or other non-VCU affiliated testing facility, must self-report their test results to Student Health Services or Employee Health. VCU does not refer individuals to outside facilities and informs students that, if they choose to test outside of VCU, they must report test results. Student Health Services conducts extensive case management with those who report symptoms and test positive, as well as works with contact tracers to contact those who may have been exposed, and actively follows up with students who are referred for testing but have not yet reported results.
Clarification: All testing in Virginia is tracked by the Virginia Department of Health. When a positive test by any member of our community is identified as having a VCU affiliation, it is coded as such in the VDH database and is referred to Student Health Services, Employee Health and the contact tracing team for follow-up. Adhering to safety protocols is an important and immediate goal to promote a healthier VCU community. Refusal by students to comply with rules can include progressive disciplinary action up to and including suspension, based on the VCU Student Code of Conduct.
Clarification: The Public Health Response Team closely monitors the level of testing conducted each week at VCU as well as the positivity rate among each group of tests (symptomatic and asymptomatic). As part of our testing strategy, VCU processed more than 6,000 COVID-19 tests between August and September. In addition to referring individuals with symptoms for testing, VCU invites approximately 800 individuals for testing each week. If we test approximately 250, we can meet our asymptomatic testing goals outlined in our testing strategy (which is to test about 5 percent of residential students and 2 percent of non-residential students and employees each month).
Clarification: The One VCU: Responsible Together plan means that we must all do our part to keep our campus safe and healthy. Student Health Services and Employee Health refer those who report symptoms for testing. VCU tests a larger sample of residential students than non-residential students as part of asymptomatic testing, but all VCU students must also follow all the safety protocols they attested to prior to returning to campus — preventative measures, daily health monitoring, and reporting of symptoms, tests or exposure.
Clarification: 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 person with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, 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 www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/frequently-asked-questions/exposure-to-covid-19/.
Clarification: Students who have symptoms must be referred for testing by Student Health Services. Testing locations are unable to accommodate walk-ins or “at-will” testing at this time. Students with symptoms are not turned away, they simply must follow the protocols and discuss their situation with a health care professional before they can be tested. Students have the choice to discuss their testing options with their own health care provider, however, they must report symptoms and/or test results determined by a non-VCU provider to Student Health Services.