To: All Employees
From: Dr. Chris Frazer, Executive Director, The Wellness Center
Date: September 7, 2021
Re: Update on BSU’s COVID-19 Testing, Contact Tracing, Isolation, Quarantine and Reporting Protocols
Dear campus community,
As we enter the first full week of classes, I wanted to provide some additional clarification over BSU’s testing, contact tracing, isolation, quarantine and reporting protocols.
BSU continues to work with the Broad Institute at Harvard and MIT to conduct all of its testing. Our tests are conducted through a simple, self-administered dry nasal swab that takes only a few minutes to complete. All students and employees who have been exempted from the COVID-19 vaccination will be required to undergo weekly surveillance testing. There are no exceptions to this requirement. Asymptomatic testing is available not more than once per week to faculty and staff at no cost.
This week, BSU will be initiating surveillance testing through individual, COVID-19 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing of all students who have received a medical or religious exemption from the vaccination and who are taking in-person classes, living in our residence halls or otherwise utilizing the BSU campus.
Beginning next week, we will utilize pool testing in which one laboratory test would be conducted on 10 individual samples collected in a combined pool. If there are any positive results in the pool, all 10 individuals would be immediately contacted by the Wellness Center with instructions on how to isolate pending a negative individual test result, and all people in the pool would be individually tested to determine who has the COVID-19 virus.
BSU offers COVID testing Monday-Thursday in the Wellness Center from 8:30am-10am and 2:30pm-4pm, and symptomatic testing on Friday by appointment only. Please schedule a testing appointment.
Contact tracing is a vital component of the University’s continued monitoring of the campus and rapid response for preventing further transmission and spread of the virus. Tracing will be carried out by a specific contact tracing team led by Health Services, leveraging technology developed by the Division of Information Technology. Only the information required to enable immediate contact tracing will be collected and reported.
BSU’s contact tracing system has worked very successfully in helping us to quickly identify and contact any members of our community who may have come in contact with an infected person. The system draws from multiple sources of data that affords us a high level of precision in determining where a person with COVID-19 has been and with whom they may have come in contact. Our contact tracing team works seven days a week as we understand how important quickly isolating infected individuals and quarantining unvaccinated individuals is to controlling transmission of the virus and protecting our campus community.
If you have received a positive test that was conducted outside of BSU or you know of anyone at BSU who has tested positive, please immediately contact the Wellness Center utilizing this form. This site is monitored several times every day, including weekends and holidays.
Isolation and Quarantine
Any individuals who receive a positive COVID-19 test result will be immediately contacted by the BSU Wellness Center with instructions on how to isolate. Any student or employee, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, who tests positive for COVID-19 must follow the same isolation protocol that has been in place since the beginning of the pandemic. Those individuals would not be permitted to come to class or utilize labs, rehearsal spaces or other facilities or come to work on the BSU campus.
Per CDC guidelines, if a person is identified by contact tracing as a close contact of a COVID-19 positive individual, the protocol would be different for vaccinated and unvaccinated persons. If the person is fully vaccinated and has no symptoms, the person would not need to quarantine. They would be able to attend classes in person or come to work on campus. However, they would be required to wear a mask at all times and get tested for COVID-19 three to five days after exposure. They should quarantine immediately if symptoms develop while awaiting the optimal testing window.
If the person identified as a close contact is not fully vaccinated, they would need to quarantine immediately and should not attend classes or come to campus for any reason unless instructed to do so by the Wellness Center. They would need to quarantine for at least seven days, presuming they achieve a negative test result on or after the fifth day.
Reporting Test Results and Vaccination Status of Campus
Beginning September 10, BSU will update its testing dashboard every Friday throughout the semester. The dashboard will be accessed from the Fall 2021 Return website. The dashboard will contain weekly and cumulative information on the number of student and employee tests administered and the number of positive test results. It will specify how many members of the BSU community are currently in isolation and quarantine and the percent of students and employees on our campus who are vaccinated.
The reason for the Friday posting (last year was Thursday) is the use of pool testing. If individuals need to be individually tested as a result of a positive pool test, that data may not be available for reporting purposes until Friday. The time of posting the updated dashboard metrics would be based on when in the day those results are received from the Broad Institute.
The COVID-19 virus continues to provide challenges, but we have strong systems and protocols to keep our campus as safe as possible. The single most important measure we can take is to be vaccinated and then to adhere to our testing requirements, cooperate with our contact tracers, and carefully follow any isolation or quarantine instructions.
Thank you in advance for continuing to work with us to keep everyone on our campus healthy and safe.
Dr. Chris Frazer
Executive Director, The Wellness Center