The College recognizes that early detection of COVID-19 through testing is pivotal in reducing the transmission of the virus on our campus and through our community. Student Health Services will conduct COVID-19 testing regularly throughout the semester. Testing will be provided through both on-campus resources and established relationships with local healthcare networks and our community partners. Because the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to evolve rapidly, our testing strategy will be adaptable to the situation. The College will employee a three-pronged approach to testing:
Symptomatic testing: Students who show symptoms will be isolated immediately and will be tested for the virus, with appropriate follow-up afterward.
Outbreak Rapid Response Testing: At this time, in accordance with CDC, the American College Health Association and Pennsylvania state guidance, the College will test individuals who are deemed to be “close contacts” of a student, faculty or staff member who tests positive for the virus. This will help the College better determine the potential source of an outbreak on campus and take additional mitigation steps.
Selective asymptomatic testing (as available): As many college-aged students can be asymptomatic carriers of the virus, the College will do some testing of individual students or student groups participating in higher-risk activities (e.g.. Athletics, singing, large group activities, necessary College-sponsored travel, etc.) as we are able to and for which testing availability allows. In doing this testing, the College will be mindful of the use of testing and other medical resources (e.g., PPE) to ensure that we are not contributing to a greater scarcity of resources in our larger community.
In addition to our testing efforts, the College will also employ other strategies to keep our community healthy and to identify and isolate individuals with COVID-19 symptoms as quickly as possible. Other strategies will include:
Daily Symptom Monitoring Checker
Muhlenberg College will provide a platform for students, faculty and staff members to assess symptoms of COVID daily. The user will input symptoms (or lack of) into the identified platform, which will analyze the results and give the user a green check to use at campus facilities or red X signifying need for medical evaluation.
Students, faculty and staff will receive daily automated reminders to complete the symptom checker. Aggregate data will be sent to the Dean of Students Office, Human Resources and Health Services daily regarding community response rate, percentage of red and percentage of green. This will help guide our overall response efforts. Individual data will not be collected.
Unlike most COVID-19 symptoms, body temperature can be objectively screened and verified. While temperature screening will not effectively identify asymptomatic cases, it still has the ability to catch positive cases and help prevent a potential outbreak. To avoid a false sense of security, it is noted that just because someone does not have a fever does not necessarily mean that the person does not have the virus. Many people who test positive for COVID-19 are asymptomatic, and all individuals should continue to take appropriate precautions and self-monitor and report the presence of any other symptom,
Touchless routine temperature screening will be conducted in high traffic areas, such as Wood Dining Hall and the Life Sport Science Center, and random checks will be conducted in other areas around campus.
Individuals with T≥100.0 (by non-contactless infrared thermometer) will not be permitted to enter the area/ building and an informational card with instructions for medical follow-up will be given,
Aggregate data will be collected regarding the number screened and the number of T≥100.0. Results will be given to Human Resources, Dean of Students and Health Services Offices daily.
Contact tracing is an integral component of the overall strategy for mitigating and containing COVID-19. The College will have staff trained to assist with contact tracing on campus. In collaboration with the Allentown Health Bureau, these staff will assist the college in systematically identifying “close contacts” of confirmed cases and notifying them as quickly as possible. Contacts will then be quarantined for 14 days from the last day of exposure. Any individuals who present with symptoms will be referred for health care evaluation and likely be tested (students) or recommended for testing (faculty/staff). For the purposes of our contact tracing efforts, a “close contact” is defined by the CDC as any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.