Where do I isolate myself if I test positive for COVID-19 and live on campus? Students who test positive for COVID-19 are encouraged to go home to recover if they are able to travel by private vehicle. Most students who remain on campus will isolate in place, meaning they will remain in their assigned housing with their roommate(s), suitemate(s), or apartment-mate(s), regardless of their COVID-19 status, during isolation. Students are best able to recover comfortably in their assigned rooms, and staying in place is appropriate for all except students whose roommates may have a significantly elevated risk profile. In those cases, students will work with the Health Center to make appropriate arrangements.
If I am isolating in my on-campus residential room that is part of a suite, can I use the common area? What about the shared bathroom? If in isolation, you are not permitted to use the common areas in your suite or in the residence halls. If sharing a bathroom, you should be masked except while showering/bathing. Wipe down the faucets and other surfaces after use, open any windows and run the fan until out of isolation.
How do I get my meals while I am in isolation? While in isolation, students may order meals/groceries from food delivery services or they may have roommates, housemates, or suitemates take their ID to the dining hall and pick up a to-go meal to bring back to the residence hall. Students in isolation can also leave their residence hall space to go to the designated meal pick up location in Seegers Union to pick up meals and return directly to their residence hall. The College will not provide any meal delivery services.
Why is Muhlenberg permitting students to isolate themselves in their on-campus residence if they test positive for COVID? Over the last two years, we have gained a better understanding of COVID and its impact on our community. Vaccines, as well as new testing and treatment options, also have allowed us to adjust our response to the disease. COVID cases among students on our campus have typically been mild. Vaccination and boosters continue to reduce the severity of COVID, especially for those without other risk factors.Isolation in place will allow the College to prioritize isolation housing for residential students most in need, such as those with medical conditions that place them at higher risk from COVID. These students can work with Health Services to make appropriate arrangements including relocation during the isolation period.
My roommate tested positive and I have a health condition(s) that puts me at a higher risk for severe COVID illness. How do I request to be relocated during the isolation period? Any studentwho is at high risk for severe COVID illness and has a roommate that tested positive should contact Health Services to review their situation. After careful consideration, a recommendation may be made to relocate either the negative roommate or the COVID positive roommate.
What am I allowed to do and not allowed to do while isolating in my residence? Students isolating in their residence will be required to follow CDC guidelines and rules that reduce their exposure to their roommates and others. This includes wearing a high-quality and well-fitted mask (such as KN-95 or similar). Students in isolation must remain in their room, except to go to the bathroom and for other critical needs such as medical needs and to pick-up meals, all while wearing KN95 mask. Students in isolation should not gather in groups either indoors or outdoors. In the initial five days after a positive test, students are NOT permitted to attend class, go to the gym, go to the library, go to the dining hall or be indoors in any campus indoor space except their room or the spaces needed to travel to and from the bathroom in their residence hall. Students are required to wear a mask for an additional five days following their initial five days of isolation.
What should I do about my classes while I am in isolation?
If you are asked to isolate yourself, follow the instructions below.
It is your responsibility to notify your instructors as soon as possible.
You may use the following email template:
Dear Professor, I was notified that I need to isolate. My plan is to return on [Student, insert here calendar date of isolation day 6, using day 0 as test date or onset of symptoms] if my symptoms are resolving and I am without fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine. If my symptoms are not improving, I will need to extend my time away from campus for up to an additional 5 days. When I return, I will wear a well-fitting mask until a full 10 days after my symptoms started. Please let me know if you are able to offer me any options to continue with my academic work during the period I am away. If you would like verification that I must isolate, you may contact the Office of Disability Services.
[Student, insert here your name]
Refer to your syllabus or other information provided by your faculty member for each course to determine what you should do if you are in isolation and will miss in-person class. Ask your instructors questions if you are unclear about what you should do.
Each faculty member, even in the same academic department, may have different instructions. You cannot assume that a faculty member will allow you to Zoom into a class or allow you to participate as a remote student. You may also not be able to make up in class work and instead be given an alternate assignment.
Faculty will expect your return to in-person class after your isolation ends. If you can not return to class as expected, you must inform your faculty member. You need to make every effort to return to class as soon as you are able to do so.
What is the consequence for not following the isolation in place rules? If a student is found not to be following the COVID-19 Student Policy, they may be subject to disciplinary action.
When can I leave isolation after a COVID infection?
Student must isolate Days 0-5
Students without symptoms: Day 0 is test date
Symptomatic students: Day 0 is the first day symptoms started
On day 6:
If the student remains without symptoms, the student may leave isolation. A negative test is not required.
If symptoms are significantly improving and the student remains fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medicine, the student may leave isolation. A negative test is not required.
If the student's symptoms are not improving, the student should continue isolation until symptoms are significantly improving and the student remains fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medicine. A negative test is not required.
Students with severe illness (who were hospitalized) or have a weakened immune system, must isolate a full ten days and consult their treating healthcare provider before ending isolation.
Regardless of when students end isolation, until at least day 11:
Students must wear a well-fitting mask at all times (except while bathing or actively eating/drinking) and utilize to go dining for a full ten days after their test date or onset of symptoms.
Students must avoid being around people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.
Student must not go places where they are unable to wear a mask until they are able to discontinue masking.
For travel guidance, see CDC’s Travel webpage.
Students who must extend their isolation beyond day 6 must notify Health Services.
Who is considered to be a close contact for COVID-19? For COVID-19, a close contact is anyone who was less than 6 feet away from a COVID positive person for a combined total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period beginning the two-day period before they first had symptoms OR if they do not have symptoms, two days before they were tested for COVID-19. Close contacts are at greatest risk of infection and therefore need to be notified as soon as possible
How will close contacts be notified? With the rapid transmission of COVID, timeliness of close contact notification is important. The College will be providing guidance directly to COVID positive students and instructing them how to notify close contacts as soon as possible. By sharing with students how they can notify close contacts, this process can occur immediately after students learn they are positive. The instructions for close contacts can be found in the Close Contacts page on the College’s COVID-19 website.
You were just diagnosed with COVID. How do you notify people you have been around that they may have been exposed to COVID-19? By letting your close contacts know they may have been exposed to COVID-19, you are helping to protect them and others within your community. You can call, text or email your contacts. If you would like to stay anonymous, there is also an online tool that allows you to tell your contacts by sending out emails or text notifications anonymously.
An Example Of What To Say To Your Close Contacts:
“Hi. I need to talk to you about something important. Do you have a few minutes to talk privately? I was diagnosed with COVID-19 (or tested positive) on [xxx date]. We spent time together on [xxx date], and I wanted to let you know, so that you can follow recommendations to quarantine, get tested or wear a mask to protect your family and others within and outside your household. CDC recommendations vary based on whether you are up to date with COVID vaccinations or ever had COVID-19 before. You should monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19, get tested and isolate away from others if you get symptoms or test positive.
If you were exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 or have been told by a healthcare provider or public health authority that you were exposed, here are the steps that you should take, regardless of your vaccination status or if you have had a previous infection. Learn how COVID-19 spreads and the factors that make risk of spread higher or lower.
After Being Exposed: Take Precautions Immediately
Wear a well fitting mask as soon as you find out you were exposed and start precautions immediately. Continue precautions for 10 full days. Note: Day 0 is the day of your last exposure to someone with COVID-19; Day 1 is the first full day after your last exposure
Wear a high-quality mask or respirator (e.g., N95) any time you are around others inside your home or indoors in public. Do not go places where you are unable to wear a mask, including travel and public transportation settings.
Utilize to-go dining during the 10 days following exposure and avoid eating with others, especially when indoors.
Monitor yourself daily for symptoms of COVID-19. Symptoms of COVID-19 may include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea.
If symptoms develop, get tested and follow-up with your medical provider or Health Services.
Be aware that you could possibly spread the infection to others, even if they do not feel ill.
Get Tested Day 6 (test even if you don’t develop symptoms)
If you test negative, continue taking precautions (including mask wearing) through day 10. You can still develop COVID-19 up to 10 days after you have been exposed.
Do I need to wear a mask? When? Masks will be optional indoors and outdoors, with the exception of Health Services and in specific contexts or where people who are at high risk for complications due to COVID are located. In these situations signage and/or other means will be used to communicate this requirement. Events, meetings and registrar-scheduled classes may be areas where masking is required by event organizers or faculty. Masks must continue to be worn around others for 10 full days when isolating after a positive COVID test and after an exposure to an individual who has tested positive for COVID; please follow CDC guidance in these cases. Wearing a high-quality, well-fitting mask, such as KN95 or N95 masks, is effective in reducing the rate of COVID transmission. The College encourages all to follow the CDC prevention steps based on COVID-19 Community Level. NOTE: Although individuals do not need to wear masks, the College is supportive of individuals who choose to wear a mask.
Do I need a pre-arrival test? The College does not require but strongly recommends that all students (except those who have tested positive within the past 90 days) be tested for COVID-19 as close to the time of departure as possible (testing to occur no more than 3 days before their arrival to campus). Students who test positive must upload their test result (with name and test date included on the image) to their health portal and follow isolation guidelines before returning to campus. Students who test negative should NOT upload test results to the health portal.
What does the College require before I move-in? All students must review the COVID-19 Student Policy and sign the “Acknowledgement, Consent for COVID-19 Testing, & Disclosure of Information Agreement”, which is located in the student health portal under “My Forms.”
Will over-the-counter COVID-19 tests be available at the College? As supplies last, over-the-counter tests will be available at Seegers Union Information Desk. Students can also schedule appointments for COVID tests through Health Services.
Will Health Services offer COVID-19 testing? Yes, symptomatic students should call Health Services (484-664-3199) to schedule an appointment for COVID-19 testing.
If you experience an emergency, please call Campus Safety at 484-664-3110 if you are on campus or call 911 if you are away from campus.
IMPORTANT: If you are feeling sick, the best thing you can do to protect yourself and your community is to stay home and contact your healthcare provider. If you are on campus this summer, please contact Health Services (484-664-3199).