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COVID-19 FAQ: Testing & Isolation/Quarantine

Testing Protocol (Pool Testing) for Vaccine-Exempted Students

What is pooled testing and what can I expect

  • Saliva samples are collected from vaccine-exempted undergraduate students and placed in "pools" of up to 24 tests. This allows the lab to run testing on all samples at the same time. 
  • If all the samples in a pool are negative then each student will receive an email saying their result was negative/not detected. Hooray!
  • If the pooled samples have one or more positive results, then additional testing will be done to determine which student(s) may have the COVID-19 virus. 
  • During additional testing, the pool of up to 24 tests will be broken down into groups of two and tested again. If one or more students within a "pair" are positive for the virus, then these pairs will be contacted by the COVID Care Team and instructed to self-isolate until individual confirmatory diagnostic testing can be completed. 
  • Repeat saliva testing is not needed to complete the diagnostic testing, but students will need to monitor their email for instructions from the laboratory to ensure all requirements are met in terms of consent forms, demographic information, etc. 
  • If you live on campus and are asked to self-isolate, you will need to contact a friend or RA to request meals be dropped off. 
  • Turnaround time for results may vary depending on if a student is part of a "negative/not detected" pool or a "positive/detected" pool. In general, students will typically receive a message notifying them of a negative result within 48-72 hours from time of the test. For a positive/detected pool, there may be an additional 12-24 hours on top of the customary time frame, but everyone should know their results within 72 hours. 

Are the saliva tests a PCR/molecular test or an antigen test? 

They are PCR molecular tests.

What happens if my test is positive?

The COVID Care Team will contact you and begin the process of moving you into one of the theme houses for isolation (if you are an on-campus student) and will provide instructions regarding meal drop-offs, etc. If you live off campus, you will be advised to self-isolate in your place of residence. Health center-eligible students will receive medical monitoring via telehealth during the course of their illness.

Testing

Does Whitworth offer COVID-19 testing?

  • The Whitworth Health Center will order testing for health center-eligible students who have symptoms or have a known exposure. A medical screening is required via phone or telehealth with a health center nurse or nurse practitioner to determine that testing criteria is met and to authorize the COVID-19 test order.
  • If students have severe or warning sign symptoms that merit urgent medical evaluation, they will be directed to a local urgent care facility or the emergency room/hospital; any testing or treatment would be done by emergency healthcare providers.
  • COVID-19 testing for students ordered by the health center will take place on campus at a designated testing location staffed by our local laboratory partner. During weekdays, the local laboratory staff will have a regular schedule on campus.
  • Students who have COVID-19 testing ordered by the health center also have the option to go to the local laboratory location, which is approximately 4 miles from the main campus.
  • Whitworth will also be conducting surveillance testing on vaccine-exempted students throughout the year to help prevent possible outbreaks on campus for those individuals who may be infected but not showing symptoms. The goal is to keep our campus as safe as possible and limit the spread of the disease. 

A student isn't sick, why are they being tested?

  • Whitworth will be conducting surveillance testing on vaccine-exempted students at no cost to the individuals to help identify cases and protect the campus community from the spread of COVID.

When should/would I be tested?

  • Anyone eligible for health services on campus who is experiencing symptoms, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), should contact the Whitworth Health Center for consultation. Similarly, health center-eligible students with a known exposure should contact the health center. Clinical staff will make the decision to order a test and inform the student if medical evaluation is necessary and whether or not they should isolate/quarantine.
  • Please call ahead to schedule a time to speak with a health center nurse or nurse practitioner. In accordance with health and safety protocols, COVID-19 screening is by phone or telehealth appointment only (no walk-in).
  • Students should contact their local healthcare provider, urgent care or designated testing location in the community if they are not eligible for health services on campus or if the health center is closed.
  • Most full-time undergraduate students are eligible for health center use. If you are unsure, contact the business office.
  • Current recommendations are that close contacts (defined as within 6 feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes) of an individual who tests positive should be tested. The Whitworth Health Center and COVID Care Team will help identify and coordinate testing for those who are considered close contacts in collaboration with the Spokane Regional Health District.

What will costs look like?

  • For individuals who are experiencing symptoms, the primary health insurance of the individual will be billed by the local lab. Currently, there should not be out-of-pocket costs due to federal and state mandates to cover the cost of testing. We encourage you to check in with your primary health insurance to verify information pertinent to you plan.
  • For individuals who are exposed to a person infected with COVID-19, the exposed individual's primary health insurance will be billed by the local lab. We encourage you to check in with your primary health insurance to verify information pertinent to you plan.
  • For those participating in the surveillance testing program, there will be no charge to the individual; surveillance testing is not covered by insurance.
  • We strongly recommend all students obtain a health insurance plan that is accepted in Washington state.

How will I be notified?

  • Healthcare providers and/or public health authorities will be contacting those who are tested with their lab results. 

Where are the testing locations?

  • Whitworth has partnered with a local laboratory for COVID testing. The samples will be collected on campus at a designated testing location staffed by the local laboratory during the weekdays. Students have the option to get tested at the local laboratory that is 4 miles from campus. All testing requires a medical screening and a medical provider’s order for the test prior to the student going to the on or off campus testing location.

Will my student be made aware of a negative test if they are a close contact?

  • Due to state and federal privacy laws (HIPAA and FERPA), Whitworth is unable to share the identity of persons being tested; however, in certain circumstances we will let close contacts know of negative tests. 

Feeling Sick

If my student is feeling sick, who should they contact?

  • Whitworth is using an app called LiveSafe for communication with the COVID Care Team. The app will notify them of potential exposures, situations when quarantine/isolation has been advised, pending testing or confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis. Please make sure you use the app and indicate you are not feeling well.
  • Your student should self-isolate in their room, apartment or house and contact the health center (509.777.3259, healthcenter@whitworth.edu) to set up a phone consultation. The health center staff will screen your student. Based on those findings, they will communicate the best next steps.
  • If after hours and the health center is closed, the student should contact a local healthcare provider or urgent care for medical evaluation.
  • Your student should not leave their room, unless accessing medical care, until advised to do so by the healthcare provider, health center staff, athletic training staff or a COVID Care Team member.
  • Students not eligible for health services on campus should contact their local healthcare provider, urgent care or COVID-19 testing site.

What if my student tests negative for COVID-19?

  • The student should follow recommendations from their medical provider or the health center staff regarding health needs. Students who continue to have COVID-19 symptoms or other respiratory symptoms (even with a negative COVID-19 result) will still need to self-isolate in accordance with public health guidance until symptoms improve and they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medication.

How does my student get tested for COVID-19?

  • The student will need to call the health center to schedule an appointment to speak with a nurse or nurse practitioner. The health center staff will perform a medical screening and utilize clinical discretion to determine if a COVID-19 test is needed.
  • If your student needs a COVID-19 test, the health center can order the test after conducting the medical screening and the student will be directed to either the on-campus site staffed by our local laboratory partner or the local laboratory location that is 4 miles from campus.
    • If transportation is an issue, the COVID Care Team will arrange transportation to and from the testing location.
    • After hours (evenings and weekends), students can contact the Nurse Advice Line on the back of their health insurance card or if uninsured, they can call the CHAS 24/7 Nurse Advice Hotline at 509.444.8200 to discuss any symptom or exposure concerns. Students can access medical evaluation or testing options in the community at an urgent care or off campus testing location. More information can be found here: https://srhd.org/covid-19-drive-through-screening-clinic.
  • Vaccine-exempted students will be contacted by the COVID Care Team member and/or the athletic department to set up testing.
  • healthcare providers will give students results as soon as they are available. Timing of the results will vary based on lab capacity and current local COVID-19 conditions. 

Who will take my student to see a healthcare provider if needed?

  • If your student needs additional care for COVID-19 symptoms that can't be provided by the Whitworth Health Center, the COVID Care Team can provide transportation to and from a healthcare provider's office.
  • Students should call 911 for any life-threatening medical emergencies.

Reporting Exposures, Testing and COVID-19 Diagnosis

How does my student notify the university they have been exposed to COVID-19, they have been advised to quarantine/isolate, are being tested for COVID-19 or have been diagnosed with COVID-19?

  • Whitworth is utilizing an app called LiveSafe that has multiple reporting functions. More information can be found here.

Roommate is Feeling Sick/Being Tested

What if my student's roommate is being tested for COVID-19?

  • Based on current local and state recommendations, students will be asked to quarantine in their room until their roommate's result comes back. 

What if my student's roommate tests positive? 

  • Your student will be tested for COVID-19 and moved to a quarantine space.

Is Whitworth providing cleaning supplies for my student to clean their room if their roommate is sick?

  • Whitworth has asked all students living on campus to be prepared to clean their rooms often.
  • If there is a positive test, our custodial staff will perform a deep clean of the room and shared spaces in the residence hall.

Contact Tracing

What is contact tracing?

My student was just contacted by a contact tracer. Now what?

  • Your student will be provided information on what their next steps are. This may include quarantine or self-isolation in their room, apartment or home, as well as directions on how to get tested or, if your student lives on campus, directions on moving to an isolation house. This may also include a discussion of resources needed during quarantine or isolation, such as meals, supplies, medication, etc.

Who will contact my student if they have been exposed?

  • Your student will likely be contacted by Whitworth contact tracers who are part of Whitworth's COVID Care Team or by the Spokane Regional Health District.

Will parents be notified if their student is a close contact?

  • We encourage parents to communicate with their student as state and federal privacy regulations prevent Whitworth from releasing that information. 

Classrooms

Someone in my student's class has tested positive for COVID-19. What should my student do?

  • If they feel like they are having symptoms, health center-eligible students should contact the health center (509.777.3259, healthcenter@whitworth.edu). All other students should contact their healthcare provider.
  • Based on current recommendations, students will be contacted by a Whitworth contact tracer or the Spokane Regional Health District if they are deemed to have been in close contact with the individual in the class who tested positive. Close contact is defined as within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes.
  • If your student doesn't meet the close-contact criteria, they should continue to follow the recommended health measures to reduce the risk of getting sick: Prevent Getting Sick.

If one person is sick in a class, will the whole class have to quarantine?

  • No. Current recommendations say that only those who are close contacts (within 6 feet for longer than 15 minutes) should be in quarantine. Individuals who meet that criteria will be contacted by Whitworth contact tracers.

What if my student's professor has been/is being tested or tests positive for COVID-19?

  • If your student is considered a close contact in that particular class, they will be contacted by Whitworth contact tracers and given direction on their next steps. 

Isolation/Quarantine

What's the difference between isolation and quarantine?

  • Answers per CDC definitions:
    • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
    • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

My student lives off campus and their roommate has tested positive for COVID-19. Are they going to be moved into Whitworth-provided isolation/quarantine housing?

  • Your student will be asked to quarantine in their own house and monitor themselves for symptoms.
  • Whitworth's COVID Care Team will communicate with individuals who live off campus and coordinate with the health center, athletic department and Spokane Regional Health District for testing and providing information on the importance of remaining in quarantine or isolation for the required time. 

My student lives off campus and has tested positive for COVID-19. Are they going to be moved into Whitworth provided isolation/quarantine housing?

  • Your student will be asked to isolate in their own house or apartment and monitor themselves for symptoms.
  • The COVID Care Team will communicate with individuals who live off campus and coordinate with the health center, athletic department and Spokane Regional Health District for testing and providing information on the importance of remaining in isolation for the required time.

Why has my student been moved into a Whitworth isolation/quarantine space?

  • Your student was exposed to COVID-19 and is being tested. They are advised to quarantine for 10 days from the last date of exposure in case they become sick; or
  • Your student is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is being tested. They are being isolated to help prevent the spread of disease on Whitworth's campus; or
  • Your student may have tested positive for COVID-19 and will be asked to stay in the isolation housing in accordance with public health authority guidance to help prevent the spread of the disease on campus.

Why did Whitworth not contact me when they moved my student to isolation/quarantine?

  • State and federal privacy laws (HIPAA and FERPA) prevent Whitworth from sharing this information with parents and families.
  • Your student may sign an information release provided to them when they enter the house that will allow us to answer questions you might have. 

What should my student take to isolation/quarantine?

  • Your student will be provided a list of things they should pack and take with them. On average, a student will quarantine for 14 days in the house and a student will self-isolate for 10 days in the house. Total quarantine and isolation times may vary based on the individual's exposure history and ongoing symptoms, as well as any updates to public health authority guidance.

What are the expectations of my student in isolation/quarantine?

  • Students who have been moved to an isolation/quarantine house are expected to stay in those facilities until cleared to leave by ahealthcare provider.
    • This means no leaving for shopping, dining, attending classes, socializing, exercising, etc.
    • Leaving the house for medical care is permitted.
    • No house guests are allowed unless they are roomed with another person being isolated/quarantined.
      • This includes parents, significant others and friends.
    • They are expected to participate in academics as able.
    • They will be asked to provide daily symptoms updates.
  • If a student does not quarantine or self-isolate and follow these expectations, as a last resort, Whitworth reserves the right to remove the student from campus housing.

How will my student eat while in isolation/quarantine?

  • Whitworth's COVID Care Team will attend to the needs of students who are in isolation/quarantine. They will be provided instructions on how to order food, and meals will be delivered at specified times. 

My student has a meal plan. If they are isolated/quarantined, can they still use it?

  • Yes. Finalized plans for this process will be available soon. The COVID Care Team will be responsible for the organization and delivery of meals.
  • Students should not go to the HUB or campus for any reason, unless they are receiving medical care.   

How long is a student required to stay in isolation/quarantine?

  • If your student had symptoms or tested positive, they will be isolated for a minimum of 10 days from the onset of symptoms. Their symptoms must also improve and fever must be resolved for at least 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medication
  • If your student tests positive for COVID-19 and they do not have any symptoms, they will need to isolate for 10 days after the date their test was performed (when the specimen was collected) or potentially longer, in accordance with public health guidance, if symptoms develop.
  • If your student tests negative after being a close contact and does not have symptoms, current public health authority directs them to continue their quarantine for a full 14-days from the last date of exposure to the infected individual.

Who would take my student to be tested?

  • If your student needs a sample that can't be collected at Whitworth, the COVID Care Team will provide transportation to and from a local testing center.

If my student tests positive, can they come home?

  • Current recommendations from local and state health departments ask that those testing positive for COVID-19 stay in the area, so they don't expose those in other locations. 

How will my student continue to do their classwork?

  • Students should make arrangements with their individual professors regarding assignments.

Who is checking up on my student?

  • The COVID Care Team will connect with your student regularly, including asking the student to provide daily updates on their symptoms and how they are feeling. This information will be passed on to the health center (or athletic department, if applicable) and reviewed.
  • Health center nurses and nurse practitioners will provide telehealth follow up care to students in isolation and quarantine.

My student is feeling worse, who should they contact?

  • Upon entering an isolation/quarantine house, your student will be provided with contact information.
  • Students should call 911 with any life-threatening medical emergencies.
  • Students have access to various campus resources, such as the health center (509.777.3259, healthcenter@whitworth.edu), COVID Care Team, student life (509.777.3271) and security (509.777.4444).

My student is being moved to isolation/quarantine. Has the house been cleaned since someone used it last?

  • Yes. After each person leaves the house, our custodial staff will perform a deep clean with EPA-approved cleaning supplies that are effective against COVID-19.

My student is being asked to move to isolation/quarantine, but they don't have a car. How can they get to their designated house?

  • The COVID Care Team will provide transportation.

Other Questions

My student is employed on campus and is being moved to isolation/quarantine. Can they still work?

  • If the work can be done remotely and is supervisor-approved, then yes. If they need to be on campus, they will not be able to work. There is no expectation for students to work while sick. They may also have accumulated sick time that can be used for missing scheduled work hours. If you have additional questions, please contact career services. 

Parent Communications

Is Whitworth going to notify me of my student's test result?

  • Due to state and federal privacy laws, Whitworth is unable to provide that information.