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In-session Testing

(Last updated July 13, 2020)

The University will follow a rigorous testing protocol during the semester. Like the pre-arrival and arrival testing, this protocol is informed by the imperative of individuals having accurate information to protect themselves and by the fact that asymptomatic individuals with COVID-19 can transmit it to others.

Public-health experts have advised us that, in tandem with good health and prevention practices (e.g., masks and social distancing), using a regular testing protocol is among the best ways to mitigate spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Regular testing also allows the University to build upon the baseline of safety that the pre-arrival and arrival testing provide, to act swiftly to identify individuals who test positive and should be quarantined and receive medical treatment, and to mitigate the spread of the virus (including through contact tracing).

This in-session testing protocol will include the following steps:

  • For the first three weeks of the semester (Monday, August 24-Saturday, September 12), all students will be tested twice per week. 
  • Assuming that the good health practices and mitigation, testing, and contact-tracing measures are succeeding in keeping cases on campus at a minimum, starting the fourth week of classes (September 13), all students will be tested one time per week, with the same protocols followed as during the first three weeks.
  • Throughout the semester, all faculty and staff who interact regularly with students will be tested once per week. All other faculty and staff will be tested twice per month. In subsequent communications with each employee, we will advise them whether their required testing schedule is weekly or monthly.
  • Students who test positive or have symptoms after arriving on campus will be asked to return home if they live within driving distance of Clark and to isolate at home. Students who are unable to return home will isolate at designated locations the University is establishing on campus.
  • Employees who test positive or display symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home. Those who test positive will not be allowed to come to campus until cleared to do so by the Department of Public Health.
  • The Healthy Clark website includes additional information about the protocol the University will follow for positive tests for students and employees, including for contact tracing.
  • Should the situation warrant, such as if the number of positive tests grows, we will revert to testing all students and student-facing employees two-times-per-week protocol.

Management of Positive Test Results

(Last updated July 14, 2020)

If Clark becomes aware of a positive test, immediate notification is made to the University Director of Clark Health Services. The University will follow Department of Public Health (DPH) and CDC guidelines for assessing close contacts who may require quarantine.

Students

(Last updated July 14, 2020)

  • Students who test positive will be required to comply with COVID-19 contact tracing  protocols.
  • Students who share a room with a student who tests positive will quarantine until cleared by DPH and medical services.
  • Protocols will be followed that guide providing food to affected students and the cleaning of isolation and quarantine spaces.
  • To the extent possible, students will receive support to continue their academic coursework online while in quarantine or isolation.
  • The University will meet the accommodation needs of those with mobility restrictions who require quarantine or isolation housing.
  • Residential spaces associated with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case will be sanitized the same day.

Employees

(Last updated July 14, 2020)

  • Employees should notify Human Resources as to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis and follow guidelines for contact tracing.
  • Employees identified as having been in close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 will be directed to self-quarantine at home until cleared to return to campus.
  • Work spaces for an employee with suspected infection will undergo same-day sanitization.

Testing Plans

(Last updated July 14, 2020)

  • Contact tracing:Contact tracing will identify individuals who meet “close contact” criteria that would trigger quarantine requirements. According to the CDC, “[A] close contact is defined 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.”

The details of this process are still under development, including the best ways to address privacy concerns, but per Clark policy:

  • Participation in contact tracing is mandatory for all those testing positive for COVID-19 while at Clark University.
  • Contact tracing will be managed and overseen by the Worcester Department of Public Health.
  • Self-checks: Clark is determining the method for conducting daily self-checks. Whatever the ultimate approach used, the following will apply:
    • All faculty, staff, and students will be expected to be familiar with the symptoms  of COVID-19 infection.
    • All employees will be directed to complete a daily self-check for any symptoms of COVID-19. They will not be allowed to work on campus if they display any of these  symptoms.
    • All students will complete a daily symptom self-check.
    • Students exhibiting symptoms will be expected to promptly call Clark Health Services at 1-508-793-7467. Faculty and staff experiencing symptoms will be expected to promptly call their health care provider and inform Clark Health Services via phone.