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Quarantine and Isolation

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

Exposure to COVID-19 can result in the need to quarantine or isolate. Clark adheres to these guidelines set out by the CDC:

  • People who are fully vaccinated do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms, in which case, a health care provider should be contacted for guidance.
  • Fully vaccinated people should get tested 5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms, and diligently wear a mask in all indoor spaces for 10 days following exposure or until their test result is negative.
  • People should quarantine for 5 days if they have been in close contact (within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who has COVID-19. This should be followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days.
  • If a 5-day quarantine is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure.
  • People who are a close contact of someone who has tested positive will be contacted by Health Services Monday-Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss this process.
  • Quarantining includes limiting direct contact with others. It also requires paying attention to possible symptoms, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
  • Isolation is used to separate people infected with COVID-19 from those who are not infected.
  • During isolation, direct contact with others should be avoided until it’s safe to do so.
  • Stay in a separate room from others, use a separate bathroom if possible, and do not share personal household items.
  • According to CDC guidelines, anyone who tests positive must isolate a minimum of 5 days, and then continue in isolation up to a total of 10 days if they are still symptomatic. After 5 days, if they are asymptomatic (including no fever for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication), they may leave isolation while wearing a mask when around others to minimize the risk of infecting people they encounter. According to the CDC, an antigen test may also be used to clear from isolation, though this is not currently required.
  • Please note that Individuals who test positive are excluded from PCR testing (such as the tests performed in the Clark testing center) for 90 days following a positive result. If you test positive outside of Clark and have questions about further testing, please contact covid-19-testing@clarku.edu.

Want to Know More?

Learn more about quarantine and isolation on the CDC website.

FAQs About Clark’s Policies

If you receive a positive or inconclusive test result, you will be contacted through email and text message, if you have a valid cellphone number on record with the testing center. In both, you will be asked to complete an online form and confirm that you received the message. Emails come from Covid-nurses@clarku.edu with the subject line “IMPORTANT! Action Required: Clark COVID Test Result.” Text messages come from the number 508-421-2571. If you do not respond, we will attempt to reach you by phone as quickly as possible. If you receive a notification, it is very important that you respond immediately.

Those who test positive will isolate for at least 5 days or more depending on symptoms. Clark is following the CDC Guidelines for Quarantine and Isolation.

A member of the Clark COVID Nurses Team is available to assist you from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday, or from 1 to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.  Students can reach out to Clark Health Services from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 508-793-7467.

Residential students who test positive are encouraged to isolate at home if they are within reasonable traveling distance and have access to a private vehicle, and if they can isolate at home without putting anyone else at undue risk. Clark has set aside residence hall rooms on campus and has secured hotel space in the area to accommodate isolation needs. If those spaces become filled, Clark will ask students who test positive to isolate in their residence hall rooms and be advised to observe strict safety guidelines to minimize any spread, especially if they have a roommate. In some cases, Clark will offer hotel accommodation. Off-campus students will isolate in place.

 

The answer depends on where a student is isolating. Isolation housing on- and off-campus has bathrooms that are only used by other positive students. Students who are isolating in place will use the bathroom in their suite or apartment. Clark will try to prioritize moving students to isolation housing who are currently living in a traditional-style residence hall with a common shared bathroom, if spaces are available.

Students who have tested positive and live with a roommate should:

  • Stay in their residence hall room or your private residence except to use the bathroom/kitchen.
  • Wear a high-quality mask (a surgical mask or a KN95 is best) in any shared spaces in your residence (such as a shared bathroom).
  • Wash hands frequently and wipe down shared bathroom and other common surfaces after use.
  • Refrain from sharing personal items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
  • If the bathroom has a fan, turn it on for at least 30 minutes after use.
  • Do not have any friends or family visit during isolation.

Students who wish to move into a new temporary space when a roommate is isolating in place can email the Dean of Students office to discuss their options.

Clark continues to receive guidance from the CDC and the Worcester Department of Public Health on close-contact protocols. Currently, if a student who has been vaccinated is identified as a close contact, they will be advised to wear a mask for 10 days in indoor public spaces, monitor themselves for symptoms, and get tested 5 days after exposure. An unvaccinated student identified as a close contact will be required to quarantine for 5 days followed by an additional 5 days of strict mask use.

Students who test positive are asked to contact their close contacts and advise them of their results.  Students can share the CDC Guidelines for close contacts as well as the guidance provided through this link.

For the Spring 2022 semester, isolation spaces are located on campus in 3 Maywood Place and 112 Woodland Street.  

Residential students should be prepared with a personal isolation kit they can have ready should they need to move to isolation housing. This should include:

  • Clothing for at least 5 or more days (there is no on-site laundry), prescription medications, and preferred non-prescription cold-fighting medications and pain killers/fever reducers.
  • Include personal care items like tissues, cough drops, and contact lens fluid, your favorite snacks, hydrating fluids like Gatorade, and anything else you think you’ll need to be comfortable.
  • Once you receive instructions to move, add your books, academic supplies, laptop, cell phone, chargers, etc., to your bag so you can participate in classes virtually and complete work assignments as needed.
  • Linens are provided, but students may wish to pack a pillow as well as a blanket/comforter to have the personal comforts of home.

To maintain the safety of our community during the inflection period of the Omicron variant, Clark University will isolate on-campus residential students in one of the following ways:

  • A student should return home for the duration of their isolation period if they live within driving distance, can travel in a private vehicle, and can isolate at home without putting anyone else at undue risk.
  • A student could be instructed to relocate to one of our isolation spaces, especially if the student has extenuating health circumstances.
  • A student could “stay in place” and isolate in their current on-campus residential room and should maintain strict safety guidelines, especially if they have a roommate.
  • Health Services will reach out on an as-needed basis. Additionally, students can reach out to Health Services —  Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. — if they have any medical questions or concerns.

Students placed in quarantine or isolation will be reached out to by a member of the Dean of Students office as well as a volunteer “Covid Care Caller” from the faculty or staff who will serve as the student’s point person for their isolation period. The regularity and type of contact is determined by the student, and can include daily check-in phone calls, frequent text messages, or emails. Meals are delivered to students in their rooms.  Students should report any dietary restriction or allergies at the time of their move.  Any health-related communication or intervention is overseen by Clark Health Services.

Yes. Students are encouraged to isolate or quarantine at home.

At Clark, we are hopeful that our high vaccination rate coupled with our masking and testing protocols will substantially reduce the need for quarantine and isolation on campus this semester.

To maintain the safety of our community during the inflection period of the Omicron variant, Clark University will isolate on-campus residential students in one of the following ways:

  • A student should return home for the duration of their isolation period if they live within driving distance, can travel in a private vehicle, and can isolate at home without putting anyone else at undue risk.
  • A student should “stay in place” and isolate in their current on-campus residential room and maintain strict safety guidelines, especially if they have a roommate.
  • A student should be instructed to relocate to one of our isolation spaces, especially if the student has extenuating health circumstances.

The determination of whether a student should be moved into an isolation space or “stay in place” and isolate in their on-campus residential room will be based on the availability of isolation spaces in addition to each student’s unique situation.

Non-residential students who test positive, will be encouraged first to return home (if possible) or to isolate in their off-campus home or apartment. For students who may live alone, learn more about food delivery services.

Clark Health Services will advise on best practices and appropriate measures for safely isolating. More information on monitoring your symptoms can be found on the CDC website. The CDC outlines processes for people isolating in a shared living environment, including tips for roommates. Staff members from the Dean of Students Office will check in with all isolating students and provide information on how to connect with other campus resources and communicate with faculty.

Residential students who are moved into Clark quarantine or isolation spaces will be checked on by Clark Health Services on an as-needed basis, and will be provided three meals a day from Clark Dining Services. Students also receive support from other Clark staff including the Dean of Students Office. Additionally, students can reach out to Health Service, Monday–Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., if they have any medical questions or concerns.

In their quarantine or isolation space, students receive a linen pack, which includes one fitted sheet, one top sheet, one pillow, one pillowcase, one blanket, one towel, and two facecloths. Students can request additional linens. Students also receive a Welcome Bag that includes soap, sanitizer, mask, mini tissue pack, disposable thermometer, individual Tylenol pack, coffee, creamer, stirrer, cups, tea, sugar, 2 bottles of water, fuzzy socks, and a few snacks to help make the stay a little more comfortable.

Please find below a list of online activities and resources to help students stay active in quarantine or isolation:

In the event a student’s condition worsens, they will be transported to UMass Memorial Medical Center for additional care.

As with any certified absence, students should work directly with their professor to develop an appropriate plan to keep current with the material or to catch up when they are well enough. Depending on the length of absence and the amount of work missed, an incomplete grade may be an option to allow more time to complete course materials. Faculty members have been encouraged to be very sensitive to the fluidity of health-related absences due to COVID and will be mindful of providing clear policies and contingencies for such cases.

  • At home, anyone sick or infected should separate from others, stay in a specific “sick room” or area, and use a separate bathroom if available. If not, sanitize the space after each use.
  • Monitor symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.
  • Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets.
  • Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
  • Wear a mask when around other people if able.
  • Routine cleaning and disinfection procedures are recommended.