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COVID-19 Procedures

Protocol for Positive Cases and Close Contacts

It is still likely that a small number of COVID-19 cases will occur during this academic year. Regardless of vaccination status, residential students and seminarians must contact the Health Center if they experience any COVID-19 symptoms that are not associated with a previous health condition (e.g., allergies).

Positive COVID-19 Test

Students or seminarians who test positive and have symptoms of COVID-19 must follow CDC guidelines to complete the isolation process:

  • Isolate for 10 days since symptoms first appeared; and
  • Must be 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; and
  • See improvement in other symptoms of COVID-19.

A student or seminarian who tests positive, but never develops symptoms of COVID-19, will be required to isolate for 10 days from the date of the positive test result.

Close Contact Exposure/Contact Tracing

In the event of a positive case, contact tracing will be initiated to identify close contacts who may be required to quarantine in accordance with CDC guidance. For COVID-19, a close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period within 48 hours (or 2 days) of the infected person developing symptoms or testing positive for COVID-19. All medical information obtained during contact tracing efforts will be protected as confidential.

Fully vaccinated individuals who remain symptom-free are not required to quarantine following a close contact exposure to COVID-19 in accordance with CDC guidance. However, any fully vaccinated individual who experiences symptoms after close contact exposure to COVID-19 should follow the quarantine protocol described below and get tested for COVID-19.

Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must quarantine for a period of 10 days following a close contact exposure.

Anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 days is not permitted on either the main campus or the Frederick campus unless they are in an isolation room.

Requirements for Students and Seminarians Who Are Not Fully Vaccinated

A person is “fully vaccinated” two weeks after their second vaccine dose in a two-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna vaccines) or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine). Some students and seminarians have been approved for an exemption to the vaccination requirement due to medical reasons or strongly held religious belief. Others may have started the vaccination process but are not yet fully vaccinated. Those who are not fully vaccinated are at a higher risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19. As such, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated students and seminarians must abide by the following risk reduction measures to protect themselves and other individuals while on campus.

  • Students and seminarians who are not fully vaccinated (as defined above) must monitor their temperature and COVID-19 symptoms daily.
    • Residential students who are not fully vaccinated: If you develop COVID-19 symptoms you must self-quarantine in your room and contact the Health Center immediately
    • Commuter students who are not fully vaccinated: If you have COVID-19 symptoms, you are not permitted on campus. Contact your health care provider immediately and get tested for COVID-19. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms while on campus for classes or other school activities, you must leave immediately and contact your healthcare provider and get tested for COVID-19
  • Students and seminarians who are not fully vaccinated are required to participate in regular surveillance testing on campus (either PCR or antigen tests) for COVID-19. The details relating to the surveillance testing requirements will be announced later in August.

What to Do If You Have COVID-19 or Its Symptoms

The most important thing to do if you feel you are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 is COMMUNICATE! Acting quickly is key to keeping our community safe. The Dean of Students will have oversight of the health and safety for all traditional undergraduate students (resident or commuter); however, the Rector of the Seminary shall have oversight for all seminarians and the Associate Provost for the Division of Graduate, Professional and Continuing Education shall have oversight for all graduate and accelerated students.

List of contact numbers:

  • Dean of Student Life: 301-447-5274
  • Student Health Center: 301-447-5288
  • Rector, Seminary: 301-447-5295
  • Associate Provost, Frederick Campus: 301-447-5024

Below are some answers to frequently asked questions.

1. I am sick and worried that I may have COVID-19, what should I do?

Do not come to campus or go to classes. (If you are on campus or in class, leave immediately.) If you are concerned that you may contracted COVID-19, seek medical advice by using a tele-health service, calling your healthcare provider, or calling the Health Center at 301-447-5288. The Health Center will conduct a symptom scan by phone and provide guidance on next steps. Students should also contact the Dean of Students (Levi Esses, Ph.D., esses@msmary.edu).

2. What do I do if I’m on campus and come in contact with someone who appears to be sick?

If the individual is an employee, contact Human Resources, if they are a student contact the Dean of Students (Levi Esses, Ph.D., 301-447-5274; esses@msmary.edu). The sick individual should isolate themselves in their office, car or outside alone, and call their healthcare provider or the Health Center for further phone evaluation and decisions about next steps.

3. What will happen if an individual becomes ill while on campus or during class?

If an individual becomes ill while on campus or during class, they should be directed to go home immediately (if a graduate or commuter student) or make contact with the Health Center (if a resident student), even if their symptoms are mild to see if they can come in for an immediate appointment or obtain further direction.

In addition, supervisors and/or faculty members may address a particular situation if an individual may be exhibiting symptoms in order to ascertain whether or not the individual should be directed to go home or seek care from the Health Center. Notification should be made immediately to Human Resources for incidents involving an employee, or the Dean of Students in the case of a student.

4. What is the definition of close contact?

Close contact means someone was closer than 6 feet for more than 15 minutes from an individual who is positive for COVID-19. It does not matter if the individuals were wearing face coverings.

If the COVID-19 positive person had symptoms, the contact time would start 2 days (48 hours) before they developed symptoms. If the person did not have symptoms, the contact time would start 2 days (48 hours) before the date of the positive COVID-19 test.

5. If an individual has come into close contact with an individual who came into close contact with someone rumored to be positive for COVID-19, what should I do?

The CDC does not recommend self-quarantine; rather, the individual should continue to self-monitor for symptoms. Concerned individuals can also seek out COVID-19 testing.

6. How are quarantine and isolation different?

Quarantine

Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before people know they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their healthcare provider. [See Quarantine Procedures in the next section below.]

Isolation

Isolation is used to separate people infected with the virus (those who are sick with COVID-19 and those with no symptoms) from people who are not infected. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. In the home, anyone sick or infected should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick room” or area and using a separate bathroom (if available). [See Isolation Procedures in the next section below.]

7. What are the quarantine rules for individuals who had close contact to a COVID-19 positive individual?

Under CDC guidelines, individuals who have had close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual must self-quarantine (see care instructions above for quarantine). However, the length of the quarantine may differ depending upon the proximity of the close contact with the COVID-19 positive individual.

Will not have further close contact – Quarantine for 14 days from the date you had close contact with COVID-19 positive individual.

Live with person but can avoid further close contact – Quarantine for 14 days from when the person with COVID-19 began isolation.

Under quarantine and had additional close contact with COVID-19 positive individual – Restart quarantine from the last day you had close contact with anyone in your house/room who has COVID. Anytime a new household/roommate gets sick with COVID and you had close contact, you will need to restart quarantine.

Live with person and cannot avoid continued close contact – Avoid contact to the extent possible, quarantine for 14 days AFTER the person with COVID ends isolation.

8. If someone had close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual, can they just get a test and go back to classes instead of being in quarantine for 14 days?

No. People infected with COVID-19 can take up to 14 days to develop symptoms. The individual must finish the full 14 days of quarantine.

9. If an individual has a “suspected” (but unconfirmed) case of COVID-19, what will the University do?

The University will encourage the individual to be tested for COVID-19. Until results are available, the individual must self-isolate. The individual must remain in self-isolation for 14 days after symptoms started and 3 days after fever has resolved and symptoms improved, whichever is longer.

The University will conduct deep cleaning and disinfection protocols.

The University also will identify individuals with whom the suspected individual may have had close contact. Close contact means someone was closer than 6 feet for more than 15 minutes from an individual who is positive for COVID-19. It does not matter if the individuals were wearing face coverings.

If the individual tests positive, the exposed individuals identified as close contacts must self-quarantine for 14 days following the close contact.

10. If someone has just tested positive for COVID-19, what will the University do?

The individual will be instructed to stay home and self-isolate if a graduate or commuter student or if a resident student, the University will arrange for self-isolation.

  • If the individual had symptoms, they should not return to work/classes for at least 14 days after symptoms first started and 72 hours (3 full days) after fever has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medicines and symptoms have vastly improved.
  • If the individual did not have symptoms, they should not return to work/classes for 10 days past their positive test, and have 2 negative tests in a row at least 24 hours apart.

The University will meet its obligation to notify the Mount community.

IMPORTANT: It is against the law to identify this individual by name. The University will not disclose to other staff/students or third parties the name or other personal or health information of the individual who tested positive for COVID-19.

The University will conduct deep cleaning and disinfection protocols.

Within 24 hours of learning that an individual has tested positive for COVID-19, the University will notify the Frederick County Department of Public Health.

Members of the Mount St. Mary’s community are required to cooperate with contact tracing efforts, including notification of potential contacts, while maintaining confidentiality required by state and federal law and regulations.