School is back in session, and after the past two years have been riddled with mask mandates and twice-a-week testing, students are enjoying the way this semester feels almost normal. With students still contracting COVID on a campus without any masking or social distancing rules, it is increasingly important to have clear guidelines in place to protect all students, symptomatic or asymptomatic. While Health Services does have guidelines in place, not all students seem to be hearing the same thing.
“Students can come to Health Services for testing if they feel ill or have been exposed to a positive case,” said Richard Arnold, Director of Health Services.
Many students are testing positive through at-home tests. “I actually wound up testing positive through an at home test in my dorm in the middle of the night,” said junior radio and video production major Lewis Katz.
Another source of confusion for students is what to do in order to return to campus. While students have been told they need a negative test result before com- ing back, there have been mixed messages regarding where that test needs to come from.
“Richard Arnold specifically instructed for me to receive a confirmatory test upon coming back to campus once I tested negative myself. Despite this, both the receptionist at Health Services and one of the physicians said that it was not necessary and that I no longer needed to wear a mask and could return to my normal routine,” said senior hospitality and event management major, Meghan Sheridan.
Arnold said he is always open for student feedback, but explains that after ten days a confirmatory test is no longer necessary.
“I would like to hear from the student, you know, where he or she was at, since their test date, their first positive test,” said Arnold. “I don’t want to make general statements because a lot of them are still in the details… But certainly, I would like to hear from that student because if we did, you know if we did send her misinformation I want to fix that.”
“I went to Health Services on day 12, the day after returning to campus, and they did not require me to take a confirmation test to resume classes due to the fact that I had no more symptoms and was well over the five-day quarantine,” said senior psychology major Beverly Banks.
Students are hearing different things from different people within Health Services, which is only adding more stress to the already difficult process of coming back to campus. Well, to clear the air,
“Students are encouraged to start testing at home on day five of isolation and once they have a negative test, come to Health Services for a confirmatory test to be cleared to return to campus,” said Arnold.
Despite this confusion, Health Services has been consistent with the timelines they have been giving to students. “Students should plan on isolating for a minimum of five days, preferably off campus. They should notify their faculty and, if athletes, notify their coach. If they cannot isolate off campus we will arrange isolation in a designated residence hall,” said Arnold. Arnold confirmed that his office seeks to make it as “minimally problematic as possible” for students to get tested.
Those who test positive are required to isolate for a minimum of five days until they test negative, and they must receive a confirmatory negative test from Health Services before returning to campus.