Undergraduate and graduate students received an email from University Health Services (UHS) and Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) on Sunday, Jan. 23, stating that students who test positive for COVID-19 may be asked to isolate in their own residences.
With the maximum isolation dorm occupancy rate for the week of Jan. 8–14 standing at 92.7 percent, according to the University’s COVID-19 dashboard, the University wrote that it anticipates the “need for isolation space will exceed the capacity of the University’s designated isolation facilities.”
For the week of Jan. 8—14, the campus risk status has been determined as “high,” with 225 positive cases and a positivity rate of 2.91 percent.
On Jan. 13, the campus isolation policy changed from a 10 day quarantine to a minimum of five. This new update to campus protocols follows the return of students to campus between Jan. 14 and 23, during which time all students were required to test immediately upon arrival.
Most students who will be asked to isolate in their own dorms or apartments have single bedrooms. The email update affirmed that students with roommates will have priority for isolation housing.
Those who test positive will receive instructions and an isolation kit soon after receiving their positive test result, according to the email. KN95 masks are included in the isolation kits for students who test positive for COVID-19, and are also available for pick up in Frist Campus Center for all undergraduate and graduate students.
In the event that all roommates test positive for COVID-19, they may isolate together in their dorm. For students who test negative but share a bedroom with a student who tests positive and must isolate in their shared room, instructions for alternative housing will be given to that roommate via the isolation team.
If they have not received isolation instructions, students with roommates who test positive should “leave the room until the student receives confirmation of their required isolation plans” and “plan to be gone for up to a few hours.”
Students who are isolating in place will be permitted to leave their room to pick up meals and receive medical care. However, they will not be allowed to “enter other buildings, attend class, meet others in person, or participate in activities.”
Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be allowed to participate in their classes virtually, according to a town hall on Jan. 5.
Shared bathrooms are still open to students isolating in their dorm or apartment. They are encouraged to clean surfaces with wipes and wear a tight-fitting mask when possible in shared bathrooms.
As for students who have tested positive and are in off-campus housing, Campus Dining has partnered with GrubHub as of Jan. 22 to provide a daily $75 credit for contact-free food deliveries.
The update to COVID-19 isolation protocol also listed EthicsPoint and Directors of Student Life as contacts for students who wish to report violations to isolation rules.
Isabel Yip is an Assistant New Editor who typically covers University Affairs and student life. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram at @isaayip.
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