Mitigating exposure to COVID-19: Instructions for students preparing to arrive on campus
July 20, 2020
Undergraduate, Law, and Graduate students
Coronavirus cases have recently been surging in areas of the United States, as well as internationally. Many new and returning students are arriving to campus from disparate destinations and situations. Lewis & Clark is committed to protecting the health of our students, faculty, and staff and we recognize the particular challenges that the beginning of a new term brings. There are steps that LC community members can take prior to arriving on campus that will aid in the slowing of transmission of the virus. Committing to the various prevention and mitigation measures outlined below are essential to reducing the possibility of bringing the virus to campus.
To begin the year with the health and well-being of all community members as our greatest priority, all Lewis & Clark students are asked to make the following commitments:
1. Observe a two week period of voluntary self-isolation/limitation on social exposure prior to arrival on campus
Self-isolation is an effective precautionary measure to protect you and those around you from potentially contracting COVID-19. It means taking simple, common-sense steps to avoid close contact with other people as much as possible.
Self-isolation in this context is defined as staying in your place of residence to the fullest extent possible for 14 days prior to arrival on campus, limiting contacts with those outside your immediate household, and minimizing any travel from home, except for essential trips (e.g., doctor’s appointments, trips to the grocery store - and in all of these adhering closely to social distancing protocols).
All LC students are asked to limit social contacts and exposure to others, especially those outside of your immediate social unit (e.g., your household, family) for the two weeks prior to your arrival. If you are in a home where the others you live with are not self-isolating, you should minimize close contact with them by avoiding situations where you have face-to-face contact closer than 6 feet for more than 15 minutes. Students are especially asked to avoid attending large gatherings or social hotspots, and absolutely avoiding those where social distancing cannot be maintained and face coverings are optional or not effectively practiced (e.g. bars, parties, gyms, etc.). Overnight trips or nonessential travel should be curtailed.
2. Consider voluntary COVID-19 testing
Especially if it is not possible for you to self-isolate effectively for two weeks prior to your arrival, you may opt to pursue a COVID-19 test prior to your arrival on campus. To be most effective, such test should be taken within three days prior to first coming to campus. The time it takes to receive test results is currently increasing; in many places it is 7-14 days from the time of the test. The availability of testing for asymptomatic persons is currently inconsistent, so this may not be a feasible option for all. If your test result is positive and you have never experienced symptoms, you must isolate at home and not travel to campus until 10 full days have passed since your test. If your test is positive and you have been symptomatic, you must isolate at home and not travel to campus until you have 24 hours with no fever, without the use of fever-reducing medication; AND your respiratory symptoms have improved (e.g. cough, shortness of breath); AND it has been ten days since symptoms first appeared.
If you have not been able to limit your social interactions during the two weeks prior to arrival on campus and it is not possible for you to obtain a test where you live prior to your arrival, you may opt to be tested on campus. We do not have the capacity to test all Lewis & Clark students at one time on campus, so only students who truly cannot self-isolate prior to campus arrival and who are unable to obtain a test where they live should request on-campus testing at the Lewis & Clark Health Service. There will be a fee associated with testing. Details about how to sign up for on-campus testing will be disseminated in August. Please be aware that, while we long ago ordered rapid-testing equipment, we do not yet have that equipment on-site. As a result, students tested on campus should expect that their results will not be available until 2-14 days after testing. Students in this category will be expected to self-isolate while they await their test results.
3. Practice healthy habits to limit the spread of the virus
Basic healthy habits and behaviors can significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19. Both prior to and after your arrival to campus, practice the following:
- Wear a face covering in public areas and in classrooms.
- Maintain at least 6 feet of social distance from others.
- Monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, including dry cough, fatigue, digestive issues, shortness of breath.
- Monitor your temperature daily. Seek medical advice if your temperature rises above 100.4 degrees F [38 °C].
- Wash your hands often, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or with hand sanitizer.
- Frequently disinfect high-touch areas in your home with wipes and disinfectant
- Cover your coughs and sneezes and wash your hands after coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Use your own toothbrushes, eating and drinking utensils (including cups and glasses in the bathroom and bedroom), toilet paper, dishes, towels, washcloths or bed linen. Do not share food and drinks or prepare food for others. Wash your clothing and dishes separate from others in your home.
- If you use a shared toilet and bathroom, it’s important that you clean them every time you use them (for example, wiping surfaces you have come into contact with)
Following the above guidelines will help us to slow the transmission of COVID-19. With your help, we can make a difference. We are in this together!