COVID-19 case dashboard and other important updates

Sept. 2, 2020

SNC campus community,

With this email we are sharing two important updates, related to the dashboard and on-campus quarantine procedures for students, as well as clarifying information around isolation and quarantine.

COVID-19 case dashboard
We have received feedback that community members would prefer more frequent updates to the COVID-19 case dashboard. Beginning this week, we will update the dashboard twice per week. The updates will be published on Tuesday and Friday mornings. Each update reflects new positive cases that have an impact on campus that  have been identified by 4 p.m. the prior day. As we move into this new pattern, the dashboard is being updated today (Wednesday), and it reflects new cases as of 4 p.m. yesterday.

We will continue to monitor the frequency of dashboard refresh.

On-campus quarantine
Effective tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 3, we are enacting stricter protocols for on-campus quarantine to match those of on-campus isolation. Students quarantining at the Kress Inn will no longer be allowed to leave their rooms for any reason. We will work with Dining Services to arrange for meal delivery for these students.

We enact this new protocol to better protect the campus community. We recognize this is more restrictive than current public health guidelines but those guidelines are written primarily with a view to private housing in apartments and homes. As a residential campus, we want to limit contact between those observing quarantine and other members of the community, and therefore, this is a necessary change.

As a reminder, our COVID-19 case response plan indicates that students should quarantine or isolate at home whenever possible.

Defining isolation and quarantine
We understand that we’re all navigating new and unfamiliar terms, and so we want to further clarify these common terms and what we’re seeing on campus in relation to them. 

Isolation is for the ill (I = i) — those who are symptomatic and/or those who have tested positive. The duration of isolation varies depending on symptoms but current CDC guidelines are: 10 days after the onset of symptoms and resolution of fever for 24 hours and improvement of other symptoms. Students isolating at home or on campus are monitored by Health Services staff and released for return to in-person classes and on campus housing by Health Services.

Note that when a student has moved into isolation due to symptoms and tests negative, they are released from isolation.

Quarantine is for close contacts of persons with a confirmed positive test. Campus and local public health staff work with students who have tested positive to identify their full list of close contacts. All persons identified as a close contact to a person with a confirmed positive test must quarantine for a period of 14 days from the last date of contact, to self-monitor for symptoms during the incubation period.

Persons in quarantine may opt to be tested. Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WI DHS) guidance suggests doing so on the 5th day since exposure to the confirmed positive case. Please note: Even if this test comes back negative, the close contact must observe the full 14 day quarantine period.

“Close contact,” testing and peace of mind
We are observing two trends amongst students that also warrant clarification. Some students are considering themselves quarantined on the basis of having been a close contact to a close contact. Both public health guidance and college protocols only identify a person for quarantine when they have had close contact with someone who has themselves tested positive. If a student is identified as a close contact to a confirmed positive case, campus staff will reach out to them in coordination with public health. 

We are also observing students seeking out “peace of mind” tests on their own in the local community. We do not quarantine students in these cases as they are neither symptomatic nor have they been identified as a close contact to a confirmed positive case. 

Our gratitude
Thanks for your ongoing attention to these important updates. Thank you for your rigorous efforts in observing all guidelines and protocols! We will continue to monitor the situation with COVID-19 and evolve our protocols as necessary to minimize the spread of the virus among our St. Norbert College college community members.