Updated Sept. 17, 2021

Am I a close contact?

Updated Sept. 17, 2021

Close contacts are defined by the CDC as persons who have spent 15 minutes over a 24-hour period within six feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 if that time occurred within two days prior to the positive COVID-19 test or onset of symptoms. Students in a class or who live on a residence hall floor together are not necessarily close contacts if one of them tests positive for COVID-19. Close contacts are identified during the tracing process. The trained medical personnel at Lehigh Valley Health Network are conducting our contact tracing and notifying Bailey Health Center of the names of all close contacts. Lehigh Valley Health Network has added staff to the tracing process to expedite the process.

What happens if I am identified as a close contact?

Updated Sept. 17, 2021

The next steps vary depending on vaccine status. Remember, you are only a close contact if notified by health care personnel, not if you receive an email from the person who tested positive.

For unvaccinated students, faculty and staff, being identified as a close contact means you must immediately enter quarantine for 10 days and get tested at day 7 and day 10. Assuming test results are negative, you will be cleared from quarantine. Students will need to go home if they live within 300 miles. Health center staff will instruct you on how to submit test results prior to your return to campus. Faculty and staff should notify your department head and not return to work until cleared by your physician. 

If you are fully vaccinated and without symptoms, you do not need to quarantine, as per the CDC, but you must be tested 3-5 days after the initial notification that you are a close contact. You may attend class while awaiting the test but should limit unnecessary activities or mixing with others, must remain masked at all times outside your residence hall room, and should not eat in the dining hall (get food to go). You will not be tested until at least 3 days after the notification unless you become symptomatic. The 3-5-day waiting period ensures greater accuracy in test results and helps avoid false negatives that can occur if the testing is done prematurely. 

The most important things for close contacts to do are wear their masks everywhere, immediately report if symptoms appear, and limit as much as possible any unnecessary contacts with others. Students experiencing any symptoms for which they would seek medical care (e.g., fever above 100.3, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing) should not attend class.

Why isn’t the College testing everyone each week like last year?

Updated Sept. 12, 2021

Lafayette’s testing strategy was developed in partnership with local health resources and is focused on providing the amount and types of testing feasible within the current infrastructure across the Lehigh Valley. Our population is vaccinated at an incredibly high rate, and the CDC does not recommend routine monitoring testing for asymptomatic, vaccinated individuals. The College has focused resources on weekly testing for the small number of unvaccinated students, testing of symptomatic students, and the required 3-5-day test for close contacts.

Can I get my own test off campus?

Updated Sept. 12, 2021

Students, faculty, and staff may elect to get a COVID-19 test locally. Students who are not close contacts or symptomatic may not be able to secure testing at Bailey Health Center as availability is limited. If you are asymptomatic, vaccinated, and elect to be tested off campus, you should restrict your movements as much as possible until the test results return. You may still attend class and pick up meals but must remain masked at all times. If the test is positive, immediately notify Bailey Health Center during normal business hours or Public Safety outside them. You also should make a plan to leave campus if your home address is within 300 miles as our isolation space is very limited. If you are symptomatic, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, you should isolate until the test results return, which you can do from home if you reside within 300 miles. 

All testing for faculty and staff will be done by off-site centers. If you receive a positive test result you must notify HR and your department head and not report to work.

My academic/administrative department has run out of masks. How do I get more?

Updated Sept. 12, 2021

Departments can request additional boxes of three-ply, general purpose surgical-type masks by emailing covid-19@lafayette.edu with how many boxes of 50 masks you require. Faculty and staff who feel they require KN-95 masks due to underlying conditions, immunocompromised family members or children under 12 who are unvaccinated at home may use the Human Resources Request for a Reasonable Accommodation form.