Gettysburg College’s COVID-19 Positive Test Policy
By Gracie Meisner, Staff Writer
In the midst of ever-changing and evolving COVID-19 mitigation policies at Gettysburg College, many students are unclear on the college’s steps when a student tests positive for COVID-19.
Associate Dean of College Life Jim Duffy provided an overview of the college’s policy.
“When a student tests positive for COVID-19, the student is notified by our Health Services staff. The student is then moved to an isolation space on campus for ten days. Our Health Center conducts contact tracing by interviewing the COVID-positive student to identify who may have been in close contact with them. The close contacts are then notified by telephone. If a close contact is vaccinated, they are to test between three and five days from the time of the close contact. Unvaccinated students who are close contacts are quarantined for ten days,” said Duffy.
Director of Health Services Ayla Braley described the role of Health Services at Gettysburg College in keeping the campus safe. In its first semester as a health clinic on the Gettysburg campus, WellSpan Health provided a variety of COVID-19 testing services, working to keep positivity rates low on campus.
Braley listed Rapid Antigen Tests as an important service that Health Services provides to all students, regardless of the presence of observable illness.
“Rapid antigen testing is available to all students with a concern or need for testing; symptomatic or no symptoms, we will rapid-test a student that is concerned about COVID-19. The actual rapid antigen test takes just a few seconds to obtain the specimen from the patient’s nostrils, and then 15 minutes to result,” said Braley.
Rapid antigen tests are considered a Nurse Visit, and students can come to the Health Clinic or call to schedule an appointment.
Health Services also recommends rapid antigen testing to students who come to the Health Clinic showing potential symptoms of COVID-19.
“When a student has an appointment to be seen by the nurse practitioner and the student has symptoms of COVID-19, we are more than happy to perform a rapid antigen test along with other needed rapid testing, such as rapid strep throat or rapid influenza A/B testing. These tests will be recommended and determined to perform based on the medical provider’s assessment. The student always has the option to decline rapid antigen testing, though it may be an important recommendation,” said Braley.
Lastly, if a student tests positive for COVID-19 at the Health Clinic, providers follow guidelines for patient health and well-being, along with required isolation.
If a student is symptomatic and fully vaccinated, isolation is required for ten days. If the student is fully vaccinated and has no symptoms, then isolation is required for seven days. The nursing staff shares the test result with the patient, reviews isolation protocol, and calls residential life to determine which isolation building and room the student will stay in. Additionally, dining and housekeeping services are provided to the student during isolation.
While at the clinic, the student is told their release date from isolation. After discussion, questions, and answers, the student returns to their room to collect personal belongings and school materials to take to the isolation location. The student is offered the assistance of the Department of Public Safety in making the temporary move.
Braley reminds students about the importance of communication and encourages them to email and be in contact with their professors on the same day as receiving the positive result, so the student can continue their education remotely.