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Contact Tracing, Isolation, and Quarantine

Contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine are important public health tools that are being used to minimize the spread of COVID-19 within our community. COVID-positive individuals will be isolated, and are expected to fully participate in contact tracing efforts and prevention measures to identify any individuals who may be close contacts. Individuals who are determined to be close contacts of COVID-19 positive individuals are expected to quarantine and comply with all instructions from the Tompkins County Health Department.

Emerson Hall Isolation and Quarantine

Guests, visitors, and family members MAY NOT enter Emerson Hall. This is compromising the isolation and quarantine space and potentially exposing others to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Please be respectful of this request, the health and safety protocols that we are trying to enforce, and Ithaca College personnel working in Emerson Hall. Please do not enter the building. 

Residential Students - Isolation and Quarantine

For students in residential halls or apartments who may need to isolate or quarantine during the semester.

Individuals who are positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which leads to COVID-19 disease, will be required to isolate. People who are isolated must remain separated from others for a minimum of 10 days since symptoms first appeared and resolution of fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and with improvements of any other symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath).

You will be asked to quarantine if you might have been exposed to a person positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. If you were in contact with a person positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, you will be asked to stay home for at least 10 days if you are asymptomatic after your last contact with that person, and longer if you develop symptoms. 

Residential students will be isolated and quarantined in Emerson Hall (or other residence hall or local hotel as space is required). Residential students, whether in a residential hall or apartment, must relocate to Emerson Hall if under public health orders for isolation or quarantine, or if directed by college personnel to do so.

Emerson Hall offers an individual space with a private bathroom. Ithaca College will provide you with dining, sanitation, laundry, medical, mental health, and academic support services as needed. Students in isolation or quarantine must remain in the room provided and may not:

  • Leave your room, unless directed to by college personnel
  • Access campus
  • Access the broader Ithaca community
  • Have visitors or guests

You may not depart Emerson Hall until cleared by the Tompkins County Health Department and the Care Manager on duty. 

Members of the Ithaca College campus community are expected to fully participate in contact tracing efforts. Contact tracing may be conducted by a Hammond Health provider or Tompkins County Health Department. During contact tracing, you may be asked questions related to:

  • Your demographics (e.g., age, sex, race)
  • Medical information
  • Potential exposure to COVID-19
  • Potential infectious period
  • Any COVID-19-related symptoms, including the date when they started and how long the symptoms lasted
  • Any contacts during the infectious period. Contacts may include household members, intimate partners, individuals providing care in a household, and individuals who have had close contact (less than six feet) for more than 10 minutes cumulative in duration within a 24 hour period; and within six feet; and within the last 48 hours
  • Identifying and locating information for each contact

Your individually identifiable information will not be provided to people who are contacted, they will only be made aware that they have been in contact with someone who is positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus so that they can take steps to be tested and protect those around them.

ACADEMICS

  • Books
  • Notebooks
  • Pens + Pencils
  • Laptop + Charger
  • Earbuds or Headphones

ESSENTIALS

  • Clothes
  • Medication
  • Thermometer
  • Phone + Charger
  • Toothbrush + Toothpaste
  • Shampoo + Conditioner
  • Personal Hygiene Products
  • Deodorant
  • Face Covering
  • Health Care Insurance Card
  • Wallet/ID

OTHER

  • Pillow + Blanket (sheets, pillow, + towels are provided)
  • Entertainment: books, games
  • Snacks + Drinks
  • Shower shoes
  • At check-in, you will receive several bags of shelf-stable food and drinks. In addition, you will receive one hot meal each evening. All rooms are equipped with micro-fridges. If you have special dietary needs, please convey this during intake with the Care Managers.  
  • Students must complete their meal request form every day by 11 AM. 
  • Students are encouraged to bring snacks or other food items that will help to make your stay in Emerson Hall more comfortable.   
  • You may order take-out at your own cost and have it delivered to Emerson Hall between 9 AM and 8:30 PM. These items will be delivered to your room by the Care Managers or Student Health Emergency Liaisons (SHELS). You may not leave your room to accept deliveries.

Students are required to participate in a virtual daily check-in every day with a Care Manager or Student Health Emergency Liaison (SHEL). Students will receive a daily reminder about the check-in, and the link to access the Zoom meeting between 12-3PM each day.

There are many opportunities for virtual engagement here on campus and we encourage students to take advantage of these to remain connected while completing isolation or quarantine:

The following campus health & support resources are also available to help support students while in Emerson Hall:

Students may bring approved service or emotional support animal with you to Emerson Hall for isolation or quarantine if needed. Please share this information with the Care Manager during the intake process to convey any specific needs you may have.  

  • Depending upon your situation, you may walk, drive, or request college-supported transport to Emerson Hall. This will be determined by our contact tracer during their initial phone call with you when you are informed that you must isolate or quarantine.
  • If you are driving your own vehicle to Emerson Hall, please park in Z-Lot adjacent to Emerson Hall.  
  • The Care Managers will provide instructions on how to enter the building, which may require that you proceed to the main entrance of Emerson Hall  or an alternative door that may be closer to your room assignment.  
  • Only students isolating or quarantining are allowed in Emerson Hall.  
  • You will not be permitted to leave your room once in isolation or quarantine, unless there is a fire alarm or directed to do so by college personnel.  
  • Visitors are prohibited. Friends may bring items to the front door of Emerson Hall and provide them to the Care Managers or the Student Health Emergency Liaisons (SHELS), who will deliver them to your room.  
  • All College polices, rules, and regulations are in effect and enforced during your time in Emerson Hall. 

Off Campus Students - Isolation and Quaratine

For students in off campus living arrangments who may need to isolate or quarantine during the semester.

Individuals who are positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which leads to COVID-19 disease, will be required to isolate. People who are isolated must remain separated from others for a minimum of 10 days since symptoms first appeared and resolution of fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and with improvements of any other symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath).

You will be asked to quarantine if you might have been exposed to a person positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. If you were in contact with a person with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, you will be asked to stay home for at least 10 days if you are asymptomatic after your last contact with that person, and longer if you develop symptoms. 

Off campus students must isolate or quarantine in their off campus living arrangement, or make separate arrangements for where isolation or quarantine will occur. Residence halls on campus are not available for off campus student isolation or quarantine and Tompkins County does not pay for or provide isolation or quarantine facilities for students.

Students should prepare in advance for the possibility of having to isolate or quarantine. The college strongly recommends that all students in off campus living arrangements have the following items on hand throughout the spring semester:

  • Household Cleaning Supplies - In Ithaca, cleaning supplies can be hard to locate or buy in larger numbers. Off-Campus students should have a 14-day of household cleaning supplies upon arrival to Ithaca.

  • Groceries - Similar to household cleaning supplies, we recommend that you have 14 days of shelf-stable food supplies in your independent living arrangement.  

  • Toilet Paper - Although some independent living spaces do have toilet paper provided upon your arrival, you should plan to travel with some to support your four-day quarantine.  

  • Fever Reducing and Cold and Flu Medications - Students who have symptoms of COVID-19 will need to quarantine pending their test results. Off-Campus students should keep fever reducing and cold and flu medication well stocked throughout the semester.  

  • Face Coverings - Ithaca College will provide all students with two reusable and washable face coverings. However, we recommend that you bring more with you so that you have several spares available.  

  • Hand Soap

  • Hand Sanitizer 

  • Thermometer

  • Reusable water bottle

More information for students in independent living arrangements is available on Off Campus Living webpage.

Students in isolation or quarantine must remain in their residence, and preferably a separate room and bathroom within that residence, and may not:

  • Leave your room, except to use the bathroom
  • Access campus
  • Access the broader Ithaca community
  • Have visitors or guests

You may not exit isolation or quarantine until cleared to do so by the Tompkins County Health Department. 

Members of the Ithaca College campus community are expected to fully participate in contact tracing efforts. Contact tracing may be conducted by a Hammond Health provider, New York State contact tracer, or local health department. During contact tracing, you may be asked questions related to:

  • Your demographics (e.g., age, sex, race)
  • Medical information
  • Potential exposure to COVID-19
  • Potential infectious period
  • Any COVID-19-related symptoms, including the date when they started and how long the symptoms lasted
  • Any contacts during the infectious period. Contacts may include household members, intimate partners, individuals providing care in a household, and individuals who have had close contact (less than six feet) for more than 10 minutes cumulative in duration within a 24 hour period; and within six feet; and within the last 48 hours
  • Identifying and locating information for each contact

Your individually identifiable information will not be provided to people who are contacted, they will only be made aware that they have been in contact with someone who is positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus so that they can take steps to be tested and protect those around them.

Employees - Isolation and Quarantine

For employees required to isolate or quarantine

Individuals who are positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which leads to COVID-19 disease, will be required to isolate. People who are isolated must remain separated from others for a minimum of 10 days since symptoms first appeared and resolution of fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and with improvements of any other symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath).

You will be asked to quarantine if you might have been exposed to a person positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. If you were in contact with a person with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, you will be asked to stay home for at least 10 days if you are asymptomatic after your last contact with that person, and longer if you develop symptoms. 

Employees will isolate or quarantine in their own home or other arrangements approved by your local health department. Employees should following the COVID-19 notification procedures with Human Resources and are also encouraged to access the COVID-19 Employee Resources.

When in isolation or quarantine, you may not access campus or the broader Ithaca community until cleared by your local health department.

Members of the Ithaca College campus community are expected to fully participate in contact tracing efforts. Contact tracing may be conducted by a college representative, New York State contact tracers, or local health department. During contact tracing, you may be asked questions related to:

  • Your demographics (e.g., age, sex, race)
  • Medical information
  • Potential exposure to COVID-19
  • Potential infectious period
  • Any COVID-19-related symptoms, including the date when they started and how long the symptoms lasted
  • Any contacts during the infectious period. Contacts may include household members, intimate partners, individuals providing care in a household, and individuals who have had close contact (less than six feet) for more than 10 minutes cumulative in duration within a 24 hour period; and within six feet; and within the last 48 hours
  • Identifying and locating information for each contact

Your individually identifiable information will not be provided to people who are contacted, they will only be made aware that they have been in contact with someone who is positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus so that they can take steps to be tested and protect those around them.

For Faculty - Positive Case Notification Within a Classroom

Students are not required to share private health information with faculty. Students are expected to reach out to the faculty member if they learn they will miss class due to illness or any other reason.

Hammond Health Center, in working with students, encourages them to notify faculty members that they will be absent from class to determine how to make up missed work based on the faculty member's course policies. The Health Center does not make any representations to students about how missed coursework will be handled by faculty. This is a discussion between the faculty member and the student in accordance with course policies.

No. Faculty members should not be asking for this level of detail. It is the responsibility of the contact tracing team. If faculty have a concern about a specific student, please email healthcenter@ithaca.edu with the student name and the concern. Please be aware that faculty members should not expect a response from the Health Center with specific information about a student.

Not necessarily. The contact tracer will work with students to identify their close contacts, which are individuals that they were within 6 feet of for more than 10 minutes of cumulative time within the past 24 hours. If there are specific people within a course that meet this definition, then there will be direct outreach to those individuals. Faculty members may, but are not required to, develop seating charts so that you are aware of where students are seated within your classroom.

Individuals who are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic are typically exempt from quarantine once vaccination and symptom status is verified. Given our high vaccination rate, use of face coverings indoors, and the data that we have not been seeing spread within classrooms, the Tompkins County Health Department has indicated that public announcements of possible classroom exposures are not warranted at this time.

As described in the message shared with faculty on August 13, 2021 from the Office of the Provost, faculty should anticipate that they may be contacted by students who are subject to public health-ordered isolation or quarantine and may not be able to attend class. Faculty are not required to provide dual instruction. Students are advised to reach out to the faculty member if they learn they will miss class due to illness or any other reason. Faculty are not required to record or livestream classes for students in isolation or quarantine, and absent students should reach out to you if they need support making up missed classwork. Please plan your semester with the knowledge that it is possible that a student may be isolated/quarantined for at least 10 days; if this happens, the student may seek your guidance/support in staying current with their course responsibilities. Faculty have different methods for accommodating students including asking classmates to share notes electronically, providing alternative assignments, extending deadlines, or any other approach deemed appropriate by the faculty member. 

We do not advise that faculty make this statement to students. The risk of spread in a classroom environment where all or most individuals are vaccinated and wearing face coverings is minimal. A flood of asymptomatic students seeking testing, without an exposure verified by a contact tracer, places additional strain on testing resources and Hammond Health unnecessarily. If testing is warranted, the timing of when testing occurs after an exposure is important and will be determined by the contact tracer or health department.

Additionally, in smaller-sized classes, essentially, you would be sharing personal health information as it would be clear that a single absent student is positive for COVID-19. Faculty members should continue to remind students throughout the semester of the importance of completing their daily health screening to maintain a "green" IC Health Badge and wearing face coverings indoors. And, if they are displaying symptoms or not feeling well, they should not come to class and should instead contact Hammond Health Center for evaluation.

No. A person in quarantine may have been exposed to a positive case, but may not in fact be infected themselves. Regardless, there is little evidence of spread in classroom settings, so moving courses online is not warranted at this time, especially based on a student’s quarantine status. The high level of vaccination and use of face coverings provides layers of protection that science shows are effective in mitigating transmission.

It is not necessary to move your course online. The risk of spread in a classroom environment where all or most individuals are vaccinated and wearing face coverings is minimal. The availability of a structured, in-person environment where students can learn is very important to student success. Faculty members should continue to remind students throughout the semester of the importance of completing their daily health screening to maintain a "green" IC Health Badge and wearing face coverings indoors. And, if they are displaying symptoms or not feeling well, they should not come to class and should instead contact Hammond Health Center for evaluation.

In the unlikely event that a significant portion of a classroom is positive for COVID-19 and must isolate, it may make sense for a faculty member to move the course online for pedagogical reasons. Students are responsible for working with faculty members if they must miss class for any reason due to illness. COVID-19 presents a unique challenge in that it may be possible to have enough students in a class absent that presents significant administrative challenges for a faculty member to continue to meet learning objectives. If 1/3 or more of your students are out (either ill, in quarantine, or in isolation), you should feel free to temporarily shift from in-person to remote instruction. We recognize that given the wide variation in course offerings at Ithaca College this threshold may not be appropriate in all circumstances, and faculty members in such cases should consult with their chairs and deans for guidance, remembering that structured, in-person environments where students can learn is very important to student success. 

At this time, we do not anticipate many students in a course to be required to quarantine for long durations as almost all our students are vaccinated, and the health department releases them from quarantine as soon as vaccination and symptom status is verified. 

We also have a campus-wide color-coded system available on the COVID dashboard that helps with guiding decisions regarding operational status given the prevalence and distribution of cases within our campus community. 

Ithaca College did require the use of seating charts during the spring semester. These were used as part of the contact tracing process when we were aware that a positive case had been in a classroom. We monitored all people in quarantine throughout the spring and found no evidence of transmission in the classroom. This was a similar process to those used at other higher education institutions in the area. As a result of the lessons learned in classrooms last spring, the health department no longer quarantines entire higher education classrooms.  

However, if a faculty member would like to create a seating chart, we encourage you to do so. Should you create a seating chart, we recommend that you put this on your Canvas site so that students in the class are able to access it to refer to if needed for discussions with a contact tracer. Alternatively, helping students to get to know the names of individuals who they are seated next to in class would also be helpful.  

Please note that this may be a different process than they use in K-12 as there are differences in vaccination rates, student-staff interactions, and staffing levels in those environments. 

The second major question on the health screening asks whether you were a "close contact" of a COVID positive individual. Being in a classroom does not necessarily constitute close contact, especially if you were not within 6 feet of the student for more than 10 minutes of cumulative time. It is appropriate to answer "no" to this question.

If you believe you were in closer contact, you will likely respond "yes" to the final question on the daily health screening. This will prompt two follow-up questions. The first is whether you came into contact with COVID positive individuals as part of your work (meant for professionals working in health care/emergency care positions). The second asks if you were notified by the health department to quarantine. Assuming you have not been notified that you are a close contact, answering "no" to this should clear you through the health screen.

Enforcement of Contact Tracing, Isolation, and Quarantine

Non-compliance with contact tracing, isolation, or quarantine is a violation of the community agreement and can be reported here. Violations by faculty or staff will be subject to disciplinary processes in accordance with the respective policies in the Ithaca College Policy Manual or collective bargaining agreement covering the individual. Violations by students, both residential and off-campus, will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the Student Conduct Code.