A cornerstone of the Ithaca College return to campus plan is the use of initial and ongoing testing to identify COVID-19 cases and to monitor the prevalence of the virus within our community. All faculty, staff, and students having any on-campus presence are required to participate in the college's COVID-19 testing program as the times requested. In addition, we expect that individuals symptomatic for COVID-19 seek advice from a medical professional to determine if COVID-19 testing is needed immediately. If so, campus community members are expected to obtain that testing and refrain from accessing campus while awaiting test results and until cleared by a medical professional.
Upcoming Testing Dates and Times
All faculty, staff, and students accessing campus must be tested weekly. Testing occurs in the Athletics & Events Center. Upcoming testing dates and times are as follows:
- Tuesday, September 22 from 8:00 am - 4:00 pm (students and employees)
- Wednesday, September 23 from 8:00 am - 4:00 pm (students and employees)
- Tuesday, September 29 from 8:00 am - 4:00 pm (students and employees)
- Wednesday, September 30 from 8:00 am - 4:00 pm (students and employees)
Register for an appointment slot and reminders will be communicated via email and posted on Intercom. Please arrive at your designated appointment time and allocate approximately 30 minutes for the testing process. Please cancel your registration if you are not able to attend so that another individual can register. Individuals with disabilities or requiring accommodations should contact Human Resources or Student Accessibility Services.
As a reminder, you should NOT access testing at the Athletics and Events Center if you are symptomatic for COVID-19. Please seek testing at the Sampling Site at the Ithaca Mall instead.
Testing Process and Results
All faculty, staff, and students accessing campus must be tested weekly at the Athletics & Events Center. Testing will involve a nasopharynegeal swab taken while seated in a chair, in an area with fabric walls to ensure privacy. Swabs will be labeled and stored per established protocol and will be couriered to the Cayuga Medical Center for testing. There is no cost to employees or students for the testing.
Test results typically take approximately 24 hours to be shared. Cayuga Health System will notify participants of test results via a patient portal. You will receive a pamphlet on how to set up this patient portal during testing. Cayuga Health System will notify Ithaca College when individuals are cleared to access campus, and employees and students will receive an email notification from Ithaca College once this occurs. A Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) employee will notify any person who tests positive and will initiate contact tracing. If a student, the TCHD will also notify the county of their most recent home residence to initiate contact tracing for that community as well. Additional confirmatory testing with Cayuga Health System or Hammond Health Center may be required.
Before Traveling to Campus
All students are strongly encouraged to obtain a COVID-19 test at home approximately two weeks prior to arriving in Ithaca. In addition, students are asked to voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus, even if the COVID-19 test is negative. Students from states that are not on New York’s mandatory quarantine list who complete these steps may proceed to campus. We note that students may be traveling from areas where robust testing is not available. We strongly encourage students to obtain testing; however, we will not prohibit a student from returning to campus if testing is not available in their location.
Students who have a positive COVID-19 test are expected to seek guidance from their primary care provider and remain in isolation for a minimum of 10 days since symptoms first appeared and have not had a fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever reducing medications, and that any other symptoms have improved. It is possible that isolation could be longer depending upon the severity of symptoms. Once the student is released by their local health department from isolation, and the student is in a state that is not on New York’s mandatory quarantine list, the student can proceed to campus.
Quarantine While Awaiting Test Results
Employees who have been previously tested do not need to quarantine. If it is your first time testing, we request that you return home and do not access campus until you receive an email notification that you are cleared to access campus. Essential workers may return to work as long they have successfully completed a daily health screen.
Similarly, students who have previously tested do not need to quarantine. If it is your first time testing, students will quarantine in their residence hall room or in off-campus housing. Students must remain in the room and may not access the remainder of the residence hall (except to use bathroom facilities) or the broader campus community until such clearance is received. Residential students will be provided with their first three meals at check-in to take to their quarantine location. If quarantine must be extended, additional meals will be arranged and provided by Dining Services.
Roommates may not quarantine in the same residential room pending testing results. We are strongly recommending that roommates coordinate and plan to arrive on campus on different days to the extent possible. If a roommate has already arrived on campus, the college will secure hotel rooms, at our cost, in the Ithaca area where self-quarantine can occur safely until the test results are available. Students with cars or families dropping off students will be asked to transport themselves to the hotel once testing is complete. The college will arrange for transportation back to campus once Cayuga Health Systems clears the student to access campus.
Off-campus students must remain in their housing and may not access campus or the broader Ithaca community until Cayuga Health Systems notifies the college that the student is cleared.
Isolation After Positive Test Results
Individuals who are not cleared to access campus due to a positive test result, either at initial testing or any other testing that occurs during the semester, must isolate until cleared by the Tompkins County Health Department.
Employees will isolate in their own residence and will receive guidance from the Tompkins County Health Department.
Residential students who are not cleared to return to campus will be temporarily relocated to Emerson Hall or a local hotel arranged by the college. Students must remain in isolation until release is approved by the Tompkins County Health Department. Ithaca College will provide support to ensure that daily needs (e.g., food, medication) are met.
Off-campus students will isolate in their own housing and may not access campus or the broader Ithaca community until the Tompkins County Health Department notifies the college that the student is cleared.
Testing During the Semester
For the fall semester, all faculty, staff, and students approved to access campus (including the limited number of residential students approved for on-campus housing) must test weekly.
In addition to the regular surveillance testing, anyone presenting with COVID-19 symptoms during the semester is expected to seek medical advice. Employees should contact their primary care provider or access the sampling center at the Shops at Ithaca Mall. Students should seek medical attention and testing from the Hammond Health Center. Should a student need testing or medical attention when the Health Center is closed, the normal process of seeking care at one of the urgent care centers in Ithaca or at the Cayuga Medical Center should be used.
Enforcement of Testing Requirements
Non-compliance with testing requirements is a violation of the community agreement. 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Students will be re-tested at regular intervals during the semester. We are not offering additional asymptomatic testing outside of the surveillance testing program.