WCSU Returns to Normal, Reopening Information and Covid-19 Updates

Division of Student Affairs

Housing & Residence Life

Living on Campus During Covid-19

Your test results from your on-campus testing are sent to Health Services.  There is no need for you to forward your results if you have been tested on campus.

 


The world had changed during the Covid crisis, to be sure.  In the fall, we did our best to build a program of on-campus housing that would accommodate those who wanted or needed to live on campus, while providing the safest conditions for living together.  Overall, it worked pretty well, and we will be continuing much of the practice of what we did during the fall again during the spring.

  1. We have once again not intentionally reduced occupancy in the buildings, because that would have forced us to choose arbitrarily who among you might lose their housing.  We know that we have fewer students than is our regular spring occupancy, as many classes are continuing in online-only formats, while some students have also opted to remain at home for the semester.  Still, we are committed to trying to house students who signed up to have roommates and to consolidate students as possible, because we've also been told by you that the isolation of living in the halls in these circumstances is incredibly difficult for many of you.
  2. Yes – you’ll have to wear masks. Other than in your own assigned room, suite, or apartment, ANYWHERE you go on campus that is public – including the bathrooms down the hall – means that you must wear a mask.  WCSU has provided students with one washable, reusable mask.  You will need to bring your own supply of masks to wear while you’re washing that mask. (Maybe your masks are more comfortable, easier to breathe in, or have a great design on them, too!) Please know that by wearing your mask and washing your hands frequently, you are doing major good work at limiting exposure to the virus – protecting not just yourself, but also all the others we live, work, and go to school with!
  3. Frequent hand washing/sanitizing. Stations will be set up around campus, including throughout the residence halls, for hand sanitizing.  Make use of these stations and good handwashing as frequently as you can.  Again – this and wearing masks are the two best tools available for keeping all of us safe!
  4. Cleaning – despite DPH guidance that would now allow for less frequent cleaning, as always, the WCSU Facilities staff has been and remains hard at work keeping surfaces clean. They will continue to focus on our residence halls and classrooms, where there is the most risk of exposure.  This means that your public spaces may be temporarily closed down for additional cleaning throughout the day.  Even with their increased presence and cleaning, the responsibilities for keeping rooms and apartments clean is, as always, the job of the students who live in that room/suite/apartment. For example, in addition to regular deep cleaning in private bathrooms, students should be wiping down their bathrooms after use (as will most of us in public bathrooms as well) along with doorknobs and other high-touch surfaces in the apartments. We will be working on providing “how to” videos and flyers to instruct students on proper cleaning techniques.
  5. Visitation by guests who live outside of your building will be prohibited again this semester. You will be permitted to have a friend who lives within the building in your room for a visit (just one at a time), but no guests will be permitted who live in other buildings or off-campus, including family members.  Remember, this virus transfers quickly when people are moving between sets of people, and with the new strain from Great Britain already present in Connecticut, we want to be able to stay open, especially for those of you who need us to be open.  The best way to be able to do that is to do everything in our power to make sure we aren’t allowing easy access to this contagion.
  6. There will again be a mandatory testing protocol.  Here is some information.
    • Before you move in, you’ll need to provide recent proof (within 7 days of move-in) that you’ve tested negative for the COVID-19 virus via a PCR test. Results must be submitted to https://wcsu.medicatconnect.com prior to your arrival on campus.
    • Students will receive a test again at move-in on campus.
    • 5 days after move-in, students will again receive a PCR test (on campus).
    • There is mandatory weekly testing for all students and staff in the residence halls.  You must be tested by the services provided for you on campus. Failure to be tested will result in documentation and referral to Judicial Affairs. In the spring, tests will be offered on each campus.  A schedule will be provided.
    • If you test positive, you’ll need to relocate for the isolation period, either at home, or if that isn’t prudent in your situation, you’ll be relocated to isolation space in Fairfield Hall.
    • Your roommates and contacts may also be required to quarantine or seclude for a period of time if you become symptomatic or test positive.
  7. Social distancing will be practiced as much as is humanly possible, and that will be throughout campus. What are some of the places you’ll find this happening?
    • Elevators – elevators will have no more than 2 riders at a time. If there are already 2 people on the elevator, you’ll need to wait for the next one to arrive.
    • Some hallways and stairwells will be marked directionally – meaning a stairwell may be an “up only” or “down only” stairwell, or that you can only walk in one direction in specific hallways. This is to assist with keeping people at a distance from and not passing by each other.
    • Some lounge space may be closed or have highly reduced occupancy to permit those using the lounges to maintain social distance. Study spaces, as can be found in Grasso and Litchfield Halls, may be closed and locked due to the inability to continually monitor and clean the areas.
    • Common bathrooms (like in Litchfield or Newbury) will be restricted to a specific number of people allowed in the bathroom at a time. There may be stalls that are closed off, as well, to clearly mark distances.
    • Programs – the programs put on by your RAs, ARMs, and Hall Councils will try to be a good mix of in-person (observing social distancing limits and held in adequate spaces or outside), as well as virtual programs. While we all think that in-person is usually better, virtual programming will still allow you to interact with your friends and fellow residents, and because you’re not in the same spaces, you’ll likely remain unexposed to this ugly virus!
    • Students should practice social distancing as possible in their rooms/suites/apartments. This could mean only one of you uses the kitchen at a time in Pinney or Grasso, or that no more than two of you should be in the living room in Centennial at a time.
    • Health, Fire, and Safety inspections will still be done, but will have a new process. More about this soon.

As information and knowledge about Covid-19 develops, these procedures may change.  We will do our best to keep you informed of what is happening and what changes are coming.  As you’ve most certainly seen yourselves, we are living in a time that is filled with the unknown, which we know brings a much higher level of anxiety with it.  But, knowing that we’re all in the same boat – after all, we work in the buildings you live in – we hope that all of us can keep in mind to be considerate of others, to be kind, and to try to follow rules which may seem arbitrary on the surface, but are truly being developed to keep each of us safe and healthy, while still allowing you to experience all the wonderful things that living on campus can be.

 

Other Important Information

The first week:

As noted to the left, students living on campus must be PCR tested within the 7 days prior to their move-in date, and must relay their results to WCSU via https://wcsu.medicatconnect.com/.  (Moving on-campus will not be permitted without this information).  You will be tested again upon arrival, and then a third time on the 5th day after your return to campus.

During the first week, all students living on campus are requested to remain on campus.  All classes will be fully online, and all buildings will be closed other than the Student and Campus Centers, which will only have food service operations open for grab & go meals.

Remember that you must arrive on your scheduled move-in day and time to ensure safety and meet the reintegration quarantine requirements. If you arrive back to campus later, you will be quarantined for one week in an area identified for quarantined students, not in your room or apartment as you would be if you arrived at your appointed time.

In-person and hybrid classes will resume normal operation on Feb. 1st, and if you have received negative test results from your 5th day test, you will be permitted to attend your classes at that time.

 

Testing

Students living on-campus will be required to be tested for Covid every week for the remainder of the semester.  (This weekly testing may decrease later in the semester depending on the status of the pandemic). Testing will be held on each campus, and a schedule will be provided soon.

 

Isolation, Quarantine, and Seclusion.

If you become infected and/or diagnosed with Covid-19, you must first report it to Health Services through this link:  https://westconn.tfaforms.net/201.

Students who test positive will be offered an individual ISOLATION room in Fairfield Hall.  Isolation lasts 10 days from the date of testing, and students should, if possible, continue their classes online and with guidance from their professors.  Meals will be provided to you in Fairfield during the isolation period.  (Other information about isolation will be provided to you when arrangements are being made to move you to the isolation area).

Students who come in contact with or been exposed to a positive Covid-19 case,  are required to QUARANTINE.  Midtown residents will quarantine in a separate area of Fairfield Hall from the students in Isolation.  Westside residents will quarantine in their suite or apartment, and will be required to be masked, maintain social distancing, and implement disinfection practices when in common areas with roommates.  Quarantine lasts 10 days from the date of last contact with the positive case.  Meals will be delivered to your suite or apartment door.  (Other information about quarantine will be provided to you when arrangements are being made for your quarantine).

If you are showing symptoms for Covid-19 or were exposed to another person exhibiting symptoms of or suspected of having Covid-19, you are required to SECLUDE pending having your own test and receiving negative results.  This seclusion period is usually 2-3 days (until the test results are returned and you have been released by Health Services), and will occur in your assigned room/suite/apartment. You will be required to be masked, maintain social distancing, and implement disinfection practices when in common areas.  If you receive a positive test result, you will be moved to Isolation.   (Other information about seclusion will be provided to you when arrangements are being made for your seclusion).

 

FAQs about Required Weekly Testing

FROM THE DESK OF PANO KOUKOPOULOS, DIRECTOR OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

As testing for Covid-19 continues, Western Connecticut State University wants to answer all your questions. Please share the FAQs below with fellow students and family. If you have a question not on the list, please send an email to pr@wcsu.edu and we will answer you promptly.

 

Do all students have to get tested?
The Connecticut Department of Public Health and the CSCU Board of Regents required a weekly test for every student who has an on-campus presence. Students who are fully online and do not go to campus do not have to get tested.

I am a commuter student coming to campus every other week. Am I required to get tested weekly?
No. If you are only coming to campus every other week, you may follow that schedule for testing.

Do I have to get tested on the same day every week?
No, you can be tested any day that our testing partner, Sema4, is on campus. Just be sure to test weekly.

I am in quarantine and won’t be able to get tested this week. What do I do?
If you are in quarantine, you should not get tested. Once you finish your 10-day quarantine, you can resume the testing process.

I am in isolation. Should I try to get tested?
If you are in isolation, you must stay in your designated area until your infectious period is over. Refer to the answer below for information on how to obtain a waiver from testing for 90 days.

I recently tested positive, but my doctor said I can come to campus as of this date. What should I do regarding testing?
Per guidelines issued by the federal Centers for Disease Control, you should avoid testing for approximately 90 days after a diagnosis because you will likely continue to test positive. Please submit your positive test result to healthservices@wcsu.edu so that your testing requirement can be waived.  Contact WCSU Health Services at (203) 837-8594 if you have any questions.

I work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and only have evening classes. How do I get a test?
If you are experiencing scheduling conflicts, please call the Director of Emergency Management, at (203)-837-9352.

Do I need to get tested before I come to campus for the first time?
No. You can get tested after your first class or campus work hours. However, you need to get tested as soon as possible and then once a week after that.

Will I have to pay for the test?
No. We have, however, been asked to provide insurance information if available, so you will be asked for an insurance card. If you do not have an insurance card, you can still be tested. In any case, Sema4, the insurance companies that serve Connecticut, and the state have agreed that students will not be billed.

I have received both doses of the vaccine. Do I still need to get tested?
Yes. Following the recommendation from the Connecticut Department of Health, you should continue to be tested after receiving the vaccines. It is currently unclear if the vaccine prevents asymptomatic spread to unvaccinated individuals. When more is known about how the virus responds to the vaccine and as more people are vaccinated, this recommendation may change. We will inform the campus community at that time.

I am getting tested for Covid-19 at work twice a week. Do I still need to get tested at WCSU?
Yes. To continue participating in all campus activities, we require you also to be tested on campus.

Do I need to provide WCSU proof of tests that I take at work?
No. We are not collecting information from tests that are not conducted on campus.

I tested positive. May I take another test and see if it is negative?
No. If you test positive, you will be required to isolate. The university will give you instructions.

I could not get an appointment slot but I should get tested this week. May I just show up?
Sema4 has set aside slots for walk-ins so if you need to get tested, visit the testing site and sign in. In the future, continue to make every effort to sign up ahead of time to prevent a backlog.

I am getting an error message when I try to set up an appointment.
Contact the Director of Emergency Management at (203) 837-9352 for assistance.

What happens when there is a snowstorm and the campus is closed? Is testing still happening?
When the campus is closed or class and work schedules have transitioned to virtual operations, testing will be canceled. Additional testing hours may be added as needed. Visit Sema4’s website and schedule an appointment for the next convenient time.

I have to cancel my appointment. How do I do that?
When you first scheduled your appointment, you received a confirmation email. That email contains information that will allow you to reschedule or cancel your appointment.

I don’t have an ID.
If you don’t have an ID or lost it, contact the WestConnect Office to get one. You can obtain a test if you present your Banner ID number, but you will also be required to show a photo ID to confirm your identity.

Do I have to get tested on campus or can I submit test results from an off-campus testing facility?
Test results from off-campus may be helpful for various reasons, but we have no way to compile those results. Because of that, we are making on-campus testing free and available to all students. Please get tested on campus weekly.

Can university faculty and staff get tested?
The testing by Sema4 is primarily for students. Faculty and staff who choose to be tested on campus will be charged for the test. However, free testing is available at the Westside campus drive-up site in the commuter parking lot. It operates seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Here is the link to the Sema4 frequently asked questions about the testing itself: https://www.wcsu.edu/reopen/wp-content/uploads/sites/213/2021/01/COVID-Outbreak-One-Pager-1-5.pdf