Plan for WCSU Reopening
REOPENING PLANS FOR COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES – SPRING 2021
Name of Institution: Western Connecticut State University
COVID-19 Coordinator (Name and Title): Pano Koukopoulos, Director of Emergency Management
Email and cell phone: firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-837-9352
Alternate COVID-19 Coordinator: Nancy Haensch, Director Health Services
Email and phone: email@example.com, 203-837-8590
Intended date of arrival of the first students: January 23 -24, 2021
Intended date of classes starting January 26, 2021
Intended duration of the spring semester or quarter: Last day of finals: May 16, 2021. Last day of in-person classes: May 7, 2021.
Date submitted: December 11, 2020
On this Page
Plan for Repopulating the Campus
Plan for Monitoring the Health of Students, Faculty and Staff
Plan for Containment
Plan for Shutdown
PART 1 – PLAN FOR REPOPULATING THE CAMPUS (the reentry of students)
Classrooms: Declaration that 6 feet of physical spacing has been achieved
Primary: Luigi Marcone, Alternate: Dan Casinelli
Some limited commentary should be included to indicate how this was achieved (e.g., splitting the class into multiple sections, converting non-classrooms into instructional spaces, greater use of evenings, weekends or online instruction, reduction of students on campus). Where six foot spacing is not possible, i.e., for clinical training or workforce development programs, please describe your plans.
The Facilities Planning and Engineering Department has assessed all teaching spaces, computer labs, academic teaching labs and performance spaces that are scheduled for use during the semester. Subsequently, the Department has created floor plans identifying furniture layouts and maximum occupancies to meet current spacing requirements while adhering to the 6 feet of physical spacing mandate.
The laboratories of the Science Building are the only exception. The mechanical and HVAC infrastructure of the laboratories is designed for a continuous, 100% air intake and exhaust, therefore allowing for use of these spaces as per usual (face coverings are required).
In some instances, and to allow for a more productive in-person classroom experience, some larger venues and conference rooms have been reserved for instructional use. As with all other spaces, a physical calculation was determined, ensuring that 6-foot separation between students is achieved. Furniture placement schematics have been placed in these areas as in all other academic spaces scheduled for use during the Spring semester.
Dining Halls: Declaration that 6-feet of physical spacing has been achieved and that the State’s restaurant guidelines and capacity limits have been achieved (e.g., single-use condiments, cleaning of surfaces after every diner).
Primary: John Murphy
DPH Guidance (Update #7): Dining halls can align their reopen plans to match the state’s protocols for restaurants observing social distancing and capacity limitations. Effective June 17, 2020 capacity limits on indoor dining are 50% and 100% for outside dining. Additionally, as the state issues guidance on the size of gatherings, colleges and universities can follow those standards. Current standards effective June 17, 2020 include limits on private indoor gatherings to 25 people and outside private gatherings limited to 100 people.
Some limited commentary about how this was achieved (e.g., two shifts for each meal; use of new spaces as spill-over dining halls; more grab-and-go meals; outdoor dining; limited capacity indoor dining)
Seating has been reduced by 50% with tables at least 6 feet apart in accordance with the Re-Open CT restaurant guidelines; no more than six customers will be permitted at the same table. Additional outdoor seating space has been added where appropriate. Tables and chairs will be cleaned after each customer to prepare for the next diner. Self-serve food (shared condiments, buffet, salad bars etc.) will not be available and will be replaced by individual portions or single-use items. Additionally, dishes, drinkware and utensils will all be single-use products.
Most fixed dining tables have been equipped with clear physical dividers providing a barrier between diners who may not be part of a residential “family unit” or an “athletic pod.” Signage has been installed throughout dining spaces to encourage diners to remain with their respective groups or dine separately from others.
Customers will order items on their own mobile devices through a mobile app. If a customer does not have a device, the order may be placed with a food service cashier. Customers must always wear masks while in the dining area except when seated and eating and/or drinking.
Staff will always wear masks while in the kitchen, serving and dining areas. All staff will be separated from customers with shields. The food service vendor and other strategic partners and vendors have agreed to abide by all University and CDC guidelines.
Self-service sanitizing solutions and hand sanitizers are installed throughout all dining facilities.
Athletics: Declaration that guidance is being followed on athletic training, practices, and competitions per conference guidelines.
Some limited commentary on bringing athletes back to campus, training, and practice protocols, and managing safety concerns in competitions (if planned).
Primary: Lori Mazza
Student-athletes are first and foremost students. Athletics Department leadership and the athletic training staff will ensure department policies, procedures, and communications regarding COVID-19 align with institutional, both LEC and MASCAC conferences, NCAA, CDC, federal, state, and local public health guidelines, testing and requirements. In preparation for a partial or full resumption of intercollegiate athletics activities, including practice and competition (if permitted), athletics and athletic trainers will adhere to all policies, which are in the “opening plan of WestConn athletics.” Coaches, athletics staff, and student athletes will be tested weekly. The full plan for the department and NCAA resocialization of each athletic program is available upon request.
As of this writing, winter sports competitions have been cancelled meaning that Mens and Womens Basketball, and Swimming and Diving activities have been suspended. Teams may continue to train in accordance with all University and League guidelines.
Spaces “where other groups congregate”: Declaration that 6-feet of physical spacing has been achieved where students congregate, such as in libraries and common spaces/student unions and with extracurricular activities.
Primary: Luigi Marcone, Alternate: Dan Casinelli
The Facilities Planning and Engineering Department has assessed all assembly areas, retail operations, student lounges, dining facilities and libraries.
Working with the Directors from each of the referenced areas, maximum occupancies have been established and all excess furnishings have been removed to ensure occupancies are not exceeded.
Occupancy statements and floor plans have been created identifying furniture layouts. Signage has been posted, requesting that furniture not be moved. However, furniture will be checked and reset daily by WCSU staff to correct any movement issues.
Additionally, all student activities will be limited, and any sanctioned event will comply with all DPH guidance limiting indoor occupancies to 25 and outdoor occupancies to 100 (valid as of this writing).
In addition, where campuses operate shuttles or other transportation:
DPH Guidance (Update #5): from the Department of Transportation on how they are operating public buses is provided below.
- Where possible only allow rear door boarding except in the case where a rider needs access to a ramp.
- Riders must wear a mask unless they have medical reason not to.
- Seats are marked for social distancing.
- Driver barriers are installed.
- On smaller vehicles, consider installing sneeze guards between rows of seats.
- Where possible, increase service in order to reduce the potential for crowding.
- Drivers should monitor passenger loads and pass by stops if they cannot take more passengers.
- High touch surfaces should be cleaned twice a day and more intense cleaning once a day.
WCSU Shuttle operations:
Primary: John Murphy
Shuttle bus operations are through a contracted business partner that has confirmed their policies and procedures will, at minimum, be consistent with all state minimum requirements.
Drivers will wear masks while in the shuttle. As permitted by road safety concerns, drivers will be separated from riders with shields.
Riders must wear masks at all times while on the shuttle. Social distancing will be practiced on the shuttle. All surfaces will be wiped down after each run. After riders disembark, new riders will not be permitted on the shuttle until all surfaces are wiped down. If the shuttle is full, it will notify students that the next shuttle will arrive within 15 minutes. At the conclusion of the day’s service, and before the next day’s service, each shuttle will receive a deep cleaning, including wiping down all seats and touchable surfaces.
Primary: Ron Mason
- that the guidelines for residence hall/dormitory density are being followed, which allow, but do not require, that roommates and suitemates can be treated as a family unit; (See Appendix II of the Reopening Report);
- that six-foot physical spacing is being preserved with other residence hall building occupants (beyond the room/suite);
- that the institution is allocating bedrooms (in the residential halls or elsewhere) to accommodate students who must be isolated; and
- about how the institution is accommodating those students who are at greater risk for complications from COVID-19.
All residential students are required to wear a mask or face covering in all areas of each residence hall except in private residences or apartments.
All Corridors and common areas have been treated with signage indicating warnings, requirements, and direction of foot traffic. All lounges have either been taken offline or furnishings have been removed to ensure that separations are met.
Fairfield Hall has been designated as the quarantine and isolation facility for residential students. In addition to Fairfield Hall, apartments and residential rooms have been allocated in each residence hall to accommodate students with special need or those who are identified as being at risk.
Primary: Mike Spremulli, Alternate: Ron Mason
Declaration that the guidelines for residence hall/dormitory bathrooms are being followed.
DPH Guidance (Update #3)
All Bathroom users:
- Minimize time in all shared bathrooms.
- No cell phone use in shared bathrooms.
- Personal items should not be stored in shared bathrooms.
- Toilet lids, if present, should be closed before flushing.
Multi-stall shared bathroom users:
- If toilets and showers are separated by physical barriers, all can be used.
- For sinks and open showers, 6 feet of separation should be maintained when in use.
- If there are multiple communal bathrooms available on a floor, bathrooms should be assigned by zone or other criteria, and users should only use their assigned bathroom, to limit cross contamination and assist with traffic control.
- If quarantined because of close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual, communal bathroom users should have a single-user bathroom, if possible.
Roommates/suitemates who are otherwise treated as a family unit:
- May share a common bathroom.
- Should maintain 6-foot distancing in bathrooms whenever possible.
- If quarantined because of close contact with a COVID-19 positive roommate /suitemate, they may continue to share a bathroom among themselves, but not with others.
- Cleaning/Disinfecting practices: Similar to general cleaning recommendations.
- Multi-stall communal bathroom bathrooms should be fully cleaned/disinfected by housekeeping staff a minimum of once daily, using products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2. (see Hygiene rules for shared or common spaces).
- Bathrooms shared only among roommates or suitemates should be cleaned regularly by housekeeping staff. Institutions can require students to clean their own facilities with proper training and supplies provided by the campus.
- All bathrooms: Disinfectant wipes should be placed near sinks, shower stalls and toilets.
- Sinks: Users should wipe sink basin/faucet handles and soap dispensers following use.
- Showers: Users should wipe the basin of the tub/shower, and faucet handles after use.
- Toilets: Users should wipe flush handle, seat, and doors / latches of stalls after use.
- Paper towel dispensers are preferred. No air hand dryers.
- Hands-free garbage bins are preferred.
The Facilities teams at the four CSCU Universities have agreed to provide the following consistent improvements where air handling systems allow:
- Air Filter efficiency improvements. Air filters will have a rating of MERV 13-18 as a minimum
- Air filters will be replaced at least quarterly
- Fresh air intakes will be opened to their maximum settings
- Restroom exhaust fans will be set to their maximum operating ranges
- Where possible, building air systems will be programed to run a building purge cycle overnight.
Additional DPH Guidance (Update #5): While disinfectant wipes are a convenient way for individuals to wipe down a bathroom surface (like a sink) after use, there are certainly supply chain considerations and potential “waste volume” management considerations. Luckily, this virus is relatively easy to kill, and that can be accomplished in most cases with normal detergent-based cleaning products and physical wiping of surfaces. In cases where physical wiping down of surfaces is not likely (i.e., where many students are utilizing a central bathroom facility and are unlikely to take time to clean surfaces well), providing a 10% bleach solution OR a quaternary ammonium-based disinfectant (which is probably already part of your custodial ordering supply chain) in a spray bottle near the sinks, toilet stalls, and showers will allow students to “spray and leave” a disinfectant on the surfaces they use. [Note: use 10% bleach OR quaternary ammonium disinfectants. It is suggested that schools commit to having one or the other campus-wide because mixing those two compounds could be extremely hazardous.] Procedures for this type of scenario can be developed and posted in the restrooms to remind students to utilize the disinfectant spray, to instruct them on how to use the disinfectant, and how to avoid cross-contamination during the process. For example, when a student uses a sink, they can be instructed to 1) turn on the water, 2) spray the surface of the sink with the disinfectant, 3) wash their hands thoroughly, 4) use a paper towel to dry their hands and then 5) use that paper towel to turn off the water. These are simple instructions that lay out a routine for students that they will adapt to very quickly and give them a sense of security about the cleanliness of the space. The only financial investment is in ordering more bottles of whatever your custodial staff already use as a disinfectant and a bunch of additional spray bottles, properly labeled as disinfectant. This solution can be used for classrooms and other high contact areas as well.
Communal residential restroom access is restricted to students and assigned by Housing Zone (floor/section of building).
Protocols and signage have been posted in all residential restrooms to indicate all the restrictions placed upon these spaces. These include the requirements that:
- All users will be required to wear face coverings when not in their residence hall rooms/apartments.
- All users are required to minimize time in restrooms.
- Only personal items needed for self-care within the restroom facilities are allowed and should not be left in restrooms. Other items such as cell phones, books or magazines are prohibited.
Residential restrooms in communal living environments (traditional dormitory style residence halls) will be cleaned and sanitized on at least a daily basis by facilities staff. Self-serve sanitizing supplies have been provided in all restrooms to allow users to self-sanitize before and after each use.
All restrooms and showers have been equipped with partitions (at least 60 inches in height), creating a physical separation between users.
Hand washing stations in restrooms are a critical element in controlling and limiting the potential spread of viruses through contact. With that said, WCSU has installed physical barriers (each with a minimum height of 60 inches) between hand washing areas where a minimum of 6 feet between users is not possible.
Hand sanitizer has been installed outside all restrooms.
Restrooms in apartment or suite-style living environments will be handled differently. WCSU is treating these areas as family unit restrooms per the appropriate updates mentioned above. Access to these facilities is limited to room occupants only. Residents have been provided sanitizing supplies to allow for self-service cleaning and sanitizing. Instructions and guidance have been posted in all apartment restrooms (instructing the occupants on appropriate protocols and control measures). Additional sanitizing solution is available upon request.
Students in quarantine while living in a “family unit” are provided with a restroom/shower facility for each family unit. Those in traditional residence halls are relocated Fairfield Hall.
All shared restroom facilities are cleaned and maintained by University staff. Cleaning processes include, but are not limited to, cleaning/wiping, sanitizing all surfaces and trash disposal.
All facilities are cleaned at least once daily.
In addition to Facilities’ efforts, self-cleaning/wiping supplies are installed/provided in each restroom. EPA registered sanitizing spray solutions are available for self-service cleaning and instructions have been posted in every location.
All restrooms are equipped with paper towel dispensers and all trash receptacles are hands-free/touch-free.
Orientation/Arrival: Declaration that the institution is organizing orientation and the return of students to maintain 6-foot physical distancing.
Primary: Ron Mason
For the Spring 2021, there are no in-person Orientation programs scheduled. There will be several virtual programs scheduled during January leading up to the first day of classes on January 26. Students will receive an e-mail about these dates and times during the semester break.
All residential students will be assigned a specific day and time to move into their residence hall between January 23rd to 24th. Midtown and Grasso residents will move in on the 23rd; Other Westside residents will move in on the 24th. To maintain social distancing, we are limiting the number of residents on campus per drop-off period and requiring face masks.
Personal protective equipment: Masks: Declaration that all faculty, staff, and students have been informed to wear masks.
Primary: Dave Serino, Alternate: Ed Gleason
Some limited commentary about whether and how these groups will be supplied masks or required to provide their own with some backup inventory maintained by the institution. Some commentary about how the institutions will respond to non-compliance (e.g., will students be prohibited from entering classrooms if they do not have masks?)
WCSU has been and will continue to provide faculty and staff with washable/re-usable fabric masks upon their return to campus. All those staff members who have been working on campus prior to the phased re-opening have been provided with both fabric as well as disposable face masks as needed. If at any time individuals need any additional masks, they will be provided to them upon request. Contractors have been notified that face coverings/masks are required in all campus buildings. Signage has been posted at all campus building entry points indicating that face coverings/masks are required in all campus buildings. Both resident and commuter students will be provided with fabric masks upon their return to campus. Residence Life will distribute masks to resident students upon their arrival. In addition, the Environmental Health and Safety Office maintains a supply of disposable masks for anyone (visitor, student, staff/faculty member or contractor), who arrives on campus without an appropriate face covering. This supply has been distributed to all key business offices and academic department heads. Masks are available to anyone within the WCSU community at no cost, upon request.
In conjunction with the mask requirement, notices via signage, social media, the WCSU App, and the website are being utilized. Masks are required in all communal spaces of every building. Staff/faculty members with private offices may remove their mask within the confines of their office but MUST have their mask with them at all times. Upon leaving one’s office, the mask must be worn in all public areas and/or when proper social distancing cannot be guaranteed. Contractors and visitors refusing to comply will not be allowed on campus or will be informed that they must leave campus property immediately. Staff or faculty refusal to wear a mask will be referred to Human Resources for resolution. In such case that a student refuses to comply, the matter will be referred to Student Affairs for resolution. The university will work to find solutions for faculty, staff and students who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons.
Other PPE requirements: Declaration that special populations on campus (e.g., health care workers, kitchen or custodial staff) will follow any special PPE requirements mandated more generally for those populations.
Primary: Dave Serino, Alternate: Ed Gleason
Additional PPE has been secured and has been provided to those staff members whose job functions require additional protection, such as:
Health Services Staff: N95 masks, disposable masks, cleanable face shields, gloves and disposable gowns/body coverings have been secured and will be available to our Health Services staff at all times.
Custodial Staff: In addition to masks, gloves are supplied to custodial staff and must be worn at all times for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting.
HVAC Staff: Air-purifying respirators equipped with appropriate filers/cartridges as well as N95 masks have been provided for use when servicing/replacing HVAC filters.
Food Service Staff: These services are contracted out and equivalent PPE will be provided by the service provider.
Individual requests for PPE not detailed above will be addressed on a case-by-case basis by the Emergency, Health and Safety Department (EHS).
Disinfection: Declaration that (i) hand sanitizers are available at entrances to all buildings, classrooms and dining halls, (ii) disposable wipes or cleaning solutions are available in all bathrooms, classrooms and other shared facilities (e.g., copy machines, coffee stations) for wiping down surfaces, (iii) students, faculty and staff are reminded to wash hands frequently, and (iv) public, corridor and office spaces and their bathrooms are cleaned in accordance with the State’s general guidelines for businesses. See DPH guidance for residence hall bathrooms above.
Primary: Mike Spremulli
Hand sanitizing stations have been installed in all campus buildings at entry/exit points, residence halls, high traffic areas (elevators, stairwells, dining halls, outside of classrooms, break rooms, lounges, etc.). In addition, the Environmental Health and Safety office will refill any individual personal hand sanitizer container upon request. WCSU has secured several hundred gallons of hand sanitizing solution to allow for the continuous refilling of sanitizer stations throughout both campuses.
Classrooms will be cleaned by facilities staff at least once a day.
The following items have been completely installed in all scheduled classrooms, common areas, entryways, assembly areas, residence halls and restrooms:
- 150 disposable glove dispensers
- 350 hand sanitizing stations
- 250 self-service surface sanitizer spray bottles
- 250 Touchless paper towel dispensers
- 125 Physical Barriers (sneeze guards)
- 4,000 preprinted self-adhesive instructional posters and signs
Travel: Declaration that students, faculty, and staff have been advised to avoid unnecessary travel domestically, particularly to states deemed “hot spots” and internationally.
Primary: Fred Cratty
On July 23, the Human Resources department sent out a university-wide communication making everyone aware of the new Executive Order (No. 7III) that Governor Lamont issued on July 21 regarding Mandatory Self-Quarantine for Travelers from States with High COVID-19 Levels. The communication details the following areas:
- Timeframes of Travel that Require a 14-Day Self-Quarantine
- Testing Alternatives
- Travel Health Forms Required
This notification links directly to the CT.Gov website and an up-to-date listing of the “hot spot” states. The guidance is continually updated based upon current state travel advisories, and most recent communication also appears on the university’s reopening website.
Staffing: Declaration that faculty, students, and staff have been explicitly instructed not to come to work or leave their residence hall rooms if they are experiencing COVID-like symptoms. Also, a Declaration about what advice, if any, the institution is giving to those who have higher likelihood of serious illness from COVID-19.
Primary: Fred Cratty
On its reopening webpage, WCSU is asking all students, faculty, and staff to monitor their health daily for symptoms of COVID-19. The webpage lists all potential symptoms along with the following recommendation:
“If you suspect that you might have COVID-19, you should stay home, isolate from others and contact your healthcare provider. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, please inform us via the COVID-19 reporting link https://wcsu.edu/covid-report/ . You should continue to isolate at home until you are cleared by your healthcare provider, which is usually after 10 days, if your symptoms are improving.”
Staff may return to work when the following criteria are met:
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared: and
- At least 24 hours have passed with no fever without fever-reducing medication; and
- Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving. Loss of taste and/or smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation.
In addition, members of our community are encouraged to seek medical attention if they experience advanced COVID-19 symptoms, which are also listed on the webpage.
Access to campus: Declaration of the institution’s plans for visitors to the campus. The Reopen report suggests restricting the time, place, and manner of admitting visitors onto campus to limit the transmission of the virus.
Primary: Missy Alexander, Alternate: Keith Betts
WCSU has made plans to continue limiting campus access to outside visitors. We have reduced the number of outside speakers scheduled to make presentations and moved most performances online or outdoors for the spring semester.
Interior offices have been given the option to keep their main doors locked and accept visitors on a strict appointment-only schedule (with reduced capacity guidelines for conference room spaces) or conduct meetings with outside individuals virtually.
All building access is electronically monitored, and records can be used to assist contact tracing efforts should they become necessary.
- During the spring semester, guest visitation in the residence halls will be prohibited. Individuals will not be permitted to visit in another person’s room, suite, or apartment other than students who are currently assigned residents of that building.
- Guest visitation within the building is limited to one guest per occupant of the room. For example, an apartment that has 4 residents cannot have more than eight people within the apartment at any given time. (Please be aware: if you live in a four-person room, for example, but two of your roommates are not present, you cannot invite “more” guests – your visitation limit would give you a maximum occupancy of four in this case.)
Contracted staff are required to abide by the same requirements/expectations as employees. All strategic partners, such as those who operate the bookstore, food service, and vending machines, as well as contractors, have agreed to follow University rules as a minimum.
PART 2 – PLAN FOR MONITORING THE HEALTH OF STUDENTS, FACULTY AND STAFF
Community colleges and other non-residential institutions with only commuting students are not required to test students. However, commuter colleges should formalize relationships with local departments of public health to support referrals for testing and contact tracing.
Testing of students in residential institutions for the COVID-19 virus: Declaration that the institution will conduct testing per the state’s public health guidelines.
DPH Guidance (Update #6: Interim Testing Guidance – June 23, 2020)
Primary: Ron Mason, Alternate: Nancy Haensch
CAMPUS ARRIVAL PROCESS
Given the close quarters of living together and the higher risk for sharing the virus than in the community at large, all students and staff residing in residence halls will be subject to testing.
- Incoming residential students must have documentation that they have had a RT-PCR COVID-19 test within 14 days of arrival on campus. This documentation must be submitted online before arrival on campus or in person on arrival.
- Students who get positive test results must notify the university and delay their arrival on campus until 10 days have passed with no symptoms from the date of the test. This time may be extended for students who become symptomatic. Self-isolation may continue beyond the minimum 10-day period until their symptoms have improved and they are fever free for 72 hours according to CDC guidelines. The school may also request a request note from a medical provider stating the student is cleared to arrive on campus.
- Students will submit an online self-screening symptom questionnaire upon arrival on campus and each day for the first 7 days on campus.
- Arrangements will be made by the university for students who arrive on campus without the required testing documentation to be tested within 7 days of arrival on campus. These students will be asked to self-quarantine until they test negative for COVID-19. Students with positive test results must self-isolate for 10 days from the date of the test. This time may be extended for students who become symptomatic. Self-isolation may continue beyond the minimum 10-day period according to CDC guidelines
Students must provide a negative COVID-19 test verification to Health Services prior to arrival on campus. The test must be conducted within a period of 72 hours and 14 days prior to arrival on campus.
Ongoing testing of students for the COVID-19 virus: Declaration of the institution’s plan to conduct ongoing testing, in compliance with state public health guidance.
Commentary on how this is being achieved including description of testing partnership if provided by third party and testing of symptomatic residential students and residence hall staff. Additionally, details should be provided on target populations such as athletes and athletic staff who may be tested more regularly.
DPH Guidance (Update #6: Interim Testing Guidance – June 23, 2020):
AS THE SEMESTER PROGRESSES
- Any student with symptoms of potential COVID-19 infection WILL be evaluated and tested as soon as possible.
- 25% of residential students and residence hall directors will be tested weekly in each dorm using the RT-PCR COVID-19 test (updated Sept 2020). This will include random sampling of the population and targeted testing. The purpose is to identify person-to-person spread of the virus and guide the implementation of control measures throughout the semester. When pooling of samples for PCR testing is approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), this approach can be used to implement screenings.
- Students and staff who test positive must self-isolate until 10 days have passed with no symptoms from the date of the test. This 10-day period may be extended for those who develop symptoms according to CDC guidelines.
- Contacts of students and staff who test positive will be identified and tested using the RT-PCR COVID-19 test. If an asymptomatic contact tests negative during their 14-day quarantine period, this person should continue to observe quarantine for the full 14-days and self- monitor for symptoms.
- Contact tracing might result in the testing of all the students and staff in a residence hall.
Starting the week residential students arrive on campus, Griffin Health, or other third party contracted provider, will provide weekly testing on campus. The testing partner will test 100% of the student-athlete population and support staff along with a random sampling of 25% of resident students and Resident Directors on a weekly basis.
Symptomatic students will be tested by WCSU Health Services staff during regular business hours or referred for testing by a provider of their preference.
Students may return to in-person activities when the following criteria are met:
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared: and
- At least 24 hours have passed with no fever without fever-reducing medication; and
- Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving. Loss of taste and/or smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation.
Appointment of a COVID-19 Coordinator: Declaration of who the Coordinator is and that he or she will
(i) Be the liaison with the coordinators at the other colleges and universities who will convene periodically during the fall (and beyond if needed) and
(ii) Providing reporting to external stakeholders when requested.
Pano Koukopoulos, the Director of Emergency Management has been assigned the role of COVID-19 Coordinator and is serving as the Incident Commander during this pandemic. Through the use of the National Incident Management System, the Director has been and will continue to manage incident objectives, as necessary. The alternate COVID-19 Coordinator is the Director of Health Services (both referenced by name at the beginning of this document).
Protocol for collecting information about COVID-19 cases: Declaration that the institution has developed a protocol indicating that faculty, students, and staff have been asked to inform immediately the campus health service (or a designated administrator) that they are experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms, as well as a protocol for testing symptomatic students. (For students, faculty, or staff using an external health care provider, the institution should request that they inform a designated administrator if they test positive.)
All residential students will be asked to complete a daily symptom screening questionnaire at https://wcsu.medicatconnect.com for the first seven days on campus. Students will also be advised to complete the questionnaire any time they develop symptoms throughout the semester. Any report of COVID-19 exposure or a COVID-19 diagnosis should be sent directly to Health Services at https://wcsu.edu/covid-report. Health Services staff will follow up and provide guidance about next steps. Symptomatic students will be tested on campus or by their primary care provider, if preferred. The campus will initiate our contact tracing procedures for any students testing positive.
All WCSU faculty and staff resuming on-campus work will be required to monitor their health daily to confirm that they have not experienced any of the COVID-19, CDC defined symptoms. If, at any time, they suspect that they have contracted COVID-19, they will be asked to see their doctor and to be tested. If they do receive a positive test, they are asked to inform the university via the COVID-19 reporting link on our home page ( https://wcsu.edu/covid-report ). Following the completion of the online reporting form, an email with the responses is sent to the Chief Human Resources Officer, who will then contact the employee directly in order to begin the contact tracing process for other employees who were in contact with the employee within the 48-hour period prior to them becoming symptomatic. As a result of the contact tracing, employees will be placed under the appropriate self-quarantine protocols. Employees and commuter students will be sent home immediately upon being identified as demonstrating symptoms. Any individuals with severe symptoms will be sent to the hospital via ambulance.
PART 3- PLAN FOR CONTAINMENT
Isolation space: Declaration that the institution has designated rooms and feeding arrangements for students who test positive and must be isolated. Hotel accommodations can serve as suitable alternative to residential hall room.
DPH Guidance (Update #5):
Staff from the Department of Public Health suggest that schools consider reserving 10%, of their rooms for containment, but that will be dependent on many other factors. For example, as the committee has already determined in their guidelines, if a student lives in a suite situation and has daily close living contact with suitemates, they would be considered a “family unit”. In that case, by the time one of the suitemates was symptomatic and had testing that revealed their COVID+ status, they could have been spreading virus for a week or so among the unit members. In that case, it is likely that the recommendation would be to isolate (in another location) the COVID+ individual and then quarantine the other suitemates in place to see if their symptom status changes and isolate, as necessary. Similarly, for individuals in a typical congregate dormitory setting where 2 individuals occupy a single room on a floor with many rooms, you may need to isolate (in another location) the COVID+ student and quarantine the roommate in place if they are asymptomatic and COVID- to see if they develop symptoms, or isolate (in another location) both roommates if they both show symptoms. So, in making a decision on each campus about how many rooms to reserve for COVID+ student isolation, you should consider the layout of housing for each campus, the % in suites vs. congregate dorms, etc., and use that information to determine the number of rooms you would need to leave vacant for future quarantine and isolation. The 10% estimate may be too high, but it is probably not too low.
Primary: Pano Koukopoulos, Alternate: Luigi Marcone
Isolation space: Declaration that the institution has designated rooms and feeding arrangements for students who test positive and must be isolated. See Update #5 for additional guidance.
WCSU has kept one of its residence halls (Fairfield Hall) intentionally unoccupied to accommodate residents who need to be isolated and/or quarantined. The layout of the building allows for the safe, physical separation of the two groups. Residence Life, together with other departments on campus, will be responsible for providing access and will work in conjunction with Sodexo to provide food and other needs.
Isolation protocol: Declaration that when a case of infection is detected, the institution will isolate the infected students for 14 days, trace contacts, quarantine all roommates and suitemates and consider quarantining others with close contact.
Residents who test positive for COVID-19 will be encouraged to isolate at home, where they may be more comfortable. Those opting to remain on campus will be isolated in Fairfield Hall. Contact tracing for all positive individuals and quarantining protocols for those remaining on campus will be implemented as described below. Per CDC guidelines, students will be cleared to return to campus when fever-free for 24 hours, have improved symptoms, and at least 10 days have passed since the initial positive test result. This could be extended for students with severe symptoms or for students with risk factors.
Medical care for those isolated: Declaration of how the institution intends to provide medical care for infected students.
Residents isolated in Fairfield Hall will be monitored daily through telemedicine visits by WCSU Health Services Department. WCSU has contracted with the Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association (RVNA) to provide telemedicine services on weekends or holidays. These services are coordinated through the university’s Health Services.
Quarantine protocol: Declaration that the institution intends to quarantine students who are judged to require it and has designated rooms and feeding arrangements for students.
Some limited commentary on how this is being achieved. How the institution intends to quarantine (roommates, suitemates, and other close contacts?), and where (in a separate facility, or allowing roommates and suitemates to remain together if their shared bathroom is not used by others).
Students who may have come in contact with a case will be asked to quarantine for 14 days. Connecticut residents may choose to quarantine at home. Out-of-state residents along with Connecticut residents who choose not to go home will be asked to quarantine on campus.
Midtown residents in need of quarantine will be moved temporarily to the designated section of Fairfield Hall.
Westside residents will quarantine WITH THEIR ROOMATES in their own apartments/suites.
Residents quarantining in Fairfield Hall will have food delivered to the main lobby where a designated drop-off location has been established. Students in isolation will have a separate drop-off location in the lobby for meal delivery.
Westside residents in quarantine will have food delivered to the door of their suite by Residence Life staff.
Food deliveries during the spring semesters will be coordinated by Residence Life in conjunction with Sodexo staff.
Contact tracing. Declaration of how the institution intends to conduct contact tracing. See Update #1 for additional information.
WCSU will continue to utilize ContaCT as the platform to conduct contact tracing. The COVID Coordinator will provide oversight to this process. The Director of Health Services will serve as the backup administrator. Both Directors will be in close contact with the Danbury Director of Health and Human Services. A specially appointed faculty member will serve as the liaison between the contact tracers and the program administrators.
The process of contact tracing will be supported by Nursing and/or Health Promotion & Exercise Science students. These students will be asked to complete the Johns Hopkins University Contact Tracing training course and the two subsequent courses offered by the Connecticut Department of Public Health. They will be enrolled in the list of volunteers and will only be responsible for contact tracing WCSU residents.
Liaison with regional hospitals and health care facilities. Declaration that the institution has been in contact with the key health care facilities in its area and has a liaison at each to assist if a surge occurs on campus and/or in the region.
WCSU has established community partnerships with CIFC, Greater Danbury Community Health Center (Dr. Shinu) and AFC Urgent Care (Dr. Ali). They are both prepared to provide testing of all symptomatic students, as needed, including adequate staffing, and testing capacity should we have a surge of cases on campus.
Danbury Hospital/Nuvance Health Emergency Department, a Level II Trauma Center, is less than a mile from our midtown campus and easily reached by foot, car, or ambulance. The capacity of the hospital is adequate for our residential student population. It is understood that our many commuter students will seek care with their primary care provider or their local healthcare facility, as necessary.
PART 4 – PLAN FOR SHUTDOWN
Primary: Pano Koukopoulos, Alternate: John Clark
Shutdown initiated by the institution if a serious outbreak occurs on campus: Declaration of the protocol for an orderly shutdown if a serious outbreak occurs on campus that the institution and/or relevant state or local authorities conclude requires shutdown. This may warrant different treatment of local students and those who need to travel to other states or countries.
“The best practice according to the Public Health Committee of Reopen Connecticut is for the institution upon shutdown to keep on campus all persons with COVID-19 who are in isolation until they have been cleared to discontinue isolation according to CDC (or the Institution’s) guidelines and also keep on campus those who are being quarantined until their quarantine period expires, according to CDC guidelines. This avoids sending students home when they can be contagious and when many will be using public transportation to travel.”
WCSU has established a protocol for shutting down all on-campus operations as a direct result of COVID-19. The decision will be based on the triggers outlined on the “WCSU Decisions for Moving to Online Delivery Only” document. The decision will be based on the spread of the virus in the state in consultation with the CSCU Administration, the city of Danbury and the surrounding towns, the institution’s ability to isolate cases and quarantine contacts, the availability of PPE, test kits and relevant resources, and WCSU’s ability to sustain critical operations (environmental, health, and food services.)
All students will be asked to continue learning from a remote environment and all resident students will be asked to vacate their on-campus apartment/room.
Students who may already be isolating on campus will be advised to stay in their designated apartment/room until they are cleared by a licensed healthcare provider.
Students who are being quarantined will also be advised to remain on campus until their quarantine period expires or their health status changes.
Shutdown of the State: Declaration that the institution will follow the instructions of the Governor if he determines that a statewide shutdown is again required.
WCSU will comply with the instructions of the Governor and/or the President of the Board or Regents of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System and will shift all operations to an online or remote environment upon such request/order/directive/instruction.
Plan for continuation of instruction if a shutdown occurs: Declaration about the institution’s intention to continue instruction online if a shutdown occurs.
At the time of submission, WCSU intends to start the Spring 2021 semester as planned on January 26, 2021. In the event of a shutdown due to COVID-19, WCSU has prepared to maintain continuity of instructional activities and operations. All teaching faculty have been advised to prepare for a seamless transition to an online teaching environment. The Information Technology and Innovation Department has provided numerous training sessions on the technology available, has equipped faculty with the requested tools and has upgraded classroom infrastructure to meet the appropriate needs. In addition, the institution is currently providing a multitude of deliveries which are likely to lessen the impact of a physical space shutdown.