COVID Protocols and Mitigation Strategies

Members of the Southern community are working together to prioritize everyone’s safety and well-being. The protocols and mitigation strategies we have in place are designed to help ensure that the fall semester gets off to the best possible start, so that our students can learn, and we can teach and work, in a safe and welcoming campus environment.
   

 

Mask Mandate

Masks are required for all members of our campus unless exceptions are approved by Accessibility Services (students) or the Office of Diversity and Equity (employees).  Please wear a mask when participating in any indoor classes, meetings, activities or events on campus. Masks can be removed in the privacy of an office or outdoors, unless in crowds where social distancing is not possible.  Certain outdoor events may require masking for additional safety.

Vaccination Mandate

Vaccines are mandated for all faculty, staff and students.

Students must upload their vaccination cards to show proof of vaccination. Click here for more information.

Faculty and staff much complete a self-attestation vaccine survey.  

Any and all records of vaccination will be kept secure and confidential.  

Social Distancing

To further minimize transmission of the virus, we are utilizing social distancing as much as possible.  Class enrollments have been managed as much as possible to allow distancing of 3 feet in the classrooms.  Student Center meeting rooms have lowered capacities to decrease density.  Conference rooms and other departmentally-managed spaces should also lessen occupancy to allow for distancing.

We will maximize outdoor opportunities, including the use of our residential and academic quads and a reservable tent next to Buley Library, while the weather permits.

Handwashing

Keeping hands clean is especially important to help prevent the virus from spreading. To prevent the spread of germs during the COVID-19 pandemic, you should wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (sing Happy Birthday to You twice) or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to clean hands before and after

  • Touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Touching your mask
  • Entering and leaving a public place
  • Touching an item or surface that may be frequently touched by other people, such as door handles, tables, gas pumps, shopping cars, or electronic cashier registers/screens
       

For more information, visit the CDC guidance on When and How to Wash Your Hands

Self-monitoring (and staying home if feeling ill)

While there are a wide range of symptoms that have been reported with COVID-19, the following are the most common:

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, 

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
       

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms.  If you have any of these symptoms, please stay at home (or if you are already on campus, you should immediately return home).  

For more information on next steps, please visit our COVID-19 Response Checklists (Situation 1 for faculty/staff and Situation 3 for students).

Self-reporting

Reporting a positive test result

Any member of our community must report if they test positive off campus.  Anyone who receives a positive test through the on-campus testing protocols does not need to self-report. 
   

Unvaccinated Close Contacts

Any unvaccinated member of our community who has been identified as a close contact must report this to the University using the self-report form.

Any questions about reporting should be directed to the COVID Coordinator.

COVID Testing

Anyone who receives an exception to the vaccine mandate (medical or non-medical) must participate in Southern’s  testing protocols throughout the semester.  Testing will take place on campus on Mondays and Tuesdays weekly from 11:00am to 4:00pm in the Schwartz Residence Hall Programming Space (lower level). If a student is not able to participate during these times, they should watch their university email for  information regarding testing.

Contact Tracing

The University will continue to contact trace members of our campus community who test positive for COVID-19. 

A member of Southern’s Contact Tracing Team will interview the confirmed case to gather detailed information about all of their activities and interactions with others, starting two days prior to the onset of symptoms, or two days prior to a positive test. This process is designed to limit the spread of the virus.

The SCSU contact tracer then notifies all Southern community members who are considered to be at risk for exposure, otherwise known as close contacts.

A close contact is considered anyone who has been within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes over a 24-hour period.  Close contacts who have not been vaccinated must quarantine. See Quarantine/Isolation below for more detail.

Per CDC guidance, close contacts that have been vaccinated do not have to quarantine. They are advised to monitor for symptoms and to get tested 3-5 days after exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms. They should also wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until receiving a negative test result.

Any identified close contacts who are not SCSU-affiliated will be entered into the state contract tracing database for followup and notification by their local health department.

Quarantine/Isolation

All students and employees should watch for symptoms of COVID 19, and if they have symptoms, should be tested, stay away from others, and report their symptoms to university health services. Symptoms can arise 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Per CDC guidance, should an employee or student test positive for COVID they are required to isolate for 10 days and not return to work or class until free of fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, other symptoms are improving, and they have been cleared by university health services or the HR department in the case of employees.

Health services will notify the COVID Coordinator who will work with the local public health department and support contact tracing so that any individuals considered close contacts can be notified. For those considered a close contact who are not vaccinated, they should get a COVID test within 3-5 days of exposure and are not to return to work or class for 14 days from date of exposure and they have been cleared by university health services or the HR department in the case of employees.

People who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19. However, fully vaccinated people should be tested 3-5 days after their exposure. Should the vaccinated close contact get a positive test result or experience symptoms, they must self-isolate for 10 days or until fever is gone for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and other symptoms are improving. 

Event Guidelines

To ensure events and activities are as safe as possible, a set of Fall 2021 Event Guidelines has been established. All event planners should consult with these guidelines well in advance of their planned event to ensure sufficient time for delivering a safe event.

If you have questions or need any assistance planning your event with relation to COVID guidance, contact the Conferences and Events office.

Travel Guidelines

Per the CDC guidance, unvaccinated individuals who travel outside of Connecticut should get a test 1-3 days before and 3-5 days after travel and quarantine for 7 days upon return; even if they get a negative test individuals should quarantine for the full 7 days.  If they receive a positive test or experience symptoms, isolation is required for 10 days or until fever is gone for 24 hours and other symptoms are improving.  Before returning to campus, students and employees must be cleared by university health services or their primary care physician.  Those who are vaccinated do not need to test or quarantine after traveling.  

At this time, the CDC recommends individuals do not travel internationally until they are fully vaccinated. Read the full CDC international travel guidance for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals (cdc.gov). The COVID-19 situation, including the spread of new or concerning variants, differs from country to country. All travelers need to pay close attention to the conditions at their destination before traveling.

Unvaccinated employees and students should be prohibited from school-sponsored travel unless granted an exception for special circumstances until such time as local, national and international transmission of the virus is low and/or CDC guidance changes.  All school-sponsored and personal international travel must be discussed with the COVID Coordinator to establish a plan for the student’s or employee’s safe return to campus.  All sponsored trips should follow CDC guidance for public transportation.  
 
Note: The travel rules do not apply to individuals who commute from neighboring states to go to school or work.