Clarkson’s protocols for screening, testing, monitoring and containing for COVID-19 follow the recommendations of St. Lawrence Health System that operates our Student Health Center and the local Canton-Potsdam Hospital located one mile from campus and the St. Lawrence County Board of Health as monitored by St. Lawrence County Public Health.
With other higher education institutions in the region, we are in the process of implementing a mobile phone app for all faculty, staff and students to respond to regular screening questions based on symptoms of COVID-19 to complement testing programs. Here are the currently planned questions:
Do you currently have a fever (temperature of 100.4 F or greater) without having taken any fever-reducing medications?
Have you experienced any of the following COVID-19 related symptoms in the past 14 days: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell?
Have you tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days, or have you been instructed by a health care professional/public health official/contact tracing app to self-isolate or quarantine?
Have you knowingly been in close (within 6 feet) or proximate (same enclosed environment, such as an office, but greater than 6 feet) contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19 within the past 14 days?
Have you, or anyone you live with, traveled outside the North Country in the last 14 days?
Based on the screening questions answers, students may be asked to undergo further testing. Screening programs to detect asymptomatic students with COVID-19 do not replace important measures such as hand-washing, social distancing, face mask use and tracing/isolation when someone comes into contact with a person who has tested positive.
Planned Testing to Start the Academic Year & Ongoing Screening
Students from all over the country are moving into a region that has a very low rate of COVID-19 infection. It is our objective with the other higher education institutions in the region to ensure all students who come to St. Lawrence County are healthy and stay safe, and to maintain the region’s status as a community that has been diligent in prevention and containment. When we can sustain staying safe, we can resume more of the traditional activities and learning opportunities within our region later in the year.
Before students come on campus for the Fall semester, they will need to undergo COVID-19 testing with RT-PCR (not serology). This must be scheduled to be performed within 7 calendar days prior to arrival on campus. Students with a positive test prior to arrival will not be allowed to be present on campus in person.
Based on some medical practices/localities needing more justification, we have sent a communication from the Student Health Center managed by St. Lawrence Health System and the St. Lawrence County Board of Health with this reopening requirement that you may give your provider/ local testing site. We will be sending closer to the reopening date the method for reporting your test results. International students and students coming from a state that is under a NYS mandated travel advisory will get separate communication on testing -- we are still getting guidance from NYS on the quarantine parameters when combined with a COVID-19 test that is negative. Please contact email@example.com if your provider/ public health agency is not able to secure a test with these additional resources.
Medical professionals from St. Lawrence Health System and our affiliated Physician Assistant program members who have been trained in administering the COVID-19 test will do a second test 7 to 10 days after each student arrives on campus. Students will get more information on where and how they will take place. The results of this second round of testing, and the occurrence of positive cases throughout the semester, will determine the pattern for additional testing.
We plan to then conduct 300 tests each week through the end of the semester in addition to responding to tests needed based on screening protocols.
We also have faculty and students in a civil engineering course working on a wastewater-based epidemiology surveillance program that will be implemented into the fall semester.
Positive Case Response
Clarkson has developed plans and protocols to respond to positive or suspected cases as well as preventative policies and practices. Students who test positive for acute COVID-19 (by RT-PCR) will be contacted immediately by Student Health Center personnel (these are St. Lawrence Health System employees) at the university as well as St. Lawrence County Department of Health staff. Every effort will be made to maintain the student’s confidentiality concerning the diagnosis. Similar to our previous Student Wellness Plans, it is recommended that when possible, the student return to his/her/their permanent residence and pursue the guidance from their regular family care and provider networks; however that may not be possible for a variety of reasons. Students who can’t return to their permanent address or indicated that they prefer to self-isolate or quarantine on campus will follow the protocols outlined for campus residents. For detailed information, please review the Clarkson University Positive Case Response Plan.