Ball State releases COVID-19 testing and contact tracing protocols

In a campus-wide email Monday, Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns released university COVID-19 testing and contact tracing protocols for the fall semester.

Students returning to campus and living on campus, according to the protocols, must present a self-certification of a 14 day self-quarantine including symptoms tracking or present a negative COVID-19 test result obtained within seven days of moving into residence halls.

Students living off campus are encouraged to either self-quarantine before returning to campus or obtain a negative test result. 

Free resources for symptoms tracking include: CDC Coronavirus Self-Checker, IU Health’s Virtual Coronavirus Screening App and IU Helath’s Virtual Visits App.

Residential students and student athletes may undergo extra screenings for coronavirus, including temperature checks. If many students or employees from a specific group or location experience symptoms, the university will consult with local public health experts to determine if testing everyone in that group regardless of symptoms would be appropriate.

For students who have not been tested or self-quarantined for 14 days, the Student Health Center in partnership with Indiana University Health can provide COVID-19 tests that will be subject to the same billing process as other lab tests. Students should self-quarantine while awaiting test results.

Mearns said in the email there are University-owned facilities designated for student quarantine and isolation for those who live in residence halls.

Any student or employee who experiences coronavirus symptoms is advised not to come to campus and seek medical care, unless symptoms are common with a separate diagnosed cause, such as allergies.

Students should call the Student Health Center at 765-285-8431 and inform staff they are experiencing coronavirus symptoms. Employees should call their primary care provider or use the Employee Quick Clinic for assistance with symptoms and COVID-19 tests.

Mearns said, in the email, the university is working with the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and Delaware County Health Department to plan for efficient contact tracing should any student or employee test positive.

The ISDH will contact anyone with a positive test to initiate contact tracing protocols. Employees, students or visitors who are advised to quarantine due to a positive test or contact with someone with a positive test must obtain clearance from a health care provider before returning to campus. Student Health Center staff will rely on current CDC guidance to determine when a patient can return to campus.

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