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Student Update: Preparing for Winter Term and Drexel Student COVID-19 Testing

As Drexel looks forward to the student return to campus for the winter term (whether quarter or semester program), the University has put together a COVID-19 testing plan for students and employees.

December 16 2020

The following message was sent to Drexel students on Dec. 16:

Summary:

  • Baseline testing first two weeks of term
  • Initial Drexel Dragon Wellness time
  • Weekly testing throughout the term
  • Health Checker app for testing reminders, results
  • Drexel testing details here

Dear Students,

As we look forward to your return to campus for the winter term (whether quarter or semester program), Drexel University has put together a COVID-19 testing plan for students and employees. Informed by experience and science, our screening strategy has been created to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission among our campus community. While testing does not replace the importance of mask wearing, distancing, and hand washing, it can play an important role in risk reduction and supports early detection of COVID-19 infection. Your participation in this program will contribute to the success of our campus community in staying healthy and staying open.

Members of the Drexel community engaging in face-to-face courses and/or research and living in select residence halls, will be undergoing baseline COVID-19 testing, and be expected to undergo COVID-19 testing periodically as directed by our health and safety program. Ongoing results of our screening program will further guide the frequency of testing over time.

More information about COVID-19 testing at Drexel, including the type of test in use, can be accessed here.


Please note that Drexel provides in-house testing for asymptomatic students only for screening purposes.

If you are a student and are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19, please call the Student Health Center, 215.220.4700, to arrange an appointment for assessment and testing. Student Health will be open during the winter break, with the exception of December 25 and January 1.

Preparing for Winter Term

As currently planned, students staying in Drexel residence halls and Greek properties will be moving in throughout the week of January 4 and begin classes remotely on January 11. Some face-to-face and hybrid classes will begin the week of January 18. Thus, the initial two weeks on campus, January 4-17, comprise a Dragon Wellness period with baseline COVID-19 testing performed during the week that students arrive, followed by mandatory weekly screenings. During this time, students will be engaged predominantly in online orientation activities and are asked to have limited movement around campus. This will allow for testing and a quarantine period as needed.

Experience gained nationally and here at Drexel shows an increase of COVID-19 transmission associated with holiday get-togethers. While we all want to be together over the holidays, the current pandemic and national infection rates should inform our choices. How safely you choose to spend your time before arriving on campus, particularly your adherence to mask wearing and distancing when you are with people outside your own household, will determine our ability to open campus safely and increase face-to-face instruction and activities.

Students must complete the online health and safety training and accept the Dragon Pledge. Information in this training has been revised to keep pace with the evolving pandemic, so this training will need to be completed at the start of each term. We strongly recommend that you have a flu vaccination before you come to campus. In addition, you should consider obtaining a COVID-19 test before you leave for campus to further support good health over Winter break. While there will be testing on arrival for students living in University housing as well as housing connected to University buildings, ensuring you are negative for COVID-19 before you come to campus is a good way to start the term.

Any students in quarantine because of exposure to someone with a known infection must complete their quarantine before coming to campus. No students with symptoms of any illness should participate in campus move-in. Please do not come to campus until you are well.

The Drexel Health Checker

All students must download the Drexel Health Checker App. Available for Android and iOS devices, the app is your key to daily symptom reporting, communicating with Student Health services, scheduling your weekly test, and accessing your test results through an integrated, confidential health portal. Download the app and check out its functions before you arrive on campus. In order to ensure you can access your test results through the app, make sure you register using the Drexel email that is in the format abc123@Drexel.edu . Regardless of where you live, you must use the app for daily symptom reporting before being able to enter campus buildings. Report any symptoms, even if mild.

 

What can I expect from testing?

  • The following students will be part of Drexel's mandatory testing program:
  • During the weeks of January 4 and January 11, students must undergo baseline COVID-19 testing.
  • For those moving in, COVID-19 baseline testing will be required prior to receiving your room key.
  • All students listed above will undergo testing once a week thereafter.
  • Testing requirements for students in co-op or special programs with remote or away clinical rotations will receive guidance and expectations for testing from their respective colleges and schools.
  • Students who are asymptomatic and have not been exposed to persons with COVID-19 infection and are not in any of the above-mentioned groups will still be able to schedule screening testing on select days through the student health center.

How will I know when I need testing and how do I schedule?

To help facilitate scheduling your weekly testing, students in our mandatory testing program will be notified via email and/or though the Drexel Health Checker app the week they are required to be tested. Upon notification of the week you are to be tested, you will schedule your testing time and location using the Drexel health Checker app. Ongoing details on when, where and how to schedule your test appointment will be provided in weekly app/email notifications. Please note if your course registration is not up to date you may not be contacted right away for testing.

  • All test results will be provided through the Drexel Health Checker App within 24 hours of testing.
  • Individuals with previous COVID 19 infection will not be eligible to complete surveillance testing for three months after their positive test. While they are unable to test, they are still expected to self-monitor for symptoms daily on the Health Checker app.
  • All students are required to comply with weekly testing. Failure to do so will result in a hold being placed on your student account that will impact your ability to access University buildings and may result in further disciplinary action.


Where do I get tested?

For ease and accessibility to quick and accurate testing, we have established testing sites at the University City, Center City and Queen Lane campuses.

  • Race Hall Library Learning Terrace (3300 Race Street)
  • Queen Lane campus (2900 W Queen Lane, Classroom C9)
  • New College Building (245 N 15th Street, Room 1103)
  • Student Health Center for all symptomatic students and COVID-19 exposures. (3401 Market Street, 215.220.4700)


What if I test positive or have been exposed to a positive case?

  • Individuals with a positive test will receive contact from Student Health and our Case Investigation Team and provided additional information on next steps for self-isolation and care. Your health is extremely important to us!
  • Contacts of an infected individual will be contacted by our contact tracing team from a Drexel affiliated phone number (215.895.2001) and provided additional information on next steps for quarantine.
  • Students who cannot self-isolate or quarantine safely will be offered a room in our designated isolation hall or quarantine hall. For more detailed information on isolation and quarantine please read here.
  • Individuals with previous COVID 19 infection will not be eligible to complete surveillance testing for three months after their positive test. While they are unable to test, they are still expected to self-monitor for symptoms daily on the Health Checker app.
  • All students are required to comply with the Contact Tracing team instructions, including completion of daily symptom surveys for monitoring purposes. Failure to do so will impact your ability to access university buildings and may result in further disciplinary action.

These are challenging times. Drexel aims to support you in your studies and work with you and members of the entire campus community to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and infection. But we can't do it alone. You play an active role in our collective success. Working together, we have the opportunity to gradually open more of the campus and have a successful winter term. We look forward to welcoming you to campus in January.

Be safe,

Janet Cruz, MD
Director, Student Health Services

Marla J Gold, MD
Director, Return Oversight Committee

Subir Sahu, PhD
Senior Vice President for Student Success