COVID-19 Testing Plans
July 29, 2020
Dear North Central College Campus Community,
As we continue our preparations for the start of an academic year unlike any other, I am writing to provide an update on the College’s COVID-19 testing plans, which are part of our multi-faceted approach to provide for the health and safety of our campus community.
You were recently introduced to the College’s #TogetherNC Pledge to Stop the Spread of COVID-19, which is something we are asking all students, faculty and staff to familiarize themselves with and agree to prior to returning to campus. More information about the #TogetherNC pledge is available at covid.northcentralcollege.edu. Students should look to their North Central email account for instructions to agree to the pledge and to view an introductory video, and faculty and staff can do so through their PeopleAdmin Records task checklist.
Part of the #TogetherNC pledge is a commitment to participate in COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. The College’s COVID-19 testing plan is informed by and in alignment with CDC guidance for institutions of higher education. We feel strongly that—as part of a broader plan that includes physical distancing, wearing face coverings, frequent hand washing, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection—our testing plan will help us maintain the health and safety of the campus community. To that end, I want to share with you the College’s current plan for COVID-19 testing.
Upon arrival to campus, the College will administer on-site COVID-19 tests—or “entry tests”—for the following groups and individuals:
- All student-athletes who plan to participate in fall sports activities, as well as fall athletics coaches and staff, and athletic trainers and administrators;
- All residential students arriving from states with high incidences of COVID-19; a current list of states maintained by the Chicago Department of Public Health is available here.
Tests will be conducted in partnership with a local lab, and the lab will bill the individual’s insurance to cover the cost of the test. If an individual does not have insurance, or their insurance does not cover the test, the College will assume the cost of the test. Individuals will be asked to self-quarantine while awaiting their test results, which is expected to take up to 72 hours. For students living in our residence halls, additional details regarding expectations for self-quarantine will be communicated by the Residence Life staff.
For students who fall into the groups mentioned above, be on the lookout for a follow-up message sent to your North Central email account from the Athletics Department and Residence Life with additional details regarding preparations for your arrival to campus.
The College also plans to conduct ongoing sample COVID-19 testing of asymptomatic individuals and sub-groups of the campus population throughout the fall semester in an effort to monitor the health of the campus and to stay ahead of a potential outbreak. If selected, it is expected that all members of the campus community comply with sample testing as part of their pledge to protect the health and safety of our campus.
It is important to point out that COVID-19 testing is a moving target, with the availability of tests, the timeframe for processing tests, as well as testing guidance from entities such as the NCAA for student-athletes, remains subject to change. We will keep you informed as we continue to learn more and as we update our plans accordingly.
For the broader campus community, per CDC guidance and in consultation with local health officials, we highly recommend the following measures to help ensure your own health and safety and that of the campus community prior to your arrival to campus:
- Get tested for COVID-19; if you test positive, inform the College by completing the College’s COVID-19 Reporting Form;
- Self-quarantine for at least 14 days prior to returning to campus and self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; if you are experiencing symptoms, do not return to campus until your symptoms have subsided and you are cleared by a medical professional;
- Start to establish a daily routine to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; in the coming weeks, the College plans to introduce a mobile app to assist members of the campus community with daily COVID-19 symptom monitoring and tracking.
The entire North Central community is being asked to take additional measures in order to have a successful and fulfilling academic year ahead. At its core, the #TogetherNC pledge is a commitment to care for ourselves and for one another as we pursue our academic mission during this unique time in our nation’s history and in the history of the College. I wish you all good health and look forward to the fall semester.
Troy D. Hammond
Professor of Physics
North Central College