COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
What do I do if someone I know tested positive for covid?
If you had close contact with the positive individual you MUST contact Willcoxon MSSU Student Health Center at 417-625-9323 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org You are considered a close contact if you were with this individual for greater than 15 minutes (in a cumulative 24 hour period) at a distance of closer than six feet, with or without a mask on.
The Health Center will determine if you need to quarantine and can facilitate Covid-19 testing.
After potential exposure, you should limit your regular activities and, when you need to go out, use proper safety precautions, including a face covering, social distancing and proper handwashing.
I have some symptoms, how do I know if it is Covid-19?
Covid-19 has a wide range of symptoms, some of which are very mild. Many individuals think they may have allergies, or a stomach bug, but do indeed have Covid-19. Some individuals get all of the following symptoms, while others only have one or two symptoms. If you have ANY of the following symptoms you must contact the Health Center at 417-625-9323 or email us at email@example.com. We will help you determine if your symptoms are consistent with Covid-19 and if testing is recommended.
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of Breath
- Chest pain/pressure
- Loss of taste and smell
- Body Aches
When should I get tested for Covid-19 if I have symptoms or have had qualifying exposure?
- At least three days after symptom onset
- At least eight days after exposure if no symptoms are present
- Testing prior to these recommendations can result in inaccurate or false-negative test results.
Why can’t I test immediately after exposure or immediately after I develop symptoms?
COVID-19 is not immediately detectable. An incubation period is needed for your body to develop enough virus for it to be present in your mucus and saliva. Testing before the virus is present in your secretions will result in a negative test, although this could be a false negative result.
I tested negative for Covid-19, why do I still have to quarantine?
Per Centers for Disease Control Guidelines, a negative Covid-19 test does not negate the need to quarantine. Any with covid symptoms must quarantine from campus for 10 days due to potential false-negative tests.
I tested positive for Covid-19, what do I do now?
You must remain in quarantine for 10 days from symptom onset, or 10 days from the positive test if you do not have symptoms.
Email your professors and let them know you will not be in your courses due to a medical reason. You do not have to disclose that you are positive for Covid-19.
The Health Center will notify your professors also so that you are not penalized for missing courses.
Your local Health Department will reach out to you and provide quarantine guidelines. They will perform contact tracing to determine who else may have been exposed. In order to facilitate this process:
- Write down who you have been with for the 48 hours prior to your symptoms beginning, or 48 hours prior to a positive test
- Gather as much contact information, such as phone numbers, for individuals with who you had close contact. This will make it easier for the Health Department to notify your close contacts
What are the required quarantine periods?
If you test positive for Covid-19:
- You must quarantine for 10 days from the onset of your symptoms
- If you were asymptomatic, but positive for Covid-19, then you must quarantine for 10 days from a positive test result
If you test negative for Covid-19 but have symptoms
- You must quarantine for 10 days from symptom onset even with a negative test
If you have qualifying exposure with a Covid-19 positive individual, but do not have symptoms
- You must quarantine for 14 days from last contact with the positive individual
Do I need an appointment for testing?
How much does testing cost?
No money is due on the day of testing.
If you have Health insurance, the lab will bill your insurance. There is no out of pocket cost to you.
If you do not have health insurance, we will work with you.
Where is testing and what kind of testing is performed?
We perform DNA PCR testing through the use of a saliva sample. Our test involves coughing and spitting into a specimen container. We do not swab the nose.
We are located in the Willcoxon Student Health Center in Billingsly
DO NOT come in the building- find the orange cone on the sidewalk and follow the ramp-up to our backdoor. Once at the backdoor, please ring the doorbell or knock
How long do results take?
Covid testing results are usually by the end of the next business day. We will call you and notify you of test results whether you are positive or negative.
COVID-19 Exposure Frequently Asked Questions
I just learned that an employee or student on campus tested positive for COVID-19. Am I at risk?
When a university employee or student tests positive, the public health department and University shall initiate contact tracing and will get in touch with anyone it identifies as a close contact. Close contact, according to the CDC’s most recent guidance, means prolonged contact (15 minutes or more in a cumulative 24 hour period) and within six feet with an individual with confirmed COVID-19 or direct contact with that individual’s infectious secretions or excretions. If you are not a close contact, you have no special precautions to take at this time, though everyone should follow prevention measures to keep themselves healthy. These measures include practicing good hygiene and social distancing, wearing a face covering, monitoring your health, and staying home if you are sick.
Will MSSU alert me if I am exposed to COVID-19?
All positive COVID-19 tests are reported to the health department as well as the MSSU Willcoxon Health Center. Both of these offices will work together to notify other health officials, as well as impacted faculty, staff, and students based on contact tracing and local health department guidance of any case of COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), FERPA or and other applicable laws and regulations.
Will MSSU disclose the identity of the individual?
The university will not be releasing the name of any employee or student that tests positive for COVID-19 to the general community. Employee and patient confidentiality laws prohibit the university from disclosing this information. We appreciate your understanding of these privacy limitations. Any employees who become aware of the identity of any such individual should respect that person’s privacy and abide by all privacy rules related to personal information. The university will provide periodic updates regarding COVID-19 cases and will contact those that may be at risk for exposure. The university will not, however, issue notifications with each individual case.
What is MSSU doing to protect me from potential exposure to the individual who tested positive?
MSSU is following CDC and other related federal and state guidance on the handling of potential and actual positive COVID-19 cases. MSSU is and will remain committed to protecting the health, safety and welfare of our entire campus community. MSSU is taking the following steps with regard to any employee or student who tests positive for COVID-19:
Advise Sick Individuals of Home Isolation Criteria
- Sick faculty, staff, or students should not return to in-person classes or University facilities, or end isolation until they have met CDC’s criteria to discontinue home isolation.
Isolate and Transport Those Who are Sick
- Faculty, staff, and students should not come to the University if they are sick. They should notify the MSSU Willcoxon Health Center if a student or the Willcoxon Health Center and HR if an employee becomes sick with COVID-19 symptoms, tests positive for COVID-19, or was exposed to someone with COVID-19 symptoms or a confirmed or suspected case.
- Immediately separate faculty, staff, and students with COVID-19 symptoms (such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath). Individuals who are sick should go home or to a healthcare facility, depending on how severe their symptoms are, and follow CDC Guidance for caring for oneself and others who are sick. For those that live in University housing, follow CDC’s Guidance for Shared or Congregate Housing. The Willcoxon Health Center is trying to limit the number of ill patients entering the building and waiting area. If you are ill, you must call for an appointment at 417-625-9323. You will be given instructions on how to safely enter the building.
Clean and Disinfect
- Close off areas used by a sick person and do not use these areas until after cleaning and disinfecting
- Wait at least 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting. If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
- Once sanitized, the room or space can be used again.
Notify Health Officials and Close Contacts
- All positive COVID-19 tests are reported to the Health Department as well as the MSSU Willcoxon Health Center. Both of these offices will work together to notify other health officials, as well as impacted faculty, staff, and students based on contact tracing and local health department guidance of any case of COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), FERPA or and other applicable laws and regulations.
- Inform those who have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 to stay home or in their living quarters and self-monitor for symptoms, and follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.
I think I might have been exposed to COVID-19 outside of the university. What do I do?
What about time off if I am sick, have been exposed or are caring for someone who is sick?
- Examine and revise policies for excused absences and virtual learning (students).
- The university continues to provide qualifying employees with up to two (2) weeks of telework for situations that meet one of the six (6) items covered under the FFCRA. Please contact Human Resources for details as well as the related form. Should employees need additional time beyond the two (2) weeks they can complete the FMLA request form, ADA request form or file for a leave of absence as indicated below.
- FMLA is also available to qualifying employees for up to 12 weeks, should they need it for COVID-19 related situations as approved by a medical doctor.
- The Leave of Absence policy as indicated in the MSSU Employee Handbook, is also an option for qualifying employees should they need it.
- Leave and excused absence policies should be flexible, not be punitive to people for taking time off and should allow sick employees and students to stay home and away from others. Leave and excused absence policies should also account for employees and students who need to stay home with their children if there are school or childcare closures, or to care for sick family members.
- Regarding students returning to classes and facilities after COVID-19 illness follow CDC’s criteria to discontinue home isolation and quarantine.