Testing, Quarantine & Symptom Monitoring

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    Pathway Back to Campus

    Repeating the course is not required if you completed and passed the course before fall quarter.

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    Travel

    Limited to only essential travel.

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    Building Access

    Pioneer ID card required.

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    Location Tracking in Symptom Monitoring App

    Not required but strongly encouraged for effective contact tracing.

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    Test Types

    Now providing nasal swab, saliva and antigen testing.

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New Quarantine Requirements

  • Guidelines & Options

    Have you learned that you were exposed to someone confirmed positive for COVID-19? First, identify your quarantine window. Students living in DU-owned or operated housing are only eligible for reduced quarantine if they quarantine on-campus.

    Everyone has three quarantine options:

    Option 1: Quarantine for 14 days after exposure. You can leave quarantine on the 15th day after your exposure. This is the default quarantine period. 

    Option 2You may quarantine for just 10 days if you are asymptomatic during the entire quarantine period.  You will need to monitor and log your symptoms each day to qualify for this 10-day quarantine. You can leave quarantine on the 11th day after your exposure. 

    Option 3You may quarantine for just 7 days if you are asymptotic during your entire quarantine period and receive negative results on two PCR nasal swab tests—one taken at the start of your quarantine and one within 48 hours of the end of the seven-day window. You will need to monitor and log your symptoms and provide proof of the two negatives tests to be released on the eighth day after your exposure.

 

FAQs

COVID Testing

Types of COVID-19 Tests

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    Nasal Swabs

    Most of the DU community will be very familiar with this type of test, as it is extensively used at our on-campus carepod. Nasal swabs that are analyzed via polymerase chain reaction—also known as nasal swab PCRs—are the gold standard in testing for the virus that causes COVID-19. Nasal swab PCRs are highly accurate and results are typically available within two days.

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    Saliva Testing

    Saliva testing offers a less invasive method for detecting the virus that causes COVID-19. While newer and not yet FDA ”emergency use authorization” approved, we compared saliva-testing results to nasal-swab results this past fall, and they matched in 98 percent of cases. Unlike nasal swab testing, we can process saliva tests on campus, allowing for results in less than 18 hours. It is also self-administered at one of three locations on campus—the carepod, Nagel Hall or Centennial Halls.

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    Antigen Testing

    The NCAA has required all athletes, coaches, referees and other core training staff complete antigen tests three times per week, conducted by a nasal swab. Like saliva testing, we can process antigen tests here on campus, and like nasal swab PCRs, they require a trained technician to administer. Antigen tests are sometimes referred to as "rapid tests" because results are available within a few hours. While antigen tests are an effective method for screening symptomatic individuals, they are not as accurate as nasal PCR tests.

Quarantine FAQs

  • What are DU's new quarantine requirements?

    Have you learned that you were exposed to someone confirmed positive for COVID-19? First, Identify your quarantine window. Students living in DU-owned or operated housing are only eligible for reduced quarantine if they quarantine on-campus.

    Everyone has three quarantine options:

    Option 1: Quarantine for 14 days after exposure. You can leave quarantine on the 15th day after your exposure. This is the default quarantine period. 

    Option 2You may quarantine for just 10 days if you are asymptomatic during the entire quarantine period.  You will need to monitor and log your symptoms each day to qualify for this 10-day quarantine. You can leave quarantine on the 11th day after your exposure. 

    Option 3You may quarantine for just 7 days if you are asymptotic during your entire quarantine period and receive negative results on two PCR nasal swab tests—one taken at the start of your quarantine and one within 48 hours of the end of the seven-day window. You will need to monitor and log your symptoms and provide proof of the two negatives tests to be released on the eighth day after your exposure.

  • What if I have an unavoidable event or work obligation during the period before I come to campus?

    We are requiring all community members to quarantine before their arrival date. We do understand exceptions will need to be made for those who must work, or are in training programs, for example. If this presents hardship, please contact COVIDcoordinator@du.edu to discuss your circumstances. Our expectation is that, even in the case of hardship, you will wear a face covering, avoid touching your face, maintain social distancing, practicing excellent hygiene and minimize all but the necessary exposure outside of your home.

  • What if I have to travel out-of-state during the term?

    DU’s travel policy states that travel should be limited to essential travel.

  • What if I have to quarantine or isolate during the term – will my professors have to accommodate me?

    DU is committed to supporting students to meet their requirements and stay on track during COVID-19. If you have to quarantine or isolate, all classes have in place a 2-week process for you to participate remotely. If it extends beyond the 2-weeks, all units have processes in place to help you either move to a different course or adapt. Please contact Student Outreach & Support.

  • What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

    Quarantine refers to restricting movement and social contacts as a preventative measure among individuals who are not currently ill or positive for the virus. This allows us to reduce the prevalence of asymptomatic infected individuals on campus. Isolation refers to what happens once someone is confirmed or presumed positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 and refers to separating sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.

  • Where will I be isolated on campus?

    We have reserved the Hilltop residence hall for isolation. This centrally located residence hall has a number of features that allow us to isolate actively (but not acutely) sick, presumed positive/tested positive but asymptomatic and exposed students in separate wings with support like meal delivery and medical check ins.

Testing Requirements FAQs

  • Will I be tested again after the start of school?

    Yes. DU will assign individuals to a testing group, which will determine their testing days each week. In all cases, individuals will have a 24-hour window on either side of their testing day to complete testing and comply with testing requirements.

    Testing schedules and testing compliance will be available on PioneerWeb.

    • Undergraduate students living in congregate housing must be tested twice per week with at least one nasal swab PCR test every two weeks. The remaining three tests may be saliva PCR tests.
    • Undergraduate students not living in congregate housing must be tested once per week with at least one nasal swab PCR test every two weeks. The alternative week test may be a saliva PCR test.
    • Graduate students must be tested once every other week and every other test (once per four weeks) must be the nasal swab PCR test. The alternate test may be a saliva PCR test.
    • Lower-contact faculty, staff and other personnel must be tested once every third week and every other test (once per six weeks) must be the nasal swab PCR test. The alternate test may be a saliva PCR test.
    • Higher-contact staff and personnel must be tested once per week and every other test (once every two weeks) must be the nasal swab PCR test. The alternate test may be a saliva PCR test.
  • What kind of test is NJH using?

    NJH is using a mid-nasal swab and an RT-PCR methodology to identify the viral RNA for the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). This is the only kind of test that is acceptable for those wishing to return to campus.

  • Does the test hurt/is it nasopharyngeal?

    We intend to use mid-nasal sampling which is less uncomfortable than the nasopharyngeal sampling originally recommended. However, it may still be uncomfortable.

  • What if I can’t find a testing location near me?

    Please see the map of testing locations. If none of these locations work for you, we are happy to support testing you in the Denver metro area via our participation with National Jewish Health.

  • What do I do if my test is inconclusive?

    If a test has an inconclusive result, we test again.

  • What will happen if I test positive?

    If you test positive in the 14-day pre-arrival window, you should seek medical attention, isolate and delay your arrival to campus until ten days have passed since your first symptoms, and you are fever-free for 24 hours (without medication) and your symptoms have improved; OR 10 days have passed since your positive test result and you have not developed symptoms consistent with a COVID-19 infection.

  • How long does it typically take to get a test result?

    Test result times can be quite variable. For the testing we are conducting via DU, the expected time is 48 hours. Please check with the testing site you choose for their turn-around time.

  • Can I provide an antibody/serology test instead of a molecular test?

    No.

  • How will I know if I have the right type of test?

    Please ask specifically for a molecular (or RT-PCR) test for the virus that causes COVID-19 using a nasal or nasopharyngeal sample.

  • What if I get sick after I take my test?

    During your quarantine window, you are required to complete daily symptom monitoring. The emergence of symptoms consistent with COVID-19 requires contacting a health professional, isolation, and perhaps repeat testing. If you are symptomatic, even if you have had a negative test, you must isolate. The response to your symptom survey will provide you with guidance on the right steps; you may also be contacted by a DU staff member to follow-up on your symptoms.

  • What if I was previously infected by the virus that causes COVID-19 and continue to have a positive test result though I am recovered and asymptomatic?

    Per recent CDC guidance, for persons previously diagnosed with symptomatic COVID-19 who remain asymptomatic after recovery, retesting is not recommended within 3 months after the date of symptom onset for the initial COVID-19 infection. In addition, quarantine is not recommended in the event of close contact with an infected person.

  • If I tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days, do I need to take another test?

    No. The CDC recommends that individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days should not get retested. Before you return to campus, upload your original positive and dated test result. If the date you took the test is more than 14 days before your arrival date, you will be cleared to return. 

    Instructions for uploading test results:

    • Log into your My Health account at myhealth.du.edu using your DU ID and PioneerWeb Password.
    • Click on Messages (on the left sidebar), then click the “New Message” button.
    • Select “I want to submit my COVID-19 RT-PCR Test Results to the HCC”
    • Then upload your record.
  • Why is DU increasing its testing frequency?

    A recent study by DU’s COVID Response Team found DU outperformed many of its peers in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the summer of 2020, the Office of Institutional Research and Analysis began tracking a list of colleges and universities. The COVID Response Team then added schools that were well known to be high performing institutions.

    The team then did an in-depth analysis of these 95 institutions examining their response to COVID. Fifty-five of the 95 went fully online. Of the remaining 40, the team compared cumulative campus positivity, cumulative county COVID cases per 100,000 residents, the testing frequency of the campuses per student body population, and the student population size. Only 16 campuses had a lower campus positivity yet higher county case load than the University of Denver. Of these, several had extremely low testing, resulting in an inaccurate campus positivity, implemented dramatic pivot to online only learning in the beginning or middle of their term, or had a population half the size of DU.

    In total, the team could only identify eight schools that performed as well or better than DU. Especially impressive given that seven of the eight schools have medical schools and/or run a large health care system. The main difference between DU’s approach and these schools was the amount of testing that was conducted on the community. The University of Illinois, for example, recently passed the 1,000,000 mark in tests administered and many of these schools were administering mandatory testing to on campus undergraduate students two to three times every week.

DU's Testing Practices FAQs

  • How can DU guarantee that its testing capacity can support the action plan?

    Our contract with National Jewish Health gives DU increased capacity and a defined turnaround time. The University has also developed our own SPIT lab to supplement the nasal PCR testing at the care pod and our desires for high frequency testing. Three new sites will open around campus as SPIT Lab collections sites (saliva PCR). Both National Jewish Health and the SPIT Lab have worked to secure sufficient personnel and testing equipment to keep up with the new required testing protocol. Under current supply chain conditions and contracts, we will have sufficient capacity for our needs. 

  • How can we trust that the tests are accurate?

    The molecular nasal PCR diagnostic test required to return to campus is the most accurate approved test available. No diagnostic test is a 100 percent accurate, but experts suggest that this method, if administered correctly, would be close.

    Our molecular saliva PCR surveillance test required for high frequency testing has demonstrated more than 98 percent concordance with the nasal diagnostic test, and we have confidence it is capabilities, particularly as a surveillance tool. All positive surveillance COVID-19 tests results will be followed by a confirmatory nasal PCR diagnostic test.

  • Is DU confident the testing frequency proposed is sufficient?

    DU is implementing five types of testing for COVID-19 to mitigate the spread of the virus on campus. These tests include nasal PCR diagnostic testing, saliva PCR surveillance testing, rapid nasal antigen testing for symptomatic individuals and athletic teams in competition season, and two forms of wastewater testing. These high frequency testing strategies work together along with our digital, manual and backward contact tracing efforts to contain the spread of the virus. Based on numerical modeling, a review of our data from the fall 2020 term and outcomes across the country at other universities coupling pre-arrival testing with robust contact tracing, pre-arrival quarantine, high frequency testing, social distancing and requiring the wearing of face coverings provides the greatest success in the winter quarter and spring term.

  • How is DU working with the department of health on testing and tracing strategies?

    As required, DU’s Deputized Institutional Reporter is in contact with the Denver Department of Public Health regularly. We have set up a strong working relationship over the past five months that has supported both of our efforts.

  • If a student tests positive for COVID-19 and needs to quarantine, who will check in on them, how often, and will they have any medical training?

    Students living in on-campus or leased off-campus housing will have access to quarantine space in Hilltop free of charge. Students will be checked on via telehealth from individuals in the Health and Counseling Center. Transportation from a leased property to Hilltop will occur via a previously arranged ambulance service. If the student requires hospitalization, the ambulance service will be utilized for transport to Porter Hospital. 

    Students living in residences not owned or operated by the University will be responsible for their own quarantine and transportation. We have made arrangements with a few groups to provide low-cost quarantine spaces for these individuals. Contact COVIDcoordinator@du.edu for more information.  

  • If I do not have a mobile device for the app, will the university provide one?

    No, the university cannot afford to purchase smartphones for everyone.

  • Will there be a way to do symptom monitoring other than via cell phone? If so, how?

    Twice-daily symptom monitoring does not have to be done on a cellular phone. Individuals can access the survey here. We will integrate the new symptom-monitoring system with the digital contact tracing app. Digital contract tracing is a GPS-based technology that does require smartphone capacity. The higher the compliance rate in our community, the better the outcomes, but we recognize that 100 percent compliance is unlikely. If some individuals cannot download the app, we will still need them to complete the twice-daily symptom monitoring protocol.

  • Do I need to stay home if I have symptoms, even if they are likely not related to COVID-19, such as allergies or an underlying condition? How long do I need to stay at home? What do I have to disclose? And how will this conform to HIPAA regulations?

    The symptom survey asks the respondent to answer the question based on their baseline normal. If you indicate in the affirmative regarding a symptom, it will then ask if this symptom is “normal for you”. When completed, the survey will provide information and support back to the respondent if they are allowed on campus or if they should seek medical attention. All the data from the symptom survey is stored in a HIPAA compliant way.  

    An important reminder is there will never be disciplinary action around testing and tracing.

Restricted Campus Access FAQs

  • Will I need an ID to get into buildings on campus?

    Yes. At this time, building access is restricted to individuals with access to particular buildings as needed (the specific residence hall you live in, the buildings where your in-person classes are held, etc.).

  • How will I get an ID card?

    The Pioneer ID Card Office is currently open Monday and Thursdays from 9am-noon.  Any community member needing a replacement ID can visit the office.  Faculty, staff and returning students can also email pcard@du.edu to request a replacement card.  Replacement cards will be printed with the existing photo in the system and mailed via USPS.  New incoming students are encouraged to submit an online photo via PioneerWeb. DU community members can also request an alternative card design.  Requests for this type of card can be made in person or by sending an email to pcard@du.edu.  All email requests should include the community member’s name and DU ID number.

    The staff will print Pioneer ID cards for incoming students throughout the summer.  Pioneer ID Cards will be distributed to new undergraduates during Discoveries.  Graduate departments can email the card office to plan for card pick-up during graduate orientation.  The office will be open during move-in hours and patrons will be expected to wear face coverings, except when being photographed.  Only one person will be allowed in the Pioneer ID Card Office at any one time.  The area outside the office provides an area to wait and maintain required physical distancing.

  • Can my family or friends visit me on campus?

    At this time, we are not allowing visitors on campus, excepting two helpers during move-in for students living on campus. We recognize it is difficult not having visitors; however, campus visitors greatly increase the risk of on-campus transmission and much more difficult for us to trace contacts in the event of an exposure.

One-Time Access FAQs

Equity FAQs