Testing, Contact Tracing, Quarantine & Symptom Monitoring
What if I have an unavoidable event or work obligation during the 14-days before I come to campus?
To start the fall term with a minimal prevalence of the virus that causes COVID-19 in our on-campus community, we are requiring all community members to quarantine for 14-days 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 date should I choose for my campus arrival date?
If you are living on campus, your arrival date is your move-in date as provided to you by Housing and Residential Education. If you are not living on campus, please choose a date that allows you to follow our prior 14-day quarantine procedures and be able to participate on campus as soon as safely possible.
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.
What if I already have Phase I, II or III access to campus?
The new quarantine rules are designed to lower the prevalence of the virus on campus in anticipation of the return of a large portion of our community. Therefore, we are asking community members who have already been on campus to identify a fall term start date, and to follow extra precautions in the 14-days before that date, including limiting social contacts, wearing a face covering, practicing excellent hygiene, and following social distancing requirements. You can continue to work on campus, following our protocols.
I am traveling to Denver to come to DU and must do so during my 14-day quarantine period, how does this impact my quarantine?
If you are traveling to DU in your 14-day quarantine window, please take extra precautions during travel. While traveling, wear a face covering, avoid touching your face, maintain social distancing to the greatest extent possible, practice excellent hygiene, and minimize all but the necessary exposure. Your quarantine continues once you arrive in Denver until the 14-day requirement has been met.
I am traveling by air following my 14-day quarantine, are there additional quarantine steps I need to take?
If you are traveling to Denver following your quarantine, please adhere to all the same aforementioned protocols when you travel such as social distancing, etc. If you are a student flying or driving to campus, you do NOT need to begin a new quarantine phase once you arrive if your 14-day quarantine period has been met.
I am a commuter student living off-campus, how does this impact my quarantine?
If you are returning to campus in the fall in person, you are required to quarantine at home as we describe for 14-days before your selected fall arrival date. You are also required to take a test for the virus that causes COVID-19 in that 14-day window.
Are students in completely online (never on campus) programs exempted from the quarantine requirement?
For students who are enrolled in a completely online program, or who are completely online (meaning, they never come to campus, not just online for this quarter), they will be exempt from the required quarantine and testing.
What is the deadline to let DU know what my arrival date is?
For law, please provide your arrival date by August 3. For the rest of campus, please provide your arrival date by August 31.
Testing Requirements FAQs
Is the Trail Back to Campus canvas course required if I am not coming to campus in the fall?
Unless you are in a completely online program (meaning, you never come to campus, not only online this quarter) and you have no other affiliation with the University (as faculty or staff), you are required to complete the course. We require that our entire community who may participate in-person at some point this year complete the course to be informed regarding our on-campus protocols. Students in completely online programs are exempt from the course requirement.
Will I be tested again after the start of school?
Yes. We plan to test a randomly selected subset of our community each week, with an additional focus on individuals deemed at higher risk of exposure.
Are students in completely online (never on campus) programs exempted from the testing requirement?
For students who are enrolled in a completely online program, or who are completely online (meaning, they never come to campus, not just online for this quarter), they will be exempt from the required testing and this testing will not be supported by DU.
Will the University test me or help with my testing costs in the case of hardship if I am not returning to campus in the fall?
The University is requiring testing only for individuals returning in-person to campus in the fall. For this reason, we are only providing testing to this population. If you are not returning to campus, we are not able to provide testing to you at this time. Similarly, if you are not returning to campus, the additional offer to support off-campus testing expenses for people for whom free testing is not available. DU will help provide emergency funds support to students for whom this would pose an undue hardship. This applies to students who are returning to campus and testing either prior to or upon arrival on campus.
What if I can’t get a flu shot?
Everyone will be expected to get a flu shot and we will offer these free of charge on campus. A very small number of people have a medical or religious/personal philosophy exemption to the flu shot; these individuals can provide documentation for those exemptions.
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 if I’m coming to Denver midway through my 14-day window – can I get tested on campus?
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?
What if I have a test that is more than 14 days old?
It is important that your test coincides with your quarantine window; therefore, the test must have been conducted during the time that you are quarantined and not likely to have been exposed to the virus.
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, and the entire fall term – 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.
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 is also working to develop our own testing capabilities as a back-up plan. Of course, no guarantees are possible. Under current conditions and contracts, we will have sufficient capacity for our needs.
How can we trust that the tests are accurate?
The molecular PCR test required for campus return is the most accurate approved test available. No diagnostic test is a one-hundred percent accurate, but experts suggest that this method, if administered correctly, would be close to 100 percent accuracy.
Is DU confident the testing frequency proposed is sufficient?
Testing is only one measure for containing the spread of the virus. Testing will be done at the start of the term then randomly throughout the term. Both experts and our campus model demonstrate that coupling this with robust contact tracing, pre-arrival quarantine, social distancing and requiring the wearing of face coverings provides the greatest success. Increasing testing frequency does little to impact the overall case numbers on campus.
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 I don’t want to download an app, is there another way to provide symptom monitoring information?
Community members can enter the information on a website; no phone or app needed. Contact tracing can be done digitally or manually. Bringing a large portion of the community into the digital system reduces the load and enhances the response time of the manual process. If individuals cannot download the app due to accessibility issues, but they are willing to participate in the manual interview process, the outcomes will be similar.
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.
What are the repercussions if someone refuses to install the app?
To date, we have not encountered individuals not open to participating in manual tracing. If required, we will enlist help from public health officials when resistance occurs. Thus, while we strongly encourage the use of the digital app, we will not require it.
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.
- How is contact tracing conducted? If it is optional, will it be useless for me and others if most people opt out?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com. 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.
If I come to Denver before my move-in date and have to wait for my test result, will DU help me find somewhere to stay?
Yes. Please contact COVIDcoordinator@du.edu for an updated list of local hotels with negotiated discounted rates.
Will the dining halls be open? The bookstore? The library?
Dining halls will be open and those who dine in will follow social distancing protocols. Adaptations following guidelines for restaurants are being carefully adhered to. Both the bookstore and the library are open for business with modifications – for example delivery and curbside pickup. Please contact the bookstore and library for the most up-to-date information on access.
One-Time Access FAQs
Do I have to complete testing and the 14-day quarantine in order to come to campus for one-time access (for example to get a book from my office)?
No. Limited one-time access will follow the existing protocols. Specifically, you should contact your building’s COVID access manager to coordinate the visit and the required pre-survey process. To determine your COVID access manager, log into the DU portfolio site, https://portfolio.du.edu/, and select the “COVID-19 Internal Updates” folder.
Can I opt out of using the contact tracing feature of the symptom monitoring app?
Effective contact tracing is a powerful tool that can make all the difference in keeping the campus safe. Although you can opt out, we strong encourage everyone to participate. The higher the rate of participation the better the campus ability to contain the spread of the virus.
Who within DU who will have access to our symptom monitoring data?
Right now, symptom monitoring data is accessible by our deputized reporter, the lead of risk management, and the COVID-19 Response Team. Select individuals in IT also have access. Only one individual at a time needs to access this information—typically only the deputized individual, unless he is out of the office.
Depending on the number of cases on campus, we may also be required to report symptomatic individuals to the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment.
Where is the data stored? What measures will DU take to keep data secure?
Security and privacy have been paramount considerations as DU evaluates contact-tracing digital technology and potential integration with symptom monitoring. DU has created a privacy and data security working group specifically for COVID-19 led by the deputy COVID-19 coordinator. They will make policies and recommendations and then share these and the protections in place with the broader community.
For contact tracing and symptom monitoring, it is critical we select a firm with years of proven data security and privacy experience. They must also have the credentials, certifications, and independent oversight in place to ensure safeguards remain current in a landscape of more intense cyber-attacks. The selected vendor will have a comprehensive set of security requirements and controls based on the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology Security and Privacy Controls for Information Systems and Organizations and the ISO standards, and they will be General Data Protection Regulation compliant.
Digital contact-tracing technologies that use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, which allows personal data to be de-centrally stored on the individual’s phone and only accessed via randomized keys, are preferred. All of the text messages and file storage will be HIPAA and FISMA compliant. Full details on how contact tracing data is stored and maintained are detailed in the action plan.
Who will see my test results/how will they be used?
All test results will be reviewed National Jewish and available to the person tested via the University’s electronic health record. These are available to a small group of University administrators for COVID contact tracing purposes and care management. Any positive test results will be reported to the required public health agencies. Access to information is provided in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and institutional privacy and fair use policies.
How will my health information be stored and protected?
Health information is protected and stored in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and institutional privacy and fair use policies.
Will the app use GPS to track me outside of campus?
No. The GPS features will not be used to track location outside of campus.
What if I can’t afford a test and there are no free tests in my area?
The University will assist if testing costs provide hardship; further, testing on campus will be free to students, faculty and staff.
What is being done to support students, especially economically disadvantaged students?
The University is committed to supporting students with economic need to fully participate. We will support testing and work with students on a case-by-case basis with our student emergency fund.