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Testing

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is the goal of routine testing?

Many individuals infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 do not show any symptoms but can still spread it to others.  The goal of routine surveillance testing is to identify those individuals who are either asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic and isolate them to prevent spread of the virus to others. Once we identify someone with a positive test, these individuals are isolated on or away from campus in order to mitigate further spread of infection in the Holy Cross community. 

What kind of test are we using?  

We are using a PCR test, which uses a nasal swab to look for evidence of an active viral infection.  

How do you administer the test?

This is a self-administered nasal swab, which is monitored by medical professionals. When you go into the testing center, they will provide you with a testing swab. You will be asked to insert it into the inner part of each nostril for five spins of the swab. Prior to coming to the testing site, you should blow your nose in a private place and ensure that there is no mucus on the lower part of your nostrils as excess mucus may prevent the test from being performed.

What does it feel like?  

The nasal swab is only inserted ½ inch into each nostril. While it may feel awkward, there is no pain. This is a less invasive nasal swab test than the one that goes deep into the nasal cavity.

How accurate is the test?  

PCR is currently the most sensitive and specific generally accepted test available for COVID. False positive and false negative tests can occur, but are believed to occur at a low frequency.

What is a false positive?

A false positive is a test indicating the person is infected when they really are not.

What is a false negative?

A false negative is a test result that is wrong because it indicates the person is not infected when they really are infected. A test can be negative when someone is in very early phases of infection, which is one reason we are  testing regularly. 

What if I don’t want to test?

The College is requiring testing twice per week for any student who is accessing campus in any way and for certain classifications of faculty and staff, based on the amount of time on campus and the level of exposure to others. Faculty and staff who fall within one of these categories will be required to participate in testing in order to return to campus. 

What if I want to get an extra test?

The College has purchased a specific number of tests based upon our testing needs. All faculty, staff, and students are limited to the testing schedule defined by the College.

May I get tested if I think I’ve been exposed to COVID-19?

If you believe that you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, you should quarantine in your home, apartment, or residence hall room immediately.

  • Students living on campus should contact the Director of Health Services at 508-793-2276 (or during off-hours, our on-call physician at (508) 334-8830.)
  • Students living off-campus who have been given permission to come onto campus should contact the Director of Health Services at 508-793-2276 (or during off-hours, our on-call physician at (508) 334-8830.)
  • Students living off-campus who have not been given permission to come onto campus should contact their health care provider. 
  • Employees should contact their supervisor and their health care provider and follow their instructions.  

May I get tested if I am feeling sick?  

If you have symptoms you should NOT come to the testing site. Residential or approved off campus students should contact Student Health Services. Remote students and Employees should contact their health care provider, and they will determine whether or not you should get tested.
 

For Residential Students

How often do I have to test?  

Residential students are required to test twice per week.

How do I sign up for a test?  

Students must use the One Medical app to schedule a test. Use the “Book Visit” feature in the app, or the “Get Care” button on the website to schedule a test at the Holy Cross COVID-19 PCR Testing Location.

Who gets my results?  

You will get results through the One Medical app. Health Services and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health also receive your results.

What happens if I have a positive test?  

Our Isolation and Quarantine Coordinators (“IQ Coordinator”) check students’ test results throughout the day. When they receive notice of a positive test, they will implement our isolation and quarantine procedures and start contact tracing. 

For isolation, the IQ Coordinator will reach out to you and discuss whether you want to isolate at home or in the on-campus isolation space in Loyola Hall. If you decide to isolate on-campus, the IQ Coordinator will arrange for your move to Loyola, where you will remain through your isolation period, which will be no less than ten days. During your isolation period, the College will deliver fresh meals every day. Someone from Health Services will conduct a daily medical check-in. Our College CARE Team will also check-in to ensure that you have what you need while in isolation.  

Once you are in isolation, the IQ Coordinators will also start the contact tracing process. The IQ Coordinators will work with you to identify individuals with whom you came into close contact during the period in which we believe you may have been contagious. Please note that a Close Contact is not someone with whom you had a casual or brief encounter. A Close Contact is someone who was within six feet of distance of you for over fifteen minutes. Once we identify your Close Contacts, we will follow up with them directly on how to quarantine. For more information on Close Contacts, please see our FAQ on Contact Tracing

What happens if I have a negative test?  

You will receive test results through the One Medical app and receive a green “badge” that shows you are permitted to access campus facilities. In order to access campus facilities, you will need to show your green badge. 

For Off-Campus Students Who Have Permission to Come onto Campus

How often do I have to test?  

Students who come onto campus are required to test twice per week.

How do I sign up for a test?  

Students must use the One Medical app to schedule a test.  Use the “Book Visit” feature in the app, or the “Get Care” button on the website to schedule a test at the Holy Cross COVID-19 PCR Testing Location.

Who gets my results?  

You will get results through the One Medical app. Health Services and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health also receive your results.

What happens if I have a positive test?  

Our Isolation and Quarantine Coordinators (“IQ Coordinator”) check students’ test results throughout the day. When they receive notice of a positive test, they will implement our isolation and quarantine procedures and start contact tracing. 

For isolation, the IQ Coordinator will reach out to you and discuss your isolation options. The IQ Coordinators will also start the contact tracing process. The IQ Coordinators will work with you to identify individuals with whom you came into close contact during the period in which we believe you may have been contagious. Please note that a Close Contact is not someone with whom you had a casual or brief encounter. A Close Contact is someone who was within six feet of distance of you for over fifteen minutes. Once we identify your Close Contacts, we will follow up with them directly on how to quarantine. For more information on Close Contacts, please see our FAQ on Contact Tracing

What happens if I have a negative test?  

You will receive test results through the One Medical app and receive a green “badge” that shows you are permitted to access campus facilities. In order to access campus facilities, you will need to show your green badge.

Administrators, Faculty and Staff

How often do I have to test?  

Faculty and staff testing frequency is based on the amount of time you will be on campus and the level of exposure you will have to others while you are on campus. You should have received an email from Human Resources letting you know your testing requirement. If you have not received this email please contact your supervisor.

How do I sign up for a test?  

You will schedule a test through the One Medical app. Use the “Book Visit” feature in the app, or the “Get Care” button on the website to schedule a test at the Holy Cross COVID-19 PCR Testing Location.

Who gets my results?  

You will get results through the One Medical app. Our Isolation and Quarantine Coordinators will also receive the results of your test.  

What happens if I have a positive test?  

If you receive a positive test, you will be required to isolate off campus through your contagion period. In the event of a positive test, please contact your health care provider and let them know about your test result. You and your health care provider should discuss the appropriate period of isolation and any other steps you should take.   

When can I return to work?  

When an employee who has been diagnosed with, or exposed to, COVID-19 seeks to return to work, they should communicate as far in advance as possible with Human Resources about a return-to-work plan. As a general practice, Human Resources will require such employees to obtain return-to-work certifications or other appropriate documentation from their medical provider indicating that they are fully recovered and do not pose a risk of further transmission. If this proves impracticable or impossible, Human Resources may determine, based on available evidence and information, whether and when it is safe for the employee to return to work. Recovering employees may, in the College’s discretion, be permitted to return to work remotely, where remote working is an option, before they are permitted to return to campus, and additional documentation may be required before an employee can return to campus in these circumstances.

What happens if I have a negative test?  

You will receive test results through the One Medical app and receive a green “badge” that shows you are permitted to access campus facilities.  

May I get tested if I think I’ve been exposed to COVID-19?

If you believe that you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, you may not come to campus. Please contact your health care provider and follow their directions. If you receive a positive test from your provider, please contact the IQ Coordinators at iqcoordinator@holycross.edu.