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Testing and Contact Tracing

Will the University conduct COVID-19 testing?

Yes. As part of MCPHS’s Flexplan 2020, our plan for the safe reopening in the fall, the University will be employing a robust COVID-19 testing and contact tracing regimen to mitigate community spread and to protect the health and safety of our students and other community members. Our testing policy was developed and is being implemented in conjunction with contracted medical and public health experts as well as CDC, state, and local guidance.

The testing policy will include pre-arrival, arrival, and on-going testing, as appropriate, for all students, faculty, staff, and other community members. MCPHS has entered into an agreement with the Broad Institute, a Harvard and MIT affiliate located in Cambridge, MA, for our lab testing. The Broad Institute’s FDA authorized non-invasive anterior nasal swab will be administered by healthcare professionals from Brewster Ambulance Service. Test results should be available to students within 36 to 48 hours of testing.

Additionally, each day, all students, faculty, and staff will be expected to fill out a short on-line or smartphone app-based self-diagnosis questionnaire before coming to campus to inform them about whether they should remain at home/in their residence hall rather than coming to campus. In cases of potential exposure to COVID-19 on campus, contact tracing staff will reach out to individuals who were potentially exposed. Without identifying the source of the potential exposure, staff will inform individuals of the nature of the potential exposure and advise them on appropriate next steps.

Do I need to test for COVID-19 before I come to campus? When and how should I test?

Yes, all students must obtain a pre-arrival COVID-19 test and be prepared to provide proof of a negative test result in order to begin classes or labs.

Students must have their test swab sample taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival on campus, pursuant to the Massachusetts Travel Order effective August 1, 2020. This test can occur at MCPHS testing sites—trailers on University property but not inside buildings—or individuals may contact their primary care provider.

Worcester and Manchester campus testing centers are open; the Boston campus testing center will open later in August. Students on all campuses will be notified of options for pre-arrival testing on their campus or remotely.

MCPHS will reimburse students for any out-of-pocket testing costs related to their pre-arrival test.

Additionally, MCPHS will be testing all students one to two days after arrival on campus. This does not replace the pre-arrival test.

How will on-campus testing work?

Upon arrival at the testing site at their scheduled time, students will be greeted by an MCPHS staff member. Students should be prepared to present their MCPHS photo identification. A Brewster Ambulance healthcare professional will then administer the non-invasive nasal test swab.

How and when will I get my test results?

Students will receive notification of a negative test result by email within 36 to 48 hours.

Students will receive notification of a positive test result by a phone call from our COVID-19 Team within 36 to 48 hours.

If a student tests positive for or is exposed to a positive case of COVID-19, the student will engage in the University isolation process to prevent further disease transmission. The MCPHS COVID-19 Coordinator, Dr. Nate Horwitz-Willis, and his team, will assist students directly. Students should also contact their Dean or Program Director for assistance with an academic continuity plan for studies while in isolation.

How often will ongoing testing happen? What will the procedure be?

Following the initial test, students will be required to be re-tested regularly. Ongoing testing will be conducted, as appropriate, and up to twice per week. Students will be notified by email on their re-testing plan.

All students arriving on campus are asked to self-monitor and restrict movement until an MCPHS COVID-19 arrival test returns a negative result. All students, faculty, and staff are required to complete the health screening questionnaire before coming to campus each day, wear a cloth face covering or mask, maintain physical distancing, cover coughs and sneezes, frequently wash hands, avoid large groups, monitor health daily, and stay home if they are not feeling well.

I plan on moving into the residence halls this month, what if my parents do not want to get tested?

Since the start of the pandemic, MCPHS has demonstrated a commitment to protect the health and safety of all members of the MCPHS community. MCPHS University is a private institution that may restrict access to its property as it sees fit, and it has limited access to its campuses since March 2020 in order to protect its students, faculty, and staff. As part of the University's ongoing efforts, students residing in University residence halls during the Fall 2020 semester are not permitted to have guests. MCPHS has decided to make an exception to this policy when students move in, by allowing each student 1 person to assist the student during their assigned move-in time, provided that such persons provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the prior 72 hours. Parents and friends of students are free to decline to take or provide the results of a COVID-19 test, but those who exercise this right will not be permitted to enter MCPHS buildings.

What happens if there is potential exposure to COVID-19 on campus?

In cases of potential exposure to COVID-19 on campus, contact tracing staff will reach out to individuals who were potentially exposed. Without identifying the source of the potential exposure, staff will inform individuals of the nature of the potential exposure and advise them on appropriate next steps.

What happens if someone tests positive for COVID-19 or is suspected to have the virus?

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, has been in contact with a positive case, or has symptoms, they will be asked to quarantine or isolate. Residential students will be expected to follow the University’s requirements regarding personal behavior, and students who have tested positive will be moved to a designated room for isolation if they are unable to travel home with family. Students residing in a Unit with someone who requires isolation or quarantine may also be asked to quarantine to mitigate any further spread.

What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?

Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

I am coming to MCPHS from outside of Massachusetts. Do I need to self-quarantine for 14 days?

Yes, for most states and all countries. However, the governor of Massachusetts has waived the self-quarantine directive for travelers coming from the nearby states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

We suggest that you check this website regularly. Guidance regarding quarantining may change at any time based on recommendations from the state and federal government, and the CDC.

I am not coming from one of the states with a quarantine waiver and need to self-quarantine. What do I do?

Our hope is that students will have the ability to come to Massachusetts two weeks before the start of the semester and quarantine with family, friends, or in a hotel. However, we recognize that this may be a challenge for some and encourage those students to contact the office of Residence Life directly if these are not an option:

We suggest that you check this website regularly. Guidance regarding quarantining may change at any time based on recommendations from the state and federal government, and the CDC.

Flexplan 2020

Flexplan Our plan for the safe reopening in the fall

Our plan for the safe reopening in the fall.

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Information Hotline

Phone:
617-879-5999

Email:
info@mcphs.edu

Hours:
Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.