Testing Protocols for Beacon Community

We each have a role in ensuring a safe and healthy campus

In examining how to best return to campus, the fundamentals of what have kept us safe, individually and collectively, remain a top priority for us all: wearing a cloth mask, maintaining proper physical distancing standards, frequently washing our hands and maintaining good hygiene, taking good care and ensuring the cleanliness of our private and public spaces, answering the daily wellness questions before going to work, and staying at home when we don’t feel well.

For each of these actions, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local, county, and state public officials have affirmed that our individual responsibility and our fidelity to daily compliance will have a significant positive impact on our community.

By taking ownership of what we each control and our own actions, we, collectively, will make notable impact on our community’s public health and well-being.

Updating policies and protocols to ensure we address a rapidly changing landscape

That is why our COVID-19 task force diligently over the past several months has been working on developing comprehensive policies and choosing tools to thoughtfully prepare for the desired return of our students.

Given the evolving landscape surrounding the virus, the College has decided to augment the work of the task force and the advice we have received from state, county, and local public health officials by commissioning a professional support and review team. The team — that will likely become a fixture at Beacon well beyond this current health crisis — will be chaired by our recently appointed trustee, Al Moffett, M.D. The team will enhance and monitor the work of the task force and the College in implementing and, as new evidence-based guidance becomes available, updating our campus health and safety policies and protocols. This external team will bring to bear upon our collective efforts on campus the state and county expertise and resources of public health, medicine, local hospitals, mental health, and emergency management.  

Implementing sequenced, rapid testing to further ensure a baseline of health in our community

Even though guidance from the CDC to America’s institutions of higher education on the subject of COVID testing was explicit in stating that it did not recommend entry testing of all returning students, faculty, and staff, the administration of Beacon College felt that providing testing would strengthen our existing protocols. Requiring testing for all students, faculty, and staff will allow Beacon to establish a foundation and baseline of health. In turn, this will serve the community as the starting point for adhering to the protocols. More telling, doing this exhibits a commitment to the responsibilities, we all owe to each other, in faithfully following our daily wellness checks and rituals. For, in the intersection and commitment of all of this, will be our community’s ability to limit exposure and the person-to-person transmission of the virus.

Additionally, all students, faculty, and staff must submit to testing prior to the start of the semester. 

For students, this means arranging testing at home, at their own expense, and prior to even coming to campus. Once on campus, students immediately will be retested, and, given that the College is also practicing surveillance testing, students will be re-tested two weeks after their arrival.

Faculty and staff must undergo the same test that students will receive on campus. This and a follow-up surveillance test will be performed at no cost to employees.

TESTING PROTOCOL FOR ALL STUDENTS

Pre-arrival testing requirement for students

Students must take a COVID-19 test prior to coming to campus for the fall semester. 

Anyone testing positive for COVID-19 will remain at home until they are able to clear the College’s extended protocols. These students can participate in classes and support services remotely until they are healthy enough to return.

All students with a negative pre-arrival test will be retested once they arrive on campus prior to admittance.  This FDA-authorized test determines the presence of COVID-19 antibodies due to recent or long-term exposure to the virus. The College will defray the cost of the test. It delivers results within 15 minutes. As a further safeguard, an additional surveillance test will be performed approximately two weeks after fall classes commence. Any student or employee testing positive immediately will be isolated and the appropriate protocol will be initiated and followed.

We must establish a baseline of health for our students entering campus — and, upon their arrival, mount a collective, diligent effort to comply with our protocols so we all may remain safe and healthy.

Process & Timelines:

  1. All summer session and career immersion participants will be serology (antibody) tested immediately upon their arrival on campus.
  1. For any student who tests positive for active COVID antibodies (IgM) he/she/they will be isolated and re-tested immediately. Any person testing positive a second time will either: 1) be isolated in a designated campus residence and be allowed to take classes remotely; or 2) return home until a 14-day waiting period and re-testing is completed.
  1. All students on-campus for summer session and career immersion will undergo a “surveillance” (follow-up) COVID antibody test on August 17 or 18 as further protection to themselves and returning students and employees.
  1. All students registered for new student orientation or fall semester must submit to an FDA-approved COVID-19 test performed no earlier than Wednesday, August 5 and provide upon their arrival official medical certification of a negative result.
  1. Any orientation or fall semester student who tests positive because of this process must quarantine at home for 14 days, be re-tested, and provide certification of a negative PCR test result prior to being allowed on campus.  These students will be encouraged to participate in the academic program remotely until such time as a negative test result is certified and on-campus arrangements can be made.
  1. Upon arrival, all orientation and fall semester students will be serology (antibody) tested. For any student who tests positive for active COVID antibodies (IgM), he/she/they will be isolated and re-tested immediately. Any student testing positive a second time will either: 1) be isolated in a designated campus residence and be allowed to take classes remotely; or 2) return home until a 14-day waiting period and re-testing is completed.
  1. Finally, the College will practice the surveillance testing method to establish as comprehensive a baseline as possible. Thus, all students will be re-tested using the serology (antibody) protocol approximately two weeks after their arrival.

TESTING PROTOCOL FOR ALL FACULTY AND STAFF

Faculty and staff testing

To ensure we work to create that baseline of health in our community, all employees also will be tested.

Employees must submit to the same FDA-authorized serology (antibody) entry test students take. It will be administered by a registered nurse. Free to employees, this test, and a follow-up surveillance test, promise rapid results.

All 12-month employees — and those on campus for summer session and/or career immersion programs — will be tested Thursday, July 23 and Friday, July 24. If necessary, testing will carry over into Saturday, July 25.

All remaining faculty and staff must be tested between August 13 and August 15.  Please contact Linda Allison in the Office of Human Resources (lallison@beaconcollege.edu or 352-638-9820) if you have questions or a scheduling conflict.

Any employee testing positive will be informed confidentially at the testing site and the appropriate protocol for this circumstance will be immediately initiated.

Process & Timelines:

  1. All 12-month employees with current and/or regular access to the campus will be serology tested during the period: July 23 through July 25.
  2. Other employees who will be on campus for the summer session and/or career immersion programs will be serology (antibody) tested during this time frame.
  3. All remaining faculty and staff must be serology (antibody) tested between August 13 and August 15.
  4. For any employee who tests positive for active COVID-19 antibodies (IgM), he/she/they will be isolated and re-tested immediately. Any person testing positive will be encouraged to have a follow-up PCR test at a clinical location and, unless compelling data is provided otherwise, must isolate away from campus for a 14-day period.