Covid-19 faq for families and students

updated 7/22/2020

Yes, New College is still working diligently on the physical reopening plan. The plan will work, and allow the College to open and operate, as long as all of us, students and employees, take personal responsibility in following the recommended CDC Guidance. While this is clearly not happening in parts of Florida, we believe it will happen here.  

As a practical matter, if a student were to test positive for COVID, they would be asked to self-isolate for 10 days from the date of the testing in their dorm room. If the students were symptomatic, they would receive appropriate care, up to and including treatment from healthcare professionals. With rare exceptions, even if isolating at home, there is currently also a risk of COVID exposure. We believe that for most college-age students, the College will provide a safer environment than other alternatives; however, each student and their family must make this important decision for themselves. The College will have a robust catalog of both on-line and in-person classes, and we fully support whatever learning modality is chosen.

New College prides itself on the diversity of viewpoints, and opinions on COVID are no different. Widely varying positions are circulated on an almost daily basis, and debated amongst the faculty, staff and other members of the community. The administration is well aware of what are valid concerns, and have used them to develop policies and best practices across campus. The great advantages of New College are 1) its small scale. 2) large campus and 3) inherent bias towards social responsibility. 

Also, the reopening plan requires that we monitor the COVID context; if the situation changes, we are prepared to revert to fully remote instruction, if required.   

Yes, all students, faculty and staff are encouraged to be tested for COVID-19 using a viral test.  If you are planning to come to campus at all, you need to be tested.  A negative test must be submitted to return to campus.  If you are completely remote and are not coming to campus, you do not need to test.

 

 

Testing is part of the State University System approved reopening plan for NCF.  We are attempting to do our best to start off the term with a healthy campus.  The virus is spread rapidly, and it does spread from people who are not exhibiting symptoms.  Testing is the only way we can find people with the virus and attempt to reduce the number of campus infections.

You should test sometime between July 25 and August 5.  If you have trouble with this, please let us know, and we will try to work with you to address your particular situation.  We do realize testing sites are variable in number and in availability.  After you test, we ask that you be particularly careful and self-isolate, as the test is only accurate on the day you take it.  To care for everyone, we hope that you consider the consequences of unintentional spread, including giving to someone who is more at risk for severe problems.  Testing is important to mitigate the risk.

You should isolate yourself as best you can after receiving a negative test result.  We know that the tests only reflect the person’s viral status that day and you can be infected immediately afterward.  To minimize the risk to everyone, we are asking that you limit your contacts after testing.  

Any viral test for COVID-19.   Nasal swabs, either self- administered or administered by a healthcare provider are acceptable.  Oral swabs, either self- administered or if administered by a healthcare provider are acceptable.  

At this time, we do not accept COVID-19 antibody testing.  It is not reliable enough yet.  It may be used in the future, but not for this fall.

Negative test result:  You should submit a negative test to return to campus, your sample dated after July 25.

Positive test result:  If your test results are positive, you should also submit them.  However, if your results are positive, you will need to remain off campus for 10 days post-test date AND be symptom-free for 72 hours.  After this period, you may return to campus.  You do not need to submit another test.

At this time, Florida residents do not have quarantine restrictions for travel within Florida.  However, you will need to provide us with a negative test.

At this time, you do not need to quarantine.  However, you will need to provide us with a negative test.

At this time only international students from countries that the State Department has stated “no travel”  must quarantine for 14 days when coming to Florida. See Travel Advisories for updated information.  You will also need a negative test, which you could obtain when you get here.  If you get the test here, you will need to be quarantined until a result is obtained.  Please email wellness@ncf.edu to discuss your options.

Please contact us at wellness@ncf.edu if you cannot test between July 25 and August 5.  You will not be able to come to campus unless you have provided us with a negative COVID-19 test.  

If you have difficulties with obtaining a test, please contact us at wellness@ncf.eduWe are in the process of working on ways to assist students who cannot get the test prior to arrival.  Be assured that we will work with you! 

If you are not on campus, you will not be able to come to campus for 10 days from the date you took the test which came back positive and have no symptoms for 72 hours prior to ending quarantine (this may be part of the 10 days).  If you are already on campus and test positive during the term, NCF will make arrangements for you to quarantine for this period of time. If you have had symptoms of COVID-19, please remember that you must be symptom-free for 72 hours before you are released from quarantine, even if this is longer than 10 days.

 

If you are both on campus, your roommate will be moved to quarantine rooms and you will be asked to quarantine for 14 days after your last contact with them in your current room.  You should avoid contact with your roommate.  You will need to monitor your health carefully. 

See CDC quarantine guidelines here. Appropriate disinfection procedures will be implemented in your room by the College as is possible.

Appropriate disinfection procedures will be implemented in your room by the College as is possible.

 

If you have had contact with someone who has a positive viral test for COVID-19, you should isolate for 14 days from the point of last contact with them.  If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you must also be symptom-free for 72 hours before you are released from quarantine. Contacts of the contacts do not need to isolate.

Please follow guidelines as best you can.  See Households Living in Close Quarters for assistance with this.  Metz will also assist you with food deliveries.  Student Health will be checking in with students who have COVID-19 to ensure you have necessities. Telehealth and telemental health is are available.  Classes will be remote, as will be programming initiatives.

No.  This is a test that does not involve any injection of a substance into your body.  It is a testing sample only.

At this time, we are asking everyone to test as we would like to have a baseline as we start the term.  However, if you do not plan to come to campus at all, you do not need to test.  However, please note that if you do choose to come to campus at some point, you will need to provide a negative test prior to your arrival.  Please contact us if you have any problems with testing.  

You will need to wear a mask on campus except when in your living unit with your roommate and the door closed.  This is particularly important whenever indoors, as vapor can remain in the air for a few hours inside and transmit the virus after you leave the area.  

In addition, you will need to keep at least 6 feet distance from others when interacting on campus indoors or outdoors and continue to wear your mask. 

We will be doing random testing for 10% of our community each week to check on internal “hotspots”.  If found, increased disinfection and educational efforts will be directed to that area.  This random testing is entirely voluntary, however, and if you choose not to participate, that is ok.  Students are also doing a tutorial with faculty to do viral testing of high- use surfaces in collaboration with USF, as well as working on tracing efforts.  

We also will be working as a community to encourage maintaining our ongoing prevention efforts through regular communications, campus signage and student involvement.  Please do participate!

 

Unlike some other universities and most off-campus housing options, the College will provide housing refunds if it is unable to open the residence halls for Fall 2020. Please see our Housing Refund Policy.

We will be implementing a COVID-19 symptom checker for everyone to complete daily.  Students will be using a tracker that integrates with our Health Service provider, USF.  Everyone will complete an initial questionnaire, and then do an abbreviated symptom check which will be available as an app.  Anyone with symptoms will be contacted by our Student Health Services provider, and will need to discuss their situation with the provider prior to further exposure on campus.  More information will be forthcoming on this!

New College Facilities staff have upgraded the filters used in its HVAC systems to provide additional particulate filtration. This is a more dense filter, and results in better air cleaning for students and staff. At this point, COVID-19 is new, and no scientific studies are yet available to prove how or to what extent various air filter types increase or decrease the rate of COVID-19 transmission. However, our reasonable assumption is that a more dense filter may help, and these new filters have been designed to increase filtration without compromising air circulation. Filters of greater density would both 1) Reduce air circulation, contrary to CDC guidance and 2) Increase load on the HVAC systems, possibly compromising system performance.
Please keep in mind also that CDA current guidance is that COVID-19 transmission primarily appears to be person to person by direct transmission of droplets.