COVID-19 FAQs

COVID-19 Notification Form COVID-19 Workflow

General FAQs

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19 infection include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, sore throat, headache, body aches, loss of smell/taste, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, and skin changes.

Who can get COVID-19?

Anyone can become infected with COVID-19. If you have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or have recently traveled to an area of widespread community transmission, you may be at an increased risk.

How can I protect myself and others from getting COVID-19?

  • Stay home if you’re not feeling well.
  • Wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
  • Wear a mask while in crowded environments.

What are the COVID-19 key terms I should know?

These are important terms and concepts used by medical professionals:

  • Close contact means being within six feet of someone for at least 15 minutes OR having direct contact with infectious secretions (e.g., being coughed or sneezed on).
  • Physical distancing (social distancing) is for everyone. It means keeping people farther apart to prevent the virus from spreading in communities.
  • Isolation is for people who have the virus. It means keeping them separated from people who don’t have it.

When do I need to isolate myself for COVID-19?

Students testing positive for COVID-19 must isolate at their primary place of residence and fill out the WCU COVID-19 Notification form.

What should I do about my classes if I am in isolation and cannot attend my in-person classes?

If you are in isolation, you may not attend classes in person or be in places where others are present unless it is an emergency or to seek medical care. Please follow this COVID-19 Workflow .

For additional questions regarding testing and exposure, please contact the Student Health Services at 610-436-2509.

My friend told me they tested positive for COVID-19, what should I do?

According to the CDC you no longer need to quarantine for exposure to COVID-19. However, wear a high-quality mask (N95) as soon as you find out you were exposed starting from day 1. Day 1 is the first full day after exposure through day 10. Get tested at least 5 full days after your last exposure.

The reason to test for COVID is to determine if you are positive (and therefore infectious to others) while remaining without symptoms. Students who would like to be tested for COVID-19 can call the Student Health Center at 610-436-2509 to make an appointment for testing.

In addition, many commercial insurance companies will cover the cost of at-home COVID-19 tests that can be purchased at local retail stores or pharmacies. Find additional testing sites at Chester County’s COVID-19 testing information website.

NOTE: The best time to get tested for COVID-19 after an exposure is 4-7 days after the exposure occurred. It is important to know that a negative test cannot tell you for certain if you are or will become infected. A negative test DOES NOT mean you will not develop infection and become positive following exposure. If you are determined to be a close contact, wear a well-fitted mask for 10 days.

Is there a treatment for COVID-19?

There are vaccines available. There are currently no medications or antiviral treatments proven to treat COVID-19.

Where do I find a COVID-19 vaccine near me?

If you are interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, use vaccines.gov to find a location near you. To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) resource Vaccines for COVID-19.

 

Housing FAQs

Will there be COVID Rules, regulations and restrictions in place for the 2022-23 academic year?

At this time, students should assume that some restrictions may be in place. Students living on campus will receive an email communication if, at any point, additional safety protocols are necessary, based on CDC and PA Department of Health guidelines.

What happens if I test positive for COVID while living on campus?

Students must isolate at their primary residence and fill out the WCU COVID-19 Notification Form.

 

Mask FAQs

Do I need to wear a mask on campus?

No. Masking guidelines at WCU changed on 2/28/22.  The University will communicate changes to the masking guidelines, which all students agreed to follow in the Student Community Agreement.

Masking is required when visiting Student Health Services and the Counseling Center per CDC and PA Department of Health guidelines for health care facilities.

When meeting with a professor or staff in their office, the professor or staff member may at their discretion require you to wear a mask, which the university will supply.

Will masks be available on campus?

Dispensers with surgical masks will continue to be found in each WCU building. These dispensers have been improved to make mask retrieval easier and increased quantities of masks will be given to our building managers on a regular basis. We will also make a limited number of KN95 masks (or their equivalents) available in our buildings. These masks can be found in classrooms, academic department suites, and in each College’s or School’s dean’s office.

 

Monitoring FAQs

How will we handle outbreaks among students?

In the case of an outbreak, we will work with the PA Department of Health and Chester County Health Department to implement response protocols as required.

 

Testing FAQs

Will COVID-19 testing be available on campus?

Students who would like to be tested for COVID-19 can call the Student Health Center at 610-436-2509 to make an appointment.

In addition, many commercial insurance companies will cover the cost of at-home COVID-19 tests that can be purchased at local retail stores or pharmacies. Find additional testing sites at Chester County’s COVID-19 testing information website.

NOTE: The best timing to get tested for COVID-19 after an exposure is 4-7 days after the exposure occurred. It is important to know that a negative test cannot tell you for certain if you are or will become infected. A negative test DOES NOT mean you will not develop infection and become positive following exposure. If you are determined to be a close contact, wear a well-fitted mask for 10 days.

What should I do if I tested, and my result was positive?

If you receive a positive test result, you must isolate yourself from others. The University recommends that you also submit the positive test results using the WCU COVID-19 Notification Form. A Health and Wellness Team member will respond and assist you with the next steps. You may also contact Student Health Services for guidance on medical care and to learn how to protect others from being exposed.

Refer to the COVID 19 Workflow for necessary recommendations.

What do I do if I think I have a false positive antigen (rapid) COVID-19 test?

Asymptomatic (no symptoms) & Positive Antigen

  • Asymptomatic students with positive results on antigen (rapid) tests and no known exposure must isolate.
  • Fill out the WCU COVID-19 Notification Form.  A Health and Wellness team member will respond regarding your next steps.
  • Students who receive a negative PCR confirmatory test will be released from isolation by the Health & Wellness team member.

 

Vaccine FAQs

Is the COVID-19 vaccine required for students?

The COVID-19 vaccine is not required, but highly recommended. Students are encouraged to consult Student Health Services, their private medical provider, or local department of health when making decisions about COVID-19 vaccination. While we will continue to study this issue, at this time State System universities do not have the legal authority to mandate COVID vaccines for students. Should there be a change in the law authorizing us to mandate COVID vaccines, we would reevaluate our position.

Where can I get a vaccine?

Individuals interested in receiving the vaccine or boosters may use Vaccines.gov to find a location near them.

 

Questions for Student Health Services

What can I do to prepare in case I get COVID-19?

Planning for the possible scenario of getting COVID-19 will help reduce any feelings of panic if it occurs. It can feel helpful to have specific information and items prepared in advance – just in case.

Information to have ready:

  • Create a physical and virtual emergency contact list for each person in your living space. Include the names and contact information of important people, such as family members and friends.
  • Create a physical and virtual list of your healthcare facilities and providers so you have a plan of who to contact and where you can go to seek help. Know where the closest hospital is and make a plan for how you will get there.

Write down the phone number and digital contact information for Student Health Services and/or your local primary care provider. Also keep this information in a digital space that’s easy to access, such as your phone.

  • If you live off-campus, create a plan with those you live with about how you will use your space if someone is sick and in isolation. Consider deciding on a room or space that can be used for isolation, designating a separate bathroom (if available), and making these spaces comfortable. Also, talk about how those who are not in isolation will continue everyday preventive actions, including cleaning shared surfaces.

Items to have ready:

  • Make a ready-to-go healthcare kit in case you need to quickly seek emergency medical care. Your kit should include a physical list of the “Information to have ready,” important identification and health insurance cards, any health-related notes (e.g., allergies, prescription medications), in addition to a few essentials (e.g., a toothbrush, water bottle, phone charger, and snacks).
  • Aim to have several weeks of any prescription medication.
  • Plan to have several weeks of medication to help relieve COVID-19 symptoms, including cough medicine and acetaminophen (Tylenol). Also have a thermometer to help monitor your symptoms.
  • There’s no need to overload purchasing food or cleaning supplies but consider having a few extra non-perishable food items and hygiene supplies in case you cannot go to the store.
  • Additionally, you can request to receive free COVID-19 test at COVID.gov/tests. These are shipped via USPS and can take several weeks to receive. Private commercial insurance may cover or reimburse for the purchase of at-home tests to have on hand.
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