In light of recent new recommendations from the CDC, we are reviewing campus COVID-19 safety protocols. If you have specific questions, please email contacttracing@pugetsound.edu.

Spring Arrival FAQ

Please check your Puget Sound email account for updates regarding spring semester 2022. View all 2021–22 university communications.

All students, faculty, and staff are required to test for COVID-19 up to seven days prior to arrival on campus. PCR testing is preferred. You do not need to report a negative prior-to-arrival test result to contact tracing.  

If you test positive prior to arriving on campus, 1) do not come to campus, and 2) email contacttracing@pugetsound.edu to report the case. Please see the answer for “I’m preparing to come to campus, but I tested positive for COVID-19. What should I do?” 
 

Perform an on-campus saliva test the first week you return to campus.

  • Drop off a saliva sample at the dropbox located upstairs in Wheelock Student Center (outside Room 208) beginning Jan. 3, 2022.

    OR
     

  • Participate in walk-through testing in Rasmussen Rotunda Tuesday, Jan. 18–Thursday, Jan. 20, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

If you have received a booster shot during the break, submit your proof of booster vaccination. Learn more about booster shot guidance for spring semester.

If you have tested positive, please email contacttracing@pugetsound.edu to report the case. In your email, please provide a current phone number where you can be reached.

Isolation guidance: 

At this time, we are continuing to use the 10-day isolation period guidance. If you test positive, isolate at home and do not come to campus until you have isolated for 10 days—even if you are asymptomatic or your symptoms are resolving. This guidance is consistent with recommendations we have received from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD). We are aware that the CDC is recommending a shorter time frame, and at this time are using the more localized TPCHD guidance. We will update you if this changes. The contact tracing team can provide guidance regarding your return to campus.

Students: If you have a lab report that shows your positive test, you should also upload your test result to your CHWS portal.  

Testing guidance: 

When you return to campus, you do not need to participate in asymptomatic arrival testing for 90 days after your positive test result. You may disregard any automated reminders to complete pooled saliva testing requirements. 

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 within 90 days of a positive test result, you should self-quarantine and make an appointment to be seen by a healthcare provider for an exam.  

Booster guidance:

If you have recently tested positive and not yet received a booster shot, you should consult with your primary health care provider to determine when to receive the booster shot. You may still return to campus if you have not received a booster. Please plan on getting your booster as soon as you are eligible after you arrive.  

Vaccination, Booster & Exemption FAQ

Evidence is clear that a prior COVID-19 infection does not fully immunize you from contracting the new variants, and that immunity acquired through infection may wane over time. Vaccines provide robust protection against COVID-19, and although they do not offer 100% protection, a high proportion of vaccinated individuals is important to reach herd immunity. 

All community members are required to turn in vaccination information or waivers to Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services (CHWS) if they are students or the Department of Human Resources if they are faculty or staff members. Unvaccinated individuals are required to wear masks, participate in testing (once or twice a week as assigned), complete the daily health self-screening, practice social distancing when in public spaces, and follow the CDC’s guidance for unvaccinated people.

Information about how to request a medical or religious exemption can be found on the Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services (CHWS) website

Any individual approved for an exemption will be required to observe CDC and any other guidance implemented on the University of Puget Sound campus.
 

Students who are not vaccinated will need to adhere to campus guidelines for unvaccinated individuals, which include:

  • Quarantining upon arrival to campus until negative test results are confirmed
  • Wearing a mask indoors
  • Wearing a mask outdoors when 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained
  • Participating in weekly asymptomatic testing
  • Filling out a daily symptom checker/self-screening through myPugetSound
  • Quarantining for 14 days if they have close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Leaving campus in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak until two weeks have passed since the last positive case

The following guidance is taken directly from the CDC.

The CDC now recommends that adults 18 and older should receive a booster shot. Data from clinical trials showed that a booster shot increased the immune response in trial participants who finished a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna primary series six months earlier or who received a J&J/Janssen single-dose vaccine two months earlier. With an increased immune response, people should have improved protection against getting infected with COVID-19. 

If you have recently tested positive and not yet received a booster shot, you should consult with your primary health care provider to determine when to receive the booster shot. You may still return to campus if you have not received a booster. Please plan on getting your booster as soon as you are eligible after you arrive. 

Booster shots are available in Tacoma and the surrounding area. The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department hosts vaccine clinics in many locations on a daily basis. View an up-to-date list of vaccine clinic sites.

In addition, the Washington Department of Health provides a tool which includes pharmacies and smaller vaccine providers that have open appointments.

If you are outside of Washington, you can use this website to find a vaccine provider near you.

Those who have already received an approved medical or religious exemption are not required to receive a booster shot. No additional exemption paperwork is necessary. 

More information is forthcoming about exemption requests for the booster shot only. Please check back for updates at a later time. 

You may still return to campus if you have not received a booster. Please plan on getting your booster as soon as you are eligible after you arrive.  

General COVID-19 FAQ

We are monitoring the information provided by the CDC, as well as ongoing rates of transmission both nationwide and locally. We are continuing to use recommended mitigation protocols including: 

  • Requiring all campus members to get a booster
  • Arrival testing after the semester break
  • Ongoing randomized surveillance testing throughout the spring 2022 semester
  • Masking 
  • Making symptomatic testing resources and guidance available 
  • Regularly updating the COVID-19 dashboard and risk threshold indicator

If you are having COVID-like symptoms that are not attributed to a known condition, even if you are fully vaccinated, you should quarantine away from others (stay home, wear a mask, and do not attend work or class) until COVID-19 infection has been ruled out. Because breakthrough cases among vaccinated individuals can occur, it is important that all campus members, regardless of vaccination status, quarantine upon symptom onset and get tested. 

COVID-like symptoms include: 

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Students: If you are experiencing mild symptoms of COVID-19, you can submit a saliva test without needing to see a health care provider. Please self-quarantine until you have received a negative result. Wear a mask around others even if your symptoms are mild.

If you are having more moderate or severe COVID-19-like symptoms, please call the triage nurse at Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services (CHWS) at 253.879.2798, and leave a message Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. The triage nurse will provide guidance and schedule you for an appointment with a health care provider if needed. At your appointment, you may be tested for COVID-19 and other conditions as appropriate.

Students with moderate to severe symptoms should self-quarantine until they have received guidance from the triage nurse or another health care provider, including a negative test result from a PCR/NAAT test. Antigen tests cannot be used to rule out COVID-19 infection in symptomatic individuals. If your symptoms are due to another cause, not COVID-19, the health care provider will determine your next steps. 

Faculty and staff members who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should seek out testing with their health care provider or a testing site. The Multicare Respiratory Clinic on campus is available for COVID-19 testing. Appointments are required. The clinic may be reached at 253.879.2821 and is located at 3215 N. 13th St. (near the Yellow House). Faculty and staff members should self-quarantine until they have received a negative test result from a PCR/NAAT test. If the result is negative, please continue to stay home until symptoms are improved, and you have been fever-free for 24 hours. Please consult with your health care provider if you are unsure if you should return to work.  

If you test positive for COVID-19, you must report this to a designated person in your department (supervisor, department chair, etc.). This person will contact CHWS and inform the CHWS staff of your test result so that CHWS may begin contact tracing. Antigen tests cannot be used to rule out COVID infection in symptomatic individuals.   

You should work with your health care provider to determine when it is safe to return to in-person activities. In general, if you have no known exposure to COVID-19, you should continue to stay home as long as you feel sick. You may return to in-person activities on campus when you have been symptom- and fever-free for at least 24 hours. Continue to wear a mask and socially distance until your symptoms resolve.

If you have tested negative for COVID-19, but are experiencing symptoms that cannot be attributed to another known condition and have known close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 14 days, you are presumed positive for COVID-19. This means you should isolate away from others, regardless of your vaccination status. The campus provides isolation and quarantine space available to all students, regardless of whether you live on or off campus. You should work with your health care provider to determine when you can end isolation and return to in-person activities.  

All campus members: Per CDC guidance, if you are vaccinated against COVID-19 and you have had close contact with someone who has tested positive, you do not need to quarantine as long as you are asymptomatic (not having symptoms). However, campus policy requires that vaccinated individuals exposed to COVID-19 test twice after exposure even if they remain asymptomatic. If you become symptomatic, you must quarantine and get tested for COVID-19 right away. 

Students: After exposure to COVID-19, you must call Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services (CHWS) and report your exposure so that the CHWS staff may provide guidance in this situation and help you schedule testing. You are required to be tested right away and/or tested five to seven days after exposure to COVID-19. If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to quarantine after exposure unless you develop symptoms. 

Faculty/Staff: After exposure to COVID-19, you must report this to a designated person (supervisor, department chair, etc.). This person will contact CHWS and inform the CHWS staff of your exposure so that CHWS may provide guidance in this situation. You are required to be tested right away and/or tested five to seven days after exposure to COVID-19. If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to quarantine after exposure unless you develop symptoms. 

The Multicare Respiratory Clinic can test people who have been exposed to COVID-19. Appointments are required. The clinic may be reached at 253.879.2821 and is located at 3215 N. 13th St. (near the Yellow House). Testing can also be done at numerous testing sites in Pierce County.

Tacoma Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) and the Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services (CHWS) contact-tracing team work closely together whenever a positive case of COVID-19 is identified on campus. In the event of multiple cases on campus, TPCHD will evaluate each case, the place of transmission, and make the determination if outbreak status is required. 

Generally, unless your child tests positive for COVID-19, you are not considered a close contact of a positive case. If your child does test positive during their quarantine (or if your child develops symptoms and is presumed positive), you should follow the guidance for testing and/or quarantine after close contact with a positive case depending on your vaccination status. Unvaccinated individuals need to quarantine for 14 days following close contact with a positive case. Vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine, but they do need to do follow-up testing. 

In situations where ongoing close contact is occurring due to taking care of a sick child/family member, the CHWS contact tracing team will consult with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to get the most accurate guidance. Please email contacttracing@pugetsound.edu for questions regarding close contact with a positive case.

For inquiries regarding time off and use of sick or personal leave to stay home with your child/family member, please consult human resources.

Whenever there is a positive case on campus, contact tracing is performed through an interview with the positive case. If the positive case is a student, the contact tracing interview will include questions about the nature of their participation in each class they attended during their infectious period to determine if any students or the instructor are identified as close contacts.

Once information about each class is collected from the student who tested positive, the CHWS contact tracer consults with the professor to confirm the classroom activities and obtain any additional information that is needed. It is recommended that professors utilize daily attendance and seating charts for their classes to aid in contact tracing efforts. Once all the information about the class has been collected, the contact tracer will consult with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department COVID-19 outbreak prevention team to determine the next steps as needed.

If you are identified as a close contact* due to classroom exposure, you will receive a notification with instructions about what to do after close contact from contact tracing. If you believe you are a close contact, and have not yet received information from contact tracing, please check your email or call 253.879.2796.  

*Per updated CDC guidance as of December 2021, if you are identified as a close contact and are not fully vaccinated with the primary series, or if you have not yet received a booster and are eligible for one, you will be directed to quarantine. If you are vaccinated with the primary series and have received a booster, you will not need to quarantine, but you will need to test, monitor for symptoms, and wear a mask around others.

Saliva samples are shipped to the lab Monday–Thursday at 2:30 p.m. To expedite your results, it’s important to drop off your sample prior to 2:30 p.m. Samples received after 2:30 p.m. will be sent out the next day. Samples received on Thursday after 2:30 p.m. are sent out on Mondays. 

After your sample reaches the lab, pooled results are usually available within 12 to 24 hours. The pooled results will be texted and emailed to members of that pool. If you have any further questions about testing or accessing your results, please email contacttracing@pugetsound.edu.  

All campus members are required to test after spring break. You do not need to quarantine after travel, unless you develop symptoms. If you are unvaccinated, please follow CDC guidance for unvaccinated travelers. 

Living on Campus FAQ

Stay calm and put on a mask. Your symptoms may be due to another condition, but it’s important to rule out COVID-19 as a possible cause. You should make an appointment at Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services to see a provider and get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible. CHWS can be reached at 253.879.1555. While you await your appointment and test results, you and your roommate should wear masks while you are in your room to reduce the likelihood of transmission. 

If you test positive, you will move to isolation housing on campus, and your roommate will receive instructions from CHWS about what to do next. If you do not test positive, the health care provider at CHWS will give you and your roommate (if needed) information regarding how to proceed.  

If you live on campus and need to self-quarantine, please wear a mask and utilize “Grab and Go” options from the The Diner in Wheelock Student Center while you await test results or an appointment, or if a COVID-19 infection has been ruled out. 

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you will be moved to isolation housing on campus, and food will be delivered to you.  

Yes, it is possible that unvaccinated and vaccinated students may be in the same room or suite, just as they may be in the same classroom, studio, or laboratory. We are confident that our campuswide arrival testing and subsequent surveillance testing for unvaccinated individuals will quickly identify any positive cases so that we can appropriately provide support and limit exposure.