General COVID-19 FAQ

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.  

Generally, a close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of someone who tested positive for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more within a 24 hour period, regardless of mask use. In a lecture-style class where other mitigation measures are in place (e.g. masking, increased ventilation, and a high vaccination rate), this distance may be reduced from 6 feet to 3 feet. Other styles of class, such as discussion sections and labs which involve moving around and interacting with other students, may fall under different parameters for identifying close contact. 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. The identity of the student is not disclosed to the professor, unless the student consents to do so. 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 an email and phone call from a CHWS contact tracer within a few hours of notification of a positive case. You will be directed to quarantine if you are not fully vaccinated. If you are vaccinated, you will not need to quarantine, but you will need to test, monitor for symptoms, and wear a mask around others for 14 days following the exposure.

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 the fall break and Thanksgiving break, if they have traveled away from campus. You can test by dropping off a saliva sample three to five days after your last travel day. You do not need to quarantine after travel, unless you develop symptoms. If you are unvaccinated, please email contacttracing@pugetsound.edu for more specific guidance about post-travel requirements. 

Vaccination & 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
Living on Campus FAQ

You and your roommate should wear masks while you are in your room to reduce the likelihood of transmission. You should make an appointment at Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services (CHWS) to get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible. 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, please wear a mask and utilize “Grab and Go” options from the The Diner in Wheelock Student Center while you are awaiting 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. 

Fall Arrival FAQ

Arrival testing is a valuable strategy to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within the Puget Sound community and reduce the likelihood of spreading COVID-19 in the greater Tacoma community. With students arriving from various points of origin, entry testing can help identify breakthrough infections among vaccinated individuals and isolate and provide services to those who test positive. In addition, we are still learning about the efficacy of vaccines in the face of new variants, and entry testing adds an additional layer of protection as we all return to in-person activities on campus.

International students are encouraged to get vaccinated against COVID-19 now. If a vaccine is not available to you, then you may receive a COVID-19 vaccination when you arrive in the United States. All vaccines listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) will be accepted as meeting University of Puget Sound’s requirement for vaccination. Individuals who have received a non-WHO-approved vaccine may be offered re-vaccination with one approved for emergency use by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If you have questions about vaccine requirements for international students, you may reach out to Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services at chws@pugetsound.edu.

If an international student has an extenuating circumstance that has prevented them from being vaccinated before arrival, they should contact Eowyn Greeno, international student advisor, Office of International Programs, egreeno@pugetsound.edu

Current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires seven to 10 days of quarantine for international travelers who are not fully vaccinated. International students who are unable to access the vaccine during the summer should contact the Office of International Programs to arrange an arrival time that allows for quarantine before they plan to participate in any in-person activities or programming.