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Miami to change testing and quarantine guidelines for spring semester

In its Jan. 12 email, the Miami University COVID Response Team outlined new guidelines regarding testing and quarantine and isolation going into the spring semester.

According to the email, designated quarantine and isolation spaces on campus are limited and will be prioritized for students living on campus who test positive for COVID-19 and need to isolate. 

Any remaining space will be given to students living on campus who have not tested positive and live more than 150 miles from Oxford but need to quarantine due to contact tracing. Those who live within 150 miles from Oxford will be required to quarantine elsewhere, either at home or in a local hotel. 

In a press release to The Miami Student sent from Senior Director of News and Communications Jessica Rivinius, Steve Large, Miami’s assistant vice president for Student Life said students should come to campus with a plan for where they would go if they need to isolate.

“Students may want to consider also having a back-up plan in case their first option doesn't work out,” Large said. “We empathize with our students for the stress this request brings and are grateful for our students’ ongoing willingness to work together, demonstrate patience and tolerate some temporary ambiguity.”

Changes to testing include a surveillance testing program for asymptomatic students, staff and faculty using saliva samples. These individuals will be randomly selected to participate, and participation will be free and voluntary. Student Health Services at Harris Hall, in partnership with TriHealth, will continue conducting symptomatic and diagnostic testing.

Rivinius said Miami will continue to follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. Close contacts will not be required to test negative before going to classes but should follow the CDC’s recommendations on exposure.

“If you’re exposed but you know you’re boosted or you just recently finished your second vaccination or completed that course, then you need to wear a mask around others for ten days, which shouldn’t be a problem at Miami because we are all required to wear masks, and then test on day five as possible,” Rivinius said. 

In the release, Director of Miami’s public health program Kendall Leser added that students who test positive need to wear a mask and isolate regardless of vaccination status.

“All students who test positive for COVID need to wear a well-fitted mask for a full 10 days from the time they first experience symptoms or test positive,” Leser said. “Vaccination and booster shot status does not play a role into how long a person needs to isolate if they test positive for the virus.”

In an email to The Student, Rivinius wrote students living on campus who test positive can return to their residence halls before 10 days, provided they have improved symptoms, are fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medications and test negative on an antigen test.

“Negative results must be uploaded to MedProctor and the student must email for a case manager to verify that the student can return to class and on-campus housing,” Rivinius wrote. 

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She emphasized in the release that these new guidelines regarding testing and quarantine and isolation may continue to change.

“We continue to follow guidance from the CDC and public health officials and experts at the state, county and campus level,” Rivinius said. “As with everything in this ongoing pandemic, that guidance can shift, change and evolve with new information and data.”

The COVID Response Team will continue to provide updates by weekly emails and Miami’s COVID-19 website.