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The college has developed extensive protocols to address a community member testing positive through asymptomatic or symptomatic testing. Wheaton and Norton Board of Health will be working collaboratively on contact tracing and tracking of positive and exposed individuals. The college will not send out a community communication with every positive case, but the testing results page is updated daily as results come in.

What happens when a RESIDENT STUDENT tests positive for COVID-19?

  1. The student is contacted by a member of the COVID Testing Team and informed of their test result and the isolation procedures.
      • A positive person must isolate for a minimum of 5 days.
      • Any student who tests positive and lives within a reasonable distance of campus will be expected to return to their permanent address to complete their isolation period.
      • A positive student who is not able to go to a permanent address must isolate in on-campus quarantine and isolation housing.
  2. The student will collect necessary belongings for the isolation period and meet Wheaton COVID staff at the quarantine and isolation housing location.
      • Students are not permitted to leave isolation housing for any reason and do not have access to delivery, take-out, or laundry services during this time. Students are encouraged to bring the items they will require for the duration of their stay.
  3. The Wheaton COVID staff will provide information regarding ordering food from dining services and support services on campus. Students are required to have a meal plan if staying on campus for isolation housing.
  4. The Wheaton COVID staff will notify the Norton Board of Health to initiate the contact tracing protocol. See Close Contacts Below.
      • A close contact is defined by the CDC as any individual within 6 feet for more than 15 cumulative minutes within a 24-hour period (e.g. three 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes), with or without a mask for up to 48 hours prior to the positive test or symptoms.
  5. At the end of the isolation period, the positive student will not be placed back into asymptomatic testing for 90 days, per CDC guidance.

What happens when a NON-RESIDENT STUDENT or an EMPLOYEE tests positive for COVID-19?

  1. The individual is contacted by a member of the COVID Testing Team and informed of their test result and isolation procedures, including needing to leave campus immediately.
    • A positive person must isolate for a minimum of 5 days.
  2. The spaces the individual was recently in are assessed for disinfection needs.
  3. The Wheaton COVID staff will notify the Norton Board of Health to initiate the contact tracing protocol. See Close Contacts below.
    • A close contact is defined by the CDC as any individual who was within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more within two days prior to illness onset (symptoms onset or a positive test) regardless of whether the contact was wearing a mask
  4. At the end of the isolation period, the positive individual will not be placed back into asymptomatic testing for 90 days, per CDC guidance. Employees should also review the Return to Work Checklist on insideWheaton.

Close Contacts

  1. The Wheaton COVID staff with any Wheaton community names that are identified as close contacts. Close Contact individuals are community members who have been identified as being less than 6 feet away from an infected person (laboratory-confirmed or a clinical diagnosis) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. For example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes will be considered Close Contacts.  Close Contacts are identified either by individual self-reporting or a Positive individual notifying the college of the Exposure that matches the Close Contact definition.
  2. Timelines for quarantine are determined under guidance from the Norton Board of Health and is based on the last date of exposure.
  3. Wheaton College has implemented an automated process regarding notification of Close Contact individuals.
    • Community members identified as Close Contacts will be required to complete an Online Form / Self-Checker as part of the Wheaton Community Standards. This form will identify decisions about appropriate safety measures regarding needs to social distance or Quarantine. The form will give the student directions on appropriate measures to be followed including if Quarantine is or is not required.  
      • Current guidance allows for close contacts who have received the booster and are experiencing no symptoms to be exempt from quarantine.
    • If Quarantine is required the student will be instructed to choose between on or off-campus Quarantine. Information obtained will allow the Covid team to follow up with a review of appropriate quarantine or housing decisions.
  4. For a student who is unvaccinated, under-vaccinated, or symptomatic, the student will be informed of the current policies and expectations of the quarantine procedures. An employee close contact will leave campus immediately and quarantine at home or at an off-campus residence.  A close contact must quarantine for a minimum of 5 days from the last date of exposure.
    • Any student who is required to quarantine and lives within a reasonable distance of campus will be expected to return to their permanent address to complete their quarantine period
    • A student who is required to quarantine, but not able to go to a permanent address, must quarantine for a minimum of 5 days in on-campus quarantine and isolation housing.
  5. The student will collect necessary belongings for the quarantine and meet Wheaton COVID staff at the Quarantine and Isolation Housing.
    • Students do not have access to delivery, take-out, or laundry services during this time.
  6. The Wheaton COVID staff will provide information regarding ordering food from dining services and support services on campus. Students are required to have a meal plan if staying on campus for quarantine.
  7. Close contacts who are quarantining should test on day 5, or at the time of symptom onset. 
  8. Throughout the quarantine period, the college’s testing center medical staff and the campus COVID support team will contact the close contact on a regular basis.

Tentative of the conditions during the Spring 2022 onboarding process, we plan to discontinue the contact tracing process as of February 1, 2022. This new practice has become the norm for colleges and communities at this stage of the pandemic. The college will continue with testing and isolating positive cases and will expect positive cases to notify their own close contacts.