We hope that you will find this weekly report, the COVID-19 Check Up, helpful in navigating through today’s ever-changing landscape. With the amount of information being disseminated, we thought it might be good to start off with some clarification and important definitions in order to help build a stronger, common foundation of understanding here at Sam Houston State University.
According to President White at the Annual Faculty and Staff Address, there was no one defined reason for the move to a Campus Response Level 2. Instead, she stated, “Think of the levels as a broad swath of options; there’s a great deal of variability within each level. Choosing a level is not a science, but a judgment call based on information we have at any given moment. We continue to learn about the virus, how it may or may not spread, who’s at greatest risk, how it may be treated, and more.”
What this move does, is reinforce the need to remain hypervigilant in our protocols, monitor the situation very closely and be prepared to be more restrictive if needed in order to ‘flatten the curve.’ The university’s goal will be to operate in a way that we practice physical distancing, require community members to wear masks, increase our cleaning and sanitizing protocols, and monitor active cases and hospital capacities.
Our administration and health professionals continue to monitor campus, city, regional and statewide data daily to help guide us on best approaches in ensuring the safety and well-being of our campus community.
Isolation, for 10 days, is required for someone who is symptomatic or is a confirmed positive case.
Quarantine, for 14 days, is required for someone who has been exposed but is showing no symptoms.
Close contact to COVID-19 occurs when you are within six feet of someone who is showing symptoms of COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes and the infected person later tests positive for the coronavirus. This can also apply to situations in which the infected person did not show any symptoms at the time of exposure.
As we learn more about the virus, we are seeing new testing developments and options, which can be a little overwhelming. There are now three primary types of diagnostic tests – molecular, antigen and serological.
Considered the gold standard for detecting the COVID-19 virus, this test is used to identify viral genetic material in a sample. The test sample is usually obtained by inserting a swab into the back of the nasal passage, which is then sent to a lab for processing.
Recently, other testing methods have been introduced including rapid diagnostic tests where nasal swab samples are collected. Saliva tests, which are much easier to administer are also being introduced. These alternate sampling methods may be less sensitive than the back of the nasal passage.
Most RT-PCR test results take anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
The standard molecular testing, using the standard nasal passage swab sampling, provides the most reliable test results. However, there have been several issues regarding false negatives with molecular rapid testing.
The SHSU Student Heath Center currently collects samples from the back of the nasal passage for standard molecular (RT-PCR) tests that are sent to an outside lab.
Antigen testing is newer and cheaper. This test checks for viral proteins versus genetic material. The sample collection is the same as molecular.
Results for this rapid diagnostic test are available within five to 15 minutes. Because these types of tests are designed for rapid detection, the sensitivity is lower. If you take an antigen rapid test and receive a positive result, it is very likely you have the virus. If you receive a negative, you may need to confirm that with a molecular test.
Serological tests are not used to diagnose acute COVID-19 infection. This test identifies people who have previously been infected and usually already recovered. The accuracy of these tests is still limited as it depends on a number of variables including time of testing post infection, how common the infection is in your area, as well as the severity of infection. In addition, this test does not indicate whether or not a person is “immune.”
As a reminder, should any member of the campus community - students, faculty or staff - receive a positive diagnosis or believe they have been exposed to a positive case, they are required to self-report using the COVID-19 Form on the Restart 2020 website.
Will my class move to remote delivery if a student in my face-to-face class tests positive for COVID-19?
The student will be advised to self-isolate. Anyone who meets the definition of a close contact exposure should self-quarantine. A close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes or had direct physical contact. The masking and physical distancing requirements in the classroom would likely enable the course to continue. If there were any extenuating circumstances in which mitigation measures were not fully operational throughout the class period, those circumstances should be discussed with the SCH Director at 936.294.1805.
Since COVID-19 information seems to change on a daily basis, please refer to official university sources for the most accurate information. For the most current information, visit the Restart 2020 website daily.
Due to the short turnaround time of this publication this week, the COVID-19 Work Group did not have time to format the data we hoped to share in a way that was useful and informative. However, we will be including that information in future newsletters.
|Drew Miller||Student Affairs|
|Brian Loft||Academic Affairs|
|Robert Williams||Health Center|
|Joellen Tipton||Residence Life|
|Ann Theodori||SAM Center|
|Stephanie Knific||Marketing & Communications|
|Rachel Shorter||Tech/Desktop Services|
|Matt Roberts||Facilities Services|
|Rhonda Beassie||Human Resources|
|Candace Walkley||College of Osteopathic Medicine|
|Erica Bumpurs||Health Center|
|Mary-Katherine Breen||Academic Success Center|
|Wayne Barrett||College of Arts & Media|
|Anne Gaillard||Biology/College of Science & Engineering Technology|
|Steve Jeter||Public Safety|
Ad Hoc Members
|Jerrell Sherman||Dean of Students Office|
|Jessica Smith||Human Resources|
|Rachel Valle||Student Activities|
|Clint Lockwood||Enrollment Management|
|Terry Blaylock||Client Services|
|Kristy Vienne||Auxiliary Services|
|Bill Angrove||SHSU Online|
|Julie Schwab||Provost's Office|