Several Student Engagement Center employees quarantine after exposure to COVID

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Kelly Stiles

Several Student Engagement Center employees are currently in quarantine.

Kelly Stiles, Editor in Chief

Several employees of the Student Engagement Center have been asked to quarantine after recent exposure to COVID-19. It is currently unknown whether the exposure was before or after the Student Engagement Center led Henderson Halloween community drive-thru event which took place on Oct. 30. In order to prevent Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, violations, Henderson staff have declined to disclose specific details about who is infected or in quarantine in order to protect the identity of the person who potentially exposed the virus.

 

“All in all, I have been really proud of student effort this semester,” vice president of student affairs and student success Dr. Brad Patterson said.

 

In lieu of tracing performed by the New York Institute of Technology, the health services team on campus does contact tracing when they find out that a student or faculty member has tested positive for COVID. Anyone who has been within six feet of contact with an infected person for an accumulative 15 minutes is asked to be in quarantine for 14 days.

 

A factor which affects contact tracing is the infectious period of the virus. A person is considered infectious two days before the day they start experiencing symptoms up until the symptoms cease. It is undetermined when asymptomatic carriers of COVID are infectious.

 

When a student who lives on campus is asked to quarantine, the student is given the option of leaving campus to stay with their family or somewhere else, or staying on campus is specific dorms that are set aside for allowing students to quarantine with no human contact. The student is provided food and other necessities by HSU faculty.

 

Someone who tests positive for COVID and needs to keep away from the public is put into isolation, while someone who was exposed but has not been tested or tested negative is asked to quarantine. The terms isolation and quarantine are used respectively to distinguish the two scenarios. A typical isolation period lasts 10 days but can last more depending on the severity of an individual’s case.

 

“We want the number of cases to be 0, but we are proud of how well we have handled this situation,” Patterson said.

 

Since July, 108 students have reportedly contracted the virus. Anyone who attends HSU and contracts COVID, whether they live on campus or commute, is included in the total COVID count. However, the number of students in quarantine or isolation includes solely those who live in campus housing. This data can be found by reading HSU’s Campus COVID-19 Report.

 

“It is technically possible for a student to get tested somewhere else and not report it,” Patterson said. “I would be surprised if that happened.”

 

The event Big Money Bingo is being rescheduled due to the lack of Student Engagement Center staff available on campus.

 

“The student engagement center is continuing operations,” Patterson said.

 

A student who has tested positive to COVID is asked to report the case to campus health services. Student health services can test students the same day a test is requested. The type of test used is called the polymerase chain reaction test, or RT-PCR, which is currently the most accurate COVID test. The test results can take up to two days to show, but the answer is more certain than rapid testing, which often displays false negatives and occasionally displays false positives.