Loyola University Maryland

Student Health and Education Services

COVID-19 FAQ

We hope our FAQ below provides some clarity regarding questions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. There are several helpful links/videos imbedded through each section, so please make sure to review that content as well.  Please make sure to also check out Loyola's Spring Reopening Page as well as our office's reopening page, which both should provide more information to best guide your concerns for this upcoming Spring semester.  Please make sure to also check out the Healthy Hounds Campaign and sign the pledge as well! And as always, do not hesitate to call our office at 410-617-5055, we more than happy to help answer any questions you might have! 

General Clinic Questions

Is health center staff available at this time?

Our health center is now open during normal business hours, Mon-Fri 8:30-5pm. However, we are not accepting walk-in students at this time in order to limit spread of illness in the office. If you are experiencing a health-related concern, please call our office first at 410-617-5055 and our front desk staff will route your call appropriately to either speak with a provider or set up an appointment with one as needed. 

If I am a student who has moved to Baltimore this Fall 2020, living off-campus in non-university sanctioned housing,  can I still use the health center for my medical care?

Since the decision to go remote for Fall 2020, it was determined that Student Health Services will not be able to provide health care services for students who have decided to return to the Baltimore area living in non-university sanctioned housing this Fall semester. For COVID-19 concerns or testing questions, please see more info on our FAQ. For medical concerns, we ask that you try to contact your primary care physician from home first. If unavailable, please utilize the information on our emergency page to see the closest urgent care clinics in the area. 

We realize this particular group of students will not have completed the necessary COVID-19 student training, not be held to campus health and safety guidelines or testing requirements, and not be a part of the daily symptom screening app tool that those living in emergency housing will be utilizing. However, please understand all these factors are imperative in order to maintain a healthy campus community. While in the Baltimore area and surrounding Loyola neighborhoods, we would still strongly advise you to uphold general health and safety practices (i.e. safe distancing, avoiding large parties or gatherings, wearing face coverings when in public, frequent hand washing, etc). 

Will the health center be open for allergy clinic this fall? 

At this time, Allergy Clinic will not be available for the Fall 2020 Semester. Please see the information below which reviews local allergists who might be able to bridge your care if you have moved to back to the Baltimore area. We do plan to continue with Allergy Clinic in the Spring semester and we thank you in advance for your patience as we move forward during this ever changing time in health care.

 

Dr. Alvin Sanico - Physician's Pavilion North @ GBMC Hospital

6535 North Charles St, Suite 450

Towson, MD 21204

410-583-8394

 

Asthma, Allergy and Sinus Center

Union Memorial Hospital

3333 North Calvert St., Suite 520

Baltimore, MD 21218

410-554-6515

General COVID-19 Overview Questions

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19 have been recently updated and are similar to what you might feel with a bad cold, moderate respiratory illness, or seasonal influenza. They can appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure to the virus and may include:

  • Fever (temperature above 100.4)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Muscle Pain
  • Headache
  • Sore Throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea and vomitting
  • Diarrhea

The CDC also has a helpful COVID-19 self-checker system you can access and get helpful information. 

How is COVID-19 spread and what does "evidence of community spread" mean?

COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly via close contact from person-to-person. The virus has now been shown to spread easily between those in close contact with one another (within 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, etc. Some people without symptoms may even be able to spread the virus, which is why social distancing still remains so important. The virus that causes COVID-19 has now been shown to be spread easily and sustainably within the community in some affected areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area which includes some who are not sure of the source of their infection.  

How can I prevent infection with COVID-19?

At this time, there is no vaccine to prevent infection with COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself from infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Besides maintaining social distance, there are several preventative measures you can take to help limit the spread of viruses in general, including:

  • Avoidance of sharing personal household items, including glasses, cups, eating utensils, etc.
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Using an alcohol-based sanitizer is advisable if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Remaining at home if you are sick, unless you require medical care. This includes avoiding going to work, class, public areas, or the use of public transportation.
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue and promptly throwing it away.
  • Disinfecting and cleaning frequently touched objects and surfaces (i.e. tables, doorknobs, toilets, phones, keyboards

COVID-19 Safety Information & Terminology 

What does quarantine mean and what should I do if I have been advised to self-quarantine?

Quarantines are meant to limit the movement of people who have been potentially exposed to the COVID-19 virus, but have not tested positive for it. You may be perfectly healthy, but this is the best way to prevent the possible spread of a communicable disease. Because the virus can be present in a person without symptoms, healthcare providers use this period as a precaution in order to monitor for any potential symptoms that might arise and to help minimize any chance of new exposure. 

This fall: If told to self-quarantine while at home, you should stay at home to self-monitor for the entirety of the virus's 14-day incubation period. If you develop any COVID-like symptoms such as fevers, cough, and shortness of breath, you should contact your healthcare provider. While under self-quarantine, it is expected that you remain at home, stay at least 6 feet away from others, and maintain general germ contagion precautions (i.e. good hand hygiene, avoiding sharing cups/drinks, covering your mouth when coughing, etc.)

 If you are in Loyola University-sanctioned housing at The Social or on campus and possibly exposed to COVID-19 but remain asymptomatic and have not tested positive, you will be asked to remain quarantined in your apartment/residence hall room under the guidance of our office. You will likely be asked to remain in quarantine for 14 days after the initial contact or until cleared by a SHS provider. 

What does the term social-distancing mean?

Social distancing, or "physical-distancing" as you might hear now, is a deliberate increase of the physical space between two people in order to help stop the spread of illness and infection. This often includes limiting social contact, work and schooling among healthy individuals in order to delay transmission and reduce the size of a growing outbreak. Avoiding public spaces and unnecessary social gatherings, especially events with large numbers of people or crowds, will lower the chance that you will be exposed to COVID-19, as well as to other infectious diseases like flu. If you do have to be out in the public, it's advisable to maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and anyone else around you. It is also recommended to avoid physical contact with others in social situations, including handshakes, hugs and kisses.

Why should I wear a face covering and what will the requirements be at Loyola?

The CDC advises all people who go out in public to wear a face covering in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. This is especially important in public settings where social distancing is hard to maintain, i.e. college campus. A significant portion of patients infected with COVID-19 do not have symptoms, which means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity (i.e. speaking, coughing, sneezing) even if they do not appear outwardly sick or symptomatic. It is important to note that while masks are being advised, they do not replace the importance of maintaining proper hand hygiene and social distancing measures. 

All members of the Loyola community will be required to wear face coverings while on Loyola campus property at all times (except while in your own personal residence and while eating). This includes all Loyola buildings as well as on the street and in public spaces around campus. If using your own face covering, we recommend that it meets all of the following criteria:

  • Fits snugly but comfortably against the sides of the face and covers the nose, mouth, and chin
  • Fastens securely with ties or ear loops
  • Includes multiple layers of fabric
  • Allows for breathing without restriction
  • Can be laundered without damage or change to shape (unless it is disposable)

Other Helpful Links

What is Contact Tracing and what will that process look like at Loyola?  

Contact tracing is the process of identifying people who may have come into contact with an individual with an infectious disease. The process involves identifying infected people, determining who they have been in close contact with while infected and asking people who are potentially infected to stay home until it is clear they are not sick. At Loyola, this process will begin with a phone interview with the positive individual and getting details about their contacts, who they have interacted with, and where they have gone recently. 

As a student, you may be asked questions to assist with contact tracing efforts and will be expected to be honest and helpful in cooperating to provide the details and information needed. An in-depth interview will be conducted and students will be connected to additional resources as needed. Students will also be provided education and support surrounding potential needs and barriers to quarantine and/or isolation. Loyola has partnered with an outside company, Healthcare IT Leaders, to assist with this effort in junction with the Baltimore City Health Department. 

COVID-19 Testing & Follow up

What if I want or need testing for COVID-19? 

If you are experiencing any symptoms suspicious for COVID-19 (see above) or recent exposure (within 2 weeks and less than 6ft away for a total of 15 minutes) to someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, you should obtain testing. Please note, testing is not available on-site at Student Health Services currently. These plans will be changed for Spring and will be communicated accordingly.

If you are home (outside Baltimore) and need testing: Check with your health care provider or visit your state or local health department’s website to find the best testing options for you in your community. Depending on the site and your community, testing may be free or there may be an associated cost. Other options include mail-in testing such as Vault Health. Please check their website for their process and additional information.

If you are local to campus in the Baltimore area and need testing:

  • Choice One Belvedere Square: 600 E. Belvedere Avenue, Baltimore MD 21212. (410) 296-0018. They have online check-in and offer COVID-19 testing 7 days/week.
  • MedStar Prompt Care6317 York Road, Baltimore MD 21212. (443)777-6890. To expedite the process there, you can utilize their MedStar E-visit option, where a provider will speak with you and set you up with appointment for testing if indicated. Medstar has also created a new live COVID-19 assessment tool which is helpful to answer additional questions or testing concerns. 
  • CVS Minute Clinic: 2504 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218. (410) 662-7594. They are not accepting walk-ins, you will need to click on the link and go through series of questions in order to be able to schedule your test. 
  • Prompt Care: 10210 Resisterstown Road, Owings Mills, MD 21117. 410-902-6776. This is closest Prompt Care to campus offering COVID testing. You need to make appointment for testing at this location. 
  • Baltimore City COVID-19 testing sites (including information on the Baltimore City Convention Center - make your appointment here, they are open Wed/Fridays)
  • Maryland State COVID-19 testing sites

Please refer to the CDC testing overview for more information about testing options, criteria for testing, understanding your results, etc. 

What should I do if I have tested positive for COVID-19?

If you are home and you have tested positive for COVID-19, please make sure to follow up with your health care provider. We will provide more information here for Spring 2021 regarding what students on-campus will need to do and how their care will be managed.  

If you have tested positive, here are several things that you can do to help prevent the spread of the virus to people in your home and community:

  • Stay home except to get medical care - Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Also avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
  • Separate yourself from other people as much as possible in your house - you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. If available, you should also use a separate bathroom.
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor -  If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This helps the office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
  • Wear a face covering - When around other people (i.e. sharing room or before arriving to doctor's office), you should wear a face covering. If you are not able to wear one (i.e. because it causes trouble breathing), then people who live with you should not stay in the same room with you, or they should wear a mask if they enter your room.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes - Throw used tissues in a lined trash can and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid sharing personal household items - You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day - Use a household spray, wipe, or disinfectant to clean high touch surfaces which include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.
  • Monitor your symptoms - Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (i.e. difficulty breathing). Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19 and put on a facemask before you enter the office.
  • Discontinuing home isolation - Patients with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low. The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis after speaking with your healthcare provider

What if I have been told that I have been a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?

If you have been notified that you have been a close contact of someone who has tested positive (or being tested) for COVID-19, the most important thing you can do is immediately self-quarantine (see more information in question above) and get testing right away as recommended by the CDC. Please note, a close contact is someone you have spent more than 15 minutes with less than 6ft apart. This would especially apply if you have not been adhering to proper health and safety measures, i.e. wearing face covering. If you start exhibiting any concerning symptoms (i.e. fever, cough, shortness of breath, flu-like symptoms) in your 14 day self-quarantine, you should notify your healthcare provider immediately. If you are on campus in emergency housing, please call the health center directly at 410-617-5055. The CDC also has helpful information for what to do should you be caring for someone with confirmed COVID-19

What if I have been in contact with someone ELSE who was in direct contact with a positive case of COVID-19? 

At this time, the CDC does not recommend testing, symptom monitoring or special management for people in contact with others who are asymptomatic and had potential exposures to COVID-19. Essentially, this means that a "contact of a contact" is not a high risk concern and you should just continue to maintain effective infection control management, social distancing, etc. 

When am I no longer contagious after being infected with COVID-19?

It is best to assume that you might be contagious with COVID-19 for some time, so it's best to take precautions to avoid infecting others. If you are recovering from COVID-19, be sure to follow the direct instructions from your healthcare provider. It will likely be advised that you will be able to discontinue home isolation under ALL the following conditions:

  • At least 3 days being fever-free (without the use of fever-reducing medications such as Advil or Tylenol)
  • An improvement in respiratory symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath)
  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. Individuals with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who have not had any symptoms may discontinue home isolation when at least 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test and have had no subsequent illness.
  • Repeat testing may be required in order to determine release from isolation. 

If you are caring for someone at home with COVID-19, this CDC guide provides some useful information as well. 

Can I be infected with COVID-19 more than once? 

As COVID-19 is a relatively new illness, data is still unclear as to whether or not you can be reinfected. Currently, there isn't enough information to determine if COVID-19 exposure can cause any immunity to the virus itself, or if obtaining any immunity would provide life-long protection against further reinfection. Researchers and scientists are working tirelessly to determine the best answer to this as new evidence becomes available. 

Graduate Faculty and Students

Please understand this is a highly fluid situation that continues to rapidly evolve so the answers here may need to change or be updated in the weeks to come. These are our current best practices based in research and consultation with peer institutions that are offering face-to-face classes. Please also use your discretion for your classes and feel free to move the course remote temporarily as needed. You should absolutely feel comfortable in your classroom.

What is the responsibility of a faculty member if he/she tests positive?

The faculty member should immediately isolate at home and report this on the Employee Covid-19 Illness Registry and the GetVitalCheck daily questionnaire through HR. Through the getVitalCheck platform, the faculty member will be directed to schedule a telehealth appointment to obtain a return to work date. They should also contact their department chair/head to notify them. University contact tracing will be done by HR who will contact the faculty member and begin efforts with them.

If a student in my class is tested for COVID-19 but has not yet been diagnosed, does the class automatically go online until the results are received?

No, as long as all proper protocols have been followed (everyone in class wearing masks and keeping proper social distance of more than 6 feet apart. In this scenario, the class could remain face-to-face because no one in the class would be considered a “close contact” of the student who may be positive for COVID. Please note that close contact, as defined by the CDC, is anyone who was in contact with a COVID-positive person for more than 15 minutes and closer than 6 feet apart. Any student who may be positive for COVID-19 and is awaiting test results would be instructed to self-isolate and not come to class.

If a student in my class tests positive for COVID, does the class automatically go online?

No, not at this time. There is no indication that a class needs to shift fully remote if a student tests positive in a F2F class. In that situation, contact tracing by Student Health Services would begin immediately and any students that would be in immediate danger/risk of contracting the virus would be contacted at once (meaning those who had CLOSE contact with the student as defined above).

Again, if all proper protocols have been followed (everyone in class wearing masks & keeping proper social distance), then the class will not need to go online because no one in the class would be considered a “close contact” of the student who may be positive for COVID. Any student who may be positive for COVID-19 and is awaiting test results would be instructed to self-isolate and not come to class.

Who contacts the other students/faculty in the classroom who may have been exposed to the virus?

When Student Health Services is notified that a graduate student will need to be out of classes for an extended period of time, they will contact their point person in the Office of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies. That office will then contact the respective Director of Program Operations affiliated with the student's program of study. Please note that a specific medical diagnosis will not be shared in order to maintain student confidentiality. If SHS is notified first of this positive case, they will reach out to all Loyola students who were in recent close contact with the infected student for contact tracing purposes. Otherwise, these efforts will be taken over via the Baltimore City Health Department regardless.

For faculty, the Director of Program Operations or the faculty member themself will contact HR to provide the faculty member's name who has had recent close contact with the student. HR will contact and advise the employee of the next steps. If all proper protocols have been followed (everyone in class wearing masks and keeping proper social distance), then the other students in the classroom would not be considered a "close contact" of the student who tests positive. All communications will be done in line with the need to comply with regulations related to confidentiality. 

What is the responsibility of a student if they test positive?

The student should immediately isolate in their residence and follow instructions given by their primary care physician or SHS staff. The CDC provides helpful information regarding isolation and steps to take if you have tested positive.

What is the return to class policy for a student who has recovered from COVID?

The student can return to class with clearance from SHS or their primary physician based on CDC criteria (fever free for >3 days without fever-reducing medication, >7 days since symptoms started, and improvement in symptoms).

How do we direct a student if they say, “I think I have been exposed to COVID”?

Students should not be coming to class unless they have a green pass on Campus Clear, the student symptom checker app. They will log into the app every morning on the days they expect to come to campus. Faculty members may ask to see each students’ daily passes before entering the classroom. If they report symptoms, they will be instructed to stay in their residence and notify their healthcare provider.

Can I wear a face shield instead of a face mask while teaching my class?

No, face shields are not advisable to be used as a substitute for face masks. Professors/faculty need to wear the face mask for their safety and their students’ safety. Please note information here from the CDC: A face shield is primarily used for eye protection for the person wearing it. At this time, it is not known what level of protection a faceshield provides to people nearby from the spray of respiratory droplets from the wearer. There is currently not enough evidence to support the effectiveness of face shields for source control. Therefore, CDC does not currently recommend use of face shields as a substitute for masks.

What happens this Fall when I test positive for COVID-19 while remote learning at home?

If you test positive for COVID-19, please contact SHS to confirm your results. If you are symptomatic and unable to attend classes, SHS will contact the Office of Undergraduate and Graduate students alerting them to your illness, who in turn, will notify your instructors letting them know you will not be attending classes for 10-14 days.

What if I have other questions about faculty issues related to COVID?

See the Return to Campus Guidelines created by HR.

Additional COVID-19 Information

What travel precautions should I keep in mind?

We strongly urge you to stay informed and follow the latest travel advisories from the CDC. There is some additional information here regarding travel, both in the US and worldwide. 

What if I am experiencing stress or anxiety related to the COVID-19 situation?

We realize that following COVID-19 in the news can cause stress and anxiety. Students should not hesitate to contact staff members in the Counseling CenterCampus Ministry, or the Student Life office, all of whom are prepared to support you. While students are away from campus for summer, the Counseling Center still has remote services available.  If you need assistance outside regular business hours, please call the department of public safety at 410-617-5911, and they will connect you with someone who can help. Employees may contact Loyola's Employee Assistance (EAP) Program at 1-800-765-0770.

Where can I find additional information about COVID-19?

The Emergency Information notification details the plan for University's preparedness planning. The Loyola Coronavirus updates page is also regularly maintained and features a detailed list of FAQs specific for students, employees, etc. For additional information about Coronavirus, including signs and symptoms, transmission and risk of exposure, and what to do if you are exhibiting symptoms, please refer to the latest updates from the CDC website.

Additional helpful link/handouts can be accessed below: