Prevention and Management of COVID-19 on the LSUHSC Campuses

Guidelines Updated on March 30, 2021

Preventive Measures

  • Preventing the spread of infection is everyone’s responsibility.  It is our best defense against COVID-19.  Wearing masks, physical distancing and good hand hygiene are required of all students, employees and contract workers on campus. Vaccination is also essential to protect ourselves and the greater community. Appropriate quarantine after exposure to or infection with COVID-19 is also important to campus safety.  We will continue to require these preventive measures even after vaccination against COVID-19.  A combination of all preventive measures will ultimately be required to end the pandemic.
     
  • Masks: LSUHSC requires that masks be worn properly (covering the nose and mouth) in all public settings on campus (unless one is eating).  The CDC and LSUHSC recommend that masks be worn at all times except while you are in your own home. For a guide of acceptable masks, please refer to this CDC document:
  • Physical Distancing: Appropriate physical distancing is to maintain a minimum of 6 feet between you and the person with whom you are talking, eating, or sitting.   There is evidence that the virus can travel further than 6 feet, so even greater distances are safer.  This is especially important while eating and masks are off.  Rooms on campus have occupancy limits posted on the doorway.  We urge everyone to maintain at least 6 feet apart even if the room is not at its occupancy limit.  We have found that break rooms are a place where many employees do not adhere to physical distancing. 
     
  • Vaccination: LSUHSC strongly recommends that all employees and students be vaccinated against COVID-19.  The only absolute contraindication is having a known severe allergic reaction to the components of the vaccine.  LSUHSC also recommends that pregnant women discuss the pros and cons of vaccination with their doctor.  It is important to note, that everyone must continue to follow other preventive measures such as wearing masks and social distancing, even after being vaccinated. For the purposes of this document, a fully vaccinated individual is one who is greater than 2 weeks out from completing the COVID-19 series. For 2-dose vaccines, this would be 2 weeks after the second dose.
     
  • Quarantine after potential exposure to COVID-19: Individuals who have had moderate-to-high-risk exposure to known or suspected COVID-19 patients must follow the procedures available here. People who have had moderate- to-high-risk exposures are a major factor in continued spread in the population. Up to 45% of these individuals may develop asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic infections and pass the virus on to others.
     
  • Self-isolation if you test positive or develop symptoms: LSUHSC requires all students and employees to isolate themselves from campus and report if they develop symptoms of COVID-19, have a positive COVID test, or in some cases, after you have a possible exposure to COVID-19. See procedure available here. Individuals are generally the most infectious up to 5 days prior to onset of symptoms through several days after symptoms.
     
  • Group activity on Campus: We are continually monitoring community spread and the local, regional and national recommendations regarding restrictions in group activity. 
    • Most recent guidelines may be found at:
    • At the moment, we do not recommend that classes be conducted on campus unless necessary to achieve critical learning objectives. Examples of necessary activities include skills labs and necessary in-person clinical experiences. To whatever extent possible, classes should continue to use virtual platforms.
    • Meetings should utilize virtual platforms, except when necessary for essential business purposes.  At this time, use of campus facilities such as meeting rooms, simulation labs is reserved for essential curricular activities only.
      • If the decision is to hold meetings on campus, meeting organizers are responsible for following the room-specific capacity limits as designated outside the meeting rooms, as well as enforcing all mitigation strategies.
    • Center for Advance Learning and Simulation will be available for use ONLY for LSUHSC trainees at this time. In the future, all outside participants of in-person training activities must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
    • Expectations for all on-campus activities
      • Participants must wear masks and maintain 6 feet of physical distancing.
      • On-campus activities should minimize eating/drinking while in the meeting room.
      • Activities must strictly adhere to room capacity limits as designated outside the meeting room or Learning Center skills labs.
        • Guidance from the New Orleans Health Department presently sets an absolute maximum of 75 persons for indoor gatherings – this includes classrooms.
        • Most rooms on campus can only hold far fewer than 50 people with appropriate distancing.  Campus restrictions will be revised as disease activity and recommendations change.
           
  • Off-campus activities that are sponsored or organized by LSUHSC faculty/staff/students involving other LSUHSC personnel:
    • These activities would include end-of-year gatherings, post-graduation celebrations, etc.
    • LSUHSC strongly advises that such gatherings follow:  
  • Cafeteria and other eating venues
    • Masks should be used as much as possible when in line to pick up food, during the meal when not eating, and after eating. This is a risky activity that can lead to viral spread.
    • People must maintain at least 6 ft of distance from others.
       
  • Travel: Travel of any kind is not recommended unless it is essential for work or for compelling personal reasons. Never travel if you are sick for any reason.
  • Clinical activities based at off-campus sites
    • All clinical personnel are highly encouraged to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
    • All clinical personnel must follow all hospital or clinic policies, including those concerning COVID-19, at a minimum.
    • Clinical personnel should be educated on proper use of PPE. This includes donning and doffing of PPE as well as proper N95 respirator use.
    • Caring for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients
      • Entry into patient rooms should be minimized as part of a good infection prevention practices.
      • Individuals not involved in direct care of that patient should remain outside of the patient room.
      • Vaccinated students on clinical rotations may volunteer to participate in the direct care of these patients if allowed by the clinical site.
    • Caring for non-COVID-19 patients in the inpatient or outpatient setting (including AHEC rotations)
      • Clinical personnel should always wear approved facemasks.
      • Eye protection is recommended especially in small examination rooms.
      • Facemasks for patients are highly encouraged especially in the ambulatory setting.
         
  • Visiting students attending LSU for rotation/research experience
    • Pre-matriculation students will be provided COVID-19 vaccination prior to any on-campus activity.
    • Visiting students must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
    • Visiting students who have proof of vaccination and are fully vaccinated may start rotations upon arrival monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms for seven days.
       
  • LSU Students returning from away rotations
    • LSU students must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination PRIOR to approval of away rotations. Students must be fully vaccinated prior to rotation.
    • Returning students who have proof of vaccination and are fully vaccinated may return to campus upon arrival monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms for seven days.
       
  • Clinical volunteering activities
    • Pre-clinical students participating in clinical volunteer experiences (including shadowing and outpatient clinics) must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination prior to participation.
    • Students volunteering in clinical volunteer experiences must wear facemasks at all times. Eye protection is recommended.
    • Operations at the venue must be reviewed to ensure optimal mitigation of exposure risk. This would include minimizing patient density and universal patient masking upon entry.
       
  • Disinfection of the Workplace: If an employee tests positive, is considered infectious, and has been on campus within the past three days, Deans, Department Heads or Directors should contact Mr. John Ball, Associate Vice Chancellor for Property and Facilities (jball@lsuhsc.edu).  The Environmental Health and Safety Office will determine the need for disinfection and coordinate disinfection with the Dean or Department Head.  Supervisors will notify others on the floor or in the area that a potential exposure has occurred, and the necessary areas will be closed for cleaning.

    • Signage will be posted to indicate the area is closed.
    • An approved contractor will disinfect by a combination of fogging and/or wiping with a CDC/FDA approved disinfectant.
    • The Dean or Department Head will be notified when the disinfection is complete.
    • Employees can return to work at a minimum of two hours after disinfection (plates and utensils that may have been exposed should be washed before use).
       

Management of Employees/Students with Suspected or Documented COVID-19 or Exposure to COVID-19

 

What should you do if you have symptoms and a positive COVID-19 PCR test

  • LSUHSC requires that you self-report using both the online reporting system (LSUHSC online self-reporting platformsand by calling the Campus Health Clinic (504 412-1995).
  • Do not come to work or school.  Isolation from campus is required.
  • LSUHSC also recommends that you self-isolate at home (follow CDC guidance about household prevention).
  • Seek medical care if needed.
  • In addition to notifying the Campus Health Clinic and reporting on-line, LSUHSC encourages you to notify your supervisor so that we can begin isolating colleagues that you may have exposed and have your workspace cleaned if necessary.  You and your supervisor can also discuss leave policies.
  • The Campus Health Clinic will ask about symptoms and their date of onset, help determine whether you should seek medical care, and decide when you can return to work.
  • The online report you file will go to a contact tracing office in the School of Public Health.  They will determine if you placed other campus personnel at moderate-to-high risk of infection in the 48 hours prior to symptom onset. Moderate-risk exposures include conversations at less than 6 feet distance for a total of 15 minutes or longer within a 24-hour period regardless of mask use.
  • Clearance to return to campus will be determined by Campus Health using CDC guidelines:
    • LSUHSC requires you to remain quarantined from campus for at least 10 days from symptom onset and until there has been considerable improvement in other symptoms and until you have had no fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
    • If you are hospitalized or immunocompromised, you must remain in quarantine for at least 20 days since symptom onset, absence of fever for 24 hours without fever-reducing medicines and improvement of other symptoms.

We do not recommend repeat testing, as the test is likely to remain positive for several weeks after infection.  Your test may remain positive even after you are no longer infectious to others.

What should you do if you are symptomatic but have not had a COVID-19 test  

  • LSUHSC requires that you self-report by calling the Campus Health Clinic (504 412-1995).
  • Do not come to work or school.  Isolation from campus is required.
  • LSUHSC also recommends that you self-isolate at home (follow CDC guidance about household prevention).
  • Seek medical care if needed.
  • Students should also use the online self-isolation reporting form (LSUHSC online self-reporting platforms) in addition to notifying the Campus Health Clinic (504 412-1995).
  • We encourage students and employees to notify their supervisors about any possible COVID-19 symptoms, to discuss whether or not you have had close contacts that will require quarantine if you test positive.  You and your supervisor can also discuss leave policies.
  • Call the Campus Health Clinic about symptoms and the date of symptom onset.  They will encourage you to get tested, help you determine whether you should seek medical care, and determine when you can return to work.
  • Campus Health will recommend a COVID-19 PCR test to confirm the diagnosis and initiate contact tracing to determine if there were moderate-to-high-risk exposures to other campus personnel beginning 48 hours prior to symptom onset.  Moderate-to-high-risk exposures include conversations at less than 6 feet distance for a total of 15 minutes or longer within a 24-hour period regardless of mask use.
    • If test is negative or was not performed and there is low suspicion for COVID-19 as determined on follow-up with the Campus Health Clinic, then you may return to campus when symptoms resolve.
    • If test is negative or was not performed and there is high suspicion for COVID-19 as determined on follow-up with the Campus Health Clinic, or if test is positive, then return to campus:
      • At least 10 days since symptom onset, absence fever for 24 hours without fever-reducing medicines, and improvement of other symptoms
      • If hospitalized or immunocompromised, at least 20 days since symptom onset, absence of fever for 24 hours without fever-reducing medicines and improvement of other symptoms
         

What should you do if you are asymptomatic and have had a positive COVID-19 PCR test

  • LSUHSC requires you to self-report using both the online reporting system (LSUHSC online self-reporting platformsand by calling the Campus Health Clinic (504 412-1995).
  • Do not come to work or school.  Isolation from campus is required.
  • LSUHSC also recommends that you self-isolate at home (follow CDC guidance about household prevention).
  • In addition to notifying the Campus Health Clinic, LSUHSC encourages you to notify your supervisor so that we can begin isolating colleagues that you may have exposed and have your workspace cleaned if necessary.  You and your supervisor can also discuss leave policies.
  • If you had documented COVID-19 within the last six weeks, the test is most likely a persistent positive test related to your previous infection and you may not be required to quarantine.
  • Campus Health or contact tracers will determine if there were moderate-to-high-risk exposures to other campus personnel beginning 48 hours prior to the positive test. Moderate-to-high-risk exposures include conversations at less than 6 feet distance for 15 minutes or longer regardless of mask use.
  • Return to campus clearance will be determined by the Campus Health Clinic in accordance with CDC guidelines:
    • At least 10 days after the positive test, provided the student/employee remains asymptomatic
    • If immunocompromised, at least 20 days after positive test, provided the student/employee remains asymptomatic

 

What should you do if you have had a moderate-to-high-risk exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual

  • You do not need to quarantine if you meet all of the following conditions:
    • You are fully vaccinated. That means that you have finished receiving the vaccine (second injection for the 2-shot vaccines, or first injection for the 1-shot vaccines) at least two weeks prior to the exposure.
    • You have been asymptomatic since the time of the exposure.
  • If you do not meet all conditions, you will need to follow the guidelines below:
    • Quarantine at home while monitoring for fever and symptoms.
    • Call the Campus Health Clinic (504 412-1995) to determine when it is safe to return to work.  Note that if you had documented infection with COVID-19 within the three months prior to the known exposure, you may not need to quarantine.
    • Students should also use the online self-isolation reporting form (LSUHSC online self-reporting platforms) in addition to notifying the Campus Health Clinic (504 412-1995).
    • Notify your supervisor (to discuss work from home or leave policies).
    • Campus Health will recommend a COVID-19 PCR test 5-7 days after the exposure.
      • If the COVID PCR test is positive, follow management of positive test above.
      • If the COVID PCR test is negative, you may return to campus a minimum of 10 days after the exposure provided that you remain asymptomatic. Strict adherence to masks and physical distancing are extremely important after you return to campus. 
    • If no COVID PCR test is performed, you must remain in quarantine from campus for 14 days from the exposure, and you may return to campus only if you remain asymptomatic.
    • Students who live in the dorms must remain isolated for the full 14 days.
    • Employees and students should notify their supervisors (to discuss work from home or leave policies).

 

COVID-19 management in employees who are integral to clinical patient care

In general, clinical employees will follow the guidelines of their current clinical sites (hospital or HealthCare Network Clinic).  Clinical sites may define a moderate-high-risk exposure differently (i.e., close contact without full PPE including eye protection or exposure to an aerosolized procedure without full PPE).

Additionally, please note that students are not integral to clinical patient care and must follow campus guidelines regardless of whether or not they are on a clinical rotation.

Management of COVID test positive students in the Dorm

If test-positive students are able to live elsewhere with family members or friends, they should leave the dorm for the time periods specified above.  If they must remain in the dorm, they should strictly adhere to self-isolation in their room and minimize the risk of exposing other students.                                                                                                                       

Contact Tracing for LSUHSC Employees

Campus Health will encourage individuals who test positive for COVID-19 to notify their supervisors and identify other students or employees with whom they have had moderate-high-risk contact in the 48 hours prior to their positive test.  Supervisors should facilitate the isolation and quarantine of those individuals as soon as possible, and encourage them to be tested 5 days after the exposure.  After reporting through the on-line reporting system, contact tracing will be done by the School of Public Health to further ensure that campus contacts of all COVID-19 test-positive students and employees are informed and quarantined.  Removal of those exposed individuals from campus will improve campus safety.  We encourage employees and students to aid LSUHSC in identifying colleagues who may be at high or moderate-risk* due to their exposure in the workplace.  LSUHSC will not identify source patients in the process of notifying other employees about their potential exposure to COVID-19. If possible, we should notify and quarantine campus contacts as soon as possible. 

* Moderate-high-risk -- close contact (within 6 feet) with the source employee/student for a total of >15 minutes over a 24-hour period regardless of mask use.

The Role of Supervisors in Control of COVID-19 on Campus

Prevention is the campus’ best defense against COVID.  Supervisors should enforce adherence to preventive measures among their employees. This includes proper wearing of masks, physical distancing and limiting in-person meetings and gatherings as much as possible.  Supervisors also play an important role in reducing spread if an employee is sick or tests positive.

  • Survey the areas used by your group to evaluate risk of crowding that would violate 6’ foot distancing especially during eating/drinking.
  • Maintain schedules of employees expected to be on campus.
  • Travel approval: only mission-critical airline travel can be funded by LSU funds. This would include educational rotations at other institutions and presentations at conferences that do not have online alternatives. International travel would need approval through the regular process.
  • Ensure the proper process for sick employees who could have COVID-19:
    • If an employee has any symptoms, ensure that they leave campus immediately, quarantine at home, and follow the recommendations above.
    • Call Campus Health (412-1995) if you have any questions about how to manage an ill employee.
    • If an employee tests positive, supervisor should:
       
      • Ensure that they leave campus immediately, quarantine at home, and follow the recommendations above.
      • Notify your employees that there has been an infected person in the area and remind them to strictly adhere to wearing masks, physical distancing and handwashing. Do not divulge the name of the positive employee.
      • Attempt to identify other employees who had a moderate-high risk exposure in the 48 hours prior to the positive test (close contact < 6 feet, for more than 15 minutes, over a 24 hour period).  Individuals with moderate-to-high risk exposure should be quarantined from campus immediately, and they should follow the recommendations above.
      • Secure and isolate their workspace and other areas they have frequented in the 48 hours prior to their positive test.  Contact Mr. John Ball, Associate Vice Chancellor for Property and Facilities (jball@lsuhsc.edu).  The Environmental Health and Safety Office will determine the need for disinfection.
      • Notify other supervisors who share the floor, without divulging the name of the positive employee. They, in turn, should remind their employees to strictly adhere to wearing masks, physical distancing and handwashing.

 

Please note that these guidelines will evolve as state and national recommendations change.