On Jan. 13, the Meredith College Executive Leadership Team (ELT) confirmed that classes will resume in person on Jan. 18 following three days of virtual classes. Meredith also urged students to follow safety precautions, including recommending a PCR test prior to coming to campus for the first time. The ELT also recommended that students receive a COVID-19 booster and use “a high-quality mask such as a surgical mask, a KN95 or N95 to fulfill the mask requirement, rather than a cloth (washable) mask.” The email also stated that “low-cost KN95 masks are available in the campus store.”
In an email sent on Jan. 14, Meredith Student Health Services announced their modified quarantine and isolation policies. The changes to these guidelines were made “in consultation with local county health officials” following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s changes to recommended quarantine times.
Within the new guidelines, students are broken into three categories: up-to-date with their vaccination, unvaccinated and vaccinated but not up-to-date. Those who are up-to-date have received a COVID-19 vaccine and, if eligible, a booster shot.
The new guidelines specify that unvaccinated or not up-to-date individuals will follow the same quarantine guidelines. Individuals must quarantine for five days after exposure. If the individual is asymptomatic and tests negative for COVID-19 on the sixth day, they may be released from quarantine. However, between days six and 10 after exposure individuals are required to mask and remain socially distanced from others. These requirements are consistent with the guidelines in place for students who have not been exposed, as well.
Those who are up-to-date with their vaccination and asymptomatic are not required to quarantine after contact with someone who has COVID-19. However, individuals must self-monitor using the CampusClear app, mask and remain socially distanced in public.
For anyone who has been exposed, Meredith will require proof of a PCR test between days four and five after exposure. Students will need to schedule a test off-campus as they will not be able to receive a test through Meredith’s weekly surveillance testing. Free, off-campus locations for PCR testing include CVS and Walgreens, but students can also contact the Health Center if they have difficulty finding a test.
Students who test positive for COVID-19 are required to isolate themselves regardless of vaccination status. Students who are unable to isolate off-campus may do so in an on-campus residence hall reserved for students in quarantine and isolation. Students who are unvaccinated or not up-to-date are required to isolate for 10 days, while students who have received a booster are required to isolate for 5 days if they are asymptomatic.
Individuals “who work with children or participate in athletics may have different quarantine and isolation guidelines” and should “consult their employer or athletic trainer for further guidance” about quarantine and isolation measures. Student Health has emphasized that all decisions regarding testing, quarantining and isolation should be made in conjunction with their office and not individually. As stated in the email sent on Jan. 14, all “guidelines are subject to change, and any updates will be posted on the Staying Strong site.”
By Elinor Shelp-Peck, Co-Editor in Chief