COVID-19 Testing Updates & Reminders

September 1, 2020

As we move into the third week of classes and the fourth week of students living on campus, our screening program has detected increases in asymptomatic positive cases in our on-campus undergraduate population. Results like this are not unexpected given the scope of our testing and contact tracing program. We are monitoring these numbers closely and adjusting our health strategies accordingly.

Part of that adjustment means increasing the testing frequency of our on-campus undergraduate students. Last week, we announced that all undergraduate students will be tested weekly. This week, we are increasing the testing of students living on campus to twice per week. We are working to quickly expand our testing program. Please be patient as we expand testing.

In addition to testing increases, we are also adding accommodations for isolation and quarantine. At this point it is imperative for everyone to adhere to the Tulane health safety protocols – especially those living in residence halls. This includes wearing face coverings (even in residence halls), following social distancing practices and maintaining proper hand hygiene.

Below are some additional details about updates that we’re undertaking to improve community reporting and to expand our testing program:

Testing Numbers

This week, we will be sharing a daily reporting dashboard with key numbers around testing and positives. Thank you for your patience as we build this dashboard. We’ve been focused on providing expansive testing and support for our community and updating the community regarding results via email. We are currently working to align our data sources to be able to best share our daily measures. All test counts and results are, and have been, reported to the Louisiana Department of Health through the School of Medicine Laboratory and are reflected in the city and state reporting.

Testing Frequency

We are currently working to increase our testing capacity and will be ramping up to deliver the following schedule in coming weeks:

  • On-campus undergraduate students: twice weekly
  • Off-campus undergraduate students: weekly
  • Graduate and Professional Students: at least monthly
  • Employees (including faculty, staff and Sodexo/Allied staff and other contract workers): at least monthly

We will provide an option to request increased testing and will share information when that feature comes online soon. Please allow 48 hours for results to be available in the patient portal.

New Testing Center Locations & Scheduling

To support increased testing for undergraduate students, we have added an additional testing center in Phelps Hall — for undergraduates only — which will be open for appointment scheduling tomorrow. Undergraduates scheduling tests from this point forward should schedule at the Phelps Testing Center. Please keep all currently scheduled Paterson appointments. Graduate and professional students and employees will be tested at the Paterson Hall and Downtown Testing Centers. Please be sure to check all available locations for appointments to fit your schedule.

The portal for scheduling appointments is experiencing high use. Please schedule as soon as you receive your email for the first available appointment. If the portal “times out” or fails to find an appointment for a specific location, please try again and broaden your search to other Testing Centers. Please note, the Tulane Testing Centers are not on-demand services and we cannot accommodate requests for testing at specific dates and times.  

Testing Program

We’ve had several questions recently that have made it clear that there have been some misunderstandings about the scope of our testing program. To clarify, please see below regarding testing that is provided for the Tulane community:

  • Asymptomatic Surveillance Testing – This testing program is administered through the Tulane Testing Centers (Paterson, Phelps, Downtown) and is scheduled via email prompts, which all Tulane students, faculty and staff should be receiving. The Testing Centers are for asymptomatic surveillance testing – not for testing symptomatic individuals.  You cannot show up for testing at these facilities without having received a QR code. Email if you have not received a QR Code by close of business September 12, 2020.
  • Symptomatic Testing – This testing is offered for students who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Students should schedule a telehealth visit through the patient portal via Campus Health or contact their healthcare provider. Employees should contact the Living Well Clinic or their healthcare provider. Positive cases detected through either Tulane testing or reported through the COVID-19 Reporting Form are included in our reporting numbers.
  • Quarantine Testing – Students who are close contacts of someone who tests positive will be tested 5-7 days after exposure. A negative test does not provide release from quarantine.
  • Retesting Positives – Retesting for those who have already tested positive depends on the specific situation. Individuals should work with their healthcare provider to best determine return to work or class testing protocols. Some individuals who test positive may continue to test positive, even after they are no longer contagious. Typically, we test a confirmed positive case 6 weeks after their initial positive test.
Isolation and Quarantine

Isolation: All who test positive are required to isolate for 10 days following the first positive test, provided the positive individual has been symptom free, without medication, for 24 hours.

  • Undergraduates living on or off campus and graduate students can utilize Tulane-hosted isolation space.
  • On-campus undergraduate students who have tested positive cannot isolate in their on-campus residences.
  • To provide additional capacity for isolating students, we are expanding to an offsite residence space, which is within the area of our downtown campus.

Quarantine: A close contact to a known positive case is required to quarantine for 14 days and to monitor symptoms over that period.

  • Undergraduates living on or off campus and graduate students can utilize Tulane-hosted quarantine space.
  • On-campus undergraduate students who have had close contact with a positive case cannot quarantine in their on-campus residences.
Public Health Reminders

The next few weeks are critical – all must closely follow health safety protocols and guidelines.

  • Face coverings must be worn by all faculty, staff and students while inside a university facility or on any university property when in the presence of others (e.g., residence halls, classrooms, common workspaces, etc.). Appropriate use of face coverings is critical to minimize risks to others near you.
  • All students and employees are expected to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms by completing a brief daily COVID-19 symptom check prior to coming to campus for class or work or participating in a Tulane sponsored event off campus. You will receive a text message to complete this check daily. You can access a printable version by clicking here.
  • If a student, faculty or staff member is confirmed positive for COVID-19, they should complete the COVID-19 Reporting Form so that contact tracing can be implemented immediately. Faculty/staff should also report to their supervisor or chair.


Thank you,
Campus Health