University Suspends Campus Access Pending Negative Test Results
by Kelsey Wynn | Editor in Chief
SCRANTON — University of Scranton Student Life will deactivate Royal Card access to campus buildings and facilities this week for those who have not submitted proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result via their Student Health Portal within 72 hours of their return to campus.
University Director of News and Media Relations Stan Zygmunt said Student Life will verify submitted test results and email verified students once individual Royal Card access has been activated.
“Student Life is working all weekend to do that, so as [students] are putting results in there will be somebody checking. Even if [students] get results Sunday, [they can] just upload them then,” Zygmunt said.
Student entry testing is not mandatory for students who tested positive for COVID-19 on or after Oct. 31, 2020 on campus. These new requirements, published Tuesday, are among several spring updates to the existing Royals Safe Together Plan.
Campus surveillance PCR testing will begin Feb. 8 every Monday and Tuesday. The University will no longer work with its fall testing partner, Contamination Source Identification, LLC, but will instead be serviced by CIC Health. Tests conducted with the new partner will be self-administered and guided by a health professional. In line with last semester, Zygmunt said the University expects to issue 1,000 tests throughout the spring weeks.
The new provider will also make results available within 48 to 72 hours and, unlike last semester where students were only contacted following a positive result, those testing negative can now check their test status via a new app. More information on the app will be available in coming days.
In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, quarantine times for students and employees have been reduced to 10 days. The University will now offer campus testing to students in quarantine showing no symptoms and quarantine may end after day seven if a test administered on or after day five following exposure returns a negative result.
Vaccinated individuals must adhere to all health and safety requirements, and will be subject to surveillance testing as any other campus member.
Scranton fall, winter and spring sports teams will be among those resuming competition in the Landmark Conference this semester. While spectators are prohibited, competitions will live stream online. Updated schedules will be posted to the University Athletics page.
Guidelines for contact tracing remain consistent with fall expectations, along with mask and social distancing mandates on campus. Campus will remain closed to the public, including the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Memorial Library, except by appointment. Members of the University community are required to resume daily wellness screenings, accessible via my.Scranton. The Royals Safe Together Plan continues to advise off-campus gatherings to be limited in size and based on the ability to adhere to guidelines.
Zygmunt said despite frustrations over entry testing and inclement weather, student familiarity with existing protocols may help to ease some stress returning to campus. However, he said, restrictions have not eased since last semester.
“In the fall, people were coming back not knowing what to expect. Now they’re familiar with that already. Those things really haven’t changed. There’s definitely a longing – since the pandemic has been going on a long time – that restrictions will ease, but right now they haven’t been. There’s actually more,” Zygmunt said.
The University will continue to adhere to CDC health and safety guidelines and recommendations and monitor conditions as they evolve.
Additional information can be found at https://www.scranton.edu/royals-safe-together/index.shtml.