Testing, Tracing and App FAQs

General

Yes, COVID testing is currently available for students with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, as well as students with close contact exposure to individuals with confirmed COVID-19. Random surveillance testing is provided to students residing in University Housing as well as students residing in the neighorhoods adjacent to campus.

UC's testing model follows both Ohio Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control guidelines. Importantly, we work in close partnership with our local and regional health departments.

It's important to stress here that testing capacity is essentially elastic now that we've seen improvements in the national availability of testing materials.

So, while we currently have overall capacity to test every student residing in University Housing each week (between our diagnostic center, UC Health and vendors we contract with for testing), we can quickly expand such capacity if and as needed now that we've seen improvements in the national availability of testing materials (About 5,000 is the size of our student population residing in University Housing.)

UC students, faculty and staff may also receive testing from their own physicians, at locales like The Little Clinic, via health departments and more. Via the established public health networks, UC should receive (in time) any positive test results of any student with a local address or who is a resident of any locale within the State of Ohio no matter where students might choose to be tested in the local area or state. Reporting of confirmed cases tested in the wider community to the university does not take place in real time. It would all depend on the interplay between outside testing sites, the health department and then to the university. If someone is associated with UC and tests positive (outside of campus, UC Health, etc.) that should either be caught at the time of testing or in the contact tracing process. CHD has a person dedicated to just such matters on behalf of UC.

University Health Services can arrange for testing at the UC Health Uptown Campus, 3120 Burnet Avenue (East Campus), which is by appointment only.

Another on-campus testing option, the UHS Testing Center is located at Commons Edge North, 57 W. Daniels Street. It is also by appointment only by calling UHS at 513-556-2564.

Wild Health Laboratory of Lexington, Kentucky, is conducting random surveillance testing.

UC is using the highly sensitive viral test known as a PCR.  

We are in an evolving environment, so it may not be possible to see all needed adaptations at this time. We are working closely with the medical experts at UC Health to provide the most up-to-date testing available. For students who may attend the branch campuses or may be taking all online classes, contact COVIDHelp@uc.edu, and we will provide guidance on such testing via health departments and other entities, as needed.

Random sample surveillance testing is being conductd by Wild Health Laboratory of Lexington, Kentucky. Their clinical professionals will collect a sample from a swab placed very gently in the lower part of the nose known as the nasal sample. 

This is quite different from the long-handled swabs that have previously been used for testing known as nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs, which can be uncomfortable. Nasal swabs are rapidly replacing this method due to improved patient comfort and nearly comparable results.

The university will partner with our public health partners at the City of Cincinnati Health Department and experts in the College of Medicine to review and interpret results.

Students at UC Blue Ash or UC Clermont will be directed to local health departments where they reside. COVIDWatch will work with you to get tested.

This is a rare occurrence and will depend on the clinical circumstance.  Most often, the test will be repeated.

In accordance with the Faculty Senate Resolution on Class Attendance and Participation during COVID-19, faculty are encouraged to be flexible with attendance policies and other aspects of supporting academic progress – particularly for students in isolation and quarantine.

Faculty are encouraged to think beyond traditional definitions of attendance and support and provide students with opportunities to make up missed work or do commensurate work. This will allow for a positive student learning experience and a commitment to delivering exemplary instruction. An incomplete grade may be awarded in the event of a student illness, which will provide an opportunity for a student to work with faculty to complete coursework after the semester concludes.

Quarantine applies to exposed individuals who do not have symptoms of a disease but need to be separated for a period of time to be observed for symptoms. Quarantine generally lasts 14 days.

Isolation applies to infected individuals or those with presumed infection who need to be isolated to prevent the spread of virus to the community. Isolation generally lasts 10 days.

If instructed to quarantine, it's recommended that students in University Housing return to their permanent homes to do so. If that is not possible due to extenuating circumstances, UHS, Student Affairs and UC Housing will work with that student to provide appropriate accommodations for the quarantine or isolation period. They may continue their classes remotely. Meals will be delivered by Food Services (meal plan required). UC Housing may not be available for all quarantined or isolated students.

If isolation is recommended, it is preferred that students in University Housing isolate on campus in special accommodations provided for this purpose. If a student opts to go to their permanent home to isolate, they will be given CDC resources explaining how to do this as safely as possible.  

This recommendation stems from both clinical experience and research. Quarantine or isolation is very difficult for some students, and most ultimately opt to go home to be more comfortable and for increased emotional and psychological well being.  

All testing will be HIPAA and FERPA compliant. Contact tracing will be FERPA compliant and the contacts will not be informed of the student's identity.

Currently, the student’s health insurance plan will be billed for symptomatic and exposure testing. There is no cost for testing for those students selected for/participating in the random surveillance testing program.

See the Hamilton County Health Department's site for testing sites available in Hamilton County.

UC posts aggregate data of confirmed COVID-19 test results. No personal data is shared.

UC students, faculty and staff may also receive testing from their own physicians, at locales like The Little Clinic, via health departments and more. Via the established public health networks, UC should receive any positive test results of any student with a local address or who is a resident of any locale within the State of Ohio no matter where students might choose to be tested in the local area or state.

Random (surveillance) testing

Surveillance testing refers to testing of a randomly selected population to determine the frequency of COVID-19 in that population. The purpose of this testing program is to allow the university to monitor and address real-time trends, and to make timely decisions on intervention and response.

The testing model the university follows is recommended for higher education institutions by both the Ohio Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Yes. UC is selecting students to report COVID-19 testing, focusing on students residing in University Housing or living in the neighborhoods adjacent to the Uptown Campus.    

Random surveillance testing is conducted by Wild Health Laboratory of Lexington, Kentucky. Their clinical professionals will collect a sample from a swab placed very gently in the lower part of the nose known as the nasal sample. 

This is quite different from the long-handled swabs that have previously been used for testing known as nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs, which can be uncomfortable. Nasal swabs are rapidly replacing this method due to improved patient comfort and nearly comparable results.

The university will partner with our public health partners at the City of Cincinnati Health Department and experts in the College of Medicine to review and interpret results.

Random sample testing is not required, but we hope everyone who receives an invitation will participate to help keep our campus safer and our classrooms open.

We partnered with epidemiology and biostatistics through the Academic Health Colleges and created a model to answer this question. It supported little advantage to requiring an initial test prior to coming to campus. This makes sense, since testing is a snapshot of a moment in time. An individual could test negative prior to school and then be exposed immediately after, so the utility of such a single test is limited.

Students residing in University Housing as well as students living in neighborhoods adjacent to the Uptown Campus. Those students will receive details on timing, frequency, etc.

No.  

The university will partner with our public health partners at the City of Cincinnati Health Department and experts in the College of Medicine to review and interpret results. Students will be informed of their results and appropriate actions to be taken if positive.

Certain activities or classes may be canceled if COVID-19 virus is detected frequently among randomly selected students. All decisions will be made in partnership with the local health department and epidemiology and infectious disease consultants within the university.

All student testing and contact tracing records are to be protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA") and in accordance with the University's Data Governance and Classification Policy. The COVID-19 positive individual's contacts will not be informed of the positive individual's identity.

A medical note will be provided.

There will be no charge to students participating in random surveillance testing.  

Contact tracing

When someone tests positive for the virus, it is critical that the University trace the contacts they have had with others to limit the spread of the virus. 

It is important to identify anyone who has had close contact with an individual confirmed to have COVID-19, so that guidance and education about quarantine can be provided.

All student testing and contact tracing records are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA") and in accordance with the University's Data Governance and Classification Policy.

 

COVID-19 rates will be closely monitored, and any closure decision would be made in partnership with local health departments and epidemiology and infectious disease experts from the University.

 

An interdepartmental team of faculty, staff and students. The Cincinnati Health Department will also conduct contact tracing.

Public health contact tracing guidelines, as published by the CDC, will be followed.  

Everyone is highly encouraged to participate.  The University relies on each and every community member to do their part to help keep the campus safe and open for living,  learning, and working.  Students will be required to participate if they come to campus or live on campus.  Entrance to certain buildings will be limited to those who can show that they have been cleared to move about campus.

UC COVID Check App

The app is a way to make sure that everyone is as safe as possible to come to campus, classes and activities on a daily basis.

Members of the campus community are asked to complete a brief Daily Health Check, based on CDC guidelines to receive a Green Pass to come to or move about campus.  The UC COVID Check app also has self-reporting capabilities.  

It helps ensure that anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 does not interact with the campus community. The app also helps us identify and care for those in need and make informed decisions to protect our campus community.  

Faculty, staff, students and visitors to campus.  

Students  are required to use the app if they come to campus or live on campus, but every member of the campus community is encouraged to participate to help keep everyone safer. The university relies on each and every community member to do their part to help keep the campus community healthy. Following a soft launch, beginning Monday, September 21, 2020, a Green Pass from the Daily Health Check is required to enter campus dining centers and the Campus Recreation Center.  

A web-based survey, REDCap is available for individuals who do not want to use the app. A Green Pass can be given if you complete the Daily Health Check using REDCap.  

If you have symptoms, you will receive a call and/or email within 24-48 hours from our case investigators, who will provide guidance on next steps.

If further action is deemed necessary, such as testing or contact tracing, the case investigator will obtain necessary details like onset dates of symptoms, close contacts, etc. The name of any individual reporting symptoms will not be shared in the contract tracing process.

Remember that if you maintain strict social distancing and remain at least 6 feet away from others, you will not likely be exposed to any infectious virus. The exception to this is roommates who share a sleeping space. Roommates sharing a sleeping space will require quarantine.

The UC COVID Check app is available for download in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

A web-based survey, REDCap is available for non-app users. If you experience technical trouble with the app, please contact the IT@UC Help Desk.  

Yes.  

Your information will be used to help keep you and others safe. Privacy will be pursuant to FERPA and in accordance with the University Data Governance and Classification Policy.