Dear Rice community,
As many begin returning to our campus, we wanted to address some FAQ’s that our contact tracers have been receiving. These FAQ’s and others are also found on the COVID website and are listed below.
What do I do if I felt sick or tested positive over the break but feel better now?
Everyone returning to campus should complete return-to-campus testing (unless you’ve been instructed by contact tracing to not test). Prior infections may be reflected in a positive test with symptoms that have resolved. You should tell your contact tracer when you were ill over the break as part of your contact tracing interview.
What do I do if I have a positive test?
Stay home and isolate. Rice contact tracers will be in touch with you - you should expect a phone call from this team and answer when they call. The contact tracers will gather information about your health status and will guide you through setting an isolation period which will be 5 days after the first day of symptom onset or positive test. If isolation space is available, positive cases will be moved, however there may be a time when isolation space is not available and roommates/suitemates will be asked to isolate in place together. Contact a physician if you need help managing symptoms.
What do I do if I feel sick?
Please fill out a Health Report Form. Stay home and isolate. DO NOT schedule or keep a previously scheduled test through the Rice testing locations. Rice contact tracers will be in touch with you - you should expect a phone call from this team. They will assist you in scheduling a symptomatic test (the following question explains this in more detail). Wear a mask if you have to be around other people in your household. Contact your physician for help managing symptoms.
How do I get a symptomatic test?
Currently, symptomatic tests must be ordered by the Contact Tracing team. If you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms, please fill out a Health Report Form. We are working on the capability for individuals to sign up for their own symptomatic tests in the coming weeks.
Do I need a negative test to return to campus after testing positive for COVID?
Once you have tested positive through Rice testing, you should not test again on campus for 90 days. This is because the PCR test will continue to be positive long after an individual recovers from illness and is no longer infectious. If you were COVID positive over the break and then test positive upon return, please explain this to your contact tracer when you are contacted about your test results.
How has the isolation/quarantine guidance for students living on campus changed?
As the dean’s message communicated, on-campus isolation housing is limited. We have a limited set of rooms for immunocompromised students, and will move students who test positive as space allows. Students who have been exposed to a positive case and are eligible for and have not received a vaccine booster will be asked to quarantine in their assigned rooms. We will not be moving individuals who have been exposed but have not yet tested positive. Please keep in mind that this is a fluid situation and that Omicron is moving very quickly. Due to the highly contagious nature of this variant, individuals should expect that by the time they test positive they have likely exposed all of those that they live with so isolating together may be the best way to slow the spread.
How will on-campus students receive meals while in isolation or quarantine?
Students who have been asked to quarantine in their room will be instructed to pick up their food from the servery, wearing a KN95 mask and sanitizing hands at the cashier stations. Once a meal has been picked up, they must then return directly to their rooms. While in the serveries, these students should move quickly through the lines and stay physically distanced where possible. Students who have been instructed to isolate will have food delivered to their rooms by H&D so long as the numbers remain within their support capacity. H&D will reach out to colleges for additional support regarding delivery should the numbers expand past their delivery capabilities. If you have been instructed to isolate and a meal is not delivered to you, please contact H&D during regular business hours at 713-348-5445 or using HDcovid@rice.edu (after hours and weekends).
Has Rice Contact Tracing updated their isolation process to align with CDC updates?
The Rice Crisis Management Team Contact Tracing group updated the isolation and quarantine process the same day that the CDC released their revised guidance.
Where can I find the CDC guidelines for isolation and quarantine?
The guidelines are listed here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html
If you have modified your return date and will not be on campus for a test that you had scheduled, please log into the test scheduler and cancel your scheduled test.
We look forward to having you all back on campus and are committed to working together to have a safe and exciting spring semester.
Rice Crisis Management Team