Dear Faculty and Staff Members,
As our winter break draws near, I want to share with you detailed information about our COVID-19 testing and quarantine protocols that must be followed before you return to campus. As with all of our COVID-19 policies and protocols, these additional precautions are taken in the interest of the health and safety of our campus community.
Most important, because it’s time-sensitive: If you are tested weekly as part of current campus protocols, you should obtain a testing kit this week to ensure you are able to confirm a negative result prior to returning to campus in January. Please see below for more information.
Traveling Outside Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recently issued travel restrictions that outline requirements for travelers over the age of 11 who are either visiting Pennsylvania from another state or who live in Pennsylvania and are returning home from locations outside of the commonwealth. (Note that commuting to and from work does not constitute travel under these restrictions.)
In keeping with those restrictions, all faculty and staff members who elect to travel out of state are required to do all of the following:
- Quarantine for 7 days after returning home.
- Perform a test on or after day 5 of that quarantine.
- Receive a negative result from that test before returning to campus.
These requirements apply regardless of whether you are likely to interact with others while you are on campus. Although test results are typically turned around in 3 to 4 business days, due to the holidays and an increased demand in testing, it could take longer. Please consult with your supervisor if you need to use vacation time to meet Pennsylvania’s quarantine recommendation following any travel.
The safest thing to do right now is to avoid traveling if at all possible. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “Travel may increase your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19. CDC continues to recommend postponing travel and staying home, as this is the best way to protect yourself and others this year.” The CDC provides additional guidance on questions to think about if you are considering traveling.
Anyone who plans to return to campus after the break and is likely to interact with others for at least 15 minutes must receive a negative COVID-19 test result beforehand, regardless of whether you’ve traveled outside of Pennsylvania.
Again, test results are likely to take longer than normal, so we recommend you take the test one week in advance of your return to campus. So, if you are scheduled to return to campus on Monday, Jan. 4, we suggest taking the test on Monday, Dec. 28.
If you do not travel out of state over the break and have no expectation of interacting with others when you return to campus, you will not need a negative test result prior to returning to campus.
Obtaining a Test Kit
Whether you anticipate needing a test due to out-of-state travel or because you will be away from campus for the two-week break, we ask that you pick up a test kit on campus if at all possible. Dining Services, Facilities, Environmental Services, and Public Safety will distribute tests to their staff members on campus; members of other departments can pick up a kit at the campus Post Office this week through Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. (Please note that the Post Office is closed from noon to 1 p.m.)
If you cannot pick up a test kit on campus, you may request a kit by mail by filling out this form. At this time, due to limited staff capacity, this option is only for individuals who cannot pick up a kit at the campus Post Office this week. If you do need to request a kit by mail, please do so by no later than Thursday, Dec. 17, so we can process your request. As a reminder, kits completed at home must be placed in a UPS drop box and picked up the same day you take your test.
If you have questions about these testing and quarantine protocols, please contact CETT@swarthmore.edu.
Thank you for your attention to these changes, and for your continued diligence in doing what you can to keep the campus community safe and healthy. My best wishes for an enjoyable and restful winter break.
Interim Vice President for Human Resources