Student Health Services at Moffitt Health Center
Student Health Services at Moffitt Health Center
Last update: July 22, 2020
The work of this group is an integral component of the University of Southern Mississippi’s comprehensive efforts to plan for the reopening of its campuses in preparation for the Fall 2020 semester. We know that individual responsibility and commitment to abide by health guidelines is key to the success of our institutional efforts. Institutional controls are only as effective as the willingness of individuals to carry them out. It will be imperative for everyone—faculty, staff, and students—to take responsibility for their actions and adhere to the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH), as well as the guidelines issued by USM to protect themselves and others while helping to contain the spread of COVID-19.
A successful return to campus will depend on robust testing, adroit contact tracing, and the timely isolation or quarantine of ill and exposed campus community members. USM is monitoring developments related to COVID-19 and receiving counsel from state public health officials.
This document provides guidance specific to the University of Southern Mississippi that will allow departments to manage operations in a safer and more effective manner throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective is not to eliminate all potential risks, but to provide a systematic and feasible path for operation within the pandemic environment.
The guidance in this document is subject to change, even after these plans are put into place. The University community will need to remain flexible, patient, and empathetic as we move forward.
Prior to returning to campus, all campus community members must acknowledge:
- The serious nature of COVID-19
- The importance of each individual’s knowledge of the risks presented by the virus
- The need to monitor their own health
- The need to notify appropriate personnel if they are symptomatic and/or exposed and be tested if necessary
Everyone has a personal responsibility to practice social distancing, frequent handwashing, cough/sneeze etiquette, proper tissue usage and disposal, avoidance of touching their face, and respecting others.
Certain measures will be needed to reduce the risk of exposure and spread of COVID-19. You can spread COVID-19 to others even when you do not feel sick.
Maintaining space between yourself and others is a best practice and is one of the best tools to avoid exposure to the COVID-19 virus. People can spread the virus without being sick or knowing they are sick, so it is important to maintain social distance from others whenever possible. Physical distancing is required on USM's main campus and in satellite locations to limit exposure to the COVID-19 virus and slow its spread.
Everyone on campus should follow these physical distancing practices:
- Stay at least 6 feet from others (about two arms’ length) at all times.
- All workstations should be oriented to a minimum of 6 feet apart in all directions.
- Meetings should take place online instead of a conference room. If you must meet in person, wipe down surfaces, chairs and equipment after each use, and maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet.
- Minimize the use of common breakrooms, coffee stations or refrigerators to store food.
- Rearrange furniture in common areas to maintain physical distancing.
- Minimize non-essential movement around campus. If duties require movement to other areas on campus, practice physical distancing and follow all health and safety guidelines for those locations.
- Do not gather in groups larger than the size allowable by the current federal, state, and local executive orders.
- Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
- Handshaking and other forms of physical contact are discouraged.
All members of the USM community should enforce physical distancing protocols in common areas and places where individuals are likely to interact. Supervisors will be expected to ensure employees self-enforce physical distancing protocols in all areas.
The use of face coverings, including homemade masks, scarfs, bandanas or handkerchiefs, helps to minimize risks to the wearer and to those around them. Face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing and are required to help protect the USM community and the general public.
Subject to change in guidance from medical professionals and the CDC, all faculty, staff and students are required to wear face coverings while on campus. All faculty, staff, and students must wear face coverings in classrooms, labs, communal office space, on-campus gatherings, and in any campus-setting where physical distancing is difficult to maintain.
It is the responsibility of each individual to comply with this requirement. Face coverings must cover the nose and mouth, as directed below. Reasonable accommodations for those who are unable to medically tolerate a face covering to meet this requirement may be requested through Dean of Students Office or a direct supervisor.
Face coverings are NOT required to be worn by individuals who are:
- Alone in their residence hall room.
- In public outdoor settings where physical distancing requirements are met.
- Alone in their workplace space, which may include private offices or cubicles with tall walls or with appropriate Plexiglas partitions.
- In personal vehicles.
How to Wear a Cloth Face Covering
Cloth face coverings should:
The face covering requirement will be enforced by supervisors for employees. Employees in need of an employer-provided face covering should contact their direct supervisor, and a face covering will be provided. Supervisors shall elevate requests for such face coverings through their supervisory chain to their vice president, associate vice president or dean.
Employees who cannot wear a face covering due to medical or other reasons should contact their supervisor in consultation with Human Resources for possible accommodation measures.
Students will be required to wear face covering while on campus. Students who cannot wear a face covering due to medical or other reasons should contact the Dean of Students Office for possible accommodation measures.
For more information about face coverings, including instructions on how to appropriately wear and clean face coverings, please visit the CDC.
The CDC indicates that gloves are not necessary for general use and do not replace good hand hygiene. Health care workers, clinical, and research personnel should follow the PPE guidelines for their specific work area. Hand hygiene is considered the best everyday practice in prevention of disease.
USM does not require individuals to wear goggles or face shields as part of general activity on campus. All faculty, staff and students are encouraged to practice good hand hygiene and should avoid touching their faces. Health care workers, clinical, and research personnel should follow the PPE guidelines for their specific work area.
Frequent handwashing is one of the most important actions individuals can take in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Handwashing should occur after touching anything in a public area, after using the restroom, prior to eating, and after touching one’s face or blowing one’s nose.
The correct handwashing technique is as follows:
- Wet hands, apply soap and thoroughly rub hands together for at least 20 seconds.
- Be sure to clean under fingernails and in between all fingers.
- After thorough rinsing, use a paper towel when available to dry hands.
- Use the same paper towel to turn off the faucet and to turn the door handle in public restrooms upon exiting. If a paper towel is not available, use an elbow to turn off the faucet and to activate the accessible door to exit the restroom.
- If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol and rub into hands until dry.
Always remember to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you do not have tissues, the CDC recommends you cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow, not into your hands. Throw tissue in the trash and immediately wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Per CDC guidelines, routine cleaning and disinfecting are an important part of reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Routine cleaning can reduce risk of exposure and is a necessary step before disinfecting surfaces.
USM custodial staffs across campus will routinely clean workspaces, classrooms and public spaces. Additionally, surfaces frequently touched by multiple people, such as door handles, handrails, light switches and faucets, will be cleaned and disinfected more frequently.
The CDC also recommends individuals wipe down all living, studying, working and eating areas before leaving any room in which one has been working or eating. This includes a private workspace or any shared-space location or equipment (for example, computers, A/V and other electrical equipment, copiers, desks and tables, chair arms, light switches, doorknobs, handles, etc.). To the best of one’s ability, clear desk and table surfaces in personal offices and workstations to aid in thorough cleaning. Using a hand sanitizer also is effective after contact with commonly used surfaces.
USM’s physical plant has a process in place where employees can request cleaning supplies and/or face coverings. Visit the physical plant website here to learn more.
In light of the public health emergency concerning COVID-19, there will be accommodations that individuals may need or request due to being a part of a vulnerable population. USM employees should work directly with supervisors and Human Resources. Currently enrolled students should contact the Office of Disability Accommodations.
USM requires all faculty, staff and students to self-screen each day for symptoms of COVID-19 before coming onto any University property or going to class.
Daily self-screening questions include:
- Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
- Are you experiencing a cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat?
- Have you had a fever or felt feverish in the past 48 hours?
- Have you had a new loss of taste or smell?
- Have you had vomiting or diarrhea in the last 24 hours?
You must be free of any symptoms before coming on campus for work or school.
Some of the symptoms related to COVID-19, as identified by the CDC, include:
- Fever above 100.4° F
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- Recent loss of the sense of taste or smell
- Gastrointestinal symptoms which may include diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
If an individual has any of these symptoms and they are not due to a preexisting underlying chronic health condition, do not come to campus. Employees should stay home and contact their direct supervisor. Students should notify their instructors and the Dean of Students Office.
If an individual feels unwell while at work and shows any of these symptoms not due to an underlying chronic health condition, the individual’s supervisor will direct the employee to go home and contact Moffitt Health Center or their primary care provider to discuss symptoms and testing. Anyone with symptoms must self-isolate, at a minimum, until test results are received.
Individuals without symptoms may still have COVID-19, potentially spreading the virus to contacts. Please remember to adhere to all other health and safety measures, including social distancing and wearing a face covering or mask.
USM is currently exploring a self-assessment application to be made available through the iSouthern Miss app. This app will allow faculty, staff and students to conduct a self-assessment on personal mobile devices.
Temperature monitoring kiosks will be located throughout campus. The kiosks are touchless and portable, which will allow them to be stationed or transportable. The campus community is encouraged to check their temperatures daily in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The kiosks will have the following features:
- Temperature checking
- Pre-recorded messaging with directions should the temperature threshold be broken
- Messaging to designated directions to alert health personnel to a high temp reading
- A log of checks for the day (not personally identifiable)
- A participant can receive an email document of their results
- The unit has printer capability to do “pass/fail” temperature labels
The following are guiding principles for illnesses and screening for campus:
- Students and employees should stay home if sick or if a household member is diagnosed with COVID- 19.
- All students and employees must be prepared to isolate or quarantine when necessary.
- Everyone must be prepared to participate in any case investigation and contact tracing with state, local, or university health officials.
- All students and employees must self-monitor health for symptoms of COVID-19 using the self- assessment protocol in this document.
- All students and employees should immediately notify close contacts when sick with COVID-19 and to be prepared for future contact tracing.
- Note: Close contacts are defined as people you have been within 6 feet of for at least 15 minutes within the 48 hours before symptom onset until they meet criteria for discontinuing home isolation.
- Employees will be expected to consult with Human Resources regarding COVID-19 related sick leave/time off.
Individuals with concerning symptoms or who have a potential close contact COVID-19 exposure, are encouraged to contact Moffitt Health Center or their primary care provider to discuss their symptoms and schedule an appointment for testing. Moffitt Health Center has full diagnostic (PCR nasal swab and antigen testing) and surveillance (antibody blood) testing available.
While an individual is waiting for test results, one must remain at home or in a residence hall room in self- isolation.
Employees must notify direct supervisor, then Human Resources in order to keep all informed and aware of the employee’s return to work.
Students must notify their instructors and the Dean of Students Office in order to keep those informed and aware of their absences.
Any person(s) tested at Moffitt Health Center will be notified if their COVID-19 test is positive and then placed into the health center’s case management program in order to be monitored by the team of medical professionals during the 14 days of isolation period.
If at any point during self-isolation, the condition rapidly worsens with severe symptoms requiring emergency care, please call 911 for immediate help. Inform the 911 operator that you are positive for COVID-19.
Faculty, staff and students who test positive for COVID-19 and live off-campus should isolate at their home or apartment for the 14-day isolation period. They should follow the case management program as instructed by Moffitt Health Center or their primary care provider.
Students who test positive for COVID-19 and live on-campus will be temporarily relocated to a separate designated room for the 14-day isolation period. Individuals should follow the case management program as instructed by Moffitt Health Center or their primary care provider. See Appendix A: Housing and Residence Life Isolation Plan.
Persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have stayed home (home isolated) may leave home isolation after meeting all three of these criteria:
- No fevers (temperature >100.4° F) for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use of a medicine that reduces fevers such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen); AND
- Other symptoms have improved (for example, cough or shortness of breath have improved); AND
- At least 14 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
Persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 but did not have COVID-19 symptoms and have stayed home (home isolated) may leave home after meeting these two criteria:
- At least 14 days have passed since the date of the positive test; AND
- Continue to have no symptoms (no cough, fever or shortness of breath) since the test.
Further guidance regarding discontinuing home isolation is available on the Mississippi State Department of Health’s website.
Symptomatic Confirmed Negative
Asymptomatic Confirmed Positive
Asymptomatic Close Contacts of COVID-19 Positive Case
Immediate isolation for a minimum of 14- days since symptom onset, including at least 72 hours since symptom recovery and compliance with local public health quarantine orders.
Active monitoring by Moffitt Health Center or primary care provider.
Immediate isolation while awaiting test results.
May return to normal activities 24 hours after symptom recovery.
Immediate 14-day self- isolation and compliance with local public health quarantine orders.
Active monitoring by Moffitt Health Center or primary care provider.
Self-monitor for symptom development and temperature checks (subjective or measured) twice daily.
Immediate 14-day self- quarantine unless released earlier by Moffitt Health Center or primary care provider.
Active monitoring by Moffitt Health Center or primary care provider.
Self-monitor for symptom development and temperature checks (subjective or measurable) twice daily.
According to the CDC, individuals with certain conditions may have a higher risk for COVID-19 infection. Those conditions include:
- Age of 65 and older
- Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- Serious heart condition
- Severe obesity, diabetes or liver disease
- Chronic kidney disease treated with dialysis
- Being immunocompromised
Employees are not required to disclose if they are in a higher-risk category based upon a preexisting medical condition; however, if an employee voluntarily self-identifies as being at higher risk for COVID-19 and they have concerns with returning to campus, they may request accommodations by contacting their supervisor in consultation with Human Resources. Students who wish to seek accommodations related to returning to campus should contact the Dean of Students Office.
Faculty, staff and students who are made aware of close contact exposure, should follow the guidelines presented below.
Close contact is defined as people you have been within 6 feet of for at least 15 minutes within the 48 hours before their symptoms began until criteria for discontinuing home isolation are met.
Asymptomatic individuals who have a known close contact exposure to COVID-19 and live off-campus should quarantine at their residence for 14 days. Individuals should contact Moffitt Health Center or primary care provider to discuss the exposure in order to set up an appointment for testing.
Asymptomatic individuals who have a known close contact exposure to COVID-19 and live on-campus should quarantine in residence hall room or on-campus housing for 14 days (See Appendix A: Housing and Residence Life Isolation Plan). Individuals should contact Moffitt Health Center or primary care provider to discuss the exposure in order to set up an appointment for testing.
Employees must notify their direct supervisor, then Human Resources in order to keep the supervisor informed and aware of the employee’s return to work.
Students must notify their instructors and Dean of Students Office in order to keep those informed and aware of their absences.
Instructions for asymptomatic persons exposed to a person with known or suspected COVID-19 infection within 48 hours of symptom onset:
Close Contact Exposure:
- SELF-ISOLATE and stay home or in residence hall room until 14 days after last exposure to a close contact who is known or suspected to be positive for COVID-19.
Note: A close contact is defined as a household member, intimate partner, individual providing direct care or other individual with whom the employee or student has had prolonged close exposure (<6 feet for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset or a positive test result).
- Maintain social distance (at least 6 feet) from others within the home or residence hall room.
- Self-monitor for the development of COVID-19 symptoms such as fever >100.4F, cough, or shortness of breath.
- If symptoms develop during the 14-day isolation period, contact Moffitt Health Center or your primary healthcare provider to discuss the symptoms and testing.
With the increased community transmission in many parts of the United States, general exposure to COVID-19 may occur. On our campuses, this may include exposures while passing in hallways, within classrooms or offices, or the campus facilities. Continued focus on reducing transmission through social distancing and other personal prevention strategies helps to avoid higher risk close contact exposures.
- SELF-MONITOR for the development of COVID-19 symptoms such as fever >100.4 F, cough, or shortness of breath.
- Practice social distancing by maintaining 6 feet distance from others.
- Stay out of crowded places.
- Wear a face covering when in public.
- If COVID-19 symptoms develop during the 14-day monitoring period, immediately self-isolate and contact Moffitt Health Center or your primary healthcare provider to discuss the symptoms and testing.
Faculty and staff who become aware of a student(s) who have tested positive for COVID-19 or has a close contact exposure, will be expected to report the information to the Dean of Students Office through the COVID-19 Reporting Form:
For questions regarding the reporting process, contact the Dean of Students office at 601-266-4826.
The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) is tasked with contact tracing. USM will be assisting with contact tracing per guidelines and protocols with MSDH. USM coordinated contact tracing begins when an individual affiliated with USM is diagnosed with COVID-19, laboratory-confirmed or probable. USM’s contact tracing interdisciplinary team will immediately identify and interview people with diagnosed COVID-19 in order to activate the contact tracing workflow.
A "cluster" is an unusual aggregation, real or perceived, of health events that are grouped together in time and space and that are reported to a health agency. A cluster is the presence of 2 COVID-19 cases within the 14 day time frame within the same space (i.e. residence hall, fraternity, sorority, and athletics). Contact tracing will be conducted as described above, with the expectation that the source of the cluster infection will be identified. If a common source is not identified, then COVID-19 PCR testing of all persons that are within that space or group is recommended.
As the Mississippi State Department of Health is tasked with contact tracing, a data sharing system is needed so the information our team gathers can be easily shared with MSDH and vice versa, to prevent duplication of work and wasted resources.
All persons who return to the campus from international travel must stay home for 14 days from the time they return. During this 14-day period, individuals need to practice physical distancing and monitor their health by:
USM faculty, staff and students will be encouraged to participate in an online educational module that includes general information on COVID-19 and prevention. This training will be offered through the university’s online training platform (Traliant).
Primary prevention refers to the efforts made to prevent or intervene in the development or occurrence of a disease, health behavior, or injury. Approaches to primary prevention can be universal, as applied to general society or population groups, or selective in populations and individuals targeted by risks. As a part of the COVID-19 USM Health Protocols, targeted health communications and a social marketing campaign will be a part of the overall health protocols management plan.
Social marketing is a process that uses marketing principles and techniques to influence target audience behaviors that will ultimately benefit society, but there is a focus on health enhancing behaviors and reducing health risk behaviors. While USM faculty, staff, administrators, and students have personal safety practices in place (social distancing, frequent handwashing, wearing of face coverings, avoidance of touching their face, etc.), engagement of these audiences into the development of a sound health communications and social marketing campaign is necessary in order to segment messages to appropriate targeted groups. This includes development of health messages to share, language to be utilized, and communication channels to disseminate information.
Effective use of signage will be used to remind people to reduce their risk or let visitors know that USM is looking out for their employees and students.
While exhaustive preventative measures will be in place to minimize the risk of infection for USM community members, the possibility remains that students, staff, and faculty may become ill due to COVID-19 while engaging in activities on or off campus. Members of our community have different risk factors and exposure to systemic and structural forces that are driving higher rates of infection and worse outcomes for those infected with COVID-19. Stigma and fear of repercussions are threats to successful preventative and recovery practices and community wellbeing.
Effectively supporting our USM community members who become ill and clearly communicating these efforts are essential both to promote health and support recovery from infection. USM will make every effort in these circumstances while respecting the privacy of individuals to support their recovery and return to the classroom or workplace.
NOTE: This isolation protocol shall be specific to USM students.
The primary objectives of this isolation protocol are to:
- Describe the type and level of supports USM provides to students depending on whether they are an unconfirmed or confirmed case
- Describe the process for assessing and accessing supports
- Describe plans when a student is a part of the on campus population
- Self-Isolation: separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
- Quarantine: separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms.
- Person Under Investigation (PUI): person awaiting COVID-19 test results.
- Known Positive: person who has a confirmed positive COVID-19 test.
- Known Close Contact Exposure: person who has a known exposure to a close contact who is COVID-19 positive. A close contact is defined as a roommate, household member, intimate partner, individual providing direct care or other individual with whom the employee or student has had prolonged close exposure (<6 feet).
- Known Negative: person who has a confirmed negative COVID-19 test.
1. No fevers (temperature >100.4 F) for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen); ANDStudent(s) who DID NOT have COVID-19 symptoms, but tested positive and have stayed in their designated housing space or home (home isolated) may leave isolation after meeting these TWO criteria:
2. Other symptoms have improved (for example, cough or shortness of breath have improved); AND
3. At least 14 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
1. At least 14 days have passed since the date of first positive test; AND
2. Continue to have no symptoms (no cough, fever or shortness of breath) since the test.
Once discontinue of isolation has been met, student(s) will move back to their original housing assignment.
HRL will then deploy cleaning crew to the vacated designated spaces. Cleaning crew will adhere to CDC recommendations for cleaning and disinfection during the COVID-19 response.
HRL will make note on internal tracking list when a student(s) has returned to their original housing assignment and when designated spaces have been cleaned in order to be ready for another student.
Contact tracing is an effective disease control strategy that involves investigating cases and their contacts and then interrupting disease transmission—typically by asking cases to isolate and contacts to quarantine at home voluntarily. Contact tracing is a key strategy to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
Contact tracing, also referred to as contact investigation, is the identification, monitoring, and support of the individuals (contacts) who have been exposed to the patient and possibly infected themselves. This process prevents further transmission of disease by separating people who have (or may have) an infectious disease from people who do not.
Conduct patient interview and collect necessary information:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Primary language
- Use of interpreter (if needed)
Demographic and Locating Information
- Preferred Name
- Group membership (students residing on campus, students residing off campus, faculty, staff, food services, contract services, and/or affiliates)
- Residential information
- Phone number
- Email address
- Ok to text
- Ok to email
- Best way to reach patient for follow-up
- Date of interview
- Date and results of first and last SARS-CoV-2 tests, if applicable
- Patient’s COVID-19 clinical course
- Pre-existing conditions
Close contacts – Any individual within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes made ON CAMPUS or with USM AFFILIATED PERSONS starting from 48 hours before illness onset/diagnosis until the time the patient is isolated.
- Determine start and end date of contact elicitation window
- Identify contacts:
- Household contacts
- Intimate partners that do not reside with patient
- Classroom contacts
- Campus dining contacts
- On campus workplace contacts
- Other settings
- Family/Friends/Social Acquaintances not yet identified
- For each close contact, collect:
- Full name and other names they are known by
- Phone number
- Email address
- Residential Address
- Setting where exposure occurred
- Date of most recent exposure and duration in minutes
- Review Isolation Recommendations and Resources
- Can the patient self-isolate and does the patient need assistance to self-isolate?
Contact notification procedures:
Remote communications for the purposes of case investigation and contact tracing should be prioritized; in-person communication may be considered only after remote options have been exhausted.
Once contact is made with close contacts, testing is recommended.
If testing is available:
- Those contacts who test positive (symptomatic or asymptomatic) should be managed as a confirmed COVID-19 case.
- Asymptomatic contacts testing negative should self-quarantine for 14 days from their last exposure (i.e., close encounter with confirmed or probable COVID-19 case)
If testing is not available:
- Symptomatic close contacts should self-isolate and be managed as a probable COVID-19 case.
- Asymptomatic close contacts should self-quarantine and be monitored for 14 days after their last exposure, with linkage to clinical care for those who develop symptoms.
Monitoring and Close-Out
Asymptomatic close contact monitoring and close-out:
Follow-up of asymptomatic patients should occur daily during the 14-day isolation period. The following information should be collected at each daily follow-up:
- Temperature (contacts should monitor themselves by checking their temperature twice daily)
- Presence of symptoms
- Need assistance for self-isolation
If symptoms occur, they should promptly be evaluated for infection, including testing if available, and for the need for medical care.
At the end of the 14-day period, individuals who remain asymptomatic should be tested if available, and if negative, can discontinue self-quarantine.