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Testing FAQs

The extensive COVID-19 viral testing and contact tracing program will continue through the 2020-2021 academic year. All students, faculty, and staff returning to the Boston campus will be required to undergo viral testing regularly. The test uses a frontal nasal swab, which involves minimal discomfort.

Massachusetts Reopening Plans: On February 25, Governor Charlie Baker announced plans for the next phase of Massachusetts’ reopening. Residents must continue to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and are encouraged to avoid contact outside of their immediate households. The Travel Advisory and other public health orders remain in effect. The latest information is available on the Reopening Massachusetts website.

Daily Wellness Check

How will Northeastern faculty, staff, and students complete the required daily health assessment?

Each day, all Northeastern faculty, staff, and students are required to complete a Daily Wellness Check to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and close contact with others who have COVID-19. This includes faculty, staff, students across our global campuses, and students who live off campus

What if I have no symptoms of COVID-19 and have not been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. Do I still have to use the Daily Wellness Check?

Yes, faculty, employees, and students are required to use the Daily Wellness Check. If they report no symptoms, the wellness check will indicate you are cleared to come to campus, participate in classes, and (if you are located in Boston) be tested at the Cabot Physical Education Center testing site on your assigned testing day.

What happens if I report COVID-19 symptoms when I complete my Daily Wellness Check?

Students

You will receive instructions at the end of the Daily Wellness Check not to come to campus until cleared by a medical professional to do so. You will be prompted to contact our COVID-19 telehealth provider, Tufts Medical Center, and a clinician will advise you on next steps. The phone line is available between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday; voicemails can be left at night and on weekends for clinician follow up.

Faculty/Staff

You will receive instructions at the end of your wellness check not to come to campus until cleared by a medical professional to do so. You will be directed to your primary care physician for care and next steps.

What happens if I indicate exposure to someone with COVID-19 when I complete my Daily Wellness Check?

Students
You will receive instructions at the end of the Daily Wellness Check not to come to campus until cleared by a medical professional to do so. You will be prompted to contact our COVID-19 contact tracing team, and a member of our team will advise you on next steps.

Faculty/Staff
You will receive instructions at the end of your wellness check not to come to campus until cleared by a medical professional to do so. You will be directed to your primary care physician for care and next steps.

Testing Requirements

Why is Northeastern requiring frequent testing for all students, faculty, and staff on the Boston campus?

The CDC promotes symptom screening, testing, and contact tracing as strategies that workplaces can use to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Northeastern is adopting all three strategies on its Boston campus to promote the safety of the campus community. Testing everyone on a regular cycle, whether they show symptoms of COVID-19 or not, will allow the university to swiftly offer help to anyone who is sick, isolate them while they may be contagious, identify their close contacts, and promote their full recovery.

Will students who live off campus be able to get testing at outside facilities rather than on campus?

With the exception of the faculty arrival test mentioned above, all testing required by Northeastern will need to be performed at the Northeastern testing center.

I am an international student. Should I get a COVID-19 test before arriving in Boston?

We recommend that all Northeastern students get a test for COVID-19 before they travel. There may be other requirements you need to follow for departure, both for entry into your transit points and for your point of entry into the United States. Northeastern’s Office of Global Services has prepared a guide for international students who are traveling to Northeastern from abroad, with detailed information for specific countries.

What happens if someone refuses to be tested?

Frequent testing of the entire on-campus community is essential to the health and wellbeing of all. Students who refuse to be tested will undergo a review with the Office of Student Affairs, staff will undergo a review with Human Resources Management, and faculty will undergo a review with the Office of the Provost. Members of the Northeastern community who prefer not to get tested will not be physically allowed on the Boston campus and will need to transition to a fully online learning or working experience.

Will I still need to be tested even if I have already had COVID-19 or if I’ve tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies?

If you have had COVID-19 confirmed by SARS-CoV-2 viral PCR test and recovered from it within the past three months, you can request medical clearance by University Health Counseling Services to come back to campus without being tested. You will need documentation from a medical clinician or your local public health authority that you have recovered from COVID-19 and are no longer contagious, along with your positive test result. If you do not have the document from a clinician, you may request the medical clearance by a clinician at UHCS. If it has been longer than three months since the date you had the positive viral test, you will need to be tested to come back to campus. Because the current data about the role of antibodies in COVID-19 is insufficient, we are not able to accept antibody testing results.

Scheduling a Test

How will Boston-based Northeastern students, faculty, and staff schedule appointments to be tested?

Please visit the COVID-19 Test Scheduler to schedule your appointment. The testing center only takes scheduled appointments. No walk-ins are permitted. Students, faculty and staff in Boston will receive regular email notifications to remind you of when you need to schedule your next appointment.

What are the hours when testing will take place on the Boston campus?

Sample collection will take place seven days a week in the Cabot Physical Education Center. Hours vary during holiday breaks and at the end of the term. Please check the COVID-19 Test Scheduler for the open time slots or visit the Cabot Testing Center hours of operation, available on services.northeastern.edu/wellness.

Will I get a notification when it is time to schedule my next testing appointment?

Boston-based faculty, staff, and students who use the COVID-19 Test Scheduler and are required to be tested will receive regular email notifications about scheduling their next testing appointment.

Does the Boston testing center take walk-in appointments?

No, the testing center does not take walk-in appointments. You will need to use the COVID-19 Test Scheduler to schedule an appointment.

Understanding the Testing Schedule

What are the testing requirements for faculty and staff to begin working on campus?

Staff should schedule a test for the day they return to campus. The test can take place at any time during their first day on campus. On that day they should adhere to all safety protocols such as completing the Daily Wellness Check, wearing a mask, practicing healthy distancing, and washing their hands frequently. Following their initial test, they will then be tested every four days. Faculty members will need to receive a negative test result in the seven-day period prior to their return to the classroom—a test they can obtain on the Boston campus or elsewhere.

What are the testing requirements for students arriving in Boston?

All Northeastern students—from exempt or non-exempt states, domestic or international—will be required to undergo a COVID-19 viral test at Northeastern’s on-campus testing center at Cabot Physical Education Center in Boston. Students living in university housing will be administered a COVID-19 viral test immediately upon arrival. This means students should go straight to the testing center and not to their assigned residence halls, when they arrive on campus. Students may go to their residence halls only after the testing has been completed. We realize that this may cause a slight inconvenience, and is a departure from the usual arrival process, but it is critical that the first test is completed before students occupy their assigned rooms

All off-campus students, from exempt or non-exempt states, domestic or international, should arrange to be tested at the Cabot testing center on the day of their arrival.

All students will need to be tested on day one (arrival), and on days three and five afterward. Please review the Travel FAQs for further details on student testing on arrival and the quarantine rules that students will need to follow until their first negative test result.

I am a faculty member or staff member who is primarily in-person on the Boston campus. How often will I need to be tested?

Faculty, staff, and contract workers who are primarily in-person on the Boston campus will be tested every four days. You should mark yourself as primarily in-person in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler and follow the testing requirements. The COVID-19 Test Scheduler provides some flexibility within this four-day testing schedule, allowing you to schedule a test two days earlier than your assigned test day or one day later. For instance, if you take a test on Wednesday, the COVID-19 Test Scheduler will send you a notification to schedule a test on Sunday. You may schedule your test two days before the assigned test day—on Friday—or a day after your assigned test day, on Monday.

I am a faculty member or staff member who does not come to campus. How often will I need to be tested?

Faculty and staff who do not come to the Boston campus are not required to undergo testing. You will need to mark yourself as primarily remote in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler. However, if you come for a one-time visit—such as to pick something up from an office—you would need to be tested any day you come to campus.

I am a faculty member or staff member who comes to campus occasionally—one day a week or less. How often will I need to be tested?

You should be tested any day you come to campus. You will need to mark yourself as primarily remote in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler and schedule a test any day you come to campus.

I am a faculty member or staff member who comes to campus regularly but on two consecutive days. Do I need to be tested both days?

It is not necessary to be tested on two consecutive days. You will mark yourself as primarily remote in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler and schedule a test on the earliest day you are on campus.

I am an active, full-time undergraduate student. How often will I need to be tested?

Active, full-time undergraduate students who fall into the following categories are required to get tested at the Cabot Testing Center every three days, regardless of how often they come to campus. This includes:

  • Undergraduate students living in university housing
  • Undergraduate students living in LightView
  • Undergraduate students, including those on co-op, living in off-campus residences in the neighborhoods surrounding the Boston campus. This includes students living in the zip codes of 02115, 02118, 02119, 02120, 02130, 02215, and 02121.

You should mark yourself as primarily in-person in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler and follow the testing reminders.

Why is Northeastern asking undergraduates to be tested even if they don’t come to campus?

This is a safety measure to protect your health and the health of the Northeastern community. Many undergraduates interact regularly with Northeastern community members—seeing friends or living with other Northeastern students—even if they don’t come to the Boston campus regularly. If a student on co-op lives with Northeastern students or sees them regularly and becomes ill, they risk spreading the illness to their friends, roommates, and the rest of the Northeastern community, even if they don’t come to campus.

I am an undergraduate student in the College of Professional Studies who lives off-campus and comes to campus occasionally. How often will I need to be tested?

Undergraduate College of Professional Studies students who live off-campus and come to campus occasionally should be tested as often as they come to campus.   

I am a graduate student who lives off-campus and comes to campus occasionally. How often will I need to be tested?

Graduate students who live off-campus and come to campus occasionally should be tested any day they are on campus. They should mark themselves as primarily remote in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler and schedule a test for any day they come to campus. Graduate students coming to the Boston campus regularly for classes should be tested every three days.

I am a graduate student traveling to the Boston campus once this semester for a one-day commitment. How should I be tested?

If you are traveling to the Boston campus from another state or country, we strongly encourage you to minimize contact with others before you travel and to have a COVID-19 test before you leave. If possible, please follow Massachusetts travel guidance and get a COVID-19 PCR test 72 hours or less before your arrival in Massachusetts. Please plan to arrive at least 36 hours before your event and schedule a test as soon as possible on arrival, so you can confirm a negative test before you fulfill your one-day commitment.

What if I go on vacation or travel away from Boston for the week?

If you are out of the office for a week or travel away from Boston, you will mark yourself as primarily remote in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler and will be exempt from testing for that week. You will need to be tested again on the first day of your return to campus, which will start another four-day testing cycle if you are an employee and a three-day testing cycle if you are a student.

If I am a student, can I schedule my test for another day besides my assigned test day?

Students are required to be tested every three days. You may schedule your test for one day earlier or one day later than your assigned test day. For example, if your assigned test day is on Wednesday, then you may schedule your test for Tuesday or Thursday. This will begin a new three-day testing cycle that starts on the day you have your test. You may schedule your next appointment on the day following your most recent test.

If I am a faculty or staff member, can I schedule my test for another day besides my assigned test day?

Faculty and staff who are primarily on campus are required to be tested every four days. The COVID-19 Test Scheduler allows the flexibility to schedule two days before or one day after their assigned test date. So if a faculty member receives a notification that they need to be tested on Sunday, they may schedule a test for Friday or for Monday. This will begin a new four-day testing cycle on the day you have your test. You may schedule your next appointment on the day following your most recent test.

I am a student who takes classes remotely from my home city. Will I need to be tested?

You are not required to participate in testing if you take classes entirely remotely from another state or country. You will mark yourself as primarily remote in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler.

Can students leave the state for a weekend or travel? Will they need to follow certain testing protocols if they visit home for a holiday?

If you travel, please make sure that you check the travel requirements where you are traveling. You may be required to have a negative COVID-19 test or quarantine to enter your destination state and to return to Massachusetts. If you will be gone for several days, make sure that you mark yourself as remote in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler for the period of time when you are away from campus. When you return, you will need to schedule a COVID-19 test at the Cabot Testing Center for the day of your arrival and quarantine until you receive a negative test result.

Can students who live nearby go home for a night or a weekend?

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts doesn’t limit travel within the state or to lower-risk states. Just make sure you keep up with your testing requirements and that you keep practicing healthy behaviors—wearing a mask, washing your hands, and practicing healthy distancing—wherever you go.

Testing Process

What type of test is it?

It is a diagnostic test that indicates whether you are currently infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The test is an anterior nasal swab, and Northeastern uses the gold standard of testing—polymerase chain reaction to test the genome of the virus. The test is not a serological test, meaning it will not detect the presence of antibodies for SARS-CoV-2

Is testing free?

Yes.

Where does COVID-19 testing take place on the Boston campus?

Cabot Physical Education Center, located at 400 Huntington Avenue, is the main testing site on the Boston campus with a secondary site for symptomatic testing located in the Huntington Testing Center at 259-269 Huntington Avenue. The Cabot testing site has sufficient capacity for Northeastern to collect up to 7,000 samples a day.

What do I need to do to prepare for my testing appointment?

  • Make sure you’ve completed the COVID-19 testing consent form.
  • Bring your mobile device to display your completed Daily Wellness Check from the day of your testing or print the page to show your results.
  • Remember your nine-digit Northeastern University ID number. This number is available on your northeastern.edu account or on your Daily Wellness Check result page.
  • As always, have your Husky Card visible on a lanyard, wear a face mask or face covering except for the brief moments during the swabbing, stay six feet away from others, and wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, before you arrive for your test and after you leave.

Does the testing center provide accommodations for those needing additional assistance?

Yes. The COVID-19 Test Scheduler allows users to indicate a request for accommodations at the time of booking their next testing appointment. The testing center staff makes every reasonable effort to accommodate each request. It is recommended to make your appointment and indicate your request as far in advance as possible.

What does the process look like for testing Northeastern students, faculty, and staff?

You will arrive at the collection site, show confirmation of your appointment time, and show the results of your Daily Wellness Check. You will receive a temperature check, and then a staff member will scan the QR code on your Daily Wellness Check to assign you to a check-in line. Inside the building, you will confirm your identity and contact information and receive a personal barcoded label. Your identity and contact information may need to be manually entered if it is not already pre-loaded into the check-in system.

Then you will be ushered to a swabbing station where you will receive a testing kit with a swab and a sterile tube. The test is an anterior nasal swab—a less invasive and less uncomfortable but still highly reliable and accurate way of collecting samples. You will place your barcoded label on your tube and then be instructed to self-swab while under direct observation from a qualified health professional. You will insert the swab a half-inch inside the nostril and rotate the swab for approximately 15 seconds. After repeating the swab in both nostrils, you will seal the swab in your sterile tube, and follow the signage to exit. The test is quick, painless, and should take no more than ten minutes.

What does the process look like at the test center for people who are showing COVID-19 symptoms?

 

Steps Before Testing:

If a student completes their Daily Wellness Check and they have symptoms of COVID-19, they will be directed to call the Tufts Medical Center telehealth team for appropriate health support and triage from a clinician. The phone line is available between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday; voicemails can be left at night and on weekends for clinician follow up. If the telehealth team recommends a test, the person will be tested at the university’s testing site for symptomatic people, located in the Huntington Testing Center at 259-269 Huntington Avenue.

Testing Process:

The person will arrive at the symptomatic collection site, show confirmation of their appointment time, and show the results of their Daily Wellness Check. They will receive a temperature check. Once they confirm their identity and contact information, they will receive a label associated with their information and be ushered to a testing station. A qualified health professional, wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, will administer the swab test.

The test is an anterior nasal swab— less invasive and less uncomfortable but still reliable and accurate way of collecting samples. The medical assistant will insert the swab a half-inch inside the nostril and rotate the swab for approximately 15 seconds to collect the sample.

What are the safety precautions Northeastern is taking in its testing sites?

Signage and decals will show entrances and exits and will mark six-foot healthy distancing in the queues. Throughout the process, you will wear your own face mask or face covering except for the brief few minutes during your test. Six-foot healthy distancing will be maintained throughout the testing space. Northeastern will also install ultraviolet germicidal irradiation lighting (UVGI) with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration systems in the two areas on campus where COVID-19 testing will take place

What kind of demographic data is collected and where will it go?

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires COVID-19 testing labs to collect certain demographic data including gender, race, and ethnicity. Collecting this data helps public health officials understand COVID-19, its transmission, and how it may impact certain groups. The two labs analyzing Northeastern’s samples for COVID-19—the Broad Institute and the Life Sciences Testing Center—will collect this data on check-in and report it confidentially to state public health agencies. You may decline to answer demographic questions on gender, race, and ethnicity.

Test Results

Where are the samples sent for analysis?

Some samples will undergo analysis by the Broad Institute and others will undergo analysis by the university’s newly-built Life Sciences Testing Center. The Life Sciences Testing Centerrecently secured state and federal certifications to process coronavirus samples using the gold standard for viral testing. In accordance with state law, all test results will be shared with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

How soon will I get my test results?

Test results will be available within 36 hours.

How will I create an account and be informed of my testing results?

Please watch for signage at the Cabot testing center when you are in the line for check-in. The signage will direct you to a QR code you can scan for information on how to access your test results portal and how to view your results. Test samples are currently being processed by Northeastern’s Life Sciences Testing Center (LSTC) in Burlington and by the Broad Institute. An email notification of your result will come from the laboratory that processed your sample and will direct you to the laboratory’s secure online portal. If your test was processed by Northeastern’s LSTC labs, your results will be available through Northeastern’s secure COVID-19 Test Results Portal. If your test was processed by the Broad Institute, your results will be available through the Broad’s CareEvolve secure portal.

Please check your junk or spam folder if you don’t receive your test results within 36 to 48 hours. If your test results are negative, you will receive an email notification letting you know that your test results are ready, and you will be able to access your results through a secure portal. If your test results are positive, you will first receive a personal phone call from a member of our team with further instructions. Then your results will be accessible through the portal.

What if my test was processed by Northeastern’s LSTC labs?

If your test was processed by Northeastern’s LSTC labs, your results will be available through Northeastern’s secure COVID-19 Test Results Portal. If your test result is negative, you’ll get an email notification from noreply-covid19-testing@northeastern.edu when your test results are ready to view. Log into the LSTC test results portal using your Northeastern username and password.  Links to the test results portals are available at northeastern.edu/wellness.

What if my test was processed by the Broad Institute?

If your test was processed by the Broad Institute, your results will be available through the Broad’s CareEvolve secure portal.

  • If your test result is negative, you will receive an email from CareEvolve@lknotification.com with subject line “Lab results available from your provider.” The first time you receive results from CareEvolve, this email will contain information about how to register an account and log in to view your results.
  • For any help resetting your password and logging in to the results portal, contact CareEvolve Support at crsp-careevolve@broadinstitute.org.

Will I receive test results for other illnesses besides COVID-19?

No, the samples will only be tested for COVID-19

What does it mean if I receive a notification that my results are inconclusive, partial, NA, or invalid?

There are some situations where you may have to repeat the test to receive a conclusive result. If your results are inconclusive, it means the lab cannot determine whether or not CoV-SARS-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is present in your sample. An inconclusive result does not mean you have COVID-19. If your results are partial, NA, or invalid, it is likely because the sample collected was insufficient to run the test. You may receive an NA or “test not processed” result due to errors such as inserting your swab upside down into the tube, your tube breaking during transport, or a barcode that could not be scanned.  If your result is inconclusive, partial, NA, or “test not processed,” you will be notified that you need to provide another swab specimen to repeat the test.

Other Testing Questions

Will testing be available to family members or outside community members?

Onsite testing is limited only to students, faculty, staff, and vendors who come to campus. Boston-based University faculty and staff may now purchase take-home COVID-19 pool testing kits for their households. The kit will provide a single test result—positive or negative—for your household.

How can Northeastern faculty and staff members reserve a take-home COVID-19 pool testing kit for their household?

The take-home pool testing kit will provide a single test result—positive or negative—for your household. To take advantage of this resource for your household, please follow the steps below:

  • Complete the household surveillance testing consent form with your household.
  • The consent form confirmation page will direct you to a link where you can purchase your test kit at the below-market cost of $40 per kit.
  • Schedule a test for yourself at Cabot Testing Center on the same day that you’ve indicated you’ll pick up your kit. Once you’re there, follow the signage for “Household Testing” and provide your Northeastern University ID to pick up your kit. Once you have your kit, you may complete your own individual COVID-19 test at the testing center.
  • Follow the written directions provided with the kit and return it to Cabot Testing Center within 24-48 hours of collecting the first sample.

Is the self-administered anterior nasal swab reliable?

A study by the Stanford University School of Medicine found that test samples collected by self-swabbing were as accurate as samples collected by health care workers. Having participants swab their own nostrils reduces the risk of infection for healthcare providers, who won’t be in close contact with the participants. And, since it is less complex, it will also result in faster sampling

If my testing question isn’t answered here, is there a contact number where I can ask further questions?

If you have other COVID-19 related questions, please email NUCovid19Qs@northeastern.edu or call 617.373.7333. This inbox and phone line are monitored from 8:30 a.m. ET to 4:30 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.

Positive Tests and Contact Tracing

If I test positive for COVID-19, what happens with the information I share with contact tracers?

Northeastern requires our community members to fully cooperate with contact tracers from Northeastern, the city, and state to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Information you share with contact tracers will be kept confidential and only shared on a need-to-know basis with a limited number of Northeastern employees who are responsible for cleaning and coordinating support for community members sick with or exposed to COVID-19, and with local and state public health authorities, as required by law.

Contact tracers from Northeastern, local boards of health, or the state’s Contact Tracing Collaborative will call those identified as your close contacts during the infectious period when you could have spread COVID-19 to others. University contact tracers will only ask you about close contacts you’ve had on campus only. These contact tracers will keep your identity confidential and will only share date of exposure and instructions for quarantine, if necessary. Please remember that you help your close contacts and the Northeastern community by informing accurately about their exposure in a timely manner

What is the definition of a close contact?

You will be deemed a close contact if you’ve had this type of contact with someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19:  

  • If you’ve been within six feet for longer than 15 minutes 
  • If you’ve had intimate physical contact such as kissing and hugging 
  • If you’ve been coughed or sneezed on 
  • If you’ve shared eating or drinking utensils such as dishes and cups 
  • If you’ve played a sport that can involve close contact with other players, such as basketball, football, volleyball, etc. 

If I tell contact tracers who I was around when I was infectious, will those people find out I have COVID-19?

If Northeastern’s contact tracing team identifies any close contacts after you receive a positive test result, the contact tracing team will follow up with close contacts to inform them that they were exposed and should begin to quarantine and monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19. Contact tracers will never share any identifying information about you with close contacts, including your name, relationship to the close contact, and place or exact time of exposure

Which close contacts will Northeastern call?

Northeastern’s contact tracing team will call close contacts within the Northeastern community (students, staff, and faculty). If you have close contacts who are not Northeastern students, staff, and faculty, contact tracers from the contact’s local board of health or the state’s Contact Tracing Collaborative will inform those contacts of their exposure and next steps for quarantine

Are roommates considered part of a ‘household’?

In off-campus housing, a ‘household’ would likely include other housemates living in the same house. In on-campus housing, a ‘household’ would likely include students who are living in the same suite and sharing a common area.

What happens if my roommate in university housing tests positive?

Any student who tests positive will receive a phone call from our COVID-19 telehealth provider, Tufts Medical Center, and a member of our Northeastern contact tracing team to share next steps and guide them in following the self-isolation protocol. Assuming the roommate meets the definition of a close contact, the roommate would be notified by our contact tracers and notified if they need to move into quarantine as well. Although your roommate might choose to share their diagnosis with you, the contact tracers would not share your roommate’s identity to follow privacy requirements and protect their private health information.

What happens if someone tests positive in my class?

When anyone in the Northeastern community tests positive, our contact tracing team will be working closely with local and state public health authorities to notify anyone who fits the definition of close contact about their exposure. Since Northeastern is reducing its classroom density to allow six-foot distancing, requiring masks, and improving its air ventilation, you and your classmates would most likely not fall under the CDC definition of close contact if someone in your class tests positive. If there were any exceptions and if trained contact tracers determined you were a close contact, then the contact tracing team would contact you and let you know your next steps. The person’s identity, schedule, and personal health information would not be shared with you.

Am I required to report if I know of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?

Northeastern medical providers and contact tracers keep all information confidential, as required by HIPAA and the Americans with Disabilities Act. To encourage cooperation with efforts to reduce COVID-19 and avoid retaliation and stigma, we ask that all community members who learn of a positive COVID-19 test do not disclose this information to others. The Northeastern testing center and all other COVID-19 testing labs automatically report positive results to the state’s Department of Public Health.

What happens if I am a student living in university housing, get a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, and have to move into self-isolation?

A clinician from the Tufts Medical Center telehealth team and a member of our contact tracing team will personally contact you to let you know what you need to do. If you live on the Boston campus, you’ll move into our COVID-19 Wellness Housing so you can have your own room and bathroom and recover away from others. You’ll get a wellness package with a thermometer, an oximeter to measure your oxygen, and over-the-counter medicine to help manage minor symptoms. Food will be delivered, and our telehealth provider will check in with you regularly to monitor your symptoms and advise you on medical care. Students may also call the telehealth team directly if their symptoms worsen.

What happens if I am a student living off campus and get a positive COVID-19 diagnosis?

A clinician from our Tufts Medical Center telehealth team and a member of our contact tracing team will personally contact you to let you know what you need to do. Any student living off campus is encouraged to move to on campus wellness housing, but it is not required. Wherever you choose to stay, a clinician from our telehealth team will check in with you regularly to monitor your symptoms and advise you on medical care. Students may also call the telehealth team directly if their symptoms worsen. We will also connect you with We Care and Off Campus Housing and Support Services for additional support.

How am I released from isolation?

You will need to remain in isolation until your local public health authority (the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, your local board of health, or the Massachusetts Contact Tracing Collaborative on the Boston campus) clears you to leave. A public health authority will be in contact with you regularly and will conduct another assessment during your isolation period. They will confirm that you may leave your room once the risk of infecting others is determined to be low.

If I’m exposed to COVID-19, how long will I have to stay in quarantine?

Under Massachusetts guidance, quarantine lasts 14 days from the date of last exposure or at least 10 days, provided all of the following: you do not have symptoms; you’re tested on or after day eight of quarantine using a molecular diagnostic test and receive a negative test result; you monitor yourself for symptoms for the full 14 days. Northeastern provides testing on or after day eight of quarantine, so it is possible some people will be released from quarantine after 10 days.

What if I am a close contact of someone who has a COVID-19 diagnosis and I need to quarantine in university housing?

Please remain in your residence and wait for a member of our contact tracing team to contact you to let you know what to do. If you are a close contact and live in university housing, you may be asked to quarantine in your own room if you live alone or in the COVID-19 Wellness Housing that Northeastern has set aside for isolation and quarantine. Our case managers will help you arrange what you need for quarantine, including food deliveries, medical care if needed, and further COVID-19 testing. If you live off campus, you are encouraged to quarantine on campus but it is not required. If you choose to stay off campus, you will need to quarantine at home, away from others as much as possible. Northeastern‘s contact tracing team will reach out to provide you further instructions and assistance for quarantining in place.

If I am a student, can I go home if I test positive for COVID-19 instead of remaining on campus?

 

You will need to isolate immediately, so if a family member cannot immediately pick you up, you should move into isolation housing in university housing until they arrive. You will need to follow CDC guidance if you choose to isolate at home. If you’re not able to do so, the university strongly recommends that you remain in on-campus isolation housing rather than returning home and risking infecting your family members. Your parents and other household members will also need to quarantine at home and monitor their health, since living with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 will make them close contacts. If you do choose to go home, please let your case manager know and share your home address.

Are Tufts Medical Center telehealth services covered by a students’ private insurance or by Northeastern?

Tufts Medical Center will provide COVID-19 related telehealth services to our student community in Boston, including notifying students of a positive COVID-19 test, triaging students who report COVID-19 symptoms through the Daily Wellness Check, and checking in regularly with any student who tests positive for COVID-19. The cost of these telehealth services is covered by Northeastern at no charge to the student or to their insurance. If a student needs in-person care at a hospital or another health care provider, they would need to submit their insurance info to the health care provider for coverage. Students are welcome to get their in-person care at Tufts Medical Center but may choose to go elsewhere if another health care provider is in network.

What do Tufts Medical Center telehealth services cover?

Tufts Medical Center provides only COVID-19 related telehealth services, including notifying students of a positive COVID-19 test, triaging students who report COVID-19 symptoms through the Daily Wellness Check, and checking in regularly with any student who tests positive for COVID-19. Any questions related to other Northeastern health services should be directed to University Health Counseling Services. Questions about COVID-19 campus operations should be directed to NUCovid19Qs@northeastern.edu.

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