health and safety related information for living and learning on campus this fall
q-what is the plan for fort hays state university (fhsu) to open in the fall?
a-fhsu is following guidelines from the centers for disease control and prevention (cdc), the kansas department of health and the environment (kdhe), and the ellis county health department (echd) to implement policies and practices that will be needed to confront the uncertainties around opening a university during a pandemic. the latest details of fhsu’s reopening plans can be found in the university’s framework plan to reopening and phased plan toward fhsu employee return and university re-opening.
q-am i at risk of becoming infected with covid-19 if i return to campus this fall?
a-yes. exposure to the coronavirus that causes covid-19 is an ongoing risk for everyone, everywhere for the foreseeable future. we all share responsibility for controlling the spread of covid-19. this means:
- stay home if you are ill
- wear a mask to protect others
- wash your hands routinely
- keep a 6-foot distance between yourself and others whenever possible
q-what is the university doing to prepare for the possibility of infections on campus?
a-the university’s planning has focused on educating the campus community about the disease and creating protocols to mitigate the spread of infection on campus. these protocols, in place for every campus facility, involve access to and traffic through campus buildings, restrictions on room occupancies, isolation and quarantine preparations, and expanded procedures for sanitizing public areas.
q-what should i do if i am not feeling well?
a-anyone who does not feel well should stay home and stay away from others. you can call the student health center during normal office hours at (785) 628-4293 to discuss your symptoms with a nurse and get recommendations. you may also call the haysmed covid hotline at (1-913-588-1600) 7 days a week between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
q-how concerned should i be if i become infected with the coronavirus?
a-that’s hard to predict since everyone is unique. in one study*, 81% of cases were found to be mild to moderate, meaning nothing more than a fever and cough. patients convalesce at home and return to their daily lives after the illness runs its course, generally taking about 10 days. on the other hand, 19% of cases were severe to critical with a 2.3% fatality rate. the most likely predictor of a severe or critical illness was advanced age with underlying chronic illnesses. another study** found that fatality rates among individuals below the age of 54 were less than 1%.
*wu z, mcgoogan jm. characteristics of and important lessons from the coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19) outbreak in china: summary of a report of 72314 cases from the chinese center for disease control and prevention. jama 2020.
**team cc-r. severe outcomes among patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19) – united states, february 12-march 16, 2020. mmwr morb mortal wkly rep 2020;69:343-6.
q-what if i have to miss class because i am ill?
a-call the student affairs office at (785) 628-4277 as soon as you realize you will miss class due to illness. the office will send a notice to your instructors. you are responsible for following up with your instructors to discuss how to complete any missed assignments or tests.
q-can i be tested for covid-19 on campus?
a-the student health center will be equipped to test patients who present with symptoms of covid-19. when a test is performed you will be required to be either isolated or quarantined until the results are final.
q-what will the test cost?
a-if you are ill, and if the provider orders a test to diagnose covid-19, there will not be at cost to students for the test. however, there will be a charge for the office visit and testing for other infections such as strep or influenza.
q-where will people isolate or be quarantined?
a-if you live in campus housing you may return to your permanent residence to isolate or quarantine. you may also be isolated or quarantined in living spaces so designated by the university. the spaces may be on campus or in local leased spaces, depending upon availability. students isolating or quarantining in spaces designated by the university will be monitored by student health personnel.
q-what does it mean to isolate or be quarantined?
a-isolate means to separate people who are ill from people who are healthy. quarantine, on the other hand, is the term used when a well person is separated and restricted from others because of an exposure to a contagious disease. both practices are used to stop or limit the spread of disease. generally, individuals must isolate or be quarantined for a period of 14 days when they test positive for or are exposed to, the coronavirus causing covid-19. the cdc provides more detailed information on how to isolate or be quarantined.
q-where do i isolate or quarantine if i do not live on campus?
a-students residing off campus will be provided information to complete their isolation or quarantine at their personal residence. students isolated or quarantined off campus will be monitored by county health personnel.
q-who do i speak with about a health problem that puts me at higher risk for complications from covid-19?
a-it is important for the university to know when a student has health issues that put them at increased risk. you may be at increased risk if you have asthma, hypertension, diabetes, chronic lung disease, or weakened immunity. the kelly center’s student accessibility services can help students navigate their options and receive accommodations to mitigate their personal risk of becoming infected. contact the kelly center’s coordinator of accessibility services at (785) 628-4401 for a confidential discussion of your circumstances.
q-will the university alert me if i have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for covid-19?
a- no. positive test results from any laboratory are reported to kdhe which then informs the local health departments. the local health department is responsible for contacting those who have had close contact with an infected individual. close contact is defined by cdc as spending 15 minutes within 6 feet of the infected individual in the two days prior to symptom onset. the university may make a general announcement if a case has been diagnosed within the campus community, however, personal health information will be protected and remain confidential as required by law.
q-a person in my class (on my floor) was diagnosed with covid-19. what should i do?
a-the local health department is responsible for contacting those who have had close contact with an infected individual. close contact is defined by cdc as spending 15 minutes within 6 feet of the infected individual in the two days prior to symptom onset. if you have not been contacted by echd, then you were not identified as a close contact. if you believe you were exposed, you should self-quarantine and monitor yourself for symptoms for 14 days. contact the student health center during normal office hours at (785) 628-4293 to speak with a nurse if you believe you should self-quarantine.
q-if a student, professor, staff member or visitor tests positive for covid-19, what will you do to contain the spread?
a-when an infection is reported to the university as involving a person who has been on campus property, an assessment of the likely risk will be made based on the information provided. this information could relate to the room or location that was occupied, the timing of such occupation, or other factors. if warranted, the university may close all or part of a building for disinfection, notifying the occupants of that building in advance as appropriate. as in other instances when a test result is positive, echd will begin contact tracing to identify close contacts of the infected individual.