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COVID-19 Testing FAQ's

Please see below for Frequently Asked Questions about campus COVID-19 Testing.

What information will the University share about the occurrence of COVID-19 within the Drake community?

Drake will communicate information on a weekly basis about the status of certain key metrics to campus via COVID-19 updates including the number of students in isolation, in quarantine, and the number of students who test positive for COVID-19 through surveillance testing. These updates will be published on this website every week under the heading Operational Updates. Those who need to know about individual positive cases will be notified during the contact tracing process.

Is the University conducting surveillance or random sample testing for COVID-19 during the semester?

The University tested randomly assigned samples of students sufficient to estimate the prevalence of COVID-19 on campus throughout the fall semester.

Prior to leaving campus for Thanksgiving break, all residential students and any off-campus students taking at least one class on campus during the Fall 2020 semester, were offered a free asymptomatic COVID-19 test. This was to prevent possible transmission to families and friends. For further asymptomatic testing, students are encouraged to take advantage of off-campus testing options. 

Drake’s surveillance-testing program will resume at the start of the Spring 2021 semester. Surveillance testing through a random sampling method is critically important to prevent outbreaks on campus.

Is the Student Health Center able to test students for COVID-19?

The Student Health Center is able to test symptomatic students for COVID-19. Students experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should call the Student Health Center at 515-271-3731 before showing up in person. Students will be evaluated virtually and upon confirmation of symptoms consistent with COVID-19, will be prompted to immediately schedule a testing appointment at the Student Health Center. There will be no charge for tests administered to symptomatic students at the Student Health Center.

Will Drake provide testing to faculty and staff?

Faculty and staff experiencing COVID-19 symptoms must contact Chris Nickell, director of environmental health and safety, at chris.nickell@drake.edu. Chris will provide further instructions on how to obtain a test at no charge from the University.

What off-campus COVID-19 test locations are available in the Des Moines area, including for individuals not currently experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19?

The following test locations are available to those who decide to obtain a test for COVID-19 off-campus:

Were all students living in a residence hall be tested for COVID-19 during move-in?

Yes. All residential students moving into a residence hall were tested for COVID-19 upon move-in during their selected time slot.

If I am a student who tested positive but did not get testing through the University, who should I notify?

Students who test positive for COVID-19 from a test not administered on campus must immediately contacttracing@drake.edu

If I am a student who resides off campus and test positive, or someone living in my house or apartment tests positive, will the University provide on-campus or off-campus isolation housing?

No. The residence hall and campus properties designated for this purpose will only be made available to on-campus residential students who need to isolate.

How does contact tracing work at Drake?

Those who test positive for COVID-19, or are experiencing unexplained COVID-19 symptoms, will be contacted by a member of Drake’s contact tracing team. These calls will largely come from 515-271-2353, so please answer if you receive a call from this number or any number starting with the digits 515-271. The primary goal of the contact tracing team is to ensure you have the information you need, that our isolation protocols are followed, and any contacts are identified quickly.

For those individuals identified as contacts, the contact tracing team will promptly reach out to those individuals to inform them of their need to quarantine.

How is the University assisting the Drake community with daily screening?

It is up to every member of the Drake community to conduct daily personal screenings and report any symptoms that may indicate a COVID-19 infection. To facilitate this, the University has placed touchless thermometers in campus buildings—including all residence halls—so that students, faculty, and staff may easily monitor their temperature.

Will parents be notified if their student tests positive for COVID-19?

If the student is under the age of 18, parents will be contacted by email or phone of a positive test. Due to restrictions imposed by HIPPA, if a student is 18 or older, only the student will be notified and it is up to the student to determine if their parent(s) are notified.

Should students quarantine while awaiting test results?

Students should keep all interactions to a minimum while awaiting test results. Symptomatic students will be moved to an isolation room prior to results being known.

If I’ve come into contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19, what do I do?

Please notify the contact tracing team at contacttracing@drake.edu. Individuals who are a primary contact with a known positive individual will need to quarantine. A primary contact is defined as someone who was within six feet of an infected individual for a minimum of 15 minutes during an exposure event, regardless of face covering usage. For the purposes of this definition, organized athletic activities and in-person academic activities are considered to be an exposure event when a person was within six feet of an infected individual for a minimum of 15 minutes over the course of that event.

Will students in quarantine be tested for COVID-19?

Students in quarantine are eligible to receive a free COVID-19 test on campus five days or later before their quarantine end date. The quarantine duration can be shortened by a maximum of three days with a negative test result. Details regarding testing are provided to all students as they enter quarantine.

If an individual within a class tests positive for COVID-19 or experiences symptoms consistent with COVID-19, will everyone in the class need to quarantine and be tested?

No. Based on safety measures enacted in all classrooms, students and faculty will not meet the definition of an exposure. Situations where an individual in a lab environment tests positive will be evaluated by Environmental Health and Safety on a case-by-case basis. 

If a student tests positive for COVID-19 or experiences symptoms consistent with COVID-19, how long will they be required to isolate?

Those who have a confirmed case of COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will be required to isolate until all the recovery criteria are met. For symptomatic confirmed cases, this means at least 10 days have passed since symptoms began, the person has been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, and all other symptoms have improved. For asymptomatic confirmed cases, 10 days must pass since the positive test was taken. Environmental Health and Safety will evaluate each case and may require the isolation period to extend beyond 10 days based on symptoms.

If I’m in quarantine, and test negative, can I end quarantine early?

Yes. Quarantine duration can be shortened by a maximum of three days with a negative test that is conducted five days or later before their quarantine end date. We will only consider test results administered by the University. Details regarding testing are provided to all students as they enter quarantine.

Questions? Contact us with any COVID-19 questions.

Email: covid19@drake.edu