COVID-19 Terms Defined

August 31, 2020

Dear Students and Parents:

As we have worked through the Martin Hall COVID-19 situation over the past few days, we realize there is some confusion within the campus community regarding oft-used terms – such as Self-Isolation, Self-Quarantine, Reside in Place, Close Contact and Contact Tracing – and what these actually mean for Baylor. We wanted to provide you with succinct definitions to help provide clarity, as well as include important information regarding Self-Quarantine guidelines and Self-Isolation requirements, should students receive such instructions.

What is Self-Isolation? Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. The latest CDC guidelines require at least 10 days of self-isolation. (See requirements below.)

What is Self-Quarantine? Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. The latest CDC guidelines require at least 14 days of self-quarantine. (See guidelines below.)

What is the difference between Self-Quarantine and the Reside-in-Place strategy in Martin Hall? The University instituted a four-day Reside-in-Place strategy beginning Saturday instead of an immediate full 14-day Self-quarantine for Martin Hall. Because of the high probability of exposure of residents on the 3rd and 4th floors due to the patterns of communal living, this strategy allowed the University to respond quickly to this specific situation, complete extensive contact tracing over the four days and institute daily COVID-19 rapid testing and rigorous assessment of any virus symptoms to help mitigate the spread of the virus.

Safety and wisdom directed that we restrict these residents’ movement for a four-day Reside-in-Place strategy – instead of a full Quarantine – until we can determine the close contacts and conduct additional testing. If any student is a close contact (as described below), they should begin Self-Quarantine and will be contacted directly by Baylor contact tracers and given specific instructions. If they later test positive, they will be provided with specific instructions from Baylor Health Services to transition from Self-Quarantine to Self-Isolation. As the University monitors this specific situation, we are prepared to employ additional safety measures and strategies to minimize COVID-19 spread.

What is a Close Contact? A close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes with or without a mask. An infected (symptomatic or asymptomatic) person can spread COVID-19 starting 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person had any symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19.

What is Contact Tracing? Contact tracing is a method used to find and follow up with people who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 (called a case). People who were around the case, potentially exposed to COVID-19, are called contacts. By tracing the contacts of COVID-19 cases, getting them into quarantine and testing them for infection, we can slow the spread of coronavirus.

We hope the following decision tables will be helpful to understanding Self-Quarantine guidelines and Self-Isolation requirements at Baylor.

Self-Quarantine* Guidelines

Close contact such as a roommate or household member Other close contact as notified by a contact tracer
Required to Test? Yes Yes
(may test between 3 to 7 days)
Required to Quarantine? Yes
(even if you receive a negative test result)
(even if you receive a negative test result)
If you test positive? Begin 10-day self-isolation (See chart below for guidance) Begin 10-day self-isolation (See chart below for guidance)
Length of Quarantine 14 Days 14 Days
Face mask required? Yes
(infected person and all roommates must wear face masks in the room or apartment)
(infected person and all roommates must wear face masks in the room or apartment)

*If you live in a residence hall and were instructed to quarantine by a Baylor Contact Tracing staff member, notify your Community Leader to receive meal delivery and support services.

Self-Isolation Requirements

Condition Length of Isolation Criteria for Return to Class/Campus
Asymptomatic 10 Days No symptoms after sample collection
Symptomatic 10 Days At least 24 hours without a fever and no fever-reducing medications AND other symptoms have improved

Please continue to keep the residents of Martin Hall in your prayers while we care for and support them during this time.

The recent developments in Martin Hall do not impact our current plans for on-campus academic instruction and other activities. However, a healthy concern is helpful for all of us at this time because it is another reminder that it will take each of us doing our part. Let’s continue to keep Family First and be even more vigilant in taking preventive actions – on-campus and off-campus – to keep our community safe and healthy this fall semester.

Division of Student Life

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