Testing, Tracing, and Isolation
Our objective of minimizing risks for the health of our students, faculty, staff, and community members is supported by a robust plan for testing, contact-tracing, and isolation of those infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Virginia Tech has established a surveillance work group that is tasked with developing solutions to these complicated questions.
Our plan, which will be published by July 3, will be based on guidance from Virginia Department of Health epidemiologists working in concert with Virginia Tech researchers. It is important that every member of our community becomes familiar with this plan and other mitigating strategies. Please note that plans will be refined and updated as we learn more about the novel coronavirus and we gain new tools in limiting its spread.
The testing, tracing, and isolation plan specific to Virginia Tech will have two primary components: 1) a strategy that appropriately considers the need for symptomatic, prevalence, and surveillance testing; and 2) identifying and controlling outbreaks using a tracing and case management approach directed by the New River Health District. Identifying those with the virus and controlling outbreaks will be achieved by a combination of testing, contact-tracing, quarantine, and isolation. Working in collaboration with the VDH and the New River Health District, we are evaluating existing and emerging tools to assist with voluntary symptom-tracking and contact-tracing.
To prevent community spread, those identified with active virus infections will be isolated and monitored. The initial testing will include risk-based testing for the virus and its antibodies. Self-disclosure of symptoms, prior testing results, and exposure will be important elements of this initial phase. Ongoing testing guided by epidemiological models will be used to monitor the prevalence of the virus in our community and will be one of the key indicators for relaxing or tightening public health practices.
For students, we will set aside separate housing for those in quarantine or isolation. We will facilitate the continued engagement of these students in their academic curriculum, research, or teaching assignments during the required time period.
For employees, accommodations should be arranged in consultation with the department head or supervisor.