Testing and exposure questions, answered

Dear Temple community,

Since the start of the fall semester, Health Services has received a number of questions about testing for and exposure to COVID-19. And, although the majority of in-person courses are moving online for the remainder of the semester, I want to be sure you have information and clarity about what you can do to remain safe and healthy, whether you choose to remain on or near campus or return home. 

Some Temple students choosing to leave university housing may want to be tested for COVID-19 before they return to their families. For these students and students who have been identified as a close contact of someone COVID-positive, limited testing will be offered daily from Saturday, Sept. 5 through Monday, Sept. 7, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Aramark STAR Complex on Main Campus. Tests are available by appointment only. Schedule your appointment through Student Health Services. You may also visit other testing sites in Philadelphia, which are listed below. 

If you are a student who receives a positive test for COVID-19 from a healthcare provider outside of Student Health, you must begin isolating immediately—even if you don’t have symptoms—and notify Health Services as soon as possible. For students, log in to the Online Student Health portal and upload your positive test result. Then click on the COVID-19 tab and complete the symptoms tracker. Once your test and symptoms are documented, Health Services or the Philadelphia Department of Public Health will be in touch with next steps. Reporting a positive test is essential for effective contact tracing and your efforts here are incredibly important. 

If you’re experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, your first step is to begin isolating immediately, even if you haven’t received a test. Isolation is one of the most significant steps you can take to stop the spread of the disease. You should log in to the Online Student Health portal, click on the COVID-19 tab and record your symptoms. Once your symptoms are recorded, Health Services will contact you to determine your next steps. One next step is certain, though: You’ll need to continue your isolation for a minimum of 10 days. In addition, you must be free of fever for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication before your isolation may end. 

If you think you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, there are some steps you can take immediately to reduce the risk of potentially spreading the disease. It’s important to note that being identified or self-identifying as a close contact does not mean that you will develop symptoms of or test positive for COVID-19. However, you will want to limit all movement and interaction with others in an abundance of caution. 

  • If you do develop symptoms, begin isolating immediately and log your symptoms on the Online Student Health portal. You’ll need to continue isolation for a minimum of 10 days and be free of fever for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication. 
  • If you aren’t experiencing symptoms, you’ll need to begin a 14-day quarantine period. Use the Online Student Health portal to report that you believe you are a close contact of someone who you think has or has tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • It is recommended that close contacts wait seven days following exposure to get tested. Testing before this seven-day period increases the chances for a false negative, which is why it’s crucial that self-quarantine begins immediately. Even if your test is negative on day seven, you still need to quarantine for the full 14 days. 

At this time, if you don’t have symptoms and are unsure if yo’ve been a close contact of anyone who’s tested positive for COVID-19, there are several testing options for you in Philadelphia. Currently, testing at the university is focusing on symptomatic patients, close contacts, individuals in high-risk areas and students who are choosing to return home. However, there are many options available now in Philadelphia for asymptomatic tests. 

In any type of health emergency, it is critical that the university has accurate contact information on file in order to contact you, should the need arise. If you haven’t already, see the Start of Semester Verification pop-up in TUportal to confirm your information is correct. If you completed the verification earlier this semester, you can ensure the accuracy of your current address and cell phone number by selecting Manage My Account in the upper right corner of TUportal and clicking Manage Addresses and Phones.

It may not be easy, but we all must continue to follow the health and safety protocols and comply with testing and exposure guidance. Together or apart, we remain in this together. 

Stay safe and healthy,

Mark Denys
Senior Director, Health Services