Safe Plans for Campus & Travel-related Guidance

PLU student with a mask on studies in Red Square.

Pre-arrival Protocol: Before You Join (or Re-join!) on Campus

For the two weeks (14 days) before your scheduled return/arrival date, ALL students will be expected to:

Confirm the first day that you must be on campus, and then count backwards to identify the first day that you must begin to complete a daily health survey, attesting to your health and well-being. The Wellness Check-In will be accessible via [the Coronavirus update website] on August 7th. Here’s the rationale for the survey: if all members of our community complete the Wellness Check-In regularly and accurately, community members can have greater assurance about the health of everyone with whom they will come into contact and individuals who are experiencing symptoms can get the care that they need.

That said, please answer the questions truthfully. If any of your responses indicate that you could be showing symptoms of COVID-19, we’re prepared to support you, whether in helping you understand what the symptoms mean, helping you get tested if that’s called for, or helping you find a space to self-quarantine on campus or in Pierce County. We also have academic accommodations in place to make sure you don’t fall behind in anything that will happen on campus, should your arrival at the beginning of the term be delayed.

Self-quarantine. We expect most of you have been practicing self-quarantine in some measure since March of this year, so you’re probably well practiced. Just as the daily Wellness Check-In is for the good of the community, so too is the expectation to self-quarantine. All new and returning students are expected to participate in self quarantine in their homes for 14 days prior to returning to campus activities.

Why are we asking students to self-quarantine and why for 14 days? Self-quarantine is a method of slowing the spread of the virus by staying away from other people and limiting the chances that the virus can spread. During self-quarantine, most activities that require leaving your living space or interacting with others are to be avoided. If you must enter a shared space (such as a bathroom), please wear a face covering and sanitize any commonly used items and surfaces. While test results are pending, this is the only way to ensure that asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic persons are not unknowingly transmitting the COVID-19 virus to friends, neighbors, faculty, and staff. From what we know about the virus, most symptoms show up within a few days of exposure and the virus usually runs its course within 14 days.

We know that the immediate lead-up to move-in is often the time for farewell gatherings with extended family and friends. With the health of our community as our top priority, we ask that you schedule any such (outdoors and physically distanced!) gatherings to take place before your 14-day pre-arrival period. We can’t overstate how important this is for the well-being of our entire community.

Residential staggered check-in: In order to maintain appropriate physical distancing during the move-in process, students will be assigned staggered check-in times. These appointment times will be shared when hall and roommate confirmations are communicated at the end of July. All residence halls, including South Hall, will formally open on Friday, September 4th, for incoming first-year and transfer-student check-in. Continuing-student check-in will begin on Saturday, September 5th. Refer to the Residential Life Approach to COVID-19 page for additional information.

If you require an Early Arrival check-in time for travel, quarantine, or any other reason, please complete an Application for Early Arrival.


If every member of our PLU community follows through with this expectation and with all recommendations made as public-health guidance, we should have no cases of COVID-19 in our campus community, and we’ll minimize the chances of anyone bringing it into our classrooms. Remember, you’re doing this because you value the health of your classmates—just as they’re doing it because they value yours.

If you experience symptoms of COVID-19 during this pre-arrival period, you should seek out testing and delay your travel to campus until a negative test result is confirmed AND you have not experienced symptoms for 10 days. If you find your travel to campus delayed because of this scenario, please communicate your status to the Health Center, LuteTelehealth, or the Student Care Network so that course arrangements and other relevant accommodations may be made for you.

Students are expected to follow all of the required prevention practices outlined in the Return to Campus Learning Guide, both prior to traveling to campus and upon arriving on campus.

Post-Arrival Protocol

Okay! After you’ve finished your 14-day pre-arrival self-quarantine, it’s time to go! Depending on your travel arrangements, group activities, and health, we may ask you to self-quarantine again for a certain period and/or get tested for COVID-19. Here are a few scenarios:

Travel

Welcome to campus! You are required to self-quarantine for three days upon arrival and get tested for COVID-19, with an additional period of self-quarantine until the test results are received.

Testing is available locally and through PLU’s Health Services by appointment after your three days of quarantine. (PLU is currently working to host rapid testing. The Health Center is looking into testing options that will provide test results within 48–72 hours.) You must self-quarantine until you receive your test results. If they’re negative, you are good to go! If they’re positive, let’s make sure you are well cared for! Contact the PLU Health Center or LuteTelehealth immediately.

Recommendations for road travel: only associate with your family/household group.

Welcome to campus! Wear your face covering, wash your hands, maintain six feet of space between yourself and others, cover coughs and sneezes, and continue to check in with the daily Wellness Check-In.

 

Welcome to campus! Wear your face covering, wash your hands, maintain six feet of space between yourself and others, cover coughs and sneezes, and continue to check in with the daily Wellness Check-In.

Behavior

Welcome to campus! Wear your face covering, wash your hands, maintain six feet of space between yourself and others, cover coughs and sneezes, and continue to check in with the daily Wellness Check-In.

Welcome to campus! You are required to self-quarantine for three days upon arrival and get tested for COVID-19, with an additional period of self-quarantine until the test results are received.

Testing is available locally and through PLU’s Health Services by appointment. (PLU is currently working to host rapid testing. The Health Center is looking into testing options that will provide test results within 48–72 hours.) You must self-quarantine until you receive your test results. If they’re negative, you are good to go! If they’re positive, let’s make sure you are well cared for! Contact the PLU Health Center or LuteTelehealth immediately.

Welcome to campus! You are required to self-quarantine for three days upon arrival and get tested for COVID-19, with an additional period of self-quarantine until the test results are received.

Testing is available locally and through PLU’s Health Services by appointment. (PLU is currently working to host rapid testing. The Health Center is looking into testing options that will provide test results within 48–72 hours.) You must self-quarantine until you receive your test results. If they’re negative, you are good to go! If they’re positive, let’s make sure you are well cared for! Contact the PLU Health Center or LuteTelehealth immediately.

Health

Have you experienced one or more COVID-19 symptoms after you get to campus?

We’re sorry that you’re feeling poorly. Inform the PLU Health Center or LuteTelehealth immediately, and they will help you get tested for COVID-19 and require you to self-quarantine until the test results are received. Inform your professors, your work supervisors, and/or your coaches about your required quarantine and related absence.

Self-care is community care

These requirements are subject to modification, depending on state and local public-health and state-government guidance. In all circumstances, we hope that you will consider your personal responsibility for your health and for the well-being of the campus and surrounding community; that you will use your best judgement in making a decision about your ability to safely be on campus, and that, if you have any doubts or concerns, you will contact your healthcare provider for further guidance before returning.

Once you arrive on campus, you’ll complete a daily health Wellness Check-In for the duration of the fall semester. This is very similar to the Wellness Check-In you’ll complete in your pre-arrival period—and it’s the exact same survey all of our employees will complete. The logic behind the health attestation is the same as that behind your pre-arrival Wellness Check-In: if all community members are reflecting on their health on a daily basis—and if they’re staying home if the Wellness Check-In helps them realize that they have any symptoms—we will all be safer.

Students’ compliance with these expectations will be enforced by an appropriate member of our personnel (which may be a coach, a supervisor, or another university employee). While we certainly hope students will be sufficiently motivated by a commitment to their community (and will set calendar reminders so they don’t forget to do what they need to do!), we are prepared to impose consequences for failure to comply. That’s how seriously we’re taking this.

You’ll learn about how to complete the daily Wellness Check-In at the Coronavirus update website on August 7. (Daily Wellness Check-In (Attestation)

What about testing?

You may be wondering why we’re not requiring all students to test negative for COVID-19 prior to or upon arrival. We carefully considered this option and consulted our local health experts about it. Given the limited testing capacities in many (if not most) places in the country, the Centers for Disease Control and our local agency, the Tacoma–Pierce County Health Department, we are only requiring self-quarantine and testing for:

  • Students who return to campus by air travel, bus (for more than one hour), or train
  • Students who have not been wearing a mask in public
  • Students who have attended gatherings of five or more where physical distancing was not observed
  • Students who are feeling ill with any of the symptoms consistent with COVID-19

Q & A and Scenarios

I am a student traveling by plane. Should I plan to travel with enough time to build in self-quarantine before my campus activities start? If I live on campus, can I use my assigned room for my self-quarantine?

Since you are at higher risk due to plane travel and the increased infections in your state, we will require you to arrive on campus in time to complete your 3 day self-quarantine to take a COVID-19 test, plus the time it takes to get your test results prior to starting campus activities. As long as you are feeling well, you may self-quarantine in your assigned room. You may also choose to self-quarantine with family members who reside locally, or in a local hotel. If you begin to develop any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, please continue to self-quarantine and contact the PLU Health Center or Lute Telehealth for further instructions about testing.

A group of ten of my friends and I got together a week before arriving on campus. All of us were wearing face coverings and physically distancing for most of our time together. Should I plan to self-quarantine when I return? What about when my roommate(s) arrive(s)?

As long as you are feeling well and you are not aware of having been exposed to COVID-19, you will not need to self-quarantine. Limit any further large group gatherings within 14 days of leaving for school, especially if they occur indoors.

We encourage you to reach out to your roommate(s) for a conversation about their recent activities, their possible need for self-quarantine, and their arrival plans. As long as you are healthy and have been at minimal or no risk of exposure to COVID-19, you should be able to live together without delay.

I am preparing to travel to campus and think that I may have been exposed to somebody who was diagnosed with COVID-19. How do I know if I should delay my travel to campus, or how long I should self-quarantine?

Please contact your healthcare provider and possibly your local health department. Travel delay will be recommended if you are identified by your health department to be a close contact of a positive case. Generally, for someone who has been exposed but has no symptoms, self-quarantine lasts 14 days. If you are not identified as a “close contact” and you are well, there would be no self-quarantine requirement.

I’m eager to start participating in Lute Welcome and other activities without any further quarantine. I’m flying from Wisconsin to attend PLU. If I fly to Oregon and stay there for two weeks, can I then drive up to PLU and move right into my assigned room?

On-campus self-quarantine would not be necessary in this situation, as long as you remain healthy while you are in Oregon.

I plan to live on campus, but my hometown is Vancouver, Washington. I plan to go home some weekends. Will I have to self-quarantine after each of these trips home?

Because we can’t monitor any of your activities, we have an expectation that you will honor the spirit of the prevention practices and follow these when you are at your family home, as much as you do when you’re in your campus home. Please avoid indoor gatherings of more than five people from outside your family, wear a face covering as mandated by the governor, and remain conscientious of the situations that may place you at risk of exposure to COVID-19. Be mindful of the recommendations in place for the state’s current Reopening Phase. Your activities away from campus have the potential to expose you to COVID-19, and thus to bring the virus to campus when you return.

While attending PLU, will my travel to and from campus be restricted in any way?

We have an expectation that you will honor the spirit of the prevention practices and follow these when you are away from campus, whether that is to commute home, work, shop, or participate in any other activity. Please avoid indoor gatherings of more than five people from outside your family, wear a face covering as mandated by the governor, and remain conscientious of the situations that may place you at risk of exposure to COVID-19. Your activities away from campus have the potential to expose you to COVID-19 and thus to bring the virus to campus when you return.

I’m doing the pre-arrival Wellness Check-In. Who’s going to know if I skip a day—or better yet, respond “No” to a symptom when I should have said “Yes?” I don’t want to have to stay home if I answer “Yes.”

We are monitoring pre-arrival attestations. The goal of the Wellness Check-In is two-fold: to help you develop the habit of the daily attestation that is required at all Washington State colleges and universities, and to help you understand the range of symptoms that can be associated with COVID-19 and the importance of reporting these symptoms to PLU Health Center providers so that we can evaluate whether they strongly indicate the virus or may simply be related to an underlying health condition that you already have. If you have allergies, you probably have a good sense of what those symptoms feel like. If you wake up one morning and you notice a new symptom, like a fever, that isn’t normally part of the picture of your allergies, that would be a good reason to speak to a healthcare provider. Staying home an extra day or two is for your own benefit, as much as for the benefit of your PLU community.

What exactly is the reason for self-quarantine if I feel completely fine, but was possibly exposed to someone infected?

Self-quarantine is necessary if you have been exposed, or even possibly exposed, to COVID-19, because many people who become infected with the virus never develop any symptoms. If you are one of those people, you remain potentially contagious during that time without knowing it.

Generally speaking, infectious-disease specialists understand that the virus persists and remains infectious for 12–14 days, so if you remain well after 14 days of quarantine, the belief is that you are no longer contagious. Testing is not always required if you have no symptoms initially, but if you develop them during the 14 days, then you will be tested.

I have allergies and a chronic stomach problem. Those are symptoms of COVID-19. Do I have to test and self-quarantine every time I have a flare-up of my regular illness?

Because there is a range of COVID-19 symptoms that can mimic conditions such as allergies or asthma or chronic inflammatory illnesses, we would not be concerned unless you suddenly developed new or more severe symptoms than usual, or new symptoms that you don’t associate with your ordinary health issues. Your self-knowledge of your health conditions will help you, and Health Center providers, determine whether you may be developing symptoms of COVID-19, and whether you need to be tested and placed in self-isolation.