Testing & Tracing
Testing and screening are the foundation of the successful launch of the fall semester. We have designed a series of steps and protocols that go beyond what the CDC has recommended for college campuses to start the semester safely.
We are fortunate to be partnered with Northwell Health, a national leader in the testing, treatment and research for the novel coronavirus. The founding dean of the Hofstra Northwell School of Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies, Kathleen Gallo, has also long served as Chief Learning Officer of Northwell Health, and has taken over the leadership of our Student Health Center and is implementing and overseeing our testing protocol.
Ongoing testing and monitoring
We are taking several steps during the semester to monitor the health of our community. Every member of the Hofstra community will be asked to answer an online health screening survey each day that they are on campus. Student answers will be monitored by the Student Health Center, and Human Resources will monitor the screening of faculty and staff. In addition, there will be temperature kiosks throughout campus, with posted instructions about what to do if the user has a temperature.
Surveillance Testing - A robust weekly surveillance testing program began Sept. 2, 2020 as part of the University's ongoing efforts to keep the Hofstra community healthy and safe. Surveillance testing is considered a best practice in limiting the spread of COVID-19. It involves testing a sample of the student population and is designed to identify and isolate students who test positive at a very early stage.
At Hofstra, surveillance testing each week will involve five (5%) percent of our student (undergraduate, graduate, law and medicine), and including residential students, commuter students and students living locally in communal housing, and will be conducted in cooperation with the infectious disease and clinical public health experts at Northwell Health. Testing will occur in the Physical Education Building. Students will be notified approximately 48-72 hours prior via text or email, and students who are notified are required to report for a test. Students are selected randomly, or because of their location on or off-campus, so there is no individual cause for concern if you are called in for surveillance testing. Participation in surveillance testing is mandatory, as outlined in the student Guide to Pride’s Health and Safety Community Standards
In addition to the random surveillance testing, results may indicate the need for additional testing of specific populations, beyond the contact tracing conducted in coordination with the Department of Health. That additional testing will be dictated by the results of the surveillance testing and our testing program will respond to the data.
Surveillance testing will continue throughout the semester, and information about the number of tests conducted and the positivity rates will continue to be posted at Hofstra.edu/safestart. Students testing positive will be isolated, and close contacts as defined by the Department of Health will be quarantined.
Testing – All students, residential or non-residential, may be tested on campus by appointment, if a clinician from Student Health Services determines testing is necessary after a telephone triage session. It may be that your exposure level does not warrant a COVID-19 test if you do not have symptoms. If your exposure does indicate a test would be prudent, you’ll be directed how to come in for COVID-19 testing.
In addition, Hofstra University has invested significant time, effort and resources into retrofitting and modifying our campus and our Student Health capabilities. We have done this with the health and safety of our entire community in mind.
Report Off-Campus Positive COVID-19 Test Results
If you are a Hofstra student and receive a positive COVID-19 test result from a lab outside of Hofstra University’s Student Health Services, please report the result to us so we can track all positive cases and so our Student Health Services may continue to serve and work with you. Click here to be directed to the Medicat system and follow instructions to submit your test results in Medicat.
In addition, please send an email to SHACC at SHACC@hofstra.edu letting us know that the lab tests have been uploaded so that they can be reviewed as soon as they are uploaded.
If you are a Hofstra employee, please contact Human Resources.
What is contact tracing?
Contact tracing is a process run by the Department of Health. At Hofstra, we work with the Nassau County Department of Health. Contact tracing is the process of contacting all people who’ve had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID—19. Notifying people who have been exposed so they can quarantine is an important tool for controlling the spread of the virus.
What is close contact?
Close contact is defined as spending at least 15 minutes at a distance of less than six feet with someone who has tested positive for the virus.
What happens during contact tracing?
A contact tracer trained by the New York State Department of Health will call the person who tested positive and interview them about everyone with whom the patient has recently been in close contact. Then, the contact tracer will contact those people and help them get tested for COVID-19. All information is kept confidential; the contact tracers do not share the name of the person who tested positive with any of the close contacts they notify.
Contact tracers will never ask you for financial information, a social security or credit card number.
How will contact tracing work at Hofstra?
If a student living on campus tests positive for COVID-19:
- In coordination with the Department of Health, the University Student Health Center will notify their roommates and suitemates to determine if they have been in close contact, and if so, they will be quarantined for 10 days. They can come out of quarantine after 10 days if they have not exhibited symptoms during that time. Students will be encouraged to quarantine at home if possible and continue taking classes remotely.
- The Nassau County Health Department will work with the students involved to notify all other people, including faculty, staff, and other students, deemed to have had close contact, as appropriate.
- Unless students choose to do so, health information should not be shared publicly with others.
What if I was in close contact with people at a party with underage drinking, or where people were not wearing masks? If I tell you about it for contact tracing, will my friends and me get into trouble?
The health and safety of every student at Hofstra is our top priority, including full cooperation with contact tracing. Students will not be subject to the University’s code of conduct for disclosing violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies, or of mask-wearing policies, during the contact tracing process.
Student Testing Upon Arrival to Campus
The spring 2021 semester begins Feb. 1 and students who will live on campus, take at least one in-person/hybrid class on campus, use services on campus (e.g. library, fitness center, dining) or work on campus must complete the University’s initial testing protocols and comply with all New York State travel requirements before returning to campus.