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FAQ: Parents & Families

Is Nazareth changing/tightening protocols based on recent positive cases?

All indications show that our protocols are working effectively. Nazareth’s Pandemic Response Team meets regularly to comb through every element and make adaptations as needed. It is most important for our community to remain vigilant. 

The risk of COVID-19 is present here on campus and in our larger communities. The best thing individuals can do to mitigate the risk of exposure is to minimize the potential for close contact — this means consistently wearing a face covering, physical distancing, and avoiding large group gatherings. The College’s comprehensive set of protocols and guidelines provide a strong basis for safety; those measures, alone, will not guarantee protection. Ultimately, it requires the individual responsibility of each member of this community to minimize the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 and keep our collective Nazareth community healthy.

Will students be notified if someone in their residence hall tests positive?

Only students who have had close contact with an individual who tests positive will be notified by a contact tracer. Assisting contact tracers is an important strategy in combating the spread of COVID-19. 

We know that wearing a face covering is one of the most effective measures for minimizing the spread of the virus. Students should be wearing a face covering while interacting with other students who live in their residence hall. The only exception is immediate roommates or suitemates who dwell together inside one residential unit.

So, if a student’s roommate or suitemate tests positive for COVID, it is likely that the student will be notified by a contact tracer. Otherwise, the expectation is that students are not engaging with other students in a manner that would qualify as close contact. And in a positive case, it is the responsibility of the individual who has tested positive to fully disclose all instances of close contact to the contact tracer.

I have questions and concerns about testing. (Examples: “I'm not happy that the state testing site at MCC takes up to 7 days to provide results for athletes,” and "someone could be walking around campus with COVID and not know it” and “I want to see all students tested and then have interval testing” and “It’s ridiculous Nazareth didn’t require all students to be tested like RIT and UofR!”)

We aren’t happy about testing issues either! Testing is a very challenging issue that we research and think about on an ongoing basis. All of the professional guidance we continue to get does not recommend mass testing as a useful approach to managing coronavirus. Moreover, access to tests and to timely results continue to be a barrier. Receiving test results days later is not helpful. We are researching emerging testing approaches, and find promising the rapid-test options that are just starting to receive fast-track approval. We will continue to monitor developments closely and consider new protocols as testing tools allow.

All students are not using the screening app every day. Why isn't Naz doing something about this?

We are working with residential life staff to increase random screening checks for resident students who may not screen at the welcome stations daily like commuters, faculty, and staff. Additional screening checks happen at in-person events. We continue to promote to students the importance of following all of the College’s protocols in the weekly Forward Flyers newsletter and through other outlets on campus. 

The Health and Counseling office is working more closely than ever with Academic Affairs to ensure that students can confidentially disclose potential symptoms without fear of disruption to their academics.

I'm worried about my student living on campus and wondering if I should bring them home?

As Governor Cuomo observed on August 27, when he announced a new infection threshold for remote-only education, "We should anticipate clusters and that's what we're seeing. Be prepared for it, get ahead of it." The threshold he set for a college Nazareth's size is 100 positive COVID-19 cases in a 14-day period. Nazareth is far below that threshold; our vigilant mitigation efforts are working effectively. 

That said, we respect that attending college is a personal decision. We are here to support each student’s health and success.

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