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On-Campus Health and COVID-19 Monitoring

Keeping Our Community Healthy 

Our mutual commitment to campus health is at the center of our fall plans. Within this section, you’ll learn about the “Johnnies Care Commitment,” key actions we must take to stay safe, as well as information on testing, tracing, and much more.

Johnnies Care Commitment

St. John’s University celebrates our 150th anniversary as a strong and resilient community of educators and learners. As members of the St. John’s family, individually and collectively, we come together to take care of one another by following best practices and public health guidelines to protect our campus community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keeping each other safe will require a commitment to responsible decision making by the entire University community. That’s why every Johnny is expected to modify their behavior to enhance the health and well-being of our community. We call this the Johnnies Care Commitment.

The Johnnies Care Commitment includes:

Daily Self-Monitoring. All students, faculty, staff, and visitors must complete the COVID-19 Symptom Screening survey in the St. John’s Connect mobile app each day before coming to campus or leaving the residence halls and provide the most accurate information available.

Staying Home if We Feel Ill. Individuals feeling ill or who have any COVID-19 symptoms DO NOT COME TO CAMPUS. Resident Students must remain in their room if they are ill and call Student Health Services for assistance.

Wearing a Face Covering. Face coverings need to cover the nose and mouth and need to be on while walking around campus and inside University buildings, including classrooms, common areas, and any location where social distancing is difficult to maintain (e.g., offices, hallways, and elevators).

Social Distancing. All community members must adhere to social distancing guidelines of a six-foot distance or more between people and limit congregating in groups both indoors and outdoors. However, social distancing on campus is not enough. Our students and employees live and work across New York City and the surrounding communities. Adherence to these standards away from campus – especially in crowded indoor spaces – is necessary.

Washing Hands. Each of us must wash our hands with soap or hand sanitizer (60% alcohol or more) regularly throughout the day.

Testing and Quarantines. Students must report positive PCR COVID-19 test results to Student Health Services, and employees must report PCR COVID-19 test results to Human Resources. If you have a positive PCR test or have the symptoms of COVID-19, you are required to follow quarantine protocols strictly and provide information for contact tracing.

Travel Limitations. Guidelines for nonessential travel are in place to keep community members safe and to limit unnecessary exposures, and everyone must comply with New York State travel advisories—including applicable quarantines periods—if traveling outside the metro area.

St. John’s University has a proud tradition of persevering through challenging times together as a community. By agreeing to these health and safety protocols as a community, we will reduce the spread of COVID-19 and its devastating effects. We are St. John’s Tough, and We Are Stronger Together!

Key Actions for Keeping St. John’s Healthy

Our plans closely follow expert guidelines for higher education provided by the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  and the  New York State Department of Health (DOH) (e.g., the DOH’s “Interim Guidance for Higher Education during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency,”), and more locally, provided by our partners at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens. However, we must remember two core lessons from the past months. First, we need to be adaptive to change. We ask for your flexibility to respond quickly if changes in the local health metrics require adjustments. Second, we must understand that our individual actions are fundamental to keeping our community safe and healthy. These actions include: 

  • maintaining six feet of distance from other people, except within the “family unit” of a residence hall room/suite/apartment. 
  • wearing a face covering while walking around campus and inside University buildings, including classrooms, common areas, and any location where social distancing is difficult to maintain (e.g., offices, hallways, and elevators). 
  • washing our hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water frequently (and/or using hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable). 
  • using the “Campus Pass” self-screening within the  St. John’s app  or  online (under “Resources”) to check for and accurately monitor our health, and remaining safely at home or inside a residence hall room if we present with  symptoms of illness
  • remaining informed about COVID-19 to keep ourselves and others safe. We recommend the CDC’s “Coronavirus Disease 2019” website, New York State’s “Novel Coronavirus” website, New York City’s “COVID-19 Citywide Information Portal,” as well as Stanford Medicine’s brief “Global COVID-19 Prevention” video and Johns Hopkins Medicine’s “How to Properly Wear a Face Mask” site.  

Each day, we will fill out the quick “Campus Pass” self-screening, available on the St. John’s app  and  online  (under “Resources”), prior to entering campus. Be sure to answer each question honestly before coming to campus. Once you submit it, you will receive a pass indicating either “green” (“come to campus”) or “red” (“stay home or in your residence hall room”). Green passes will be available on the app (click on “Campus Pass” a second time, after submitting the self-screening), and will also be sent to your email as an attachment (file type: PDF). You will need to show that day’s green pass and your StormCard to enter campus. A few key points:

  • An individual who feels sick, has COVID-19 symptoms, or has been potentially exposed to someone with COVID-19, should not come to campus under any circumstances. Individuals who become ill while on campus should return home immediately. Students residing on campus should immediately contact  Student Health Services  during business hours and the  Department of Public Safety  after hours. Employees should immediately contact the  Benefits Department of Human Resources. 
  • If a person has COVID-19 symptoms and either tests positive for COVID-19 or does not take a test, the individual may only return to campus after completing at least 14 days of self-isolation and with clearance from a health-care provider. 
  • If a person does not have COVID-19 symptoms but tests positive for COVID-19, the individual may only return to campus after completing at least 14 days of self-isolation and with clearance from a health-care provider. 
  • If a person has had close contact with a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time (coming within six feet or less of the person for a period of more than 10 minutes), and is symptomatic, the individual should follow the protocol for a positive case as detailed above. 
  • If a person has had close contact with a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time (coming within six feet or less of the person for a period of more than 10 minutes), and is not symptomatic, the individual must complete a 14-day self-quarantine.  

Note for Faculty, Staff, and Administrators: Human Resources has created a guide for accessing and using the screening tool even if you do not have a smartphone. In addition, be sure to review the Preparing to Arrive on Campus section of this website for information on preparing to arrive on campus.  

Note on Campus Visitors: We will limit campus visitors to invited guests who have made appropriate arrangements prior to their arrival. On the day of their visit, guests will be required to complete a wellness screening and adhere to all social distancing and face covering protocols while on campus. 

For the duration of the Fall 2020 semester, we have made the difficult decision to cancel all University travel, including study and work abroad programs, as well as conferences and other out-of-state programs, whether sponsored by St. John’s or another organization. We will consider exceptions on a case-by-case basis to ensure that this decision does not curtail important activity. Anyone considering out-of-state personal travel should prepare for potential state or federal quarantine requirements upon return. 

In coordination with New York City and New York State authorities, St. John’s will support contact tracing initiatives to ensure that emerging cases of COVID-19 are quickly contained to prevent spread. We are all required to fully cooperate with contact tracing inquiries. 

Members of the St. John’s community who test positive for COVID-19 are required to self-isolate in accordance with the latest guidelines from health authorities and their health-care providers. Employees, students who commute, and resident students who live within a reasonable distance of campus will self-isolate at home; resident students who are unable to return home will stay in a residence hall restricted only to this purpose. In partnership with NewYork-Presbyterian Queens, students who are ill or who test positive will be monitored by a COVID-19 Care Team, who will check in with these students daily to monitor their health. St. John’s will provide for their needs (e.g., delivering food and medicine, connecting them to academic support, etc.). 

Note on “Self-Isolation” vs. “Quarantine”: According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), isolation “separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick,” while quarantine “separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.” For more information, visit the CDC’s “Quarantine and Isolation” website or check out a helpful PDF that they created.   

Students and employees coming from domestic or international locations requiring a 14-day quarantine under state or federal guidelines must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken after the quarantine’s conclusion. We will provide students with information on testing locations. In partnership with a health-care provider, we will require testing of all symptomatic individuals, and students, faculty, administrators, and staff who have been in close contact with people who have tested positive for COVID-19. 

St. John’s will continue to pay close attention to New York State’s “Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard” and the state’s phased reopening plan to check for shifts in transmission. In addition, we will track our own infection rates and quarantine capacity to ensure that we are able to support incidents that arise. If a shutdown of on-campus activities is necessary, we will work with students, faculty, administrators, and staff to quickly wind down classes and shift back to a fully online learning environment. We will also provide guidance to resident students on move-out protocols to help them return home. These metrics include, but are not limited to the numbers and increase in: 

  • Number of “red” passes issued by the “Campus Pass” self-screening tool 
  • Number of positive tests reported 
  • Number of people self-isolating 
  • Number of people in quarantine 
  • On-campus quarantine capacity 
  • PPE and Sanitizing Equipment stock and availability 
  • Length of time to receive test results

Our individual actions are fundamental to keeping our community safe and healthy, so if you observe individuals not complying with health guidance, including social distancing or face covering protocols, we ask that you do the following:  

  • Remind your students/colleagues/peers of the importance of observing health and safety protocols (if you feel it is safe to do so). Be sure to avoid arguments and/or other confrontations. 
  • Submit the “Social Distancing Violation Reporting” form so that we can follow up and determine appropriate next steps. Do not call Public Safety; they will be unable to enforce these protocols. 
  • Faculty Note: Prior to the add/drop date (August 29 for most programs/colleges), students in your classes who are generally uncomfortable wearing face coverings should be directed to contact their dean’s/advisor’s office to consider a fully online schedule.