COVID-19: Student Health Guidance, Reporting, and Information Sharing (3-27-20)

Dear APU Students,

I know this season has been challenging, especially as you try to find a rhythm in your new living/learning environment. On behalf of President Ferguson, the APU Administration, Faculty, Staff, and the Student Health Center, we want to send a word of encouragement to you and to provide some additional health and safety information.

Please continue to heed the advice of state, county, and public health agencies. Wash your hands with soap, don’t touch your face, stay home as often as you can, leave only for essential needs, and when you do go out, maintain social distancing of at least six feet from other people. It makes a significant difference.

If Sick

One of the most important actions you can take is to isolate yourself at home if you develop symptoms of illness. Since testing supplies are limited, only those with severe symptoms or high-risk conditions will receive a test. If you currently live on campus and get tested for COVID-19 by another provider, or get diagnosed with COVID-19 without the aid of a test, please inform the Student Health Center (SHC), so we can assist you with arranging a place to isolate.

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, you are no longer contagious once you have not had a fever for at least 3 days without the use of fever-reducing medications AND your respiratory symptoms have improved for 3 consecutive days AND it has been at least 7 days since the onset of the illness. If you are unclear about what to do, contact the SHC via the MyCougar Health Portal.

If Exposed

If you are exposed to someone with COVID-19 or presumed to have COVID-19, you will likely need to quarantine. If you are currently living on campus, please let the SHC know, so we can help arrange quarantine accommodations.

Notification Process

When notified of a possible COVID-19 case on campus, the Student Health Center team begins by reaching out directly to those impacted to assess them and provide necessary support. Then we consult with the L.A. County Department of Public Health to share findings, propose a plan, and obtain further guidance. Notifications of known direct contacts are then made, and notifications of those with possible indirect contacts are made on a case-by-case basis. Those who are asked to isolate or quarantine, are able to reach out to the SHC if they have questions, and the SHC maintains regular communication with them.

We followed this process earlier this week when we learned for the first time that an APU student tested positive for COVID-19. Given the spread of the virus worldwide and in Los Angeles County, we are not surprised and were prepared for this. We handled the notification as described above, and we will continue to do so if we learn of additional cases. We are grateful that the student, who lives off campus in Azusa, is doing well and we ask you to continue to pray with us for all those fighting this disease.

If we learn of additional positive cases in the APU community, we will follow the process outlined above and, unless the situation could have community-wide impact, we will not notify the entire community.

Bi-weekly Health Updates

We also plan to move to a bi-weekly email update on health-related issues or developments. If you have any questions, please consult our “If You Feel Sick” FAQ page, and if you are still unclear, contact a provider at the SHC via the MyCougar Health Portal.

Adjusted Hours

Beginning next week, the SHC team is available Monday-Friday for telemedicine appointments from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and in-person appointments at the SHC from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Thank you for making safeguarding your health and that of others a priority. Showing this type of care represents another way we can “love our neighbors.”

Dr. Emerson and the SHC Staff