Ashland University Student Health Center protocols continue unchanged from the spring 2023 term. Students referred for diagnosis and treatment of SARS-CoV-2 symptoms or positive COVID-19 tests are instructed to mask and isolate per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and Ashland County Health Department (ACHD) each are urging institutions of higher education to follow relevant CDC guidelines for high occupancy/residential institutions.
There are currently no county, state or federal mandates required for institutions to follow. However, Ashland University health care officials are, pursuant to state and local health codes, required to report positive cases to the ACHD and give instructions consistent with current CDC guidance relative to communicable diseases. AU is no longer contact tracing except where required to do so during an outbreak. Students who choose not to follow prescribed diagnosis (testing) or treatment (isolation) instructions do so at their own risk per Ohio Revised Code (ORC 3707.08) and risk exposing others around them.
Ashland University's current COVID-19 policy is to strongly recommend (not mandate) that students adhere to the verbal and/or written instructions of our Student Health Center staff. However, there are COVID-19 mandated protocols that are strictly enforced for students enrolled or participating in specialized academic programs (i.e. College of Nursing and Health Sciences clinical rotations, etc.).
AU employees must not interfere with accommodation protocols. That is, employees must not instruct nor advise a positive student (or employee) to attend class, go to work, practice, etc., until the student is released from isolation. After which, employees need to support them wearing a mask for the appointed time.
Campus Assistance: Students must request campus assistance relative to COVID-19. This is now consistent with AU requests, which must be requested by the student. Once requested, AU will provide assistance as available for residential students who request to isolate and for whom returning to their off campus permanent address is not feasible. As such, a limited number of campus isolation rooms are available to assist these individuals. Isolation rooms are cleaned, supplied with essential items (bedding, bathroom soaps, hand towels, etc.) with instructions to bring all personal items the student may need while in isolation (often a minimum of 5 days). Food delivery begins once the student requests a campus isolation room. Instructions for assistance are provided by the Student Health Center upon isolation.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a disease caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. Coronaviruses typically cause symptoms that are similar to the flu and other viral illnesses. Some people infected with COVID-19 have no symptoms, while others exhibit symptoms such as:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
More severe symptoms that require emergency medical attention may include:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
If you are seriously ill or exhibit severe symptoms, seek immediate medical attention from your healthcare provider or the nearest emergency department. It’s important to call before your arrival to ensure proper care and to report your concern of COVID-19.
Certain high-risk individuals are more likely than others to become severely ill from COVID-19. Contributing risk factors may include the following:
- Old age
- Pre-existing health conditions, such as:
- A compromised immune system
- Heart or kidney disease
- Chronic lung disease, including asthma
- Liver disease
- Hemoglobin disorders
- Severe obesity
- Pregnancy or recent pregnancy
For more information on high-risk individuals, visit the CDC’s website.
How Do I Stay Healthy?
The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to practice routine hygiene etiquette:
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid crowds and large gatherings.
- Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when you sneeze or cough.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or longer or use hand sanitizer (60% - 90% alcohol).
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands or after touching surfaces.
- Clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces and items often.
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. For more information on coping with COVID-19, visit our Psychological Counseling Services page.
AU and COVID-19
The Ashland University Student Health Center takes active steps each semester to lower the presence of COVID-19 in our community. We work closely with the Ashland County Health Department and follow guidance from state and federal health officials to lower the rate of infection and bolster the health of students and employees.
We ask that you notify the Student Health Center immediately if you:
- Develop any symptoms of COVID-19.
- Are being tested for COVID-19.
- Have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Have been exposed to someone who is known to have COVID-19 or is being evaluated for COVID-19.
- Have been advised by a local, state or federal health department to isolate.
The Student Health Center is happy to assist you and will provide you with guidance and resources related to COVID-19.
In the event of a COVID-19 case on campus, the Student Health Center will notify the Ashland County Health Department immediately of the positive case. The Student Health Center will perform contact tracing if there is potential for an outbreak on campus to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others.
The university's approach to COVID-19 continues to evolve in accordance with updated public health guidance and the widespread availability of vaccines, face coverings, tests and treatments to prevent and mitigate the impact and spread of the disease.
Vaccination strongly encouraged: All members of the campus community and those who attend events on campus are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated for COVID-19 with a complete initial vaccine series and any eligible boosters. The Ashland County Health Department offers vaccines and boosters.
Monitor symptoms daily: Monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 or any illness. If you are ill, self-isolate. Employees are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider. Students should contact the Student Health Center.
- Fever or Chills
- Shortness of Breath or Difficulty Breathing
- Muscle or Body Aches
- New Loss of Taste or Smell
- Sore Throat
- Congestion or Runny Nose
- Nausea or Vomiting
Testing: COVID-19 testing is available through local pharmacies, home test kits and healthcare providers. Symptomatic and exposed individuals are encouraged to be tested for COVID-19. Any student who tests positive for COVID-19 should notify the Student Health Center. A negative rapid home test (or antigen test) must be confirmed with a PCR test if the person has symptoms, so any student with symptoms should contact the Student Health Center for evaluation.
Isolation: As recommended by the CDC and local health officials, all positive cases should fully isolate for a minimum of five days after the date of symptom onset (or date of positive test if asymptomatic) and up to 10 days if symptoms persist. Wear a high quality mask for a full 10 days after the date of illness onset. Students are encouraged to return home to isolate, but limited campus accommodations are available for those who cannot return home.
COVID Exposure: Students who have been exposed to COVID-19 should report their exposure to the Student Health Center. Official quarantine is no longer required. You should wear a high quality mask for 10 days after the date of exposure. Once five full days have passed, you should take a COVID test on day six and report those results to the Student Health Center. If symptoms develop during the 10-day post exposure period or you test positive, please self-isolate and contact the Student Health Center.
Face coverings: All campus community members are welcome to wear a face covering at any time and high quality masks are widely available. Face coverings are optional when receiving services in the Student Health Center with the following exceptions:
- any visitor or patient who has signs of respiratory illness will need to wear a mask.
- Associates or providers who are requested to wear a mask by a patient while being treated in the Student Health Center for that visit.
- Associates returning to work who have tested positive for Covid-19 until 10 days from symptom onset/date of positive test.
Universal Infection Control Measures: Handwashing, good ventilation, use of outdoor spaces, frequent surface disinfection, and the use of face coverings are important measures to reduce the spread of infectious diseases. Please continue to be vigilant with the prevention measures, stay home/in your room if you are ill and contact the Student Health Center.
Know Your Risk: If you are at a higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19, please take additional precautions to reduce your likelihood of infection, such as regular use of face-coverings and avoiding large gatherings when the community rate of transmission is elevated.
This information is subject to change based upon local conditions and updated guidance from health authorities.