Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

In this Together: Guiding Principles 

Last updated: 07/1/2022 at 12:00 p.m.

Northwestern Health Sciences University is committed to our community’s health and safety, maintaining students’ academic progress, and minimizing disruptions as much as possible.

Guiding Principles for decision making

  • Protect the safety and health of all employees, students, patients, & campus visitors.
  • Make decisions using evidence-based practices knowing that evidence is still being gathered.
  • Our culture is and will be our north star during this crisis. Keep our culture strong.
  • Ensure business continuity: support our students, patients, and employees.
  • Strive to maintain the financial health of our institution.
  • Use guidance from CDC, MN DOH, and other trusted resources.

NWHSU monitors guidelines issued from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines and federal OSHA standards.

Slow the Spread and Protect Yourself and Others

Regardless of vaccination status, the most important actions each of us can take to further protect ourselves include:

    • Staying home if you have symptoms or are sick, follow recommendations at If You are Sick or Test Positive
    • Washing your hands often with soap and water; covering your cough and sneeze; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, and clean surfaces you touch.
    • Practicing self-care by eating a healthy diet and taking time to rest.
    • Follow Recommendations for Wearing Masks
    • Delaying travel if you are not fully vaccinated; do not travel if you are sick or have tested positive for COVID-19, even if you are vaccinated
    • Laying low and getting tested if you must travel; see this travel guidance for more information.

Campus COVID-19 Mitigations In Place

Effective May 2, 2022, the new, layered mitigation strategies based on publicly available data will be in place. Hennepin County results will be used.

Current COVID-19 Community Levels | Public/Shared Spaces: Medium
Current COVID-19 Transmission Levels | Instructional Labs and Treatment Rooms: High

 

When masks are required, they need to be surgical/procedure masks or respirator-style masks (e.g., N95, KN95, etc.). Both are available and easily accessible on campus and free of charge.

Due to professional requirements and the diversity of activities that occur in classrooms, faculty are empowered to require masks in their instructional spaces even when the CDC level and our mitigations do not require them.  And, as always, wearing a mask when it is not required is a supported choice for everyone in our community.

Please also note that there are two distinct sources of information being used – one for public/shared spaces and the other for instructional labs and treatment rooms.

 

Public/Shared Spaces: Guided by the CDC’s  COVID-19 Community Levels (updates every Thursday by 8 pm ET). These spaces include classrooms, cafeteria, hallways, library, fitness center, store, etc.).

Level

Mitigations

Time Required Before Implementation

       Low
  • People may choose to mask at any time.
  • Stay home if you are sick and
  • People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask AND report your status.

 Students report to Registar1@nwhealth.edu | Employees report to mgale@nwhealth.edu

2 weeks
    Medium
  • People will mask in classrooms.
  • People may choose to mask at any time.
  • Stay home if you are sick and
  • People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask AND report your status.

 Students report to Registar1@nwhealth.edu | Employees report to mgale@nwhealth.edu

2 weeks
      High
  • Masks required in all shared spaces.
  • Stay home if you are sick and
  • People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask AND report your status.

 Students report to Registar1@nwhealth.edu | Employees report to mgale@nwhealth.edu

1 week
 

Instructional Labs and Treatment Rooms: Guided by the CDC’s Community Transmission Rates (updates daily by 8pm ET). All public and common space mitigations are in place with additional masking protocols in instructional labs (e.g., Basic Science, Methods, Allied Health, etc.) and clinic treatment and counseling rooms.

Level Masking Protocol Time Required Before Change
Low Masks encouraged 2 weeks
Moderate Masks encouraged 2 weeks
Substantial Masks required 1 week
High Masks required 1 week

 

 

Continuing Education (CE) will use this framework to make room/activity-based decisions for its events. Please see the CE webpage and event communications for more information.

These levels will be monitored according to the source data update schedules. As needed, updated mitigations will be communicated on the first and third Fridays of each month to be effective the following Monday. Changes will be communicated via email, the Covid-19 page, and posters on-campus.

Facial Covering

All faculty, staff, students, and independent contractors regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a surgical paper mask or respirator mask (e.g., N95 & KN95) where required. Please note: cloth mask, neck gaiter, scarf, bandanna, or other similar face coverings are not acceptable. A face covering must cover the nose and mouth completely. Patients, Campus Visitors and Store Customers may wear cloth masks.

Face Shields

The use of Face shields with a cloth mask require approval by Human Resources for employees and Disability Services for students. A face shield may be used as an alternative for people who cannot wear a surgical or respirator mask due to medical or other conditions. A face shield must cover the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face. Adhere to recommended manufacturer instructions for cleaning and disinfection or to the instructions on this link when they are unavailable.

 

Report COVID-19 Symptoms, Exposures and Positive Tests

NWHSU employees and students should report exposures, symptoms, and positive test results to the Registrar or Vice President of Human Resources so they can guide you and manage our campus community well.

These notifications will help us monitor the situation on campus and provide guidance on your next steps.

FAQ – Exposed to COVID-19

What is close contact?

A close contact is generally someone who has been within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for 15+ cumulative minutes within 24 hours.

Are you experiencing symptoms?

COVID-19, cold, allergies, and the flu: What are the differences?

Symptom or sign COVID-19 Allergy Cold Flu
Cough Usually (dry) Sometimes Usually Usually
Diarrhea Sometimes Never Never Sometimes (more common in children)
Fever Usually Never Sometimes Usually – not always
Muscle aches Usually Never Sometimes Usually
Nausea or vomiting Sometimes Never Never Sometimes (more common in children)
New loss of taste or smell Usually (early – often without a runny or stuffy nose) Sometimes Sometimes (especially with a stuffy nose) Rarely
Runny or stuffy nose  Usually Usually Usually Usually
Sore throat Usually Rarely Usually Usually
Tiredness Usually Sometimes Sometimes Usually
Sneezing N/A Usually Sometimes N/A
Shortness of breath or difficultly breathing  Usually N/A N/A Usually
Itchy nose, eyes, mouth or inner ear N/A Usually N/A N/A
Pink eye (conjunctivitis)  N/A Sometimes N/A N/A

Table Source: Mayo Clinic 

Where can I get tested?

Click on this link to find out where to get tested.

…I have a confirmed case of COVID-19

You are required to:
• Stay home for 5 days.
• If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you can return to campus and continue to wear a mask for 5 additional days.
• If you feel sick or have any new symptoms (sore throat, diarrhea, muscle aches, headache), you should stay home until symptoms resolve.

Please notify:
• Students should contact Susan Neppl at registrar1@nwhealth.edu 
• Employees should contact Mary Gale at mgale@nwhealth.edu

What if I have been exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 and…

…I’m fully vaccinated? (This means I have been boosted, OR completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the past 6 months, OR completed the primary series of J&J vaccine with the past 2 months and have close contact (within 6 feet for 15+ cumulative minutes in 24 hours) with someone with COVID-19).

You are required to:
• Wear a mask for 10 days
• Per CDC, it is recommended, that you test on day 5

If you develop symptoms, get a test and stay home and notify
• Students should contact Susan Neppl at registrar1@nwhealth.edu
• Employees should contact Mary Gale at mgale@nwhealth.edu

…I’m not fully vaccinated OR I completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine over 6 months ago and I’m not boosted, OR I’ve completed the primary series of J&J over 2 months ago and I’m not boosted and you have had close contact (with 6 feet for 15+ cumulative minutes in 24 hours) with someone with COVID-19.

You are required to:
• Stay home for 5 days. After that continue to wear a mask for 5 additional days
• Per CDC, it is recommended, that you test on day 5

If you develop symptoms, get a test and stay home and notify
• Students should contact Susan Neppl at registrar1@nwhealth.edu
• Employees should contact Mary Gale at mgale@nwhealth.edu

 

…I’m recovered from COVID-19 within the past 90 days?

If you have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days and have close contact with someone with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, you do not need to quarantine if ALL of the following are true:

  • Your illness was confirmed with a positive lab test in the past 90 days.
  • You have fully recovered.
  • You do not currently have any symptoms of COVID-19.

…if I am a Health Care Personnel (HCP) and I’m fully vaccinated?
If you are a Health Care Personnel (HCP) who has an underlying immunocompromising condition (e.g., organ transplantation, cancer treatment), which might impact the level of protection provided by the COVID-19 vaccine then quarantining for 14 days should still be considered. Post-exposure testing is recommended on day 5 after exposure.

If you do not have any underlying immunocompromising conditions and you have completed a COVID-19 vaccination (I have been boosted, OR I have completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the past 6 months, OR completed the primary series of J&J vaccine with the past 2 months) and are exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 you do not need to quarantine if ALL of the following are true:
• The COVID-19 exposure was at least 14 days after your vaccination series was fully completed.
• You do not currently have any symptoms of COVID-19.
• For further information: COVID-19 Recommendations for Health Care Workers (PDF)

Healthy Practices

Handwashing/Sanitizer

Hands should be washed for at least 20 seconds with soap and water frequently throughout the day. Hand sanitizer dispensers are available throughout the campus.

CDC What You Need to Know about Handwashing.

Respiratory etiquette:  Cover your cough or sneeze

Please cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing and to avoid touching your face, and in particular your mouth, nose, and eyes, with your hands; even when wearing a mask You should dispose of tissues in the trash and wash or sanitize your hands immediately afterward.

Cleaning & Disinfecting Practices

Routine cleaning and disinfecting of campus including classrooms, clinic spaces, restrooms, cafeteria, and meeting rooms. Frequent cleaning and disinfecting will be conducted in high-touch areas, such as door handles, light switches, elevator panels, hand railings, copy machines, etc.

Where can I find additional information about COVID-19?

Questions or Reporting