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COVID-19 Assessment, Testing, and Return to Campus and Clinicals

Steps for Students Who Have COVID-19 Exposure or Symptoms
Return to Campus/Clinicals
Testing Resources (links)

Q&A
Privacy Considerations and Communications
Community/Contact Tracing

illustration of a virus molecule

 

Massachusetts General Hospital Occupational Health Services (MGH OHS) is the point of contact for Institute students seeking guidance on COVID-19 testing, campus contact tracing (if applicable), and return to campus/clinicals guidance and clearance. When contacting MGH OHS, students must inform the MGH OHS team they are a student at the MGH Institute of Health Professions. This is to ensure students’ requests are processed correctly, as the COVID-19 related services being provided to our students follow a unique request workflow.

Contact MGH OHS: 617-726-2217; when prompted, students should press option 3

If a student experiences COVID-19 Symptoms and/or has an Exposure to a COVID-19 positive or presumptive positive individual, they must follow the below steps:

Assessment

  • If necessary, seek immediate medical attention
  • When able, notify your academic advisor or member of your program staff
  • Contact MGH OHS at 617-726-2217; when prompted, students should press option 3
  • Identify yourself as an IHP student
  • MGH OHS will assess your symptoms and advise you on next steps

Testing and OHS Determination

  • If the student’s symptoms or possible exposure status warrants testing, the student will work with MGH OHS to schedule their COVID-19 testing at a Mass General Brigham (MGB) testing facility. 
  • If a student decides to undergo testing at a non-MGB facility, the student will be required to submit the results of their COVID-19 test to MGH OHS. 

Testing Costs and Insurance

  • Before Undergoing Testing for COVID-19: Students should review their insurance policy and/or contact their insurance provider to confirm that the test and location they are receiving it are covered.
  • Before Undergoing Testing at MGB Entity: Students should contact MGH Patient Registration at 866-211-6588 to confirm that their health insurance information is on file.

Return to Campus/Clinicals

  • If MGH OHS determines that a student is not cleared to be on campus, they will advise the students on next steps. 
  • Students will follow up with MGH OHS in the time frame dictated by Appendix 2: MGB Occupational Health Services Return to Work Criteria and MGH OHS will make their determination on the student’s ability to return to campus. 
  • Once a student is cleared by MGH OHS, a representative in the Institute’s Office of Compliance will be notified and the student will be allowed to resume activities on campus.
     

    Clearance 
    Students must be cleared by MGH OHS to return to campus or clinical placements. 

    Clinical Placements
    A student must work with their academic program’s clinical education team, as well as representatives at their clinical site, to determine what is needed from the Institute and the student in order to resume a clinical placement disrupted by a COVID-19 diagnosis.

COVID-19 Testing Resources

MGH Employee Testing

IHP Students have access to elective Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing at any MGB patient-facing site through COVID Pass. Students will have access to the scheduling portal once the daily asymptomatic attestation is complete.

The Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing should be used only for asymptomatic testing, non-medical purposes. Do NOT use this system if you have even minor symptoms, a confirmed exposure (occupational or community) or if testing is required in advance of a procedure or surgery. In those cases:

  • Symptomatic students who have even minor symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home and contact the MGH Occupational Health Services (OHS) at 617-726-2217; when prompted students should press option 3.
  • Asymptomatic students with confirmed exposures (occupational or community) should contact the MGH OHS at 617-726-2217 (when prompted students should press option 3) to be scheduled for testing.
  • Testing for clinical reasons (for example, if a student requires pre-admission or pre-procedural testing) will continue to be ordered by your provider and should not be completed at the Employee Testing Center.

Testing locations include MGH sites in Boston, Waltham, and Chelsea. Please note that availability of elective testing will vary by location and by day.

A list of testing sites can be found here, including updated hours of operation and information on holiday hours.

Community Testing Resources

City of Boston COVID-19 Test Site Locator

Massachusetts COVID-19 Test Site Locator
Using the interactive map at the above link, students can search for a testing site. 

About COVID-19 Testing (Mass.gov)

Massachusetts’ “Stop the Spread” Testing Program
The Stop the Spread program is intended to provide low barrier, free, and easy to access testing to all Massachusetts residents.

  • Open to all Massachusetts residents
  • Testing is not restricted to residents of the cities where sites are located
  • You don’t need to have any symptom(s)
  • No cost to you
  • Out-of-state residents are not eligible for free testing under the Stop the Spread program
     

Stop the Spread Testing locations can currently be found in the following communities: 
Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Framingham, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lynn, Marlborough, Methuen, New Bedford, Randolph, Revere, Salem, Saugus, Springfield, Winthrop, and Worcester. 

*Reminder: 
If a student decides to undergo testing at a non-MGB entity, the student will be required to submit the results of their COVID-19 test to MGH OHS.

Question and Answer

Q: What is the Mass General Brigham Sick Policy?

A: If you experience a fever OR you have a respiratory illness (new cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath), you should stay home or leave campus (after notifying a staff or faculty member of your academic program). Report your symptoms to Occupational Health by calling MGH OHS 617-726-2217; when prompted, students should press option 3. 

If you need to seek medical attention, consider using telehealth services. If you need to be seen in person, please call ahead to let your providers know and to receive instructions on how to be evaluated safely.

 Q: I have a fever and a sore throat, but a big presentation today. Is it OK for me to come to campus?*

A: No. Students play a critical role in preventing the spread of all respiratory viruses, including COVID-19. For this reason, it is important that you stay home when you are sick. If you experience COVID-19 Symptoms, you should stay home or leave campus (after notifying a staff or faculty member of your academic program).

Report your symptoms by calling MGH OHS 617-726-2217; when prompted, students should press option 3. Please do not present in person to the MGH OHS clinic. Students will receive guidance about when they are able to return to campus based on their reported symptoms.

Q: What should I do if I am on campus and start to show symptoms?*

A: In adhering with IHP/MGB protocols, if you are on campus and experience COVID-19 Symptoms, you should leave the premises upon notifying a staff or faculty member of your academic program. If a student’s condition does not allow for immediate departure from campus, the student will isolate in a designated, on-campus “Isolation Room” until the appropriate arrangements can be made for them to seek medical attention or be transported to their place of residence. 
Report your symptoms by calling MGH OHS 617-726-2217; when prompted, students should press option 3. Please do not present in person to the MGH OHS clinic. Students will receive guidance about when they are able to return to campus based on their reported symptoms.

Q: If I exhibit these symptoms, how long do I need to stay away from the IHP’s campus? *

A: If you experience COVID-19 or other influenza-like symptoms, you should not report to campus and report your symptoms by calling MGH OHS 617-726-2217; when prompted, students should press option 3. View the Appendix 2: MGB Occupational Health Services Return to Work Criteria for more information on the criteria that determines how long you need to stay out of work. Remember that all students must be cleared by MGH Occupational Health Services before returning to campus.

*Important Considerations for Clinical Placements
All Institute students taking part in a clinical placement are required to adhere to the clinical site’s infectious disease policies and procedures. Prior to the commencement of your clinical placement, students should review the clinical site’s policies and procedures, and discuss your questions with your supervisor/preceptor. Such policies and procedures will include, but not be limited to, masking protocols, symptom reporting, notifying site representatives, post-infection return to clinical placement requirements, and testing requirements. 

Privacy Considerations and Communications

The privacy of all students’ protected health information (PHI) is of the utmost importance. A student’s COVID-19 test results and other information related to their interactions with MGH Occupational Health Services are protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and therefore will never be disclosed without the students’ knowledge. To that end, students should expect to communicate exclusively with a representative of the MGH Occupational Health team regarding their COVID-19 assessments, testing, MGH and IHP contact tracing, and return to work/campus considerations. The IHP’s Office of Compliance works with the MGH Occupational Health Services Team to support the IHP’s efforts to maintain a safe and healthy campus community.  

From the Community Tracing Collaborative: 
About your privacy: It is important to note that the CTC will not release your name to anyone. Your information is strictly confidential and will be treated as the private medical record it is. The confidentiality of your private information is protected by Massachusetts law. It will only be used to help the Commonwealth respond to and prevent cases of an infectious disease. The CTC will not release your name to anyone with whom you’ve been in contact.

Community Tracing Collaborative (CTC)
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts created the COVID-19 Community Tracing Program to help support local health departments from every community in their contact tracing work. The program focuses on reaching out to people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and the contacts they have been close to, making sure they have the support they need to isolate or quarantine. When the MA COVID Team calls, you can do your part by answering the phone and providing helpful information that will help flatten and reduce the curve in Massachusetts. A graphic representation of this process can be found in Appendix 3: How Community Tracing Works.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a partnership with the Department of Public Health and Partners In Health, supporting local health departments in contact tracing. The program focuses on reaching out to the contacts of confirmed positive COVID-19 patients to ensure they have the support they need to self-isolate, and to help protect others who have been potentially exposed to the virus. The COVID-19 Community Tracing Collaborative’s goal is to keep you healthy and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Your participation in contact tracing will not only help connect you to medical support and resources, answering the call will keep your loved ones and community safe.

During the Call with CTC: 
A MA COVID team member will ask you for a list of all of the people you were within six feet of during the two days before you had symptoms. If you don’t have symptoms, they’ll ask about your activity during the two days before your diagnosis. They will also ask for the phone numbers of anyone you tell them about, so they can be called and cared for.

They will encourage you to let your contacts know about your illness, but they will not be sharing your information with them. They’ll call your contacts and let them know they have been exposed so they can get tested, but not tell them your name.

If you are staying at home during the isolation period, the MA COVID team member will also discuss any needs you may have and may connect you with a care resource coordinator who will help you get the support you need. Throughout your illness, a MA COVID team member will check in to monitor your symptoms and needs. More information on the Community Tracing Collaborative can be found on the Commonwealth’s website: Learn about the Community Tracing Collaborative.
 

Exposure (to COVID-19):
Exposure is defined as ≥15 cumulative minutes of face-to-face contact, within 6 feet with a confirmed or presumed case of COVID-19 starting from 2 calendar days prior to symptom onset or, in setting of asymptomatic infection, starting 2 calendar days prior to test collection. 

The risk associated with any exposure can be mitigated based on whether the COVID-19 source has source control (wearing a surgical or procedural mask) and whether and what kind of personal protective equipment (PPE) is worn by the exposed person (none, surgical or procedural mask alone, surgical or procedural mask + eye protection, etc.).  See Appendix 1: Actions and Exposure Definition based on Source-Exposed Dyad

COVID-19 Symptoms:

  • Fever
  • New cough (not related to a chronic condition)
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle aches
  • New nasal congestion or new runny nose (not related to seasonal allergies) 
  • Loss of smell or taste 

Send questions to Commit@mghihp.edu.