Truman State University is taking several steps to help stop the spread of COVID-19, including helping make COVID-19 tests more widely available, assisting students with moving into temporary housing and ensuring students are receiving meals in quarantine or isolation. The Student Health Center, Residence Life and Sodexo have all experienced changes in operation due to the pandemic.
Brenda Higgins, Student Health Center director, said students are able to set up appointments for COVID-19 testing if they exhibit any symptoms and/or if they have come into contact with a student who has tested positive.
“We’re being very generous in what we consider a symptom because the symptoms are so broad and vary so much from individual to individual,” Higgins said.
Higgins said the health center is utilizing both rapid and polymerase chain reaction testing. Which test is used for each student is determined by a health care provider after an online consultation. These tests are being conducted outdoors to avoid potentially bringing the virus into the clinic.
“We hate to promise anything when it comes to insurance, but according to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, [testing is] supposed to be covered at 100% by insurance,” Higgins said. “For those students who don’t have insurance or who have Medicaid — and we’re not a Medicaid provider — we try to encourage the rapid test because we can do that for them at no charge.”
If a student tests positive and has symptoms, the CDC said they must isolate themselves for 10 days from the first symptom, or if they test positive and are asymptomatic, they must isolate for 10 days from the date of the test. Exposed students must quarantine for 14 days.
“In order to leave isolation after 10 days, students must be without a fever for 24 hours and show a decrease in symptoms,” Higgins said.
Residence Life Director Jamie Van Boxel said where students go when they have to isolate or quarantine can vary greatly from student to student. Some students might choose to go home to quarantine or isolate. Students who stay at Truman to quarantine might be moved depending on whether or not their roommates or suitemates have to quarantine as well. These quarantining students who were exposed to the virus are being moved to the fifth floor of Centennial Hall, while off-campus and on-campus isolating students who have tested positive are often at the Campbell Apartments.
Sodexo is also working to make sure on-campus students with meal plans are receiving meals while they are in quarantine or isolation.
“Once we determine what they can or cannot eat, we are making the meals in the dining halls and, actually, our managers in the halls or one of our hourly employees is delivering those meals,” Sodexo General Manager John Stewart said.
Students are able to request up to three meals everyday and their meal plan is utilized to pay for the meals.