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COVID-19 SYMPTOMS

If you have symptoms (a fever of 100.4 F or greater, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, headache, muscle pain, fatigue, new GI symptoms, loss of taste or smell, or a runny or stuffy nose not related to allergies), or if you feel generally like you have a cold or flu, DO NOT REPORT TO CLASS OR WORK. You should contact a medical provider for guidance.

Students should contact the Student Health Center’s Medical Services by phone at 941-309-4000. Faculty and staff are also eligible to consult with and be assessed by the Student Health Center for COVID-related concerns and symptoms by calling that same phone number.

Faculty and staff should contact their healthcare providers, their department heads or supervisors, and Human Resources at 941-359-7619 for information about current return-to-work protocols and the use of appropriate leave.

VACCINE INFORMATION

Ringling College has partnered with The White House COVID-19 Challenge to educate and support our community on the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and freely available to all Americans age 5+.

Vaccination status is private. The Health Center has sole access to vaccination information provided by students, and Human Resources has access to vaccination information provided by employees. Sharing this information is voluntary. If we do not have information about an individual’s status, they will be required to follow the protocols for unvaccinated individuals. 

While COVID-19 vaccines are not currently required to be on campus, they are strongly recommended.  Current vaccines that are CDC and WHO approved include: Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson, Sinovac, Sinopharm, and Astra Zeneca. If a non-approved vaccination was received, the community member will not be considered “fully vaccinated” and must continue to abide by the stricter campus policies.

For students, please submit a picture of your vaccination card to: covidtest@ringling.edu

For employees, please complete this short survey to report your vaccination status:

COVID Vaccine Status

COVID-19 TESTING

If a community member is showing signs of illness, please remain home from class or work and see a medical provider. On campus, COVID-19 testing will be performed if a student presents to the Health Center with any symptoms that are associated with COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status.

For an updated list of current COVID-19 testing sites in the area visit the Sarasota County website.

Baseline Testing

All students who have not been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 will be required to complete a baseline PCR, rapid, or antigen COVID-19 test prior to the start of classes. It is strongly recommended that a test be taken prior to coming back to campus. Tests will be accepted within a 72-hour window of moving back. PCR, rapid, and antigen tests are acceptable. This result can be emailed to covidtest@ringling.edu. There will be limited testing available on campus for those individuals who are having a hard time obtaining a test. To check on appointment availability please email covidtest@ringling.edu.  

Testing

Scheduled testing of unvaccinated individuals and surveillance testing of vaccinated individuals is no longer required.

COVID-19 rapid antigen tests are available at no cost to campus community members who have signs or symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or who have had a known or suspected exposure to COVID-19 at the Student Health Center, Monday - Friday, 8:30 am-4:30 pm, walk-ins welcome, no appointment needed.Community members are encouraged to follow the CDC guidance based on their particular situation and community risk levels: COVID-19 Community Levels

CONTACT TRACING

Ringling College continues to hold the health and safety of our campus community as its first priority. While getting a COVID-19 vaccination is strongly encouraged, we are also sensitive to the fact that not everyone will want to, or is medically able, to get one. We also know that there is a percentage of vaccinated people who can still contract COVID-19.

The Student Health Center and Human Resources have worked closely with the Sarasota County Department of Health to develop and execute contact tracing protocols. When it becomes known that a student, faculty, or staff member has tested positive for COVID-19, that individual is immediately interviewed to best understand whom they have been in contact with on campus and those community members will subsequently be contacted if quarantine is necessary. Contact tracing is conducted by a specialized company, Rapid Trace, in conjunction with the Health Center and Human Resources.

A close contact is currently defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as someone who has been in contact with an individual who tested positive for at least 15 cumulative minutes over a 24-hour period while within 6 feet of one another.

If a student has been identified as being at high-risk of having had close contact with an individual who has tested positive and the student meets CDC criteria for being high risk, the student will be placed in quarantine and monitored by Health Services until released from quarantine. During this time-period, the student will have to take their absences for in-person classes or work with faculty for any missed classes.   

​Unvaccinated faculty or staff identified as being at high-risk of having had close contact with an individual who has tested positive will quarantine at home.

Process if a Residential Student Tests Positive for COVID-19

If a residential student tests positive for COVID-19 during the semester, the student would be moved to a specified on-campus location for isolation if necessary and if space is available. Whenever possible, the student will be asked to return home for isolation. The Student Health Center will work with the affected student to conduct contact tracing using protocols established in collaboration with the Sarasota County Department of Health. Once in isolation, the student will be checked daily by our medical practitioners and will have a counselor assigned to them for additional checks as needed. If a student is extremely ill, the medical staff will arrange to have the student transported to the hospital if necessary. Students will also be asked to have an isolation plan (See *COVID Plan) established with family, off-campus friends, or local hotel as on-campus housing cannot be guaranteed for isolation/quarantine. If space is available on campus to accommodate needed isolation, meal service will be provided.

​The residence hall space of the isolated student(s) would be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the latest CDC guidelines. Before a student can leave isolation and be deemed well, the student must be fever-free for 24 consecutive hours without the use of a fever-reducing medication and have reducing symptoms, with the completion of at least a 5-day period of isolation.

Notifying the Ringling College Community of Positive COVID-19 Cases

The Ringling College community will provide a weekly update via email during the academic year, on the current status of positive COVID-19 cases within the campus community. Due to requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the community will not be notified of the individual’s name or other identifying information. The Dashboard is also updated weekly.

ISOLATION & QUARANTINE

Self-Isolation involves a separation of an ill Ringling College student, faculty, or staff member from other community members. Isolation will be required when a student, faculty, or staff member is suspected due to symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc.) or confirmed to have a positive COVID-19 test. Such isolation is achieved, for example, by ill students not attending classes or dining in communal spaces. 

Students experiencing symptoms should contact the Student Health Center immediately for evaluation and further direction. Self-isolation should continue until the Student Health Center informs them that they are no longer contagious. Students should be aware that the College has limited housing available for residents to move to an isolation space and should be prepared with a plan should COVID illness occur (See *COVID Plan). Commuter students should also consider their living situation should self-isolating become necessary.

Medical personnel will conduct daily check-ins and student(s) will be assigned a therapist for case management needs as they may arise. Student(s) will be required to remain in isolation for the duration recommended by the Sarasota County Department of Health in collaboration with Student Health Services.  

Students will work directly with their instructors regarding class absences and assignments during this time period.

Faculty and staff should self-isolate at home and contact their medical provider for evaluation and further direction. They should also alert their supervisors and Human Resources.

Quarantine involves isolating Ringling College faculty, staff, or students who are healthy, but who may have been exposed to another known individual, on- or off-campus, who tested positive for COVID-19. 

Up-to-date isolation and quarantine protocols can be found here on the CDC website.

Please check with Student Health Services or Human Resources for exact quarantine requirements. Affected student(s) may need to be placed in alternative housing if available and will have the ability to pick up meals from Hammond Commons at designated times. Students should be aware that the College has limited housing available for residents to move to a quarantine space and should be prepared with a plan should COVID illness occur (See *COVID Plan). In addition, students will not be able to attend in-person classes while in quarantine and will need to work with their academic advisor and instructor to determine the effect of missed classes and assignments.

MONITORING COVID-19

Monitoring the Local and Regional COVID-19 Situation

Ringling College continues to monitor guidance from local, state, and national Health agencies as it relates to changes with COVID-19. Ringling College partners with the Florida Department of Health and our medical partner, Sarasota Memorial Hospital. During the academic term, the College will continue to monitor these factors and its own experiences, including positive test rates from the campus community, availability of isolation and quarantine locations on campus, and availability of sufficient support staff.  

Medical and Scientific Partners 

Ringling College and its Student Health Center are working closely with our medical partner, Sarasota Memorial Hospital, and the Sarasota County Department of Health to ensure we are implementing testing and safety protocols based on the latest scientific-based information. Guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College Health Association are being followed.