Personal Safety and Health

Your fellow Aquinas Saints and, by extension the larger community, are counting on you to keep them as safe and healthy as possible. The following campus health and safety practices and protocols apply to anyone doing business on campus as indicated, including but not limited to students, faculty, staff, contractors, vendors, suppliers and guests.


Saints Health Kit

All students will receive a Saints Health Kit with essential items for protecting their health including a waterproof gear bag, AQ cloth face covering, digital thermometer, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes.


Stay home when sick

Faculty, staff, students and guests must stay home if ill and self-isolate if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Symptoms of COVID-19

People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms ranging from mild to severe, even fatal. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

CDC has identified three major symptoms of COVID-19:

  • A fever (100.4 degrees or higher) or chills
  • An atypical cough 
  • An atypical shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Additional symptoms may include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

What to do if you are sick

If you believe you may have COVID-19, are exhibiting symptoms or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, follow CDC guidelines for what to do if you are sick:

  • Contact the Aquinas College Health Center or your healthcare provider by phone or, if necessary, get emergency medical care immediately.
  • Stay home except to get medical care.
  • Separate yourself from other people.
  • Monitor your symptoms.
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor.
  • Wear a cloth face covering.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Clean all high-touch surfaces every day.

Practice social distancing

All faculty, staff, students and guests are required to practice safe social distancing, maintaining at least 6 feet of space (about 2 arms’ length) between themselves and others in all spaces.

  • Respect the personal space of others.
  • Stay 6 feet apart.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Do not gather in large groups.

Traffic flow in buildings (e.g., entrances, exits, stairwells, elevators, hallways) may be adjusted to promote safe social distancing practices. New directional signage will be provided to assist faculty, staff and students.


Wear a cloth face covering

All faculty, staff, students and guests are required to wear either disposable face masks or reusable cloth face coverings in all public indoor settings and are strongly encouraged to wear them in public outdoor settings, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

Students will receive an AQ-branded, reusable, cloth face covering in their Saints Health Kit. The College will provide reusable cloth face coverings to employees and disposable masks to guests.

Exceptions

Cloth face coverings are not required in the limited circumstances listed below:

  • While alone or with members of your household in your own vehicle or residence.
  • While eating or drinking, as long as other social distancing and safety guidelines are being followed.
  • While in outdoor settings where social distancing measures are easily maintained. (Although a cloth face covering should be readily available for use.)

Cloth face coverings should not by worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance.

Please contact Accessibility Services for (students) or HR (for employees) if you have a specific health-related concern about wearing a cloth face covering.

Reason for guideline

Per Executive Order, cloth face coverings are required in the state of Michigan when in an indoor public space and crowded outdoor spaces. Businesses open to the public will refuse entry or service to those who decline to wear a face covering.

Cloth face coverings limit the transmission of the disease through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks or raises their voice. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. CDC states that a significant portion of individuals with COVID-19 lack symptoms (are “asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (are “pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.

Use and care of face coverings

Cloth face coverings should meet the following criteria:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be able to be laundered and machine dried daily without damage or change to shape

How to put on a disposable mask or cloth face covering

  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer prior to handling the face covering.
  • Ensure the face covering fits over the nose, mouth and under the chin.
  • Tie straps behind the head and neck or loop around the ears.
  • Avoid touching the front of the face mask or your eyes, nose or mouth.

How to remove a disposable mask or cloth face covering

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Loop a finger into the strap and pull the strap away from the ear, or untie the straps to remove.
  • Wash hands immediately after removing.

Care, storage and laundering

  • Keep cloth face coverings stored in a paper bag when not in use.
  • Face coverings may not be used more than one day at a time and must be washed after use.
  • Cloth face coverings should be properly laundered with regular clothing detergent before first use and then daily after use. Cloth face coverings should be replaced immediately if soiled, damaged (e.g., ripped, punctured) or visibly contaminated.
  • Disposable masks must not be used for more than one day or if soiled, damaged (e.g., stretched ear loops, torn or punctured material) or visibly contaminated. Disposable masks should be placed in the trash upon removal.

Practice good personal hygiene

Wash hands frequently

  • CDC recommends washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Cleaning and disinfecting

  • Housekeeping staff will practice enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols in campus spaces, including classrooms and bathrooms, based on CDC guidelines. Other public spaces and high-touch surfaces (e.g., door handles, railings, light switches, elevator buttons, stairwells, meeting rooms and break rooms) will be disinfected multiple times each day.
  • Faculty, staff and students should also use College-provided EPA-registered household disinfectants to wipe frequently touched surfaces and equipment before and after using a space.

Aquinas will acquire at least a 90-day supply of critical equipment and supplies for the safe cleaning and disinfecting of spaces and equipment. Cleaning supplies will be provided to departments and will be available in all classroom spaces.


Screening, testing, contact tracing and notification

Counseling, Health and Wellness Services; the Health Center; Athletic Training and Human Resources will oversee our comprehensive and integrated plan for monitoring the health and safety of employees and students in collaboration with the Kent County Health Department.

The College will follow specific internal protocols and health department protocols to provide guidance and support to faculty, staff or students who may experience symptoms of COVID-19, test positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

Daily Symptom Screening

To help protect the Aquinas community, all faculty, staff, students and guests are required to self-monitor health symptoms and complete a daily COVID-19 symptom self-screen.

Students are required to participate in a daily self-screen through Healthy Roster, which is 

  • HIPAA-compliant, private and secure
  • Easy to use and convenient
  • Able to provide immediate notification and accelerated response
  • Connected to protocols and guidance

Students will receive more information about Healthy Roster soon.

Faculty and staff who have been approved to return to work on campus are required to monitor health symptoms and report them daily through the COVID-19 Daily Symptom Self-Screen in the COVID-19 Employee Toolkit on Acorn and on the AQ C.A.R.E.S. app. Please refer to the employee Return to Work Guide in the COVID-19 Employee Toolkit on Acorn for more information.

Guests (e.g., visitors, vendors, contractors, suppliers) are also required to complete a symptom screening at Campus Safety upon arrival on campus. Guests who have a fever or respond “yes” to having symptoms or contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be required to immediately leave campus.

Isolation and Quarantine

All faculty, staff, students and guests who have symptoms of COVID-19, test positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate or quarantine either at their permanent address or move to a provided isolation/quarantine space on campus in accordance with guidance from CDC and the Kent County Health Department.

For residential students who are required to isolate or quarantine, Residence Life will follow specific protocols to limit other students’ exposure in on-campus housing as well as provide support for students who are required to isolate/quarantine (e.g., isolation/quarantine space, food, technology, academic support, sense of community, health and mental wellbeing, communication).

Testing, contact tracing and notification

Aquinas College is not currently requiring entry testing of faculty, staff and students, following recommendation from CDC that was updated on June 30, 2020. The recommendation states, "Therefore, CDC does not recommend entry testing of all returning students, faculty and staff." Aquinas will prepare to adjust accordingly if CDC guidelines change.

The AQ Health Center, which is operated by Metro Health, will have testing available on campus (or at local Metro Health locations) for faculty, staff or students who have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, and will work with individuals' health insurance. Faculty, staff and students may also visit their own health care providers or one of Kent County Health Department's free COVID-19 testing locations

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, the Kent County Health Department will initiate contact tracing. The AQ Health Center and Counseling, Health and Wellness will work with the health department during this process. The College will issue a public information statement to the campus community in accordance with guidelines from the Kent County Health Department, the U.S. Department of Education, and Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Police and Campus Crime Statistics Act.


Travel

When deciding to travel for personal reasons, we strongly encourage consultation of CDC’s Considerations for Travelers information. In addition, we strongly encourage consultation of guidance from the U.S. State Department, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Kent County Health Department, and guidance from your home country, state and county.

All employee travel for College business should be limited to only travel approved by President Kevin Quinn and must follow travel guidelines from CDC, the U.S. State Department, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and the Kent County Health Department.