West Liberty University updates contract tracing protocol for spring semester


Haley Blakemore

Graphic made in Canva.

With the rates of Covid-19 Omicron variant cases running rampant across the country over the holiday season, administrators at West Liberty University have recently updated the contact tracing guidelines in place.

West Liberty University’s Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Scott Cook, explained that these new guidelines follow the Covid-19 protocol of the Ohio County Health Department, which is a requirement for the university.

The updated contact tracing guidelines affect all students and faculty regardless of their vaccination status. Those infected by Covid-19 will be contacted by Student Health Services on campus after proof of a positive test and will be required to isolate for the remainder of their quarantine. The new guidelines are centered around exposed individuals as they have more than a few options to keep themselves and others safe. The route in which exposed individuals must take all depends on their vaccination and booster status.

For example, if a student or faculty member is named an exposed case through contact tracing, and that individual received either the booster shot, the primary series of the Pfizer or Moderna doses within the last five months or the Johnson and Johnson dose within the past two months, then that person has to wear a mask around others for 10 days, monitor for symptoms and test on the fifth day after being exposed to the positive case.

If an individual is not boosted after the sixth month of being vaccinated but has completed the Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson series or is unvaccinated, then that person has to quarantine for five days and wear a mask for another five. Those who are unable to quarantine will be asked to wear a mask for 10 days. If the individual experiences symptoms, they must get tested immediately or attempt to test on day five of their exposure if no symptoms arise. Students and faculty have the option of contacting Student Health Services to get tested on campus.

In addition to updating the contact tracing guidelines, West Liberty students and faculty were required to attend mandatory testing regardless of vaccination status during the first week of the semester. If a student or faculty member contacted Covid-19 before returning to campus and provided evidence of the positive test, they were not required to get tested. All infected individuals are required to fill out a positive request form to show proof of their positive test results.

Those infected will be asked to leave campus. However, if they are unable to leave, Marcella Snyder, executive director of housing and student life, will place the infected individual in an on-campus isolation room. Designated quarantine rooms depend on the availability of housing. All meals will be delivered to isolation rooms by the housing staff per the request of the student in isolation.

More information about Covid-19 guidelines and the updated protocol, visit this WLU link.