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Return To Campus Plan

Lipscomb University's comprehensive plan to return to campus.

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COVID-19 Update

Lipscomb University Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 update and response.

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General Health Protocols

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These protocols are in place for the health, safety and wellbeing of our community. Following health protocols is everyone’s responsibility and creates a caring environment where we are all doing our part to help keep our community healthy. We will provide more details on the application of these protocols in the near future. 


What general health protocols are expected?

These protocols are in place for the health, safety and wellbeing of our community. Following health protocols is everyone’s responsibility and creates a caring environment where we are all doing our part to help keep our community healthy.  Upon return to campus, you will notice these changes to create a healthy and safe environment for everyone:

  • Enhanced Sanitization. Through our excellent Service Operations team, we will have more frequent and enhanced sanitization of public spaces and frequently touched surfaces including both an increase in cleaning frequency and use of enriched cleaning products and enhanced cleaning procedures.
  • Physical Distancing. You will see some new signage around campus reminding us all of the physical distancing protocol and other best practices. Physical distancing may be the hardest change we all have to make. It is so natural for us in this community to reach out for a welcoming hug, hearty handshake, pat on the arm or back or some other greeting that requires close proximity. That’s just who we are! Well, in the post-COVID-19 world, those welcome greetings and other close proximity activities are discouraged. The CDC encourages keeping at least 6 feet of space between yourself and other people as well as not gathering in groups, crowds, or mass gatherings. Physical distancing is especially important with individuals who are at high risk for the COVID-19 illness.

    We know that at some level this is a personal decision and as we are all adults in the Lipscomb University community, we will each have to make our own decisions when we are in our “own spaces.” However, to protect others, we will ask everyone to follow the proper physical distancing guidelines in public spaces where they are posted and when it is possible. 
  • Hand Washing. We are encouraging all members of the Lipscomb community to frequently wash their hands with soap and water. We have also installed numerous hand sanitizer stations at the entrance to most buildings. Please feel free to use these stations frequently. 
  • Mask/Face Covering. Wear a mask or face covering at all times on campus. This helps to protect others from individuals who may be unaware of their own infection with the virus. See more detailed guidelines in the next question below
  • Daily Screening. One of the most important factors in limiting a COVID outbreak is early detection of the virus in the community. Daily temperature checks may not be a favorite thing to do, but this activity alone has proven to identify the early existence of the virus. And, daily monitoring of all COVID symptoms is a “best practice” from both the CDC and the state of Tennessee’s Higher Education guidelines.

    So we are asking that all members of our community do their part to be an “early detector” by checking their temperature before coming to campus or leaving their dorm room and report any temperature of 100°F or higher. Also, check for any COVID-19 symptoms (cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever of 100°F or higher, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, sore throat, new GI symptoms and new loss of taste or smell). Anyone experiencing COVID symptoms should report their illness to the medical clinic. Students should also report their situation to their RA/HRA and employees should inform their supervisor. It is your responsibility to comply with daily screening before coming to campus or leaving your dorm room. It is our shared duty as a community to act responsibly. You must be free of ANY symptoms related to COVID-19 to be on campus.
  • Temperature Screening Locations. Because a temperature is a common and leading symptom of COVID-19, we will have temperature screening devices at various locations around campus, especially where large numbers of people pass through such as the entrance to Bennett Campus Center. The temperature scanners are able to detect any individual with a temperature (100°F or higher) who will be discretely identified only to a screening agent via a device that is in the agent’s possession. Any individual who is identified with a temperature will be asked to go back through the screening process. If the temperature registers a second time, the individual will be escorted directly to the Health Center for further testing and assistance. 
  • LipscombREADY App. You will be receiving information soon regarding a new app entitled LipscombREADY that is already available for download through the App Store. The LipscombREADY app will be a vital part of our community’s risk management and support resources. It will replace the current Bison Alert texting system for emergency notifications and will be means to quickly access many resources including emergency contacts, requesting assistance, reporting an incident and accessing information such as student support services and campus maps. In addition, we will be adding information regarding overall health and safety resources pertaining specifically to COVID-19 as well as Lipscomb’s guidelines and protocols. The app will also have the ability to  assist employees with a daily self-assessment using a screening tool to report daily temperature readings and symptoms to the Office of Health and Wellness.

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Will I have to wear a mask or face covering? 

This may be the most controversial and disliked protocol of all of them. Masks can be difficult to wear, uncomfortable, hot and conceal facial expressions. And, in some cases, are seen as a political statement. However, medical experts have emphasized that wearing a face covering is a key preventative measure in reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19. This is because many individuals who are infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic but are still highly contagious. And, they unknowingly infect those around them. Face coverings should fit securely on the face and cover the nose and mouth. When a face covering is worn properly, it limits the exposure of others to a possibly infected individual. Therefore, masks or face coverings will be required while on Lipscomb's campus. This policy is consistent with Public Health Order 8 adopted by the Board of Health for Nashville and Davidson County. 

If we approach this from the Golden Rule perspective knowing that the wearing of a mask is to protect others -- not just the mask wearer -- then we believe our community members will wear one at appropriate times to protect others and help us avoid campus closure. 

Here are more specific mask and face covering guidelines:

  • Face coverings must be worn by all individuals at all times while on Lipscomb's campus, whether indoors or outdoors. Exceptions to this requirement are only as follows:
    • Face coverings may be removed while eating.
    • Face coverings may be removed when alone. This includes private offices, dorm rooms or suites, while engaged in vigorous recreational exercise, such as walking, biking, running, or weightlifting, and when sitting outside in one spot; however, in these cases when a face covering is removed, physical distancing of at least 6 feet must be maintained at all times.
    • Face coverings are not required for children ages five and under.
  • If any person requests that an individual use a face covering while on Lipscomb's campus, then, unless one of the foregoing exceptions applies, community members are expected to comply with the request.
  • Standards for face coverings inside residence halls may vary, so standards for each residence hall will be communicated to residents separately.
  • Employees having difficulty wearing a face mask/covering should contact Human Resources and students should contact the ACCESS Ability Program for direction and possible accommodation measures. 

This policy applies to off-site events and leased building space, as well as on Lipscomb University campus, both indoors and outdoors. Appropriate use of face masks/coverings is important in minimizing risks to the wearers and those around them according to both CDC and ACHA guidance. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. The face mask/covering is not a substitute for physical distancing. For more detailed information, please refer to the Lipscomb Face Mask Policy

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What cleaning protocols will be in place?

Through our excellent Service Operations team, we will have more frequent and enhanced sanitization of public spaces and frequently touched surfaces including both an increase in cleaning frequency and use of enriched cleaning products and enhanced cleaning procedures.

Cleaning and disinfecting protocols are key elements of our safe workplace initiative. Employees are responsible for the daily cleanliness of their office space, work areas and the equipment in their work environment. To support these efforts, the university has made a significant investment in purchasing specific disinfecting products which are EPA approved and CDC recommended in killing the virus and reducing the overall spread of COVID-19. 
 
Service Operations personnel have been trained on the appropriate use of cleaning and disinfection chemicals and will be wearing masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) while disinfecting high touch surfaces in offices, classrooms and all public spaces on a daily basis. Additionally, an innovative electrostatic spray technology, Clorox 360 System, will be used daily in high traffic areas and public spaces for those surfaces that may be hard to reach through normal cleaning protocols. 
 
To further reduce the risks, each department will be provided with disinfecting solutions and wipes. Each employee is encouraged to wipe down their personal equipment including keyboards, phones and individual office surfaces such as door handles, countertops and other high touch surfaces.  
 
You will notice sanitizing stations have been installed at key entrances and exits to buildings of campus. These include both hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes. Free- standing sanitizing kits have also been strategically placed on campus for the continued safety of our overall community. 

We ask that everyone do their part in helping keep our overall environment clean and sanitized. For more details, please review the Lipscomb Clean Plan

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What do I do if I have a fever or show other COVID-19 illness symptoms?

Stay home or in your dorm room if you are sick or have any COVID-19 symptoms (cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever of 100°F or higher, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, sore throat, new GI symptoms and new loss of taste or smell). Report your illness to the medical clinic. Students report their illness to their RA/HRA and employees report to their supervisor. The Office of Health and Wellness is in the process of creating an App that will be used to report any illness symptoms so they can monitor the health and well-being of our campus community.

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What do I do if I come in contact with a person who is later diagnosed with COVID-19?

  • Direct Contact with a Positive COVID-19 Case. Following contact tracing protocols, if you have been in direct contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, you need to report your exposure to the Health Center and consult a medical professional or the Lipscomb Health Center for testing. You may be isolated for up to 14 days; 20 days for those who are immunocompromised. Report an Illness
    • Quarantine/Self-Isolation. Following contact tracing guidelines, Health Center staff will determine if self-isolation for 14 or 20 days from the date of the last exposure to the positive individual is required. If no symptoms appear within that period, you may return to normal activities after the 14-day period. Those who are immunocompromised may return to normal activities after a 20-day period.
  • Report. Report any positive COVID-19 tests or exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case to the Lipscomb Health Center using the Report an Illness link.
    • Students Report. Students who are in self-isolation should report their status to the student care coordinator in the Office of Student Wellbeing by emailing studentlife@lipscomb.edu as well as to EACH of their instructors to request remote learning options. 
    • Employees Report. Employees who are in self-isolation should report their status to their supervisor and contact the Office of Human Resources by emailing hr@lipscomb.edu or contacting Lynn Chappin at 615.966.7015. 

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What do I do if I have to self-isolate?

After being confined all spring, none of us is looking forward to more isolation. But we know that there will be times when a period of isolation is the best advice from the CDC, the State of Tennessee guidance and other medical experts. In those cases when isolation is in the best interest of the health and wellbeing of our entire community, we will expect students and employees to comply. It is in these situations that isolation is a key strategy to isolate those who test positive with COVID-19 or those who have had direct contact with a positive COVID-19 case in order to keep other members of the community healthy. Students who are in a period of self-isolation will be contacted by a team member from the Office of Student Wellbeing to assist the student during the isolation period. 

Each on-campus resident needs to have a plan for self-isolation to use if it is determined that it is needed: Where would you go? If you have not already done so, please let Student Life know your isolation plans. All students are encouraged and expected to go home for the isolation period, or to the home of a friend or relative. Lipscomb will have only a limited number of on-campus isolation options for students who cannot return home due to extreme circumstances. It is important to know that students who request isolation on campus will be reassigned to an isolation room and will be restricted to their assigned isolation room for the full self-isolation period recommended by the CDC (i.e., typically 14-20 days). Students in on-campus isolation who are feeling “well” and showing no symptoms will be offered limited daily hours for outside access or exercise opportunities. Space for self-isolation on campus is limited and not guaranteed.

It is important to note that the institution is not a medical facility nor equipped to be able to respond to ongoing, acute care medical needs. As such, students with more extensive medical needs will need to return home for self-isolation or seek medical attention at a hospital or other medical facility. 

We encounter similar situations many times a semester when a student becomes sick or needs medical attention in the middle of a semester and can't remain within the community. In most of these cases, students typically go home or to an appropriate other location (friend’s or family member’s home) to recover and recuperate. 

Here are the options for a student who is in need of self-isolation:

  • Home. Students who live within a reasonable distance will be required to self-isolate at home. We will assist our students with immediate self-isolation needs on campus for a short period of time (from a couple of hours to a day or two at most) if that is needed before they can arrange to move to their self-isolation location.
  • Nearby Friends/Family. Students who can not return home are encouraged and expected to select to self-isolate at a nearby friend’s or family member’s home. We will assist our students with immediate self-isolation needs on campus for a short period of time (from a couple of hours to a day or two at most) if that is needed before they can arrange to move to their self-isolation location.
  • Limited On-Campus Isolation. For the limited number of students in extreme circumstances with no option for alternative housing and who are in appropriate medical health, those students may submit a request to self-isolate on campus. Space for self-isolation on campus is limited and not guaranteed. Because of the limited number of on-campus isolation rooms, not every student who requests on-campus self-isolation is guaranteed approval. And, students in self-isolation on campus will be restricted to their assigned self-isolation room, will have meals delivered and will be allowed daily outside access in a safe, approved and scheduled means. 

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What are the general guidelines for a COVID-19 positive case? 

Over the summer months, even with a much reduced population on campus, like so many other businesses and locations, we have had individuals test positive for COVID-19. We knew from the beginning that the question was “when” not “if” a positive test would be on our campus or in our campus community. Fortunately, to date, every COVID case has responded well to treatments and all individuals have recovered. While no one was looking forward to these positive cases, they did allow us to test our guidelines and protocols as we walked out testing, isolating and treatment in these cases. Without a doubt, future positive cases of COVID-19 will be disruptive in our community and will impact participation in classrooms, community events and athletic events. And, when those cases happen, you can be assured that we have tested and verified guidelines and procedures to follow that everyone in the community can count on. These guidelines and procedures are based on advice and guidance from the CDC, the State of Tennessee and medical experts with whom we consult in matters such as this. We are using the best guidance available to protect our students and employees! So, when a positive COVID-19 case is identified within our community, we have developed guidelines to follow in ALL cases. 

  • Symptoms Identified. Any person experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should stay home, consult a medical professional and be tested for COVID-19. Students and employees may contact the Lipscomb Health Center for a COVID-19 test. The COVID-19 test in the Health Center provides a very quick response, usually within one hour. To contact the Lipscomb Health Center, email healthservices@lipscomb.edu or call 615.966.6304.
  • Medical Care. The Lipscomb Health Center is available to any student experiencing any illness symptoms and will provide appropriate medical care and supplies. Students who need more extensive medical care than can be provided by the Health Center will be referred to a local hospital or other medical facility.
  • Positive COVID-19 Test. Any employee or student who receives a positive COVID-19 test must report the results to the Lipscomb Health Center. Report an Illness
    • Quarantine/Self-Isolation. Any person who tests positive with COVID-19 must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days and must be asymptomatic (no symptoms) for 24-hours prior to ending isolation.
    • Students. Before returning to normal community activities, students must receive an official note of clearance from their medical professional or the Health Center. 
    • Employees. Employees may return to work once cleared through the Office of Human Resources.  
  • Contact Tracing. When a person in the Lipscomb community (student or employee) tests positive for COVID-19, the Lipscomb Health Center will conduct contact tracing to identify any person within the Lipscomb community who may have been in contact with the positive COVID-19 case. Contract tracing goes back 48 hours from when symptoms were first exhibited,  is done in compliance with HIPAA and helps to ensure a safer environment within our Lipscomb community. In addition, public health officials will contact the individual with the positive case and will ask about activities before and after the illness symptoms appeared in order to conduct a contact tracing in the larger community.
  • Direct Contact with a Positive COVID-19 Case. Following contact tracing protocols, if you have been in direct contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, you need to report your exposure to the Health Center and consult a medical professional or the Lipscomb Health Center to determine the need for testing. You may be isolated for up to 14 days or 20 days if you are immunocompromised. Report an Illness
    • Quarantine/Self-Isolation. Following contact tracing guidelines, Health Center staff will determine if self-isolation for 14 days from the date of the last exposure to the positive individual is required. If no symptoms appear within that period, you may return to normal activities after the 14-day period or 20 days if you are immunocompromised. 
  • Report. Report any positive COVID-19 tests or exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case to the Lipscomb Health Center using the Report an Illness link.
    • Students Report. Students who are in self-isolation should report their status to the student care coordinator in the Office of Student Wellbeing by emailing studentlife@lipscomb.edu as well as to EACH of their instructors to request remote learning options. 
    • Employees Report. Employees who are in self-isolation should report their status to their supervisor and contact the Office of Human Resources by emailing hr@lipscomb.edu or contacting Lynn Chappin at 615.966.7015. 

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What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

  • Steps to Follow for a Positive COVID-19 Test. If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, follow the steps below to monitor your health and avoid spreading the disease to others:
    • Medical Care. Seek appropriate medical care. 
    • Report. Notify the Lipscomb Health Center using the Report an Illness link. 
      • Students Report. Students who are in self-isolation should report their status to the student care coordinator in the Office of Student Wellbeing by emailing studentlife@lipscomb.edu as well as to EACH of their instructors to request remote learning options. 
      • Employees Report. Employees who are in self-isolation should report their status to their supervisor and to the Office of Human Resources by emailing hr@lipscomb.edu or contacting Lynn Chappin at 615.966.7015. 
  • Isolate. You should strictly isolate yourself at home for at least 10 days after you became ill, and you should be feeling well (and without fever) for at least 3 days in a row before resuming normal activities.
    • Other members of your household should also stay home, and no visitors should be allowed.
    • Stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home to the extent possible. Use a separate bathroom, if available. Household members should consider relocating to a separate, uninhabited housing location if available to decrease their risk of exposure.
    • Where possible, ask others such as friends or family to get food or necessities for you.
    • If you must leave home, such as to seek medical care, wear a surgical mask if you have one.
  • Inform Your Close Contacts. Your close contacts will need to consult their healthcare provider and stay home for 14 days after their last contact with you.
  • Monitor Your Health. There is no specific treatment for COVID-19. Consult your medical professional. Get plenty of rest, stay hydrated and, if needed, take medication to reduce your fever.
  • Arrange for Care. If your symptoms get worse and you need to seek healthcare, call ahead and tell the provider that you have been diagnosed with COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
  • Practice Healthy Habits.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for ≥ 20 seconds, or use alcohol-based hand rub.
    • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces regularly, including your phone.
  • Returning to Regular Activities. Once you’ve completed your required isolation period at home, you can return to your regular activities.
    • If you tested positive for COVID-19, you may need a medical release before you are cleared to return to normal activities. 
    • You do not need to be retested in order to resume your regular activities.
    • This recommendation is consistent with CDC’s Symptom Based Strategy.
  • Learn More.

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