Section 3: Testing, Reporting, Tracing and Quarantine

Testing

Testing is available in the area and by appointment at Pat Walker Health Center for all university students and employees.

To schedule COVID-19 testing on campus, contact Pat Walker Health Center at 479-575-4451, option 1, or schedule an appointment online at myhealth.uark.edu.

Additional information about testing, results and quarantine/isolation requirements can be found on the Pat Walker Health Center Website.

Who Should be Tested for COVID-19?

Anyone who wants to be tested for COVID-19, can be, but it’s critical to be tested for COVID-19 if you:

  • Are experiencing any COVID-19-like symptoms.
  • Are identified as being a close contact/have had direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 – regardless of vaccination status. Individuals who have been identified as having a close contact should be tested 3-5 days after exposure. However, fully vaccinated individuals with a booster shot do not need to quarantine unless they develop symptoms.
  • Believe you have been recently exposed.
  • Plan on traveling or being around high-risk individuals susceptible to life-threatening complications due to COVID-19.

If you are unsure if you need to be tested, call to speak with a medical provider.

At-Home Testing/Self-Testing Costs Covered By University Insurance for Plan Participants

University of Arkansas health plans provide full reimbursement for costs of at-home COVID-19 tests for plan participants. This benefit became effective Jan. 15, 2022.

At-home tests provide for the sample collection, analysis, and testing results at home.  The program does NOT cover testing in which the sample is collected at home and mailed/delivered to a testing facility.

Free At-Home Tests

The U.S. federal government has launched a new website for individual households to request and order up to four rapid COVID-19 tests, free-of-charge. They will be shipped directly free-of-charge in approximately 7-12 days.

NOTE: If you were tested off-campus or used a self-test at home and received a positive test for COVID-19, you must self-report your case to U of A Emergency Management using the online self-reporting form.

Self-Reporting a Positive COVID-19 Case

If you were tested off-campus or used a self-test at home and received a positive test for COVID-19, you must self-report your case to U of A Emergency Management using the online self-reporting form.

If you were tested on-campus, you do not need to self-report as your case information is provided directly to Emergency Management by the university.

Notifying Others of Positive COVID-19 Cases

If you have tested positive — or been identified as a close contact — we encourage you to reach out to those you have recently been in close contact with to inform them of your status. This is key to helping keep our campus community safe as contract tracing efforts for adults in Arkansas is being eliminated, at least for the time being, to allow the Arkansas Department of Health to focus on contact tracing for school-aged children under the age of 18.

The COVID-19 Positive Case Flowchart outlines the on-campus reporting, notification and testing procedures that have been established if you become aware of a positive COVID-19 case in your area.

Please see the “Dealing with Positive Cases of COVID-19 in the Workplace” portion of Section 5 of this guidance for supervisor requirements related to the notification of staff members and employee requirements regarding the return from isolation.

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing efforts for adults coordinated by the Arkansas Department of Health will soon be ending, at least temporarily, to allow ADH to focus on contact tracing for school-aged children under the age of 18.

For the time being, however, you may still receive a call from a contact tracer and/or a case investigator from individuals working on behalf of the Arkansas Department of Health.

Contact tracing and isolation of people with COVID-19 and close contacts is critical to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community. It is very important to answer. If you do not answer, they will leave a generic message (with no private details) and ask you to call them back. If you want to verify that you have been contacted by an ADH case investigator or contact tracer, you may call (800) 803-7847.

The information you provide is protected health information, so it is kept private. Contact tracers and case investigators only reach out to those you have been in close contact with you, but will not share your name unless you give permission.

Quarantine and Isolation Procedures

Quarantine and isolation procedures continue to be a necessary step in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, especially within our campus community.

As the spring semester nears, students, faculty and staff should be aware that the university’s quarantine and isolation guidance has been adjusted to align with guidance for the general public from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) including at least five days at home for those with positive COVID-19 tests or those who have been exposed or identified as a close contact.

When to Stay Home

Whether you are fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated or not vaccinated, there are a few things to remember if you test positive for COVID-19, have symptoms or come in close contact (within 6 feet for 15 or more cumulative minutes over a 24-hour period) with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

If You Test Positive For COVID-19 OR Have Symptoms (Regardless of Vaccination Status):

  • Stay home for 5 days 5 full days (after date test was conducted that resulted in a positive test or first symptoms) and isolate from others.
  • If you had symptoms, you can end isolation after 5 days, IF you are fever-free for 24 hours (without medicine) and symptoms are improving.
  • If you do not develop symptoms, you can end isolation after 5 days.
  • Continue to take precautions (wear a mask, avoid travel, avoid those at high risk) for 10 days (after test results or first symptoms).

If you are severely ill with COVID-19, you should isolate for at least 10 days and consult your doctor before ending isolation.

If You Were Exposed To COVID-19 and Are NOT Up-To-Date On Vaccinations (Includes Unvaccinated, Partially Vaccinated, Vaccinated Without Booster):

  • Stay at home (quarantine) for at least 5 days and wear a mask around others at home.
  • Get tested 3-5 days after your close contact. If you test positive, remain at home and begin isolation process outlined above.
  • Watch for symptoms until 10 days after close contact even if your test result is negative.
  • If you develop symptoms, isolate immediately.
  • Continue to take precautions (wear a mask, avoid travel, avoid those at high risk) until 10 days (after close contact).

If You Were Exposed to COVID-19 and are Up-To-Date on Vaccinations OR Have Been Infected Within the Last 90 Days (Includes Fully Vaccinated with a Booster):

  • You do not need to stay home unless you have symptoms.
  • Even if you don’t have symptoms, get tested 3-5 days following close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • Watch for symptoms until 10 days after close contact even if your test result is negative.
  • If you develop symptoms, isolate immediately, wear a mask and set an appointment to be tested.
  • Continue to take precautions (wear a mask, avoid travel, avoid those at high risk) until 10 days (after close contact).

The CDC’s Quarantine and Isolation guidance provides additional details including how to calculate when the clock actually begins for isolation.

Where Should You Quarantine/Isolate?

If required to quarantine or isolate, you will need to separate yourself from others and avoid using shared living spaces if possible. Make sure there is someone at the residence (or you can call) who can help you with basic needs and support like groceries and prescription medicines.

On-Campus Residents

  • Students living on campus should return home temporarily or use an off-campus alternative to complete their quarantine or isolation period.
  • For students unable to return home, University Housing has a limited number of dedicated quarantine/isolation rooms available.
  • Students who cannot find a place to complete their isolation or quarantine period off-campus can discuss all viable options with their hall or apartment staff.
  • Students can return to their on-campus assignment after the quarantine or isolation time recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local public health authorities.

Off-Campus Students

  • Students living off campus should complete their quarantine or isolation period at their home residence or somewhere with access to a separate room and bathroom.
  • Students should not leave their home except to get medical care.
  • Students needing help can also contact U of A Cares for additional support.

Release from Quarantine/Isolation

Individuals are released from isolation or quarantine based on current best practices, such as length of time, improving symptoms, and the guidance of health care providers and state health officials. Once you have completed your quarantine/isolation period, you are free to resume regular activities.

If you require a release from quarantine/isolation letter to be able to return to various activities, you may contact ADH or the medical provider who conducted your test. You can also call the ADH COVID-19 Hotline at 1-800-803-7847.