Frequently Asked Questions Regarding COVID-19


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FAQ Last Updated: July 8, 2021

Health

NEW: Are there any COVID-19 requirements for students returning to campus?

No, however, all students are strongly encouraged to do one of the following:

  • Take a PCR COVID-19 test and obtain the results before arriving on campus; if your test result is positive, contact the University Health Center for instructions at 423.236.2713
  • Get fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Students who are fully vaccinated will not need to quarantine if they come in contact with a COVID-19 positive individual, as long as they remain symptom free.

NEW: Are visitors and guests to campus required to follow any COVID restrictions?

There are currently no restrictions for visitors and guests, but everyone is expected to operate with courtesy while on Southern’s campus.

Does Southern require the COVID-19 vaccine to attend?

No, the COVID-19 vaccine is not required to attend Southern. However, we do encourage anyone who is eligible for the vaccine to consider getting vaccinated.

Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccination?

One helpful resource is vaccinefinder.org. Many pharmacies and clinics across the country offer the vaccine. Additionally, Southern will be holding COVID-19 vaccination clinics near the beginning of the school year, so stay tuned for more details.

NEW: Is Southern still doing the scholarship drawing for submitting vaccination cards?

Yes, we will continue to do a weekly drawing through October 1. Each Friday a student name will be randomly selected from all the valid vaccination cards that have been submitted by 11:59 p.m. that Wednesday. Valid submissions will be eligible to win a $500 scholarship. 

NEW: Under what circumstances would Southern go back to tighter restrictions?

Southern will continue to monitor case numbers on campus and react accordingly. At this time, we believe the majority of our campus is vaccinated and options to reduce risk remain widely available to the campus community. Should an outbreak occur, we will work with the University Health Center to carry out contact tracing and implement appropriate safety protocols.

Where can I get tested for COVID-19?

Any Southern student or employee in the greater Chattanooga area who wishes to be tested can make an appointment at the University Health Center for a free test. Priority will be given to students who are sick or who have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19.

Many local pharmacies and clinics also offer free tests. When testing off campus, please take your Southern ID card and use it to inform them that you are a Southern student. Provide them with your address at Southern as well.

NEW: What are Southern’s contact tracing, quarantine, and isolation policies for this fall?

Quarantine and isolation practices are still in place and can be found here. Contact tracing will still occur when an individual is identified as having COVID-19. 

Vaccinated students who come in contact with a person who has COVID-19 will be exempt from quarantine as long as they remain symptom free.

What happens if someone tests positive for COVID-19?

When anyone in our campus community becomes infected with COVID-19, we are prepared to offer the care and support that is needed. Here are a few highlights from our quarantine/isolation plan; you can read the full plan in the COVID-19 Policies and Procedures

  • If you have any potential COVID-19 symptoms, DO NOT GO TO CLASS OR WORK. Call the University Health Center at 423.236.2713 for assessment and direction specific to your case. The University Health Center offers free COVID-19 testing for students and employees. 
  • A section of each residence hall has been set aside for quarantine, which is where students who have had close contact with an infected individual or who are waiting on test results will stay.
  • Any student who tests positive will be transferred to a designated isolation area. The University Health Center will work with the infected student and the local health department to identify anyone with whom the student may have had close contact.
  • Every student in both quarantine and isolation will have meals delivered and receive regular medical visits. The Chaplain’s Office, Counseling Services, Student Success Team, and Residence Life will also provide support through virtual platforms.

I think I might be getting sick, but maybe it is just allergies. I don’t usually have allergies. What should I do?

Many people only have “allergy” symptoms with COVID-19; if you have new symptoms, call the University Health Center (423.236.2713) right away so that they can find out more about your specific case. In the meantime, don’t go to class, dorm worship, the Dining Hall, or anywhere else because you might get others sick. The medical personnel will help you decide if you need to be tested for COVID-19 and/or enter quarantine.

I had a COVID-19 test done at a walk-in clinic. What do I do now?

You should call the University Health Center (423.236.2713) immediately for instructions about quarantine or isolation.

I don’t have any symptoms of illness, but I’m still concerned and want to get a COVID-19 test. Can I come to the University Health Center to get tested?

Yes, any Southern student who wishes to be tested can make an appointment at the University Health Center for a free test. Priority will be given to students who are sick or who have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19.

What should I do if I am not feeling well or have potential COVID-19 symptoms?

If you feel unwell, DO NOT GO TO CLASS OR WORK. Call the University Health Center at 423.236.2713 for assessment and direction specific to your case.

I am in a higher-risk group for COVID-19. What should I do?

We care about our students, so if the CDC guidelines indicate that you may be at higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19, please communicate with your professors and housing dean to see what accommodations might be made.

Academics

If I have to miss classes for health reasons, will my absences be excused?

Any student who feels unwell, has symptoms, or is experiencing anxiety can call the University Health Center (UHC) at 423.236.2713. After evaluating the situation, the UHC may provide a letter excusing the student from class that day. The student must send the letter to his or her professors within 24 hours, and that absence will be excused. Those in quarantine and isolation are also excused and must notify their professors.

See this chart for clarity.

If the University Health Center gives me a letter approving an excused absence from class, am I also excused from my on-campus job for the day?

Yes, if the University Health Center excuses you from class, you should not go to work that day. However, it is your responsibility to communicate with your work supervisor in a timely fashion and provide the letter from the University Health Center.