January 13, 2021

Updated Jan. 27, 2021

Dear Students,

Happy New Year! We hope you have all enjoyed the break, but are eager and ready to return to the Mountain. As you prepare to return to campus, there are several important things to keep in mind. Please take some time to carefully read this message for detailed instructions about the testing and onboarding process. We are excited to welcome you back, and once again work together to ensure another safe and successful semester. We are grateful for your continued commitment to the health and safety of the Sewanee community. 


Dean of Students Office

Should I quarantine at home before I come to campus for the spring semester?

Yes. We ask that students complete a 14-day quarantine at home prior to their assigned arrival day. (Please see CDC guidelines for instructions on how to quarantine.) Once the quarantine period is complete, and if students have no COVID-19 symptoms and no known exposure to COVID-19, you may travel to campus. Please practice the three W’s while in transit.

NOTE: When originally communicated, the quarantine period was listed as 7 days. This was updated to 14 days based on the latest guidance published by the CDC.   

Where should I go on my scheduled return/testing day?

As soon as you arrive in Sewanee, you should immediately report to the Fowler Center for your COVID-19 test. You may not go anywhere else on campus beforehand (i.e., to get something to eat at McClurg, to drop off your belongings at your residence hall). Please follow the directional signs for where to line up, enter the building, etc. Staff and volunteers will be there to help make sure things run smoothly.

IMPORTANT: You are required to sign this waiver prior to testing in order to return to campus. Please print it out and bring a completed, signed copy with you on the day of your test.

What time should I arrive?

Testing will take place from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. each day from Jan. 27 through Jan. 31. Please do not arrive at the Fowler Center test site before 8 a.m. or after 10:45 a.m.

Where should I park?

Because parking is limited, we suggest you park elsewhere on campus and walk to the Fowler Center if at all possible. Some parking is available at the Fowler Center; please follow directional signs for designated testing parking spots. 

What will testing be like?

Good news: No more spitting! The new Sewanee Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory uses a self-administered nasal swab test that will take you less than a minute to complete. The nasal swab goes about ¾ inch into each nostril and the process is quick and easy. There is also no need to fast before testing, so feel free to eat or drink beforehand! Please take a few minutes to watch our very own Tiger demonstrate the test.

IMPORTANT: You are required to sign this waiver prior to testing in order to return to campus. Please print it out and bring a completed, signed copy with you on the day of your test.

What if I have already tested positive in the past?

If you have received a positive COVID-19 test within 90 days of your scheduled testing/move-in date, you will not need to test that morning. However, we need you to (1) email your positive result to publichealth@sewanee.edu prior to arrival and (2) bring a copy of that result to the testing site during your scheduled testing/move-in time. Please note: Proper documentation will include your name, date of birth, the test provider’s name, and the date your test was administered. If your documentation is missing or incomplete, please contact the provider of your test. (Also, please be aware that in providing this information to the public health office, you consent to sharing it with University Wellness Center staff.)

What if I have been vaccinated?

UPDATED: If you have been fully vaccinated (i.e., received the full course of shots recommended by your particular vaccine's manufacturer), please send the documentation provided to you to publichealth@sewanee.edu. Please note—vaccination prevents disease, but it is unknown whether it prevents asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19. As a result, vaccination does not exempt you from weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing.

How long will it take to receive my results?

Our new Sewanee diagnostic lab will be processing tests this semester, and your results will be available in three to four hours. 

Where do I pick up my room key?

Please stop by the Residence Life table in Fowler after completing your test to pick up your room key. Remember, though, you do need to wait until you receive a negative test result prior to going to your room. 

How will I receive my results?

This semester, you will be able to check the status of your results online. Instructions for accessing the website will be provided on the day you take your test.

What am I allowed to do while I wait for my results?

Students are not permitted to be in any other campus building (besides Fowler) while waiting for their results (that includes not being allowed to move back into your room while you wait). If you have a car or if you are with family, you may leave campus, get take-out, pick up an order from a local store, etc. However, we ask that you stay away from others, avoid eating inside restaurants, etc. If weather permits, you are welcome to take a walk or a hike on the Domain, but remember to continue to practice the three W’s.

For students who do not have a car and do not have family with them, we will have a space in Fowler for you to stay and wait, and we will provide snacks for you.

After I receive a negative result, then what?

After you receive a negative test result, you are free to return to your room and move back in. Welcome back!

Can I have someone (family member, friend, etc.) help me move back in my room?

Unfortunately, no. In order to #ProtectTheBubble, students are not permitted to have anyone help them move back into their rooms.

What if I test positive?

If you receive a positive test result, please do not panic. We are here to help, and we will take care of you! A member of our Public Health team will reach out to you to explain next steps, which will include completing a 10-day isolation period, either at home or at St. Mary’s, which is the University’s isolation housing. You will be in good hands while at St. Mary’s, so again, please do not worry.