Health Protocols

The University of Louisville has responded to the pandemic by implementing multiple protocols and procedures to keep students, faculty and staff safe and healthy on campus.

Health and safety protocols

UofL has established the following health and safety protocols for all university members to follow while on any university campus. Additionally, all university members are expected to stay in compliance with state and federal safety guidelines.

  1. Practice physical distancing and stay 6 feet apart.
  2. Wear a mask or face covering in common areas and avoid touching your face.
  3. Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue then throw that tissue in the trash.
  4. Disinfect used surfaces and frequently touched objects.
  5. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  6. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available.
  7. Stay home if you are feeling sick and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or you are concerned that you may have been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, you should:
    • Stay at home.
    • Notify Campus Health at 502-852-6446 or hlthoff@louisville.edu. Campus Health will provide students, faculty and staff guidance on isolation and testing.
    • Contact your medical provider.
    • If you are an employee, notify your supervisor.

Even if you decide to seek care from your own medical provider, be sure to still inform Campus Health so the university can effectively track COVID-19 cases and ensure proper isolation procedures for our campus community. Those who can study or work from home will have that option during isolation with approval.

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Mask requirement

Masks or face coverings are required in all public, indoor areas on campus. The university will provide all students, faculty and staff with one cloth mask, but individuals will need to provide their own additional masks or face coverings. Please take time to get familiar with the university’s Mask and Face Covering Policy.

If you are using a reusable, cloth mask or face covering, you should clean it after every wear. This reduces the risk of spreading the virus. Washable masks and face coverings can be washed in your regular laundry using hot water. Disposable masks cannot be laundered and should be thrown away after a wearing. 

Review the Mask FAQs for helpful answers to questions such as, “Is any type of mask or face covering prohibited?" and more. 

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Campus procedures

Training videos, hosted on our Safe Colleges training module platform, will be emailed to all university members and are required to be completed before returning to campus. The training videos will cover university actions and individual responsibilities for a safe return to campus. 

A daily symptom check will be required of all university members before leaving their home/residential hall. Instructions will be emailed with a link to the website and guidance on how to utilize the features which will also provide easy access to testing information, who to call, etc. 

Signage that illustrates the seven health and safety protocols is posted across campus. Signage locations include main entry/exit doors of buildings, restrooms, elevators, service centers and high traffic areas. Forms of signage include flyers, pop-up banners, floor markings and window decals.

Facility enhancements such as barriers/sneeze guards are installed in various reception areas, food service areas and other high traffic environments with face-to-face interaction. Air flow and fresh outside air exchanges have been increased through buildings where possible. HEPA filters in buildings will be provided, where possible. Furniture is being rearranged where possible to achieve proper physical distancing. 

Physical Plant will conduct cleaning, enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices, in accordance with CDC guidelines, of frequently occupied spaces and frequently touched surfaces. Disinfection of frequently touched surfaces is done once daily, between 9pm and 6am, Sunday through Thursday, primarily using electrostatic sprayers.  

Electrostatic sprayers (foggers) are being used to safely, effectively, and quickly apply EPA-approved disinfectants to surfaces of all types in large and small areas including those in hard-to-reach places. Electrostatic sprayers use electromagnetic charges to make disinfection solutions adhere to and wrap around targeted surfaces. The electrostatic sprayer positively charges the disinfectant as it passes through the sprayer nozzle. This generates positively charged disinfectant droplets that seek out negatively charged surfaces. The positively charged disinfectant droplets stick to the surfaces in a uniform coating that fully covers the targeted surfaces. Sprayers will be used in high touch areas such as classrooms, conference rooms, break rooms, stairwells, elevators, corridors and multi-person offices (single offices are not included). It is safe around electronics but will not be sprayed directly onto electronics and other sensitive items. Targeted surfaces include manual light switches, doorknobs/push handles, chairs with arm handles, tables, elevator buttons, handrails, and more.  

Disinfection stations will be provided in all classrooms and disinfection products are available upon request by departments for office spaces. Physical Plant will provide hand sanitizer dispensers, as well as disinfection spray and paper towels for use at classrooms. Physical Plant will refill supplies and there will be an informational card left at all disinfection stations for how to contact them if supply runs low. Over 900 wall-mounted hand sanitizer units will be mounted in hallways and common areas throughout all three campuses and Physical Plant will also refill those.  

Events and meetings should be virtual when possible or when a space is not large enough to observe physical distancing of six feet in addition to wearing a mask or face covering indoors. Gatherings of any kind on campus must follow all health and safety protocols, and organizers are responsible for arranging spaces to keep attendees six feet apart and reminding attendees they must wear a mask or face covering. This is in accordance with the governor's order on mass gatherings, effective July 20. That order, which limited social gatherings for the public to only 10 people, does not restrict gatherings at universities and other entities that have been given permission to reopen as part of Kentucky's Healthy at Work guidelines. NOTE: If you are a UofL student, please view the COVID-19 Guidelines for Student Events and Meetings.  Students wishing to host an event should complete the Student Events and Meetings during COVID-19 Form.  

Travel this will be subject to similar policies and restrictions set during the spring. See the homepage's Travel Guidelines section for the university’s updated  Domestic Travel Policy and International Travel Policy.

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Testing program

To maximize our ability to protect our campus community from the coronavirus, all students, faculty and staff who are on campus (or plan to be periodically) are required to get tested for COVID-19. In addition to the university's required testing periods, Bluewater Diagnostic Laboratory (Bluewater Lab) will provide testing on campus throughout the spring 2021 semester on weekdays on the Belknap and HSC campuses for all university members. All students, faculty and staff who come to campus are required to get tested for COVID-19 during the following periods of the spring semester: Jan. 4 to 15, Feb. 8 to 19, March 8 to 19 and Apr. 12 to 23. There may be additional, required testing for certain populations of students throughout the semester based upon contact tracing data. Depending on the severity of COVID-19 cases on campus and vaccine availability, these testing periods are subject to change. 

Exemptions to required testing

  • If you are studying and/or working entirely remotely and are not coming to campus at all, you are exempt from the required testing periods but must complete this short reporting form.*  
    *You must be on the louisville.edu domain, connected to UofL through a VPN connection or logged into Office365 online to complete the form. 
  • If you test positive for COVID-19 up to 90 days before the start of a required testing period, you are exempt from that required period.  To report your prior positive test if not performed by Bluewater or campus health services please complete this brief form.*  
    *You must be on the louisville.edu domain, connected to UofL through a VPN connection or logged into Office365 online to complete the form. Contact the IT helpdesk at 852-7997 for assistance if you are unable to access the form.  
  • If you prefer to get tested with an off-campus testing provider, you must contact Campus Health via  to confirm your results. We strongly encourage all university members to utilize the testing facilities on campus, however, so that testing results can be quickly loaded into our campus community Testing Dashboard.

Schedule a test with Bluewater Lab 
Throughout the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters, university members are welcome to get tested on campus even when there is not a mandatory testing period in effect. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, do not get tested with Bluewater Lab. Instead, contact Campus Health Services (502-852-6446) which is providing antigen testing for university members displaying COVID-19 symptoms.

  • Go to  https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040445a5a622a6fa7-purple  (new link as of 2/9/2021)
  • Follow the steps provided on the registration portal. You will receive immediate confirmation of your appointment time after registering.
  • Your results will be texted to the mobile number you provide within 72 business hours. Be sure to register a dependable number and ensure your phone's settings allow you to receive messages from unknown numbers.  

Bluewater Lab's general testing hours on campus
Testing locations and times are subject to change. 

  • HSC Abell Building:  7 a.m. to  4 p.m., M-F (Spring semester)
  • University Club:  8 a.m. to 5 p.m., M-F   (Spring semester)
  • Purple Lot Drive-Thru:  8 a.m. to 5 p.m., M-F  (Only during required testing periods Jan. - May)
  • Student Rec Center:  8 a.m. to 5 p.m., M-F  (Only during required testing periods Jan. - May)
  • Health Office:  8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., M-F except Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  (Spring semester, but requires appointment by calling office 852-6479) 
Pre-registration phone numbers and instructions for Bluewater testing appointments

Due to changes in Bluewater’s health record system, they must re-register all previous patients. After scheduling a test using the link above, you should receive a confirmation email with the phone number of your testing site to call and pre-register before arrival at your appointment. The new pre-registration phone numbers for each testing site are:

  • University Club Ballroom: (833) 253-2912
  • Purple Lot: (833) 765-7453
  • Student Recreation Center: (833) 458-7377
  • HSC Campus Abell Building: (833) 381-2671
Once you have identified the pre-registration phone number of your testing site, follow the guidance below:
  • When you call the number, you’ll hear a short, automated message and then receive a text message with the registration website's link.
  • The registration site will guide you to upload photos of your driver’s license and insurance card. 
  • At the end of the form, you’ll be required to select at least one “symptom” before submitting. If none of the typical symptoms apply to you, select “possible exposure” as your response since any activity outside of your household risks a possible exposure during the pandemic.
  • After completion, you will receive an additional text message with a four-digit registration code. Be ready to provide that code upon arrival at your appointment. If you choose not to pre-register you may register on site.
What to bring and expect at testing appointments

Bring your current university ID and your medical insurance card to your testing appointment. If you do not have medical insurance, be prepared to provide your social security number to testing officials. Be sure to wear a mask upon arrival to the testing sites and practice physical distancing while waiting. Please exit the testing site immediately following your test. Your results will be emailed or texted to you within three business days. If you test positive for COVID-19, you will receive a call from Campus Health. There is no out-of-pocket cost for students, faculty or staff.

Testing types
There are three basic types of COVID-19 testing: molecular, antigen and antibody testing. These tests are not interchangeable.

  • Molecular (also known PCR, RT-PCR, genetic) testing is a diagnostic test that detects genetic material of the virus and can continue detecting it for weeks to months following an initial infection. UofL's testing vendor, Bluewater Lab, conducts molecular testing for all university members who are asymptomatic (not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19).
     
  • Antigen testing is a diagnostic test that determines if viral coat proteins are present, which is associated with an active coronavirus infection. Antigen testing will only confirm you are positive for COVID-19 if you are currently shedding the virus.  Campus Health Services provides antigen testing to rapidly test symptomatic university members. After an initial infection, antigen testing will only remain positive for about a week.
     
  • Antibody testing shows if you’ve been infected in the past. Campus Health Services sends antibody testing to their reference lab on a case-by-case basis.

It is important to note you can test positive by one type of testing (such as molecular) and test negative by another type (such as antigen). Discrepancies between test results do not mean your test was performed incorrectly or another test is more accurate. If you have previously had COVID-19, you can continue shedding very low levels of coronavirus genetic material which can be detected through molecular testing for months following your initial infection's active period. This does not mean that you are infectious or capable of transmitting the virus. Per the CDC, these low levels of detectable genetic material have not been associated with the production of functional virus; therefore, those individuals are not considered infectious. An antigen test will only confirm you are positive for COVID-19 if you are currently shedding the virus. After contracting COVID-19, an antigen test will not remain positive for months the way a molecular test will.

Take a look at this FDA testing guide to learn more about the three different forms of basic COVID-19 testingFor more details on UofL's testing program, read the Testing and Tracing FAQs.

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Vaccinations

COVID-19 Vaccine
UofL Health is our university's designated vaccine administrator. The vaccine is not required, but it is highly encouraged. For extensive details on the vaccine, read the COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs. As more information becomes available, we will update the FAQs.

Flu Vaccine
All university members coming to campus are required to get a flu shot as part of the university's response to the pandemic. Contact Campus Health to set up a flu shot appointment. If you received a flu shot with an off-campus provider, if you are not coming to campus, or if you are seeking an exemption, complete this waiver form.

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Contact tracing, isolation and quarantine

Despite the university's best efforts to test widely for COVID-19 and institute policies and protocols for preventing the spread of the virus, we know that positive cases will inevitably arise on campus. When those cases happen, Campus Health and their team of contact tracers will intervene quickly. They will determine isolation procedures, alert those who may have been exposed, and Physical Plant will disinfect spaces and surfaces. Remember, by everyone wearing masks, practicing physical distancing and contacting Campus Health at the first signs and symptoms of COVID-19, our university can mitigate the spread of the virus. 

Contact Tracing
UofL's contact tracing team of dedicated university health professionals will continue to trace, notify, and properly advise any individuals who may have been exposed to a positive COVID-19 person. Take a look at Campus Health's Response Procedures for a step-by-step reference on how Campus Health investigates a positive COVID-19 case versus an individual with symptoms of COVID-19. The procedures show how cases are identified, isolated, tested, investigated and how close contacts are notified.

Exposure
Exposure to COVID-19, as defined by the CDC, is when someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total* of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.

*Individual exposures added together over a 24-hour period (e.g., three 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes). Data are limited, making it difficult to precisely define “close contact;” however, 15 cumulative minutes of exposure at a distance of six feet or less can be used as an operational definition for contact investigation.

Contact Campus Health Services if you believe you were exposed to COVID-19. Campus Health and the Contact Tracing team should make the decision on whether or not university members were exposed in a situation.

If a university member has been exposed, they must quarantine for 10 days and be symptom-free at the end of that time before returning to campus (a negative test at any point of the quarantine period does not shorten the 10-day requirement). If the university member is a student who lives in university housing, however, they must quarantine for 14 days (per the Kentucky Department of Health and Louisville Metro Health Department.). If symptoms develop during the quarantine time, the individual should contact their medical provider or Campus Health for guidance.

Campus Health and the contact tracing team consider the following factors when determining exposures:

  • Proximity (closer distance likely increases exposure risk)
  • Duration of exposure (longer exposure time likely increases exposure risk)
  • Whether the infected individual has symptoms (the period around onset of symptoms is associated with the highest levels of viral shedding)
  • If the infected person was likely to generate respiratory aerosols (e.g., was coughing, singing, shouting)
  • Other environmental factors (crowding, adequacy of ventilation, whether exposure was indoors or outdoors)


Isolation
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to self-isolate. See below for the different scenarios:

    • Individuals with asymptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 may discontinue isolation after 10 days if they do not have a fever within the last 24 hours of isolation without the use of fever reducing medications. Otherwise, they will remain in isolation beyond 10 days until they are fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication. Generally, testing is not recommended to return to classes or work when using the time based return to duties approach
    • Individuals with COVID-19 who have symptoms and test positive may discontinue isolation after 10 days if they do not have a fever within the last 24 hours of isolation without the use of fever reducing medication and their symptoms have improved. Otherwise, they will remain in isolation beyond the required 10 days until they are fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication or symptoms improve.
    • Individuals with COVID-19 who live in a communal living situation (with roommates) must isolate for 14 days. This is in accordance with the Kentucky Department of Health and Louisville Metro Health Department.

Remember, a negative test at any point in the isolation period does not shorten the isolation time and university members are not required to show proof of a negative test in order to return to campus. For more details, review the Symptoms and Sickness FAQs. Students who are residents at the university should review the Self-Isolation for Residents FAQs.

Quarantine
Quarantining is used as a preventative measure to help stop the spread of the virus. If you are in a communal living situation and a roommate tests positive, you must quarantine for 14 days. If you are not in a communal living situation and you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 or traveled to a location with a positivity rate of 15% or higher, you must quarantine for 10 days. Even if you test negative at some point during your quarantine period, that does not shorten your required quarantine time. Additionally, you are not required to show proof of a negative test in order to return to campus from a quarantine period. For more details, review the Symptoms and Sickness FAQs

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Health Recommendations

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Other COVID-19 mitigation strategies

UofL tightly monitors coronavirus infection rates in the community and — if warranted due to increasing infection levels — the university will implement randomized, broad-based testing to identify, isolate and trace the virus. Additionally, wastewater from different parts of campus (e.g. residence halls) will be analyzed as an early detection system for coronavirus, followed by individual testing as indicated.

The Co-Immunity Project, a groundbreaking collaboration to track and curb COVID-19 in Kentucky, tests health care workers and the general public in Metro Louisville and is a national example for developing a COVID-19 early warning system.

UofL has numerous ongoing clinical trials and others just starting in our hospitals and clinics and around the country to block COVID-19 from infecting people, limit its replication if people are infected and help those most sickened by the disease.

Our public health experts have developed the models used to project outbreaks and make sure the university and Metro Louisville are proactive in our management of the virus.

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