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Special Edition NEST Bulletin, September 1, 2020

COVID-19 Testing Questions and Answers


SVSU Students, Faculty and Staff:

We know many of you may have questions about COVID-19 testing. SVSU faculty, staff and students are required to fill out the #CampusClear daily health screening before coming to campus. If the app directs you call the Covenant-SVSU Hotline, recommendations regarding testing will be made based on the scenarios described below.

Calling the Covenant-SVSU Hotline will provide necessary guidance on testing or other instructions based on your daily screening. There are four different ways you may be asked to proceed based on your symptoms or health situation:

  1. I have symptoms that are likely COVID-19. You will quarantine for 10 days from when the symptoms started. Even if the test comes back negative, because there are some false negatives, you’ll need to keep quarantine for those 10 days. The Covenant-SVSU Hotline provider or your own provider must review your symptoms to decide if you are likely COVID-19 or not. If you are still having fevers or are not getting better, then discuss with your doctor or the hotline before ending quarantine.
  2. I have symptoms that could possibly be COVID-19, but are much more likely a cold, my allergies, etc. You will quarantine until the test returns, generally in 24-72 hours. If positive, then quarantine until 10 days after symptom onset. If negative, then you no longer need to be quarantined, but still take all precautions with masking, social distancing and hand washing. The Covenant-SVSU Hotline provider or your own provider must review your symptoms to decide if you are likely COVID-19 or not.
  3. I do NOT have symptoms but had a significant exposure to someone with likely or confirmed COVID-19. You will quarantine for 14 days from the latest exposure. You should be tested during that time, 3-6 days after your exposure. You will need to stay in quarantine until 14 days have passed from exposure even if the test returns negative. That is because the test represents one point in time and you could still become positive later. If the test returns positive, you will continue quarantine for 10 days from the positive test or 10 days after symptom onset if symptoms develop. A significant exposure is determined by the Covenant-SVSU Hotline, a contact tracer, or your provider based on the scenario and CDC guidelines.
  4. I do NOT have symptoms, and was NOT exposed, but am getting surveillance screening or want to make sure I don’t have COVID-19. You will not need to quarantine awaiting your test result. Remember a test is just one point in time and always stay vigilant with masking, social distancing and hand washing.


What is the most likely cause of a significant outbreak that would stop in-person classes? With the many precautions taken, the risk of spread on campus is low.  The real risk is letting down our guard with other activities.  Some other universities are seeing outbreaks associated with house parties and large gatherings indoors or outdoors without masks and social distancing. So, wear your mask, practice social distancing and wash your hands!

If I feel fine, why do I need to wear a mask and social distance? You will not know if you are contagious. People are most contagious just before symptoms and some people have the virus and never display symptoms. At all times we need to consider the possibility the person you are with or yourself has the virus and is contagious.

How do we plan to contain the virus when it appears at SVSU? Daily screening helps detect the majority of cases. Those individuals will quarantine as described above.  SVSU has a team of professionally trained contact tracers who will work with individuals and quickly identify those at risk based on testing.

What does quarantine mean? That you will isolate yourself and minimize exposure to anyone else. During that time, you won’t go to class, the store or any activities with other people. If you absolutely must leave, you will always wear your mask.

What is Isolation? For simplicity, quarantine is used in place of isolation regardless of testing status. Isolation is typically used for a COVID-19 positive patient in quarantine.

What if I test positive? You will be contacted by the Health Department and SVSU Contact Tracers. You may also be contacted by SVSU Student Affairs, and Human Resources. Your health is extremely important, and it is important that you stay connected with your primary care doctor and the Covenant-SVSU Hotline. For SVSU residential students, it is required that you quarantine at your permanent residence. For those living off-campus, it is also strongly recommended that you quarantine at your permanent residence. If not possible to quarantine at your permanent residence, the SVSU case manager will discuss other options.

Do you need to be tested to be cleared out of quarantine? Actually, the CDC has clarified that repeat testing should not be performed, as it is not helpful. You should return to normal activities once your quarantine time is over, as long as you no longer have a fever for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medicine and your symptoms are improving.

What should I do if someone informs me that they have tested positive? Please direct the individual to report their positive test to and to the #CampusClear app, following the instructions provided in the app.

What do I need to do to return to class/work on campus if I have tested positive or have been in quarantine due to an exposure? You should provide documentation that you have completed your quarantine period. Those who call the Covenant-SVSU Hotline will receive documentation of their scheduled “return” date. Individuals who contact their provider should request similar documentation. Before returning to on-campus activities, students should submit their documentation to the SVSU Case Manager, and employees should submit their documentation to the Office of Human Resources.

What if I tested positive in the past, should I be tested again? The CDC has clarified that repeat testing is not indicated once an individual has tested positive within the past three months. The studies have shown that some people will continue to test positive for weeks after the initial illness; however, they are not contagious after the first 10 days of symptoms or a positive test.

What test is being performed? The gold standard viral amplification PCR test ­— also known as Molecular testing. It has good sensitivity (detects most cases) and excellent specificity (no false positive cases). Other tests, such as Antigen test, rapid test, saliva test and antibody test currently give too many false negatives and false positives. SVSU will continuously work with Covenant Health Care and Health Departments to assess new testing opportunities.

What other resources can I use for information? and are excellent resources that stay up-to-date with the latest information. As research uncovers new information, we will adjust recommendations accordingly.


The information included in this document was developed by Matthew Deibel, M.D., an Emergency Medicine Specialist with Covenant Medical Center Harrison, in collaboration with SVSU’s COVID-19 Action Team.

This information is current as of 9/1/2020, and is subject to change depending on state executive orders and health guidance from experts at the local, state and national levels regarding COVID-19. Our goal is to provide the most accurate information available; if you have more questions, contact SVSU at, or call the NEST Info Line at (989) 964-2110.


NEST Info Line
(989) 964-2110

Undergraduate Admissions
(989) 964-4200

Graduate Admissions
(989) 964-6096