Personal and Public Health
Mason is counting on all members of our community to do their part to keep everyone as healthy as possible. We'll do our part, too.
We’ve established some policies and best practices to make sure everyone feels comfortable while working, teaching, learning, and conducting research on our campuses and facilities.
We’re asking you to:
- Wear face coverings when and where appropriate.
- Follow social distancing guidelines.
- Maintain good hygiene, and wear personal protective equipment.
The university will:
- Follow cleaning/disinfection protocols.
- Establish disinfection procedures to follow after an illness report.
- Adapt ventilation systems to meet CDC guidelines where feasible.
- Set up signs and visual reminders to follow safe practices.
Protecting the Community
To lessen the chance of an outbreak within the Mason community, you should:
- Take Return to Campus training. We want all faculty, staff, and student workers returning to campus to have the information necessary to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within our community. This training discusses:
- Precautions the university has in place
- Faculty and staff responsibilities
- Best practices to protect yourself and others while on campus.
- Take a Health Assessment survey. We're asking everyone to voluntarily fill out an online public health risk assessment. Report any symptoms you're experiencing, and if necessary, we'll direct you to the appropriate CDC recommendations or advise you to contact a health care provider. Information will only be shared with the response teams working to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 virus in accordance with the provisions of the COVID-19 HIPAA Bulletin.(PDF)
- Fill out a daily symptoms journal. Mason is asking students, faculty, and staff to monitor their health status and complete this journal every day. Information will only be shared with the response teams working to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 virus in accordance with the provisions of the COVID-19 HIPAA Bulletin.(PDF)
Mason will maintain the privacy and confidentiality of members of the university community and their close contacts. Only authorized university officials involved with the case investigation and the health department will have access to the information.
Information, Guidelines, and Best Practices
The CDC and VDH recommend that groups at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 stay home and avoid contact with others.
Mason does not prohibit at-risk individuals from coming to campus, but we strongly encourage those at high risk to telework or take classes remotely. Consult your health care provider if you have questions.
Faculty and Staff
Human Resources and Payroll will keep supervisors/units/department leadership informed of circumstances in which employees can't return to campus due to health concerns. If you believe you're at high risk of COVID-19 complications or live with someone who is vulnerable, talk to your supervisor about alternative work arrangements.
For more information, contact Human Resources and Payroll at 703-993-3878.
Mason is designing multiple options and formats for fall classes, programs, and services. If you're at high-risk per CDC guidelines due to your health situation or the health of a member of your household, we encourage you to take classes remotely to help minimize your risk of exposure.
If you meet high-risk criteria and can't enroll in online classes, talk to your advisor. If you need additional support and accommodations, contact Disability Services.
Before returning to campus, all faculty, staff, and students must complete an initial Health Assessment Survey, and complete the Daily Symptoms Journal every day. Mason requires individuals who feel ill or have COVID-19 symptoms to self-isolate.
Residential students who feel ill or report exposures must contact Student Health Services at 703-993-2831 and follow staff or health department recommendations for isolation or quarantine. Mason will deliver meals, and the Virginia Department of Health or university staff will monitor their situation.
Nonresidential students, faculty and staff who have symptoms consistent with COVID should seek medical attention and report their circumstances to the university.
A potential exposure means being a household contact or being within 6 feet of a person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 for at least 10 minutes while the person was sick and 48 hours before the person became sick. If you have experienced a potential exposure, you must self-quarantine and monitor for symptoms.
- If your exposure was to someone who is not in your household, stay home and monitor for symptoms until 14 days after the date of last contact with the person with COVID-19.
- If your exposure was to a member of your household, stay home and monitor for symptoms while the person is home sick and for 14 days after he or she has been released from isolation.
If you have questions about a potential exposure and need to quarantine, consult with a medical provider. All currently enrolled students can consult Student Health Services at 703-993-2831.
There are many testing sites in the area, some of which might be free.
To find a testing site, visit the Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 Testing Sites and the Fairfax County Public Health Department Coronavirus (COVID-19) Testing site. The Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 Testing site also offers guidance and information on testing.
Don’t go to a health care provider or facility without calling first. If Student Health Services is your primary care provider, call 703-993-2831.
Mason is working with state and local public health departments to ensure the Mason community will have access to testing at the start of the fall semester or sooner. We will provide more information as it becomes available.
If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, stay at home and separate yourself from others as much as possible. Talk to your health care provider and get testing through their office or at a community testing site.
Most people will experience mild illness that can be managed safely at home by following the CDC’s guidelines on 10 things you can do to manage your COVID-19 symptoms at home (PDF).
Notify your supervisor, report the illness to the university, and isolate at home until you meet the criteria for ending self-isolation.
Residential students who have mild COVID-19 and are able to care for themselves at home must follow Housing and Residence Life protocols for isolation. Mason will deliver meals, and the Virginia Department of Health or university staff will monitor their situation.
If you test positive for COVID-19, and have symptoms, the Virginia Department of Health or your health care provider will recommend when you are cleared from isolation.
If you are self-isolating because you have COVID-19 symptoms, you can leave your home when meeting three criteria:
- You have no fever for at least 3 days (72 hours with no fever without the use of medicines that reduce fever);
- Other respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) have improved; AND
- At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appears; OR you have two negative test results of an FDA Emergency Use Authorization COVID-19 Diagnostic (molecular) test from at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected at least 24 hours apart
If you tested positive for COVID-19 but remained asymptomatic, you can leave your home if:
- At least 10 days have passed since the date of your first positive COVID-19 diagnosis (molecular test) AND
- You continue to have no symptoms since the test; OR you have 2 negative test results of an FDA Emergency Use Authorization COVID-19 Diagnostic (molecular) test from at least 2 consecutive respiratory specimens collected at least 24 hours apart.
If you or another individual shows certain symptoms, seek medical care immediately. Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency care facility. Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19. Symptoms include:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
This list does not include every symptom. Call your health care provider to discuss any other severe or concerning symptoms.
The COVID-19 pandemic could overlap with influenza season. Because the symptoms of these illnesses are so similar, any patient with flu-like symptoms is COVID-19 positive until proven otherwise.
If you have these symptoms, you must:
- Be isloated
- Have a clinical evaluation.
- Be tested for COVID-19.
- Ensure that your residence undergoes additional cleaning.
- Provide a list of your close contacts, who should be traced and advised to quarantine.
To reduce the impact on you, the campus community, and the health care sector, we strongly encourage you to get an influenza vaccination, especially if you will be in high-risk situations or areas where people congregate, such as a residence hall.