University of Georgia Faculty, Staff, and Students
Jere W. Morehead, President
S. Jack Hu, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC has recommended 14 days for quarantine if you are deemed to be in close contact of an individual with COVID-19. Recently, however, the CDC has revised those guidelines to allow for shorter periods of quarantine if the affected individual is asymptomatic. The Georgia Department of Public Health also has endorsed these guidelines, and the University System of Georgia has provided USG institutions with the discretion to determine the standard on individual campuses.
Members of the University of Georgia Medical Oversight Task Force have evaluated the two options presented: a 7-day period or a 10-day period. We have accepted their recommendation, which appears below:
Effective January 4, 2021, the University of Georgia will allow the 10-day option for quarantine for those who are in close contact with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. However, those exercising the 10-day option must have been symptom-free throughout the monitoring period.
We strongly encourage students, faculty and staff to voluntarily take a COVID-19 test within 48 hours of the end of the 10-day quarantine period (test to be administered between days 8 and 10). These tests are administered for free to the campus community by the UGA Health Center and Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.
If the test is negative, the individual may return to campus, but MUST continue to closely monitor for any new COVID-19 symptoms through 14 days. DawgCheck is the best method for monitoring these symptoms. If new symptoms occur, the individual must not come to campus and must seek further testing/evaluation.
If the test is positive at the end of the 10-day period, the individual must begin a 10-day isolation period from the date of the test.
We feel that the 10-day option, with close adherence to the mitigation efforts through the 14th day, offers benefits without undue risk and recommend that it be adopted with the caveat that 14 days of quarantine remain preferred. We project that the 10-day option will become the more common choice, that it will lessen some of the negative impacts on leave or access to participation in face-to-face learning activities, and that it will positively influence compliance.
While it is not a formal element of the CDC and DPH guidance statements, their data demonstrate that a negative test at the end of the 10-day period reduces risk to less than that of the 14-day no test standard. For that reason, we support strongly encouraging students, faculty and staff to take advantage of free surveillance testing within 48 hours of the end of the 10 days of quarantine.
The members of MOTF are opposed to UGA adopting the 7-day option at this time, due to the increased risk of post-quarantine COVID-19 infection, the current prevalence and increasing incidence of COVID-19 in Georgia, and the possibility of increased cases when our faculty, staff, and students return for Spring Semester. However, MOTF will regularly reassess the appropriateness of this option throughout the Spring Semester to see if cases decline to a level sufficient to permit its use.