Health & Safety FAQ

The freqently asked questions on this page will be updated if information changes. If you don't see an answer to your question, you may contact our University Call Center at +1 (509) 313-7070.

 
 

Questions about health, wellness and prevention

Pursuant to the Governor’s order, everyone on the Gonzaga campus is required to wear a mask, except if they are alone in a private work or study space or in their own private residence.

General Guidance

Because COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, the CDC recommends that the general public wear masks in public settings. Masks must be worn indoors and outdoors.

Who must wear a mask:

  • People older than 2 years of age in public settings.

Who should not wear a mask:

  • Children under age 2.
  • Anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Students

New Students will be provided two masks (returning students should continue to use the masks they were previously provided). New Students living on campus will be given masks when they check into to their room. Non-residential students may pick up their masks at a variety of public locations during the first week of classes. New graduate and law students who are on campus for classes will have central distribution points for masks in the main academic building associated with the program.

masks must be worn in the presence of others (e.g., not studying alone) and in public settings (e.g., common workspaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, etc.).

Employees

Gonzaga will continue to provide masks to all employees. Additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be provided to employees based on role function and specific PPE requirements.

Masks must be worn in the presence of others (i.e. not working alone) and in public settings (e.g., common workspaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, etc.).

All Students, Employees, and Campus Visitors

The general public should not wear surgical masks or N-95 respirators, as these critical supplies should be maintained for use by healthcare workers and other medical first responders.

For comprehensive information about the use of masks, please see the CDC masks page.

Read this PDF for tips on how to use and care for masks, as well as when to wear one on campus or around others.

 
Updated December 04, 2020

Per CDC guidance, most children and adults must wear masks. Unless you are alone or in your residence, you must wear masks when on campus and in the community. All masks must fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face, completely cover the nose and mouth, be secured with ties or ear loops, include multiple layers of fabric, allow for breathing without restriction, be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.

 
 

If you cannot wear a mask due to approved exemptions, please contact Disability Services.

 

Students

If you have been exposed to COVID-19, you must stay in a designated quarantine space or your place of residence and keep safely away from others for the recommended period of time in case you are infected and are contagious. Quarantine becomes isolation if you later test positive for COVID-19 or develop COVID-19 symptoms.

  • Quarantine for on campus students: All on campus students who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are a “close contact” (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) must move to a quarantine space on campus or quarantine in their own space only if they can keep safely away from others (ex. private bedroom and bathroom and no shared spaces). Gonzaga's COVID-19 Action Response Team (CART) assists with support during this time.
  • Quarantine for off campus students: All off campus students who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are a “close contact” (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) must quarantine in their own space and keep safely away from others (ex. private bedroom and bathroom and no shared spaces) in the residence.
  • Students, both on and off-campus, should immediately call the Contact Tracing Team at 509-313-7070 ext. 1 to speak to a contact tracer about the exposure.

Employees

If you are an employee, please contact your healthcare provider. Also, please report to the Human Resources benefits team at leaves.accommodations@gonzaga.edu.

General Guidance

If it is determined you have been exposed, you will be directed to quarantine for a period of time (up to 14 days after your last exposure).. Check your temperature twice a day and watch for symptoms of COVID-19. Be sure to keep yourself separated from others in your space. If possible, stay away from people who are at higher-risk for getting very sick from COVID-19. Follow the guidance of your healthcare provider.

If you present with symptoms please see the related FAQ: What if I am sick with COVID-19 or think I might have it?

 

There is currently no vaccine to prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. The most effective prevention at this time is to avoid exposure to the virus. An abridged summary of how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses is below. For detailed information, you can visit the CDC website on prevention for detailed information.

The CDC recommends the following actions to minimize your risks:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Put physical distance – at least six (6) feet apart – between yourself and others when you are outside of your home.
  • Do not gather in groups and stay out of crowded places.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Wear a mask when in public. However, cloth face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer immediately after.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces daily and more often as needed.
  • If you think you are sick, call your healthcare provider first for assistance.
  • Stay informed and up-to-date by monitoring the CDC website.
  • Get vaccinated for influenza (the flu) and other respiratory diseases.

 

 

Employees

Students

  • Please contact GU Health and Counseling Services at (509) 313-4066.
  • See the related question on this page: Do students with COVID-19 need to isolate?

General Guidance

If you are sick with COVID-19 or you suspect you are infected with the virus, follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to other people.

1) Stay home except to get medical care.

  • Stay home: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. Do not leave your residence, except for getting medical care.
  • Avoid public areas: Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
  • Take care of yourself: Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better.
  • Stay in contact with your healthcare provider: Call before you get medical care and seek help immediately if you have trouble breathing or think it is an emergency.
  • Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis.

2) Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.

  • Stay away from others: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available. If you must be around other people or animals inside or outside the home, wear a mask.
  • Limit contact with pets & animals: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Until we know more about this coronavirus, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.

3) Monitor your symptoms.

4) Call ahead before visiting your healthcare provider.

  • Call ahead: Many medical visits for routine care are being postponed or done by phone or telemedicine.
  • If you have a medical appointment that cannot be postponed, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep themselves and other patients from getting infected or exposed.

5) Wear a cloth mask if you are sick.

  • You should wear a mask over your nose and mouth if you must be around other people or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
  • You don’t need to wear the mask if you are alone. If you can’t put on a mask (because of trouble breathing, for example), cover your coughs and sneezes in some other way. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from other people. This will help protect the people around you.

6) Continue to practice other health and safety measures to care for yourself and protect others. The CDC also advises you to:

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds immediately after. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean your hands often. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. This is especially important after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. Soap and water are the best options, especially if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items. Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people in your home. Wash these items thoroughly after using them with soap and water or put in the dishwasher.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day. Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in your “sick room” and bathroom; wear disposable gloves. Let someone else clean and disinfect surfaces in common areas, but you should clean your bedroom and bathroom, if possible. If a caregiver or other person needs to clean and disinfect a sick person’s bedroom or bathroom, they should do so on an as-needed basis. The caregiver/other person should wear a mask and disposable gloves prior to cleaning. They should wait as long as possible after the person who is sick has used the bathroom before coming in to clean and use the bathroom. High-touch surfaces include phones, remote controls, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.
  • Clean and disinfect areas that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Use household cleaners and disinfectants. Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use a household disinfectant. Be sure to follow the product instructions for safe and effective use. For comprehensive information about cleaning and disinfection guidance, visit the CDC Detailed Disinfection Guidance page.
 

COVID-19 is a relatively new disease and there is still limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. The CDC indicates that based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions, including those who are immunocompromised, might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

If you have an underlying health condition or are immunocompromised, you can protect yourself by preventing exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid leaving home as much as possible and practice social distancing.
  • If you must leave home, avoid other people as much as possible by practicing social distancing. Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet (2 meters) between you and people outside your household.
  • Avoid large gatherings or places where people congregate.
  • Have supplies, food, and medicine delivered to your home.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others to protect other people in case you are infected and ask others to do the same.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

You can also take additional steps to protect your health including:

  • • Continuing your regular treatment plan and discuss any concerns about your treatment with your healthcare provider.
  • • Obtain an emergency supply of your prescription medications
  • • Take care of your emotional health

For further information, visit the CDC website People Who Are At Higher Risk.

 

We recognize the inherent dignity of all individuals and expect professional conduct in activities and programs and in the relationships we share with students, faculty, staff, and the public.

During this pandemic, where there are so many unknowns, taking care of each other is just as important as taking care of ourselves. Cura Personalis, or care for the whole person, and Cura Apostolica, or care for the work or institution, go hand in hand and are integral to our mission. We are committed to continuing to maintain an educational, working, and living environment free of all forms of discrimination or harassment. Making assumptions about or engaging in negative treatment of others based on perceived COVID-19 symptoms, medical conditions or abilities, national origin, racial and ethnic characteristics, or any other protected status hurts our community and will not be tolerated. Any acts of discrimination or harassment run counter to our University values and policies, including our Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy.

We recognize that each of you have had very different experiences since the Spring. We also understand that COVID-19 has had disproportionate impacts among people of color. We are here to support you and provide you the resources necessary to allow your experience at Gonzaga to be the best it can be. The Office of Diversity, Inclusion, Community & Equity utilizes the principles of critical dialogue, reciprocity, and solidarity to facilitate learning that cultivates cultural engagement, enriches mindfulness, fosters a sense of belonging, and challenges systems of privilege and oppression. To connect with the DICE team and learn more about resources and support systems available during this time of uncertainty and challenge, call (509) 313-4100.

As shared by the CDC, stigma and discrimination can occur when people associate a disease, such as COVID-19, with a population or nationality, even though not everyone in that population or from that region is specifically at risk for the disease. Stigma can also occur after a person has been released from COVID-19 quarantine even though they are not considered a risk for spreading the virus to others.

Stigma hurts everyone by creating more fear or anger towards ordinary people instead of the disease that is causing the problem. We can fight stigma and help not hurt others by providing social support. We can communicate the facts and prevent the unnecessary harm of stigma.

Information about stigma can be found on the CDC website Reducing Stigma.

 

Questions about University protocols

Students

New Students will be provided two cloth face coverings (returning students should continue to use the face coverings they were previously provided). New Students living on campus will be given face coverings when they check into to their room. Non-residential students may pick up their face coverings at a variety of public locations during the first week of classes.

New Graduate and Law students who are on campus for classes will have central distribution points for face coverings in the main academic building associated with the program. Students will be asked to bring additional cloth face coverings and any other personal protective equipment (PPE) they may want.

Education will continue to be provided to students about the importance and proper use of PPE. Students may also purchase a GU care package that includes cloth face coverings and other items for health and safety.

Employees

Employees and student employees will continue to be provided PPE. Please see the Employee Return to Campus Plan (GU login required) for details. Necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided to employees specific to the function of their roles. GU is also making every effort to keep the working spaces of employees safe and healthy.

Read this PDF for tips on how to use and care for face coverings, as well as when to wear one on campus or around others.

 
Updated December 04, 2020

All GU community members will continue to be asked to track symptoms as they return to campus and ongoing. This includes employees and students.

Students: The number of positive cases across the country has steadily increased over the summer, including in Spokane. Accordingly, we ask that you self-quarantine for seven (7) days prior to arriving in Spokane in January and employ COVID-19 public health measures (wearing cloth face coverings when in public, limiting contact with other people and physical distancing, no attendance at large gatherings or parties, etc.). If you are feeling ill, have COVID-19 related symptoms, or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should NOT come to campus. You should be tested and quarantine until receiving the results of the test. You may work with your advisor and Housing & Residence Life staff to create a return plan that keeps you on your academic track.

Employees will continue to be required to formally attest that they do not present with symptoms prior to returning to work.

 
Updated December 04, 2020

The following decisions on testing were made in consultation with the Spokane Regional Health District.

Gonzaga conducts both targeted testing (based on the presence of symptoms) and surveillance testing (ongoing testing based on random sampling) on an ongoing basis.

Gonzaga is contracted with two medical laboratories in Spokane to conduct testing. Professionals are on campus regularly to conduct rapid turnaround tests and provide ongoing support throughout the academic year. In addition, we have a team of four contract tracers working out of our Health and Counseling Services department to conduct contract tracing and education on an ongoing basis.

Students

Health & Counseling Services provides testing to students who meet criteria for COVID-19 testing. Plans for testing during spring arrival and check in are in place and additional testing information for the semester is forthcoming. 

Employees

Onsite testing is not offered to employees on campus. Employees that feel like they need to be tested should seek guidance from their medical provider for testing and testing center recommendations.

For more information on testing, see our COVID-19 Testing and Contact Tracing page.
 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, GU continues to be in close collaboration with the Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD), our regional public health agency. Contact tracing is a public health function that the SRHD currently manages for COVID-19 positive cases and for individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19. The Gonzaga Contact Tracing Team is primarily responsible for contact tracing student positive cases and identifying and quarantining those who have been exposed. GU developed processes, together with SRHD, to readily support contact tracing on campus.

Students

Please contact GU Health and Counseling Services at (509) 313-4066.

Employees

Employees must report to the Human Resources benefits team at leaves.accommodations@gonzaga.edu if they: 

  • are under the care of a healthcare provider for COVID-19;
  • have been notified via the SRHD of recent exposure through contact tracing; or 
  • a household member contracts COVID-19.

 

 

The number of positive cases in Washington (and Spokane) continues to steadily increase, raising renewed concern among students, parents, faculty, staff and public health officials about the safety of returning to campuses. Additionally, this spring semester we are once again bringing many students together in our campus community from other areas of the country and across the globe. Isolation and quarantine are part of a comprehensive plan to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission on our campus.

Isolation and quarantine are different:

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19, you must isolate by staying in a designated isolation space or your place of residence (depending on or off campus status) and keep safely away from others for the recommended period of time to avoid spreading illness.

  • Isolation for on campus students: All on campus students with symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19 are required to move to an isolation space on campus. Gonzaga's COVID-19 Action Response Team (CART) assists with support during this time.
  • Isolation for off campus students: All off campus students with symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19 need to isolate in their place of residence and keep safely away from others in the residence (ex. private bedroom and bathroom and no shared spaces). If this is not possible, Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) assists in identifying appropriate options for isolation. The SRHD assists with support during this time.
 
Updated December 04, 2020

Contact tracing is an effective disease control strategy that helps interrupt disease transmission. It involves working with an individual who has confirmed COVID-19 and the close contacts of that individual (close contacts may need to isolate or quarantine). The privacy and confidentiality rights of a confirmed case and close contacts will be maintained at all times.

Gonzaga has a team of seven contract tracers who work out of our Health and Counseling Services department to conduct contract tracing and education on an ongoing basis.

For more information on contact tracing, see our COVID-19 Testing and Contact Tracing page.
 

More frequent disinfection of surfaces and objects are required for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hand sanitizer is placed in or near each room or near building entrances. Campus buildings are cleaned and disinfected more frequently, and every GU community member has a responsibility for disinfecting their areas and when using shared resources. Meeting/conference/event rooms are cleaned daily but space users should clean between meetings and events. Emergency blue phones are disinfected daily and after a known call has been received. The University’s custodial cleaning program uses an EPA-registered disinfectant to clean touchpoints, public and common area restrooms daily. Students living in on-campus housing are expected to continue to clean the private bathrooms in their residences.

There are also dispenser stations throughout campus containing hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer can help prevent the spread of the virus, though proper hand-washing technique is deemed to be more effective by the CDC.

Facilities crews implemented extra measures to clean and disinfect surfaces in public areas that are touched frequently. This includes surfaces such as door handles, banisters, and elevator buttons. An increased cleaning of these “touch points” has been in place since last year to reduce health risks during flu season. But we have stepped up these preventative measures to further mitigate risks of the novel coronavirus.

It is also recommended that all departments continue to purchase single use disinfectant wipes for human touch points within their work spaces such as keyboards, public counters, credit card readers, phones, and shared surfaces and items. We will continue to monitor recommendations from the CDC for preventing the spread of the virus.

 
Updated December 04, 2020

Gonzaga learned much from the need to change on-campus operations and move to fully remote learning Spring Semester 2020, and plans are in place to do so again if necessary.

We have closely collaborated with the Spokane Regional Health District on this question as it pertains to the academic year. Our approach, with their agreement, is to continue into the Spring Semester 2021 with the plan to manage cases on campus through health and safety provisions, testing, contact tracing, quarantining of those who have been exposed, and isolation of those who test positive. It is not feasible or safe for anyone who contracts COVID-19 to travel home while still contagious or recovering.

If our ability to manage cases in this manner were to be overwhelmed, we would absolutely make decisions regarding operations to protect and promote the healing of our campus community.