Should we quarantine members who test positive for COVID-19?
Whether or not to quarantine sick members at the chapter house is up to each individual chapter and house corporation to decide based on their organization’s guidance, their campus and local health department guidance, and the structure and layout of their individual facilities.
We have created some questions to consider in making the decision whether or not to quarantine sick members at the chapter house. Our general stance is that members should quarantine somewhere other than the chapter facility, as a communal living space presents difficulties in quarantining properly. We have heard of some situations where the local health officials are recommending members stay in chapter facilities as needed, but typically the university can provide a better alternative for quarantining.
Kappa Alpha Theta created this housing and safety plan that they graciously agreed to share, which includes a simple approach and expectations should a member be symptomatic or test positive. Each sorority is using a slightly different philosophy, but many general principles are mutual.
If a location does choose to quarantine ill members, this is the CDC guidance for quarantining sick members:
- All household members should educate themselves about COVID-19 symptoms and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in homes.
- Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, phones, tablets, touch screens, remote controls, keyboards, handles, desks, toilets, sinks)
- In the bedroom/bathroom dedicated for an ill person: consider reducing cleaning frequency to as-needed (e.g., soiled items and surfaces) to avoid unnecessary contact with the ill person.
- As much as possible, an ill person should stay in a specific room and away from other people in their chapter.
- A designated individual should be the caregiver who can provide personal cleaning supplies for an ill person’s room and bathroom. These supplies include tissues, paper towels, cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants.
- If a separate bathroom is not available, the bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected after each use by an ill person. If this is not possible, the designated caregiver should wait as long as practical after use by an ill person to clean and disinfect the high-touch surfaces.
- All household members should follow home care guidance when interacting with persons with suspected/confirmed COVID-19 and their isolation rooms/bathrooms.
As always, we encourage you to check with your national organization’s guidelines regarding quarantining members.