COVID-19 Policy for Clinical Rotations

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The following information includes guidance regarding COVID-19 exposure and infection in students that are attending clinical rotations at a UWM affiliated hospital or clinic as part of the Biomedical Sciences major.  Students attend rotations at multiple different hospital organizations, so they should communicate with their site education coordinators in order to determine what site specific steps to take in the event of an illness and/or positive COVID test.  Students must follow all required policies of their clinical site, but may be required to obtain clearance from the Program Director in order to return to rotations.

Contact Brad De Pons (bkdepons@uwm.edu) or Zac Lunak (lunak@uwm.edu) if any clarification is needed.


Common signs/symptoms of COVID-19 infection include:

Fever >100.0F or >37.8C

Respiratory symptoms, including new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or sore throat

GI symptoms, including new onset of nausea/vomiting or diarrhea

New onset of chills, congestion, runny nose, muscle or body aches, headache, fatigue, or loss of taste or smell

Other – Review your site specific policies regarding any signs/symptoms to monitor, or see the CDC Website for a list of symptoms of COVID-19.


In the event of an EXPOSURE:

Contact your site coordinator or site employee heath department in order to determine if you need to quarantine.  You will follow your site specific policies regarding quarantine after a possible exposure.  Unless required by your clinical site, if you came into close contact with someone with COVID-19 and you are in one of the following groups, you do not need to quarantine.

  • You are ages 18 or older and have received all recommended vaccine doses, including boosters and additional primary shots for some immunocompromised people. NOTE: sites may not require booster shots, so contact your site employee heath or education coordiantor for guidance on their quarantine policies.
  • You had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days (you tested positive using a viral test).

See the CDC COVID-19 website for up to date recommendations regarding quarantine and isolation.


If you display any of the symptoms listed above, DO NOT report to your clinical site.

Steps to take in the event of illness:

  1. Complete any electronic monitoring required by your clinical site, if applicable.
  2. Contact your current clinical site in order to report your absence.
  3. Contact your site education coordinator for guidance on site specific policies, and to determine if your clinical site will handle clearance requirements.
    • If your site is handling clearance to return to rotations (likely through their employee health department), work with them and provide them with any requested information.
  4. Report the illness/absence to Brad De Pons (bkdepons@uwm.edu) and Zac Lunak (lunak@uwm.edu).
  5. Get Tested – Unless specified by your clinical site, any viral test is acceptable (PCR or antigen testing performed at a testing site, or at-home testing such as BinaxNow or QuickVue rapid at-home COVID-19 antigen test kits)

If your clinical site is handling all clearance requirements

Email Brad De Pons and Zac Lunak to inform us of the results from your COVID test and your anticipated date of return.  IF YOU TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19, please Self-Report your positive COVID-19 test on the UWM COVID-19 website.

  • Under Student Resources, click “Self-Report COVID-19 Case” and fill out the form. Someone from UWM may be in contact with you regarding possible follow up or contact tracing if you have been on campus.

No further action listed below is necessary unless clearance from UWM is required by your clinical site.

NOTE:  Currently, the only site that is NOT handling clearance is ACL Labs.  If you are completing rotations at ACL, follow the instructions below.


If you test NEGATIVE for COVID-19 and need clearance from UWM to return to clinical rotations:

If you are experiencing moderate to severe symptoms that are unrelated to COVID-19 (strep throat, influenza, etc.), seek medical attention as needed (urgent care, primary care physician, Norris Health Center, Emergency Room, 911).

    • If your illness requires you to seek care from a physician or healthcare provider, please request written clearance to return to work/clinical rotations.
    • Once you have been cleared to return to clinical rotations by your healthcare provider, complete the NEGATIVE COVID-19 Test Clearance Form and email it to Brad De Pons (bkdepons@uwm.edu) and Zac Lunak (lunak@uwm.edu), along with the written medical clearance from your healthcare provider.
    • We will contact your education coordinator in order to clear you for return to clinical rotations.

 

If you are experiencing mild/improving symptoms that do not require medical attention and you feel well enough to return to clinical rotations, complete the NEGATIVE COVID-19 Test Clearance Form and email it to Brad De Pons (bkdepons@uwm.edu) and Zac Lunak (lunak@uwm.edu).

    1. The program director will clear you to return to rotations after a negative COVID-19 test if the following circumstances have been met:
      • Your symptoms are not severe enough to require medical attention
      • You have no new or worsening symptoms
      • If you displayed moderate/severe symptoms, you are showing a significant improvement in symptoms or your symptoms have resolved completely
      • If you have had a fever, you have been fever free for >24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications.
    2. If your illness requires you to miss >10 days of clinical rotations, regardless if you sought medical attention, written clearance to return to work/clinical rotations is required from your healthcare provider.
    3. We will contact your education coordinator in order to clear you for return to clinical rotations.

If you test POSITIVE for COVID-19 and need clearance from UWM to return to clinical rotations:

  1. Complete any electronic monitoring required by your clinical site to report a positive test, if applicable.
  2. Contact your current clinical site in order to report your absence, if not previously done. Follow up with your clinical site once the anticipated timeline for return is known.
  3. Contact your site education coordinator for guidance on site specific policies, and report the positive test to Brad De Pons (bkdepons@uwm.edu) and Zac Lunak (lunak@uwm.edu).
  4. Self-Report your positive COVID-19 test on the UWM COVID-19 website
    • Under Student Resources, click “Self-Report COVID-19 Case” and fill out the form. Someone from UWM may be in contact with you regarding possible follow up or contact tracing if you have been on campus.
  5. Contact your primary care physician or the Norris Health Center in order to receive medical treatment and/or guidance on isolation. Students will need written clearance from their primary care physician or healthcare provider in order to verify their health status for return to clinical rotations.  This must include the date that you may return/end isolation.
    • If you currently work for the organization that you are completing clinical rotations, discuss this with your education coordinator. You may be able to utilize the employee health resources that are available as an employee.  Additional documentation and clearance by your primary care physician and the follow up described below may not be necessary if clearance comes from your employee heath department.
  6. Once you have been cleared to return to work/class by your healthcare provider, complete the POSITIVE COVID-19 Test Clearance Form and email it to Brad De Pons (bkdepons@uwm.edu) and Zac Lunak (lunak@uwm.edu), along with the written medical clearance from your healthcare provider.
  7. We will contact your education coordinator in order to clear you for return to clinical rotations.

Guidance on isolation periods change often, and you should follow your current site specific policies regarding return to clinical rotations.  Unless otherwise stated by your clinical site, students may return to clinical rotations after they have been isolated for 10 days from symptom onset or first positive test date (whichever is earlier) and have been cleared to return to work/class by their healthcare provider.

Isolation may be shortened in some circumstances.  To safely end your isolation early (after day 5), you must meet all of the below criteria:

  • You have isolated for at least five days.  If you have symptoms, your symptom onset date will be “day 0” of your isolation.  If you do not have symptoms, your test collection date will be “day 0” of your isolation.
  • You receive a negative antigen test on the day that you wish to end your isolation (not before day 6).
  • You have been fever-free for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medication.
  • Notable improvement in all of your COVID symptoms
    • NOTE: Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and do not require improvement prior to the end of isolation/return to rotations
  • You have been cleared by your physician or healthcare provider to return prior to the standard 10 day isolation period.

If you meet all of the above criteria, you may be cleared to return to clinical rotations on day 6 at the earliest.  If you do not meet all of this criteria, you must continue to isolate until you have completed 10 days of isolation from your symptom onset date or from your positive test (whichever is sooner).