Marching Forward

Marching Forwarg graphic

Spring Semester Update - March 13, 2022

Carroll College continues to adjust policies based on the current trends and risk levels of COVID-19 in our community and state. The CDC and Lewis & Clark Public Health now utilize a new Community Level tool which provides guidance based on a wider variety of data points including recent case counts, weekly hospital admissions, and current hospital bed occupancy. Based on this guidance and current recommended precautions, the following protocols are now in place on campus:

  • Beginning March 21, masks are optional in instructional spaces such as classrooms and laboratories and in meetings with professors and college staff, with some exceptions. Individual faculty and staff members may continue to require masks in their classrooms, labs, and offices, with students expected to follow those policies.

  • The Wellness Center is no longer providing PCR saliva testing. However, for a limited time while supplies last, self-administered rapid antigen tests are available through the Wellness Center. 

  • Isolation protocols continue to be in effect based on CDC and LCPH guidance.

  • Vaccinations and boosters are available throughout the Helena community.

  • Practice common sense health and safety measures – wash your hands often, monitor your health, and stay home if sick.

Vaccinations (Free local vaccination clinics)

To provide the best protection for yourself and the community, please strongly consider getting vaccinated and boosted.

There are multiple vaccination opportunities in the Helena community. One of the most convenient for our students is the CVS pharmacy just across Benton Avenue in the Lundy Center. Follow this link for information.

For additional vaccination opportunities in Helena, please visit the Lewis and Clark County vaccine distribution page.

Remember to bring:

  • Photo ID
  • Your insurance card
  • Your CDC vaccination card if it is your 2nd dose or booster

If you have any questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, contact your healthcare provider, our Wellness Center, or we can put you in touch with several of our Carroll College Board of Trustee members who are physicians in the Helena community.

For informational purposes, this link provides vaccination rates and cases by state.

Testing (COVID testing for students, faculty, and staff)

The Wellness Center is no longer providing PCR saliva testing. However, for a limited time while supplies last, self-administered rapid antigen tests are available through the Wellness Center. To acquire a test, visit the Wellness Center between the hours of 9 am-12 pm or 1 pm-4 pm, Monday – Friday. The tests are simple to self-administer and results are available within 15 minutes.

Our student-athletes continue to undergo PCR testing through the athletic training staff as is required by their respective athletic conferences. If you are required to obtain a date-stamped PCR test as part of an academic class or college-sponsored activity, please work with the course professor or advisor to schedule a test with the athletic training staff.

There is also free testing available throughout the Helena community, please visit the Lewis and Clark County vaccine and testing locations page.

In addition, we strongly encourage all students, faculty and staff to take advantage of the offer provided by the federal government to have four (4) free rapid antigen tests mailed to your home or school address to have on hand if needed. The tests take approximately two weeks to arrive once you fill out the simple form at www.covidtests.gov.

If you have a Carroll-sponsored health insurance plan, your insurance will pay you back for eight (8) at-⁠home rapid antigen tests each month for each person on your plan. These test kits should be available at CVS and Walgreens. Additional information for Carroll College employees on the BCBS plan can be found here. Many other insurance companies have similar coverage for COVID-19 testing, so please check with your provider if you are interested in obtaining additional tests. Learn more.

Masks (Masks optional in instructional settings and meetings beginning March 21)

Masks will be optional in instructional spaces such as classrooms and laboratories and in meetings with professors and college staff beginning March 21, with some possible exceptions. Individual faculty and staff members may continue to require masks in their classrooms, labs, and offices, with students expected to follow those policies.

While we have used transmission rates as a benchmark in the past, the CDC and Lewis & Clark Public Health now utilize a new Community Level tool which provides guidance based on a wider variety of data points including recent case counts, weekly hospital admissions, and current hospital bed occupancy. Based on these metrics, as of March 11, Lewis & Clark County is now at the “low” level for precautions.

The county’s guidance for precautions at this level include:

These are our mitigation protocols as they stand today and are subject to change at any point. We will continue to monitor the situation as well as recommendations of our local, state and federal health professionals in determining our best courses of action in keeping our community safe, healthy, open and in-person.

Frequently Asked Questions

Check out our most commonly asked questions by expanding the categories below:

Q: Where can I get a vaccine?
A: There are multiple vaccination opportunities in the Helena community. One of the most convenient for our students is the CVS pharmacy just across Benton Avenue in the Lundy Center. Follow this link for information. For additional vaccination opportunities in Helena, please visit the Lewis and Clark County vaccine distribution page.

Q: Is Carroll requiring the vaccine?
A: While Carroll is not mandating the vaccine for students as a condition of attendance, we strongly recommend that all students and members of the campus community get the vaccine while it is free and widely available. More people vaccinated will keep our campus community safer and means fewer chances for the virus to spread.

Q: Who should I contact if I have questions about the vaccine?
A: Information about the COVID-19 vaccines is published on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Other questions dealing with your unique health situation should be directed to your healthcare provider. If you are a student, you can contact the Wellness Center.

Q: What type of testing method is Carroll using?
A: While supplies last, the college is providing self-administered rapid antigen tests through the Wellness Center for all students, faculty and staff. 

The college is continuing to use the saliva testing method administered through the athletic training staff for student-athletes and those required to obtain a date-stamped PCR test as part of an academic class or college-sponsored activity. SalivaDirect, developed by the Yale School of Public Health, is easier to administer, provides faster results, and is comparable in accuracy to nasal swab tests. Test results are available in 24 to 48 hours.

This protocol is intended for the collection of the normal saliva that naturally pools into the mouth. No coughing or sniffing prior to sample collection is required. Water should be avoided 10 minutes prior to collection. Other drinks, food, and nasal sprays should be avoided for 30 minutes before sample collection.

Q: Will testing be available throughout the semester?
A: As of mid-February, the Wellness Center is no longer providing PCR saliva testing. However, for a limited time while supplies last, self-administered rapid antigen tests will be available through the Wellness Center. To acquire a test, visit the Wellness Center between the hours of 9 am-12 pm or 1 pm-4 pm, Monday – Friday. The tests are simple to self-administer and results are available within 15 minutes.

Our student-athletes will continue to undergo PCR testing through the athletic training staff as is required by their respective athletic conferences. If you are required to obtain a date-stamped PCR test as part of an academic class or college-sponsored activity, please work with the course professor or advisor to schedule a test with the athletic training staff.

There are also various locations in Helena which provide COVID-19 testing. Visit the COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Locations map on the Lewis & Clark Public Health COVID-19 Hub for locations.

Q: Are face masks required at Carroll?
A:
We are moving to a mask optional environment beginning March 21 in classrooms and labs and in meetings with faculty and staff (some exceptions may exist). 

Marching Forward Plan

The Carroll College Marching Forward Plan is a phased approach of policies and protocols that serve as a guide for the college as we continue our valued mission of providing a safe, in-person educational experience for our students.

We have all learned a great deal about managing COVID-19 during the past two years, and we are implementing new procedures and protocols based on what we have learned as well as where we stand currently in regards to COVID-19 and public health. Students, staff, and faculty following the established guidelines and caring for each other led to a successful in-person 2020-21 academic year and fall 2021 semester and we are confident that we can continue this throughout this spring. With vaccines widely available, on-campus and community testing, and following general health guidelines, we feel well prepared to create an effective plan to help students achieve their educational goals.

STUDENTS AND EMPLOYEES

What you should do to keep Carroll College safe:

Prevalence Report:

Due to very low case numbers in the community, Carroll College is suspending the weekly prevalence report. 

Please note:

  • Numbers reflect faculty, staff, and students.
  • The "current active cases" number may be lower than the "new COVID-19 case(s)” because there may be “new cases" that were identified in the last 7 days who have already completed their 5 day required isolation subsequently they are no longer considered an "active case."
  • All individuals have received guidance and assistance regarding proper isolation protocols and are in contact with healthcare professionals.
  • Due to federal regulations, we will not be providing any information beyond the number of new and active cases.
  • This report will be updated each Friday during the semester by 1 p.m.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been identified as a close contact, you must fill out the COVID-19 Reporting Form.

Campus Updates

Contacts:

St. Charles

Students & Employees – if you feel ill and suspect you have COVID-19:

If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, immediately call your primary healthcare provider or the Carroll College Wellness Center at 406.447.5441 - do not go to the center before calling first. After assessing your symptoms, your healthcare provider or the Wellness Center may order a COVID-19 test. You will be contacted directly for instructions on how to receive a COVID test. These policies apply regardless of your vaccination status.

• Until test results are obtained – immediately self-quarantine and please adhere to the following protocols:

  • Students
    • Contact the Wellness Center at 406.447.5441 to report that you have been tested and determine the best course of action.
    • Notify your faculty members, supervisors, coaches, etc. to report that you are sick or suspect you may be sick and will not be attending class/work/practice.
    • You will be required to self-quarantine until your test results come back.
  • Employees
    • Contact your supervisor to report that you are sick or suspect you may be sick and will not be attending work- immediately self-quarantine.
    • Stay home until instructed otherwise by Lewis & Clark Public Health or your healthcare provider.
    • You will be required to self-quarantine until your test results come back.

When test results are obtained:

  • An interviewer from Lewis & Clark Public Health or your health care provider will contact you if you test positive for COVID-19.
  • If you have a confirmed case of COVID-19, the interviewer or healthcare provider will help you understand what to do next, what support is available, as well as let you know how long you should isolate yourself.

Students and Employees - If You Are Exposed to someone with a Suspected or CONFIRMED POSITIVE COVID Test

Lewis & Clark Public Health or a college representative will directly contact anyone who has been identified as having been exposed to someone with a suspected or confirmed positive COVID-19 case.

Close Contact – Under CDC guidelines, a close contact is defined as “someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person (laboratory-confirmed or a clinically compatible illness) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.”

NOTE: The COVID Active Case Action Team (CACAT) will review all new pertinent county and campus COVID-19 infection data on a daily basis. The college reserves the right to update these policies at any time.
  • A close contact is considered asymptomatic if they do not have any of the following symptoms: (i) fever or chills; (ii) cough; (iii) shortness of breath or difficulty breathing (iv) fatigue; (v) muscle or body aches; (vi) headache; (vii) new loss of taste or smell; (viii) sore throat; (ix) congestion or runny nose; (x) nausea or vomiting; or (xi) diarrhea.
  • If you are a Carroll College student or employee and have been exposed to someone with a suspected or confirmed positive COVID-19 test, we will be treating all close asymptomatic contacts the same (Carroll’s policies for asymptomatic close contacts will not differ based on vaccination or immunity status). 
  1. Carroll College has established the following policies for asymptomatic close contacts: 
    1. Carroll College highly recommends that students consider self-isolating until a negative test result is received.
    2. Close contacts may be identified by the COVID-19 positive individual through the COVID-19 Reporting Form
    3. If you are a confirmed close contact, you must also fill out the COVID-19 Reporting Form
    4. The CACAT will track all positive cases and close contacts and will be in communication with each impacted individual.
    5. Roommates will automatically be considered close contacts. 
    6. All close contacts will be required to wear a mask whenever in a communal space or in the presence of any other individual on Carroll’s campus for 10 full days after the date of exposure even after a negative test result is received.   
    7. All close contacts will be required to test three (3) days after the date of exposure.  If the 3rd day falls on a weekend or holiday, then the testing must take place immediately following the weekend or holiday.
      1. Carroll offers asymptomatic and symptomatic testing Monday through Friday excluding weekends and holidays. Please call 406-447-5441 to make an appointment for testing.
      2. A Public Health officer or College representative can help provide information about testing, or you may work with your healthcare provider. The Carroll College Wellness Center may be able to provide some general guidance as well by calling 406.447.5441.
    8. The CACAT team will monitor the 3-day testing period and will send students a notification reminder that they must test in accordance with 1.g.
    9. Asymptomatic close contacts will not be quarantined unless they violate the testing requirements under sub-bullet 1.g. 
    10. The Student Life team will be informed if a student does not test within the 3-day testing period to launch the student conduct process.   
    11. If asymptomatic close contact students do not test on day 3 or if they fail to wear a mask as required above, this will be considered a student conduct issue at which time the student will go through the Student Conduct process in which the first step is to automatically place the student in quarantine. If the student fails to abide by the quarantine requirement, further sanctions may be warranted.  
    12. All asymptomatic close contacts must monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms(link is external) for 14 days after learning of their status as a confirmed close contact.  If an asymptomatic close contact develops any COVID-19 symptoms, they must immediately report those symptoms to the Carroll College Wellness Center and take an additional COVID-19 test. 
  2. If you are a close contact and develop symptoms you must follow the protocols under the section above titled “What To Do If You are Ill,” including Isolating yourself if you receive a positive COVID-19 test result, consistent with Carroll College’s confirmed COVID-19 policies.  (Carroll’s policies for symptomatic close contacts will not differ based on vaccination or immunity status.)
    1. Students – If the call comes from Lewis & Clark Public Health, contact the Wellness Center at 406.447.5441 to report your symptoms and/or confirmed positive test, if applicable.  If you live on campus, immediately contact Residential Life & Housing at 406.459.0540 so they can facilitate your move into isolation. Notify your faculty members, supervisors, coaches, etc. that you are a confirmed contact and that you will not be attending class/work/practice.
    2. Employees: Contact your supervisor to report that you are a confirmed contact and will not be attending work.
    3. If you become ill, contact your healthcare provider, the Wellness Center at 406.447.5441 or if it is after hours, call St. Peter’s Urgent Care Line at 406.442.2480.
    4. Stay home until instructed otherwise by Lewis & Clark Public Health or a healthcare provider except to get medical care. Do not go to work, school or public areas.
    5. Ask friends or family members to do your shopping or use a grocery delivery service.
    6. Practice frequent hand washing, wearing a mask when in spaces others use, disinfect surfaces you touch, and keep your space clean.
    7. Isolate yourself from people and animals in your home - stay in a specific room away from other people and use a separate bathroom, if available. Limit contact with pets and other animals. If possible, have a member of your household care for them. If you must care for an animal, wear a face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them. 
    8. If you become symptomatic, please refer to “What to Do If You Are Ill”.

Students and Employees - If you are COVID-19 positive

Lewis & Clark Public Health, your healthcare provider or the Carroll College Wellness Center will directly contact anyone who has been tested and is confirmed positive for COVID-19.

If you have tested positive, all students and employees should take the following steps:

  1. Fill out the COVID-19 Reporting Form.
  2. Students: If the call comes from Lewis & Clark Public Health, contact the Wellness Center at 406.447.5441 to report your positive case. If you live on campus, immediately contact Residential Life & Housing at 406.459.0540 so they can facilitate your move into isolation. Notify your faculty members, supervisors, coaches, etc. that you have tested positive and that you will not be attending class/work/practice.
  3. Employees: Contact your supervisor to report that you are COVID-19 positive and will not be attending work.
  4. If you become ill, contact your healthcare provider, the Wellness Center at 406.447.5441 or if it is after hours, call St. Peter’s Urgent Care Line at 406.442.2480.
  5. Stay home until instructed otherwise by Lewis & Clark Public Health or your healthcare provider, except to get medical care. Do not go to work, school or public areas.
  6. Ask friends or family members to do your shopping or use a grocery delivery service.
  7. Practice frequent hand washing, wearing a mask when in spaces others use, disinfect surfaces you touch, and keep your space clean.
  8. Isolate yourself from people and animals in your home - stay in a specific room away from other people and use a separate bathroom, if available. Limit contact with pets and other animals. If possible, have a member of your household care for them. If you must care for an animal, wear a face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.
  9. Returning to normal activity after testing positive: You can return to normal activity according to the most recent CDC Guidelines with others after:
    • At least 5 days since symptoms first appeared AND;
    • At least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication AND;
    • No symptoms or symptoms have improved (Please note:  Loss of taste or smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and will not have to delay the end of isolation).
    • Continue to wear a mask around others for 5 additional days (days 6-10).