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August 14, 2020 - Additional clarification on masking and testing

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Thank you for your feedback regarding the masking guidelines and testing protocols that were emailed earlier this week. I appreciate the opportunity to clarify a few things.

As you know, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance on masking has varied since the beginning of the pandemic as we have learned more about the virus and its spread. The most recent information from the CDC is that a face shield is not an appropriate substitute for a face covering, also known as a mask.

Our intent is to follow the guidelines established by the CDC for masking. As such, the Face Covering Guidelines on the ACU website have been clarified to include the following: “A face shield is not an acceptable substitute for a face covering (mask). Any employee or student who qualifies for one of the exceptions found below (see Section VII) will be offered a reasonable accommodation.”

I apologize for any confusion caused by not explicitly stating earlier that a face shield is not an acceptable substitute for a face covering.

We have also clarified the language regarding seeking an accommodation in Section VII of the Face Covering Guidelines.

All COVID-19 testing at ACU is voluntary. No ACU student, student-employee nor employee is required to take a COVID-19 test, with the exception of student-athletes as required by the NCAA. Departments and programs cannot require students to submit to COVID-19 testing.

Students who need testing as required by their clinical placement site or off-campus employer may obtain testing at the ACU Medical Clinic. Students, faculty and staff should quarantine if they have been exposed. If someone is sick, they should seek medical care and stay home from work, class and all activities until they have been cleared to return.

Students, faculty and staff must make an appointment at the ACU Medical Clinic to receive testing for COVID-19. The cost for an office visit (usually $10 for students/$45 for faculty and staff) will be waived for patients who are seeking a COVID-19 test. The cost of the test varies depending on the type of test a person is having done.

Since the PCR tests are part of an approved research study, faculty, staff and students, who consent to be part of the study and who complete a questionnaire, will receive a free test.

Rapid-result antigen tests, which are not a part of the approved research study, are reserved for symptomatic faculty, staff and students; antigen tests cost $40, which is covered for those on ACU’s health insurance plan.

ACU will host several open testing days for asymptomatic ACU faculty, staff and students who consent to be part of the approved research study, complete the questionnaire and receive a free PCR test. Please watch for details to register for the Sept. 8 open testing day.

Thank you again for giving us the opportunity to clarify these guidelines and protocols. Faculty who have questions should contact the Provost’s Office. Staff should contact Human Resources.

Go Wildcats!