HEALTH + WELL-BEING
Guidance and resources for prevention, testing, health services, and support.
Health and Safety Protocols
Protecting Myself and Others
To help control the spread of the virus, please remember to:
Wear face coverings when in public and shared spaces and when physical distancing is difficult, including inside buildings and outside in high-traffic areas.
Wear face coverings in classrooms, labs, or studios during both scheduled class times and open lab times.
Maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet between you and others.
Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that aligns with CDC recommendations for alcohol content.
Regularly wipe down personal work areas and frequently-touched surfaces and objects.
Regularly wipe down personal shared spaces, such as kitchens and residence hall bathrooms.
Limit in-person conversations to less than 15 minutes if possible and always wear a face covering while doing so.
Monitor your health.
If you feel generally like you have a cold or flu, or if you have specific symptoms of COVID-19 (a fever of 100.4 F or greater, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, headache, muscle pain, fatigue, new GI symptoms, loss of taste or smell, or a runny or stuffy nose not related to allergies), DO NOT GO TO CLASS OR REPORT TO WORK.
Students with any of these symptoms should contact the Ringling College Student Health Center at 941-309-4000 or email@example.com. Faculty and staff exhibiting potential COVID-19 symptoms should contact their healthcare provider, supervisor, and Human Resources at 941-359-7619 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monitoring the Local and Regional COVID-19 Situation
Ringling College currently monitors the local, regional, and state COVID-19 situation daily using case numbers, positive test rates, local ICU bed availability, and local hospital bed availability data from the Florida Department of Health and our medical partner, Sarasota Memorial Hospital. During the academic term, the College will continue to monitor these factors and its own experiences, including positive test rates from the campus community, availability of isolation and quarantine locations on campus, and availability of sufficient support staff.
Health-related Supplies Required before Starting School
Students should bring several face coverings to school to ensure they have a stock that can be rotated through the week. Students should also bring a personal thermometer for their daily self-administered health screenings; disinfectant wipes; and hand sanitizer.
If You Show Symptoms or Become Ill
If you have symptoms (a fever of 100.4 F or greater, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, headache, muscle pain, fatigue, new GI symptoms, loss of taste or smell, or a runny or stuffy nose not related to allergies), or if you feel generally like you have a cold or flu, DO NOT REPORT TO CLASS OR WORK. You should contact a medical provider for guidance.
Students should contact the Student Health Center’s Medical Services by phone at 941-309-4000. Faculty and staff are also eligible to consult with and be assessed by the Student Health Center for COVID-related concerns and symptoms by calling that same phone number.
Faculty and staff should contact their healthcare providers, their department heads or supervisors, and Human Resources at 941-359-7619 for information about current return-to-work protocols and the use of appropriate leave.
Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will need to isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms, or until symptoms have subsided and the individual has been fever-free, without the use of medication, for 24 hours.
The Difference between Isolation and Quarantine
Self-isolation involves someone’s isolating themselves from other community members due to symptoms of infectious disease, including fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Such isolation is achieved, for example, by ill students not attending classes or dining in communal spaces. Students experiencing symptoms should contact the Student Health Center immediately for evaluation and further direction. The Student Health Center will work with Dining Services and Residence Life to ensure students’ needs are being met. Self-isolation should continue until the Student Health Center informs them that they are no longer contagious.
Faculty and staff should self-isolate at home and contact their medical provider for evaluation and further direction. They should also alert their supervisors and Human Resources.
Isolation involves a mandatory separation of an ill Ringling College student, faculty, or staff member from other community members. Isolation will be required when a student, faculty, or staff member is suspected or confirmed to have a positive COVID-19 test.
If two students share a bedroom and one student has tested positive, both students will be placed in isolation. The affected student(s) may be placed in alternative housing and we will work with Dining Services to have food delivered. In addition, students will be expected to participate in as many classes as possible virtually during this time, as their health permits. Medical personnel will conduct daily check-ins and student(s) will be assigned a therapist for case management needs as they may arise. Student(s) will be required to remain in isolation for the duration recommended by the Sarasota County Department of Health in collaboration with Student Health Services.
Faculty and staff should isolate at home or in accordance with recommendations of their medical provider.
Quarantine involves isolating Ringling College faculty, staff, or students who are healthy but who may have been exposed to another known individual, on- or off-campus, who tested positive for COVID-19. In general, the CDC continues to recommend that quarantine is a period of 14 days, and has suggested options to reduce this period of time based on local justifications, circumstances, and resources. In consultation with Sarasota Memorial Healthcare, Ringling has the option to reduce the length of quarantine for students as explained further on the CDC website. Please check with Student Health Services or Human Resources for exact quarantine requirements. Affected student(s) may be placed in alternative housing and we will work with Dining Services to have food delivered. In addition, students will be expected to participate in as many classes as possible virtually during this time. Medical personnel will conduct daily check-ins and a student will be assigned a therapist for case management needs as they may arise.
Faculty and staff who are healthy but who have been identified as having a prolonged exposure to another known individual, on- or off-campus, who tested positive for COVID-19 should quarantine at home and alert their medical providers, supervisors, and Human Resources.
Guidance and Resources
Medical and Scientific Partners
Ringling College and its Student Health Center are working closely with our medical partner, Sarasota Memorial Hospital, and the Sarasota County Department of Health to ensure we are implementing testing and safety protocols based on the latest scientific-based information. Guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College Health Association are being followed.
Helpful video links:
COVID-19 Testing and Tracing
All students living in on-campus residences or commuting to campus are required to provide proof of a negative result of a COVID-19 test taken on January 15, 2021 or after to receive approval to be on campus for the Spring 2021 semester. Only results from DNA-based PCR COVID-19 tests will be accepted. Although on-campus testing will be available for students who have difficulty obtaining a test before arrival, we strongly encourage students to arrive with their test results; if you take the test on campus, you will be required to quarantine in your residence and not be able to move around campus until your test results are received (approximately 48 hours). Test results can be submitted by email to email@example.com or by fax to 941-359-4854.
Faculty and staff will also be tested prior to the start of Spring 2021. This first round of Spring semester testing will provide our baseline status. Following this initial testing, 10% of the Ringling College community will be randomly selected at regular intervals for testing.
Students, faculty, and staff are also expected to do a self-administered health screen each day before determining whether to attend class or come to campus.
Non-residential students planning to come to campus to use the College’s facilities will need to complete a PCR-based COVID-19 test and provide proof of a negative result to the Health Center. Non-residential students visiting campus are also expected to follow the health and safety protocols that have been established to help mitigate the risk of infection for our Ringling College community. These protocols include use of face coverings in public and shared spaces, maintaining physical distancing, and adhering to rigorous personal hygiene standards.
Students who have symptoms or believe they may have been exposed should please contact the Health Center as soon as possible for testing. The Health Center also serves as a resource for identification of local testing sites for travel needs. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions related to testing. More information can be found on www.ringling.edu/healthservices.
Faculty and staff who have symptoms or believe they may have been exposed should contact their medical providers and Human Resources (email@example.com).
Daily Health Assessments
We are asking individuals to monitor their own health daily, including temperature checks each day before attending class. Individuals should pay particular attention to symptoms such as the following: cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, fever (as described below), headache, muscle pain, fatigue, new GI symptoms, loss of taste or smell, or a runny or stuffy nose not related to allergies.
If you have symptoms (a fever of 100.4 F or greater, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, headache, muscle pain, fatigue, new GI symptoms, loss of taste or smell, or a runny or stuffy nose not related to allergies), or if you feel generally like you have a cold or flu, DO NOT REPORT TO IN-PERSON CLASS OR TO ON-CAMPUS WORK.
Students presenting any of the above symptoms should contact the Student Health Center’s Medical Services by phone at 941-309-4000 to be assessed. The Student Health Center will provide a class excuse if appropriate. Faculty or staff who present with any of the above symptoms should contact their healthcare providers and notify their supervisors and Human Resources.
Notifying the Ringling College Community of Positive COVID-19 Cases
The Ringling College community receives a weekly update on the current status of positive COVID-19 cases. However, due to requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the community will not be notified of the individual’s name or other identifying information. The dashboard is also updated weekly.
Ringling College has taken significant safety precautions, such as physical distancing of 6 feet and requiring the use of face coverings in public and shared spaces, including meeting rooms and classrooms. These measures significantly reduce risk even when in contact with an individual who tests positive for COVID-19. However, understanding the need for preparedness, the Student Health Center and Human Resources have worked closely with the Sarasota County Department of Health to develop and execute contact tracing protocols. When it becomes known that a student, faculty, or staff member has tested positive for COVID-19, that individual is immediately interviewed to best understand whom they have been in contact with on campus and those community members will subsequently be contacted if quarantine is necessary. Ringling College works in conjunction with Rapid Trace, a contact tracing company, to aid in the investigation of potential contacts when there is a positive case discovered within the campus community. Rapid-Trace is provided with the contact information of an individual who tests positive, and completes a confidential investigation of all their possible contacts, further contacting those individuals who may have been impacted.
A close contact is currently defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as someone who has been in contact with an individual who tested positive for at least 15 cumulative minutes over a 24-hour period while within 6 feet of one another.
If a student has been identified as being at high-risk of having had close contact with an individual who has tested positive, the student will be placed in quarantine and monitored by Health Services until released from quarantine. All efforts will be made to assist students in continuing with coursework if they need to be in isolation or quarantine.
Faculty or staff identified as being at high-risk of having had close contact with an individual who has tested positive will quarantine at home.
Process if a Residential Student Tests Positive for COVID-19
If a residential student tests positive for COVID-19 during the semester, the student would be moved to a specified on-campus location for isolation. The Student Health Center will work with the affected student to conduct contact tracing using protocols established in collaboration with the Sarasota County Department of Health. Once in isolation, the student will be checked daily by our medical practitioners and will have a counselor assigned to them for additional daily checks. If a student is extremely ill, the medical staff will arrange to have the student transported to the hospital if necessary.
If the student is on a meal plan, food will be delivered to them. Students not on the meal plan may purchase a 14-day isolation meal plan for $245. This plan may be added should the need for isolation (or quarantine) occur. Students may also choose to order from external options via various delivery services. Student Life will assist students in identifying their food options.
Students who share a direct bedroom space with the affected student will be moved to isolation as well, even if they are asymptomatic. Suitemates will be interviewed to determine whether they meet the criteria for quarantine and they will be asked to closely monitor their symptoms. Food would be handled in the same manner as described above during this time.
The residence hall space of the isolated student(s) would be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the latest CDC guidelines. Before a student can leave isolation and be deemed well, the student must be fever-free for 24 consecutive hours without the use of a fever-reducing medication and have no further symptoms, or complete a 10-day period of isolation.
Ringling College is prohibiting non-essential travel for employees and encouraging all members of our community to consider limiting non-essential personal travel. Should travel be necessary, students are asked to report it to Student Life (firstname.lastname@example.org). Anyone engaging in travel may be asked to self-quarantine upon return.
International travel has many restrictions and often requires a period of self-quarantine. CDC guidelines for recommended actions following international travel are available online.
Health, Counseling, and Support Services
Students, Faculty, and Staff with Health Concerns
If you are a student with health concerns, please contact the Student Health Center to schedule a consultation with a medical provider. It is also prudent to work with your doctor at home to determine if it is in your best interest to return to campus at this time.
Students may elect the remote learning option for the Spring 2021 semester if it is better suited to their needs. If you are interested in this option and have not already selected it, please contact VPAA@ringling.edu as soon as possible to discuss its availability.
Faculty and staff with health concerns should please contact Human Resources to discuss your particular situations.
Health Services and Remote Learning
Students who choose to learn remotely and to live on-campus or in the local area retain access to the College’s Health Services, including medical and counseling services. All enrolled students in the continental United States have access to brief consultation and bridge services while staff help a student to connect with local resources. There may be some restrictions to ongoing counseling and medication management depending on where a student resides. In these cases, the Health Center will work with students to find a provider who can maintain the necessary prescriptions, if COVID-related treatment covered by health insurance Ringling's student health insurance provider is United Health Care Student Resources. General information about coverage under the plan can be found at https://www.universityhealthplans.com/letters/letter.cgi?group_id=370. Information related to COVID-19 coverage is available at https://www.uhcsr.com/faqs.
Employee health insurance is provided by Florida Blue. Links to plan and benefit information can be found on the Human Resources portal.
Seeking an Accommodation
Students with a documented disability seeking an accommodation should contact Student Access Services at SAS@ringling.edu to discuss the process.
Staff and faculty should contact Human Resources.
Mental Health Services
We understand and recognize the additional anxiety and emotional strain this situation is placing on all of us.
Our Counseling Services will still be made available through Zoom video telehealth for students; consultations regarding student concerns are available to staff and faculty. Practice restrictions for some states will limit our ability to offer the full suite of counseling service in those areas. However, all students, regardless of location, may participate in support and psychoeducation group sessions. Same-day appointments are available. To access these services, please contact the Peterson Counseling Center at email@example.com.
Please also utilize the self-guided support app, Welltrack, which you can sign into using your Ringling College email address. MySSP, a multi-language, international, 24-hour therapy service, is also available to all Ringling students on the student health insurance.
Staff and their families can make use of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) by calling 1-855-387-3727 (Toll-free) or visit the Human Resources webpage for more information.
We also support and encourage self-care during these stressful times. Remember that sleep and exercise promote a healthy immune system.
Serving Members of our Community with Underlying Health Issues or Safety Concerns about being on Campus or in a Classroom
The CDC has identified individuals with higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 as older adults and people who have serious underlying medical conditions; please review the above link for the most up-to-date identifications.
Individuals in the identified groups should consult the CDC’s extra precautions site and speak with their healthcare provider. Individuals in the above groups who cannot maintain a six-foot distance from others while on campus should speak with their healthcare provider.
Faculty members, supervisors, or employees should contact Human Resources to discuss instances potentially needing an additional accommodation for someone who has identified themselves as being at higher risk for severe illness and therefore unable to work in conditions assigned to them.
Students who may require additional accommodations should contact Student Access Services at SAS@ringling.edu.
Mitigating Potential Spread on Campus if a Member of the Campus Community Tests Positive
Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will need to isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms, or until symptoms have subsided and the individual has been fever-free, without the use of medication, for 24 hours. If symptoms last for more than 10 days, seek advice from a medical provider regarding when you should return to work.
Students who are suspected of possible exposure will be isolated while awaiting testing results. If a student does test positive, the impacted student will be moved to a specified location for isolation. Suite/roommates may be quarantined if deemed appropriate through contact tracing interviews. The Student Health Center will work with the affected student to conduct contact tracing in collaboration with the Sarasota County Department of Health using established medical protocols.
Handling an Outbreak on Campus
The College has instituted health protocols to help mitigate the risk of spread on campus. However, we cannot guarantee a campus community free from risk of exposure to COVID-19 and we recognize that it is likely that people in our community will fall ill. We have procedures in place, developed in consultation with the Sarasota County Department of Health and our medical partner, Sarasota Memorial Hospital, to isolate and/or quarantine individuals who become ill or exposed. We have also worked with those same partners to develop procedures for contact tracing. However, if the pace of spread were to outpace our capacity, we would take appropriate measures to protect the Ringling community, up to and including possible transition to remote learning and work.
Campus Public Safety
Mobile security escort services remain suspended until further notice to comply with physical distancing recommendations. However, Officers will offer a walking security escort on the Ringling College campus if needed. You can reach Public Safety at 941-359-7500.
IDs and Badges
All Ringling College faculty, staff, and students will be required to wear a current Ringling identification (ID/access) card containing an assigned identification number while on College grounds. This ID/access card will need to be VISIBLY displayed at all times while on campus, including whenever you are physically accessing College buildings and grounds, attending in-person events and activities, utilizing College resources, and eating at any on-campus facility.
We are aware that not everyone may have an ID/access card and that some may need a replacement or updated card, so we have streamlined the process for obtaining one. If you need an updated or replacement ID/access card, please fill out this form.
New ID/access cards for students will be delivered to their on-campus mailboxes. New ID/access cards for faculty and staff will be sent to departments via interoffice mail.