Mask requirement sign on every entrance to CSU
Credit: Courtney Byrnes
"Mask Required" signs appear on every entrance door at CSU to remind students of the mask mandate.

What is CSU doing to address COVID-19?

A look inside the policies in place and the handling of reported cases as students return to a full campus.

After the announcement on April 1 that Cleveland State University would welcome students back to “near normal” operations, there have been some questions about what this will look like.

Coming back to campus at full capacity during a pandemic, what steps should students take if they test positive? How is the university handling contact tracing? Who needs to isolate or quarantine, and when? What is the peer-to-peer vaccination education campaign?

While all the university’s safety protocols can be found on CSU’s website, which is continuously being updated as the semester progresses, here are some quick answers to questions you may have now.

I am a student who tested positive on campus, what steps should I take?

If a student tests positive on campus, they will be contacted by Health & Wellness Services who will also notify CARE to reach out to the student. CSU’s Safe Campus page says that students with a positive test, regardless of vaccination status, should isolate for 10 days.

“Health & Wellness Services is going to be the entity responsible for monitoring those symptoms, seeing how they’re doing, seeing if they need additional medical care — those kinds of things,” Ali Martin Scoufield, interim dean of students, explained. “CARE reaches out to make sure the student feels support in other ways. If they need advocacy around course work, attending classes, that kind of thing.”

I am a student who tested positive off campus, what steps should I take?

Students who test positive off campus are advised to work with their primary care doctor who will monitor their symptoms, but are also free to contact Health & Wellness Services as well for additional assistance. The positive case will still need to be reported to the university by contacting CARE, who will offer information on isolation and how to notify faculty. According to CSU’s Safe Campus page, the student should isolate for 10 days.

Health & Wellness Services can be contacted by phone: (216) 687-3649 or email: CARE can also be contacted by phone: (216) 687-2048 or email:

I am a faculty/staff member who tested positive, what steps should I take?

Similar to students, a staff or faculty member with a positive test will work with Health & Wellness Services if they are on campus, or their primary care doctor if they are off campus. Instead of contacting CARE, staff and faculty will need to report their positive test to Human Resources by calling (216) 687-3636 and will be asked to isolate for 10 days.

OK, I am in isolation after a positive test. How does contact tracing work?

Contact tracing is handled by a third party contractor, Healthcare IT Leaders, and is specific to Cleveland State so students may still need to do a separate contact tracing for their county. The contractors will reach out to students who test positive at least three times using the phone number on file at the university and ask them a list of questions about any recent contacts.

“It’s CSU specific so our contact tracing is just asking about CSU community contacts — When was the last time you were on campus? Were you in any spaces without masks?” Scoufield explains.

I have had recent contact in the classroom with someone who tested positive, do I need to quarantine?

If you are required to quarantine because of recent close contact, you will be contacted by Healthcare IT Leaders. Just because you have a class with someone who is now in isolation does not mean you need to immediately quarantine. Cleveland State is following CDC guidelines, which does not require students to quarantine if both the exposed and the infected individual were properly wearing masks at the time of the exposure.

“One of the reasons we’re proponents of masks on campus is so that we can continue to stay engaged in person, engaged learning on campus,” Scoufield said. Properly wearing a mask lessens the likelihood that a person would have to quarantine "just from that exposure.”

However, if you are unvaccinated and were within six feet of someone who later tested positive and one or both of you were not wearing masks at the time, this would warrant a 10-day quarantine. If you are vaccinated, you do not need to quarantine, but should wear a mask in public, inside and outside, for 14 days. Regardless of vaccination status, CSU advises that you get tested three to five days after the last known contact and continue to monitor yourself for symptoms.

Where can I get a COVID-19 test?

While a small portion of the student population is randomly selected each week to receive a COVID test, students, faculty and staff can get tested whenever they want to by going to Health & Wellness Services located on the first floor of the CIMP Building during the hours 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“Anyone can go to Health & Wellness Services for a test and it is free,” Scoufield said.

Why have I been selected for random testing multiple times?

“It is a randomized process to invite folks to be tested,” Scoufield said.

The weekly testing is randomized with the hope that each student will have a chance to be tested at least once throughout the semester. If you commute to campus for at least one class per week, then you are eligible to be selected for random testing.

“We’re testing 5% of the student population each week so, obviously that will change over time. The percentage won’t change but the students that are chosen to be tested will change,” Alison Bibb-Carson, executive director of marketing and communications, said. “So, throughout the semester pretty much every student will get their turn.”

What is the peer-to-peer vaccination education campaign?

Instead of a vaccine mandate, CSU has launched a four to six week education campaign aimed to provide accurate information regarding vaccines and encourage students to get vaccinated through stories from their vaccinated peers.

“We decided to do the peer-to-peer vaccination campaign a couple of weeks ago instead of a vaccination mandate. The hope that folks will actually get vaccinated and can hear from their colleagues, whether you’re a student or faculty member or staff member,” Scoufield said. “Hopefully that peer influence will influence you to get the vaccination because we know that is the number one thing that can prevent you from getting at least a serious case of COVID.”

Within the education campaign, Cleveland State is now offering incentives for students and staff to get the vaccine. Students, faculty and staff that receive the vaccine at Health & Wellness Services from Oct. 5-26 will receive $100 in VISA gift cards and those already vaccinated can enter into a weekly $2,500 raffle.

Where can I get the vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines are available on campus to students, faculty and staff on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. at Health & Wellness Services in Room 205 at the Center for Innovation in Medical Professions (2112 Euclid Avenue). 

You can also receive the vaccine off campus at a retail pharmacy by visiting or call 833-4-ASK-ODH to make an appointment.