HEALTH, TESTING & QUARANTINE – Covid19
Gustolab International (GLi) will require all students to take a routine weekly test. This will allow us to discover any students who test positive without displaying symptoms. Students will also be required to monitor their health every day and to check their temperature before leaving their accommodations. With regards to contact tracing, students will be required to download ‘Immuni’ a contact tracing app recommended by the Italian authorities and to participate in contact tracing if required by Italian health authorities. At all times, students will be required to inform GLi l if they have been in contact with any individuals with suspected Covid-19, maintain consistent communication with GLi. If advised by by our medical advisor or the Italian health authorities, students will be expected to comply with requests for additional isolation and continue following our academic instruction online.
Please note Italian authorities have strict procedures for Covid-19 testing and quarantine. We will adhere to these processes. In essence the authorities have, at their discretion and that of their medical specialists, the ability to close schools temporarily or long term and to ask students to have Covid-19 testing.
If students have allergies to medications or underlying medical conditions, our medical advisor needs to be informed. Please communicate with GLi before arrival if you have any underlying medical conditions, including those listed below.
- age 60 years and older
- major or serious heart and lung diseases e.g. previous heart attack, severe hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- moderate to severe asthma
- diabetes (both type 1 and 2)
- active cancer or current use of cancer therapy.
- severe immunocompromising conditions or current use of immunosuppressive therapies
- chronic kidney or liver disease
The various sections on this page contain detailed information that is relevant to all students. It will be updated regularly.
Symptoms & Measures
The most common symptoms of Covid-19 infection are fever, fatigue and dry cough. Some patients may experience muscle aches and pains, nasal congestion, a runny nose, a sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death (Italian Ministry of Health). Any person with a mild cough, flu-like symptoms or a low-grade fever of 37.5° C according to the Italian Ministry of Health needs to stay at home. They should also stay home if they have had to take simple medications such as paracetamol/acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin, which may mask symptoms of infection. If you have any flu-like symptoms, they should not come to school and instead should contact the medical advisor who will activate the protocols dedicated by law. They are advised to follow class remotely from home.
Hygiene and and containment measures decreed by the Italian government
According to the decree of the Italian President of the Council of Ministers on March 4, 2020, hygiene and sanitary measures regarding Covid-19 are as follows:
- wash your hands often – it is recommended to make hydroalcoholic solutions for hand cleansing available in all public places, gyms, supermarkets, pharmacies and other meeting places;
- avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections;
- avoid hugs and handshakes;
- maintain an interpersonal distance of at least 1 meter in social relations;
- follow respiratory hygiene (sneezing and/or coughing into a handkerchief to avoid hand
- avoid shared use of bottles and glasses, especially during sports activities;
- do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands;
- cover your mouth and nose if you sneeze or cough;
- do not take antiviral drugs and antibiotics, unless they are prescribed by the doctor;
- clean surfaces with chlorine or alcohol-based disinfectants;
- use a mask if you suspect that you are ill or if you are assisting sick people or if you cannot always keep the interpersonal safety distance of at least one meter.
Learn about updated containment measures issued by the Italian government.
The Italian government requires 1 meter (3.3 feet). The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that you maintain at least 1 meter (3.3 feet) distance between yourself and others.
Contact tracing is the process of identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to a disease to prevent onward transmission. Persons who have been exposed to individuals with suspected Covid-19 are considered contacts and will be advised to monitor their health for 14 days from the last day of possible contact. A contact is a person who is involved in any of the following starting from 2 days before and up to 14 days after the onset of symptoms in the patient:
- Having face-to-face contact with a Covid-19 patient within ( 1 meter as per WHO) (2 meters as per Italian Ministry of Health) and for more than 15 minutes;
- Providing direct care for patients with Covid-19 disease without using proper personal protective equipment;
- Staying in the same close environment as a Covid-19 patient (including sharing a workplace, classroom or household or being at the same gathering) for any amount of time;
- Sharing a room, meal, or other space with a confirmed patient
- Traveling in close proximity with (that is, within 1 meter separation from) a Covid-19 patient in any kind of conveyance;
- and other situations, as indicated by local risk assessments.
Normally, in a confirmed case, the Italian health authorities will conduct contact tracing procedures and decide how to proceed, including requesting mandatory testing, isolation, shutting down school premises for sanification (and switching to online teaching). GLi will coordinate with our medical advisor who will liaise with the Italian health authorities regarding contact tracing.
All students, the student’s home university and the local health authorities will be informed by email and phone call.
Aside from the health and wellness resources that are normally available to students, students also have access to our medical advisor, Dr Andrea Guerriero. Dr. Guerriero is a local English-speaking medical professional who can assist with any health issue that arises. He works for MedinAction, a private health service collaborating with the Salvator Mundi International hospital and various student insurance companies including Gallagher. The medical advisor
- is on call for emergencies 24/7
- will be available for the GLi community when there are health related questions, concerns or medical cases
- will assess whether medical cases are Covid-19 related or not.
- is available to activate the service for the swab RT PCR test in case of a suspect Covid-19 case.
- will liaise with the Italian national health system when a positive case is confirmed
- create protocols for safe return to class
- will update all the international guidelines based on World Health Organization guidelines and Italian Ministry of Health
- will isolate suspect cases and liaise regarding contact tracing when the public authorities will do the contact tracing (the Italian national health system is in charge and they are the major authorities who will decide the contact tracing, the medical advisor will supervise and support them and facilitate)
- will promote hygiene and preventive measures, social distancing and mandatory wearing of masks
In the context of the current Covid-19 outbreak, the global containment strategy includes the rapid identification of laboratory-confirmed cases and their isolation and management either in a medical facility or at home. The quarantine of persons is the restriction of activities of or the separation of persons who are not ill but who may have been exposed to an infectious agent or disease, with the objective of monitoring their symptoms and ensuring the early detection of cases.
Upon arrival to Italy
Travelers arriving in Italy from the U.S. must quarantine for 14 days at a location to be determined by GLi and under the supervision of the Italian health authorities. During this period, students will receive an online orientation and online classes. This period is included in the 89 days onsite.
Students will spend the initial quarantine (at arrival) in their assigned suite (see housing section). They should not leave their suite. Visitors/staff will not be allowed. Students will be responsible for their own cleaning (supplies will be provided) during this time.
Upon arrival to the airport (or accommodation if unable to do this at the airport), students must send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org as required by Italian health authorities (the template will be provided by GLi Staff by email before your departure from the US) declaring: place of provenance, date of arrival, start of quarantine period, name of the doctor, address in Rome.
Starting from the day after arrival, students will be responsible to check their temperature twice a day for 14 days and report this data in Celsius degrees on a spreadsheet. At the end of the quarantine period, they will have to send the spreadsheet to our medical advisor by email. Following testing, the medical advisor will then decide if they are cleared to end the quarantine. Upon arrival, students will receive a welcome kit including a disposable mask. Thermometers will be available at their residence.
Quarantine and self-isolation at other times
Our medical advisor recommends that students stay at home even if they have only mild symptoms of Covid-19. Students who have returned from an area where Covid-19 is spreading should monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days and take their temperature twice a day.
If they develop even a mild cough or low-grade fever (i.e. a temperature of 37.5° C or more) they should stay at home and self-isolate. This means avoiding close contact (less than 1 meter) with other people. They should also call and inform the GLi medical advisor of their recent travel and symptoms. Students should also inform GLi staff if they have symptoms.
Symptoms to look out for during the monitoring period include fever (measured or feeling feverish or having chills) or at least one of the following: sore throat, cough, runny nose or nasal congestion, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle pain, loss of smell or taste, or diarrhea.
Meals are usually not included in a GLi study abroad program unless they are part of orientation, departure or co-curricular activities. For the quarantine period, GLi will provide a list of services that provide catering, contact-free delivery of food and groceries (discount code may be available). All costs will be borne by the student. GLi can provide assistance for students for online grocery shopping in case they need essential personal supplies (remotely). GLi staff will daily monitor the students and check-in with them in case they need assistance or personal supplies and will provide associated costs if any.
Cleaning services will not be possible if the student is isolated or quarantined. They will be expected to conduct cleaning themselves (cleaning supplies will be provided).
Home care for patients with suspected Covid-19 who present with mild symptoms.
For those presenting mild illness, hospitalization may not be possible because of the burden on the healthcare system or required unless there is concern about rapid deterioration. When home quarantine is chosen, the recommendations include:
- a well-ventilated single room, or if a single room is not available, a distance of at least 1 meter from other household members, minimizing the use of shared spaces and cutlery, and ensuring that shared spaces (such as the kitchen and bathroom) are well ventilated.
- Visitors should not be allowed until the patient has completely recovered and has no signs or symptoms of Covid-19.
- Perform hand hygiene after any type of contact with patients or their immediate environment. Hand hygiene should also be performed before and after preparing food, before eating, after using the toilet, and whenever hands look dirty. If hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand rub can be used. For visibly dirty hands, use soap and water.
- When washing hands with soap and water, it is preferable to use disposable paper towels to dry hands. If these are not available, use clean cloth towels and replace them frequently.
- To contain respiratory secretions, a surgical mask should be worn as much as possible, and changed daily. Individuals who cannot tolerate a surgical mask should use rigorous respiratory hygiene; that is, the mouth and nose should be covered with a disposable paper tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Materials used to cover the mouth and nose should be discarded or cleaned appropriately after use (e.g. wash handkerchiefs using regular soap or detergent and water).
- Masks should not be touched or handled during use. If the mask gets wet or dirty from secretions, it must be replaced immediately with a new clean, dry mask.
- Remove the mask using the appropriate technique – that is, do not touch the front, but instead untie it. Discard the mask immediately after use and perform hand hygiene.
- Avoid direct contact with body fluids, particularly oral or respiratory secretions, and stool. Use disposable gloves and a mask when providing oral or respiratory care and when handling stool, urine, and other waste. Perform hand hygiene before and after removing gloves and the mask.
- Do not reuse masks or gloves.
- Use dedicated linen and eating utensils; these items should be cleaned with soap and water after use and may be re-used instead of being discarded.
- Daily clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched in the room, such as bedside tables, bed frames, and other bedroom furniture. Regular household soap or detergent should be used first for cleaning, and then, after rinsing, regular household disinfectant containing 0.1% sodium hypochlorite (i.e. equivalent to 1000 ppm) should be applied.
- Clean and disinfect bathroom and toilet surfaces at least once daily. Regular household soap or detergent should be used first for cleaning, and then, after rinsing, regular household disinfectant containing 0.1% sodium hypochlorite should be applied.
- Clean clothes, bed linen, and bath and hand towels using regular laundry soap and water or machine wash at 60–90 °C (140–194 °F) with common household detergent, and dry thoroughly. Place contaminated linen into a laundry bag. Do not shake soiled laundry and avoid contaminated materials coming into contact with skin and clothes.
- Gloves and protective clothing (e.g. plastic aprons) should be used when cleaning surfaces or handling clothing or linen soiled with body fluids. Depending on the context, either utility or single-use gloves can be used. After use, utility gloves should be cleaned with soap and water and decontaminated with 0.1% sodium hypochlorite solution. Single-use gloves (e.g. nitrile or latex) should be discarded after each use. Perform hand hygiene before putting on and after removing gloves.
- Gloves, masks, and other waste generated during home care should be placed into a waste bin with a lid before disposing of it as infectious waste. The onus of disposal of infectious waste resides with the local sanitary authority.
- Avoid other types of exposure to contaminated items (e.g. do not share toothbrushes, cigarettes, eating utensils, dishes, drinks, towels, washcloths, or bed linen).
- For mild laboratory confirmed patients who are cared for at home, to be released from home isolation, cases must test negative using PCR testing twice from samples collected at least 24 hours apart. Where testing is not possible, WHO recommends that confirmed patients remain isolated for an additional two weeks after symptoms resolve.
GLi will require that students do a routine serological Sars Covid IGM testing once a week. The weekly routine Covid-19 testing is mandatory. In agreement with the Association of American Colleges and University Programs in Italy (AACUPI) schools, Ospedale Israelitico Medical Services will perform the test. The cost for this is included in the program costs. GLi will collaborate with our medical advisor for any Covid-19 related questions.
In case students want to do voluntary test on their own at other times, they should know that according to the current Italian Law, Covid-19 voluntary testing consists of a blood test (serological test) to identify the presence of antibodies that are found in the blood following contact with the virus. For this, it is usually necessary to go to an authorized public or private laboratory with a prescription from a physician. This test costs approximately $30-$40 and is paid for by the individual being tested. In the event of a positive response to the blood test, a nasal swab test (oropharyngeal test) should be promptly carried out to determine if the infection is active or if there is risk of transmitting it to others. The nasal swab test is coordinated by the Italian National Health System (SSN) at no charge to the person tested. It can be requested at any time by the Italian National Health System (SSN). In agreement with the AACUPI schools, at the Ospedale Israelitico Medical Services, students can undergo the voluntary serological test. Students can call Ospedale Israelitico Medical Services at a number dedicated to AACUPI schools, indicating the AACUPI Agreement and their institution’s identity number for more information.
Ospedale Spallanzani has announced that salivary tests are being tested and will be available very soon. Other types of testing may be available before the start of the spring semester.
Showing symptoms of Covid-19
Students will be asked to monitor their health every day and to check their temperature before leaving their accommodations. If a student has a temperature of 37.5°C or has symptoms of Covid-19 while at home (weekdays/weekends), they should not leave their accommodations. They will have to inform GLi’s Medical advisor and GLi staff. The medical advisor will advise the student on how to proceed.
Usually, those who show symptoms are required to quarantine themselves for 14 days under the control and supervision of the Italian national authorities. During quarantine the authorities may visit students and require additional testing, depending on the circumstances. Please note that given that health regulations that govern Covid-19 are related to a national emergency, Italian Health Authorities are advising NOT to visit the emergency room or go to a clinic unless instructed to do so by a physician.
If a student believes they have symptoms they have several options for support:
- call our medical advisor (Dr. Andrea Guerriero, MedinAction) who will advise the student on next steps and handle the related processes, liaise with the Italian health authorities and advise on testing requirements or any other next steps such as a quarantine. This is the advised course of action as MedinAction operators speak English and can help with mediating with the Italian health authorities
- In agreement with AACUPI schools, the Ospedale Israelitico Medical Services will provide comprehensive medical services including full emergency diagnostic services in cases of suspected possible contagion by Covid-19, including anamnesis, eventual serological screening, as well as any subsequent prescribed isolation and treatment should such screening indicate positivity. Students can call Ospedale Israelitico Medical Services at a number dedicated to AACUPI schools, indicating the AACUPI Agreement and your institution’s identity number to request an appointment for a medical visit. A valid photo identity document is necessary.
- For urgent swab tests throughout all of Lazio, the public health ASL offices (Guardia Medica) will provide prescriptions for such testing for Italian residents; non-Italian students and tourists can go to the Guardia Medica Turistica [Presidio Territoriale di Prossimità “Nuovo Regina Margherita”]. No appointment needed. A valid photo identity document is necessary. All swab tests from all Guardia Medica medical centers in Rome and Lazio are then forwarded to the Ospedale Spallanzani for laboratory testing.
- Call Italy’s 112 emergency number or the national information hotline 1500. English speaking operators are available. The operators responding to 1500 can answer questions from the public about Covid-19. The hotline, which is open 24/7, is staffed by healthcare advisors and cultural mediators from the Operations Room of the Ministry of Health. The hotline responders are trained in counselling to help resolve questions, doubts and uncertainties.
- Useful numbers from the Ministry of Health: from Italy: 1500 (toll-free toll number); from abroad: +39 0232008345, +39 0283905385; Regional toll-free numbers: Lazio region 800 118 800
If students/staff develop fever or other flu-like symptoms while at home:
- They will contact the medical advisor immediately. The patient will be followed by the medical advisor daily checking on symptoms and temperature
- Self-isolate and follow the instructions for home care (see relevant section).
If students/staff develop fever or other flu-like symptoms while on school premises:
- The ill person should be taken to a room or area where they are isolated from others, limiting the number of people who have contact with the sick person, and the medical advisor should be contacted. The medical advisor will follow the patient daily, monitoring symptoms.
- The person should immediately put on a mask and gloves, and advised to go home (if not severe case) and contact the medical advisor for assessment
- Cleaning staff is informed and arranges specialized cleaning will take place.
- Patients with underlying medical conditions need to be identified and put in vulnerable groups
If a student shows symptoms of Covid-19 while attending an overnight excursion (weekdays/weekends):
- The student should not leave their room.
- They should inform GLi’s Medical advisor as well as GLi staff by calling the Emergency Phone which is active 24/7.
- Depending on the situation, the student may have to stay in their room for the period of quarantine advised by health authorities. GLi’s response includes allocating a staff person or a local partner to check in on the student. The student will be charged for the additional nights. A local partner will monitor the student for the period of the quarantine. Plans will be made to re-enter Rome after this period at the student’s expense.
Informing the Italian public health authorities (SISP)
If a case meets the definition of a suspected Covid-19 case, the Covid-19 public health authorities will be informed. After a medical assessment (in-person visit or online consultation) the patient will be isolated from others, the medical advisor will decide to inform the public health authorities because the suspect of a potential Covid-19 case is high and testing PCR Swab is advised.
The medical advisor will directly contact and liaise with the Italian health authorities according to the established procedures. The operator at the call center will send an email to the SISP office (indicating also the treating doctor/medical advisor’s contact info) that will contact the patient directly about testing. Alternatively, the medical advisor will directly contact the Italian public health authorities (SISP) informing them about the suspected case, the SISP will answer to the medical advisor’s email and will decide if and when to perform the swab PCR.
If a student becomes symptomatic at the end of the program, he will be advised as above. The medical advisor will decide how to proceed and if he decides that the student cannot travel, Italian authorities will be informed for extension of stay and the student will be advised on how to obtain documentation regarding the extension. GLi staff will inform the home university and work together with the home university on supporting the student with change of travel arrangements, extension of lodging stay (all related additional costs are borne by the student). GLi staff will monitor the situation and will check-in with the student daily. Please note that the medical advisor and GLi will follow the Italian authorities directives. For more details see: Covid 19 FAQ, Italian Health Ministry
Testing positive to Covid-19
In case a student tests positive to Covid-19, relocation will most likely not take place because students will have their own single suite. If a student is quarantined, GLi will provide a list of local services providing catering, contact-free delivery of food and groceries where available. The associated costs above are borne by the student. Instruction will take place online (synchronously as lectures will be streamed). In case the medical advisor verifies that the student will not be able to follow classes, a makeup academic plan will be provided to the student and they will be expected to complete it. Visitors will not be allowed. Cleaning services will be suspended and students will be requested to do their own cleaning. The medical advisor will clear the student. Sanitization costs after the student has been cleared will be borne by the housing provider.
When can patients can be considered recovered from Covid-19 and fit to return to class or work?
- can be released from home isolation, cases must test negative using PCR testing twice from samples collected at least 24 hours apart.
- where testing is not possible, WHO recommends that confirmed patients remain isolated for an additional two weeks after symptoms resolve (disappear). Initial recommendation of January 12, 2020 regarding healed patient (fit to return to work or class). According to the new WHO recommendation published on May 27 and June 17, 2020: Criteria for discharging patients from isolation (i.e., discontinuing transmission-based precautions) without requiring retesting is as follows:
- For symptomatic patients: 10 days after symptom onset, plus at least 3 additional days without symptoms (including without fever and without respiratory symptoms)
- For asymptomatic cases: 10 days after positive test for SARS-CoV-2
For example, if a patient had symptoms for two days, then the patient could be released from isolation after 10 days + 3 = 13 days from date of symptom onset; for a patient with symptoms for 14 days, the patient can be discharged (14 days + 3 days =) 17 days after date of symptom onset; for a patient with symptoms for 30 days, the patient can be discharged (30+3=) 33 days after symptom onset).
*Countries may choose to continue to use testing as part of the release criteria. If so, the initial recommendation of two negative PCR tests at least 24 hours apart can be used. https://www.who.int/news-room/commentaries/detail/criteria-for-releasing-covid-19-patients-from-isolation
If a student tests positive as the program is ending and cannot travel:
- the student will be isolated and the student’s home university as well as the relevant Italian authorities will be informed for extension of stay.
- The medical advisor will follow the student’s progress and provide clearance for travel.
- The housing provider will allow an extension of checkout until the end of the isolation period for an extra cost which will be borne by the student.
- GLi will provide a list of services that provide contact free delivery of food and groceries where available.
- All the associated costs are borne by the student.
Please note that all students will be quarantined on arrival in Italy for 14 days & can not travel during this time. This will be coordinated by GLi & the GLi medical advisor & will take place in the student’s accommodations. In the spring program, some weekends are open & during such time students may plan to travel within the Schengen area according to each country’s current regulations regarding Covid-19.
We will require students to seek clearance from GLi staff before making any travel plans within or outside of Italy. However, they should be mindful that this will not guarantee safety. We will monitor the situation in Italy & the rest of Europe, & take into consideration official communication from the Ministers of Health and Education, the daily bulletin from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, & the foreign and local press. With this in mind, GLi reserves the full right to deny students the permission to travel (during their weekends, for example) to EU countries which require a quarantine obligation upon re-entry to Italy in order to prevent any risk of infection for our community and to ensure the academic continuity of the program and full attendance of all our students. Before making any travel plans, we advise students to check for up-to-date information about travel and health decrees an regulations on our website as well as the competent Italian or US government authority’s websites such as https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/entry-exit/non-eu-nationals/index_en.htm and https://it.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/ Students must take into account that each country may have its own legislation for quarantine and that these are subject to change. Please note that travel, even within Schengen countries, or specific areas in such countries, may result in a 14-day quarantine on return to Italy. (https://www.esteri.it/mae/en/ministero/normativaonline/decreto-iorestoacasa-domande-frequenti/focus-cittadini-italiani-in-rientro-dall-estero-e-cittadini-stranieri-in-italia.html)
Testing or certification at departure
Students should be mindful that any type of travel will include testing at airports or testing prior to departure and demonstration of certificate at the airport. Additionally, students may encounter delays and quarantine that will affect their study abroad experience, and should note that they may not receive reimbursement for travel plans that may get cancelled. If students are quarantined because of such travel, they may have to withdraw from GLi’s academic program. In this case it is not likely they will be able to complete their educational goals for the program. Travel to such countries will not be recognized by GLi. The Government of Italy periodically updates travel restrictions and testing requirements based upon changing conditions. As a result, this plan of action is subject to change according to any new government provision regarding Covid-19. Please check this website frequently for updates.