Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

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JFRC COVID-19 Preparedness Info Page

Last updated: August 6, 2021

NOTE: The content on this page is based on information provided by Italian governmental and medical authorities and serves to summarize health and safety data in a concise manner. The situation is continuously evolving, and the information in this document will continue to be updated.

All students are required to be vaccinated in order to participate in study abroad at the John Felice Rome Center. In order to work or teach at the JFRC, the Italian government requires that a Green Pass vaccine passport is obligatory for faculty and staff.

BACKGROUND

The John Felice Rome Center (JFRC) will reopen for the academic year 2021–2022. Plans are to return to a traditional learning environment, allowing students to attend classes with faculty and peers and to participate in the broad range of off-campus activities coordinated by the JFRC faculty and staff.

We are constantly monitoring the CDC, WHO, and Italian health and safety professionals to help us make informed decisions for programming at the JFRC. The JFRC has adopted new health measures for social distancing and enhanced safety. The health, safety, and wellbeing of students will remain our highest priority. The information provided below is subject to change based on Italian and US regulations related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please note, this guide is a working document and, as such, it will be updated as knowledge and understanding of the novel coronavirus and its spread continue to evolve and as University policies and procedures change. If you have any questions not covered in this guide, please email Rome@LUC.edu

PRE-DEPARTURE INFORMATION

Although vaccinated, health guidelines encourage ongoing safety measures to protect against possible variants of COVID-19.  We ask that students bring the following items with them:

  • Reusable/washable masks/face coverings
  • Personal hand sanitizer(s)
  • Personal medical thermometer

Health and medical supplies can also be purchased at the Piazza Igea Pharmacy, which is a ten minute walk from campus.  

Loyola University Chicago students are to work directly with the Office of International Programs prior to their arrival in Rome.  Students attending the JFRC arriving from our partners schools are required to work with their study abroad office and the Loyola University Chicago Office of Global and Community Engagement prior to their arrival in Rome. In the event a student is required to obtain a study visa for entry into Italy the study abroad office will guide the students through the visa process.  If you are a United States citizen, no visa will be required for participation in the Fall 2021 or Spring 2022 sessions.

The John Felice Rome Center requires that students arrive in Rome having received a pre-approved COVID-19 vaccine.  Students are required to register their vaccine certificate on the Loyola Health App, which can be downloaded for free. Details on the Loyola Health App can be found at https://www.luc.edu/mobileapp/index.shtml.

ARRIVAL TO ITALY  

Students are responsible for monitoring the website of the airline they have chosen for travel to Rome.  The airlines are a reliable source for information pertaining to travel requirements, masking, pre-departure PCR test requirements and deadlines, and transit requirements en-route to Rome. Students must arrive to the JFRC campus on September 16, between 9:00 am and 6:00 PM only.

Upon arrival at Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (Fiumicino – FCO), all passengers will be required to undergo a temperature check. If a student has a fever upon landing at the Rome airport, he/she will be allowed to transfer to campus and will then meet with the JFRC medical doctor or nurse.

If a student tests positive for COVID-19 after already having arrived to the JFRC, the student will be moved to an isolation room until the isolation period is completed. The JFRC doctor or nurse will monitor the student’s symptoms daily and will follow the COVID-19 protocols. Food will be brought to the student’s room. Faculty members will work with the student who has been placed in isolation so that he/she may continue to make progress in classes. All residential facilties are equipped with Wi-Fi and internet connecitons.

MOBILITY IN ITALY

The Italian Government issued a decree on July 30, 2021 clarifying that vaccine certifications coming from non-EU countries will be deemed equivalent to the European “Green Pass.”  A COVID-19 Green Pass, allows entry to restaurants, museums and other public venues. American passport holders do not need a European Green Pass, which instead can be replaced by the “White Card” with CDC logo issued in the United States. This can be shown either in a digital or paper format for entry into various public spaces.

According to the latest decree signed by the Italian Prime Minister, restrictions of movement within Italy are regulated according to the health threat levels of the specific region. Lazio (the region of Rome) is currently a “white” zone and is no longer a restricted area. Minimal restrictions exist within the City of Rome. Italy has divided COVID related health security risks into four main categories:

  • White (RT index is below 1 / less than 50/ 100,000 weekly COVID cases for three weeks in a row)
  • Yellow (RT Index is below 1) night curfew, restaurants are open with outdoors eating only, museums remain open)
  • Orange (RT index is between 1 and 1.25) night curfew, travel is not allowed outside of the Lazio region, restaurants available for take-out dining only
  • Red (RT index is 1.25 or higher) travel restricted, visiting private homes not allowed, schools remain closed. In the event of a Red zone, JFRC learning will move to an online modality. 

On the Italian Ministry of Health website you can find updates (in English) on the current Covid-19 situation in Italy. To access it, you can click here

SELF-MONITORING, QUARANTINE & ISOLATION AT THE JFRC

Students, faculty and staff must monitor and report their symptoms daily by completing a “self-declaration form.” Forms are available at the porter’s desk near the main entrance of the campus. Students will be asked to submit their details online each day (procedures to be explained during onsite orientation). All program participants will check their temperature daily before entering the dining room for breakfast. All John Felice Rome Center staff and visitors to campus must also agree to follow common safety protocols, including:

  • Completing a daily self-declaration form.
  • Checking their temperature daily by 9am. If the staff or participant has a fever of 99.9 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7 degrees Celsius) or higher, the staff or participant will not be allowed to interact with the JFRC community. Reporting to an Assistant Resident Director (ARD) if feeling ill. If a student is feeling ill, they will be asked to return to the residence hall. The JFRC staff will assist the student in getting tested.
  • Wearing a face covering in public spaces at the JFRC (including the dining room, hallways, offices, classrooms, and library), unless engaged in exercise or eating a meal.
  • Following social and physical distancing guidelines to the greatest extent possible – maintaining a space of at least six feet from the nearest person.
  • Practicing good/frequent hand hygiene.

If a program participant comes into contact with someone who tests positive or shows symptoms of COVID-19, he/she must immediately report this to the Assistant Resident Director or the Assistant Director of Student Life. The Assistant Resident Director is available 24/7 and lives on the fourth-floor faculty and staff wing of Residence Hall #1. Contact tracing will be required and facilitated by the JFRC doctor. Medical professionals  will determine who within the community may need to self-isolate.

For each student’s own comfort and the protection of other participants and the JFRC Staff, the exposed individual will be tested and moved to a private room to self-quarantine until test results are made available. A negative test result will allow the students to return to normal activity. A positive result will require up to a fourteen-day isolation. If two participants of the same gender have been exposed to the same source, they may be placed in a private room together, each having a separate twin-size bed. During this time the individual/s will be asked to quarantine in the private room and not interact with others at the JFRC. The room will have a private bathroom and Wi-Fi access. Meals will be brought to the individual/s during this time so they do not interact with others at group mealtimes. 

JFRC Staff will be checking in daily with any individual placed in a private room to self-quarantine. Medical attention will be given as needed, either by bringing medical personnel to the JFRC or by taking the individual to a local hospital.  All COVID-19 health and safety decisions will be made in conjunction with Dr. Andrea Guerriero.

HOSPITAL MEDICAL CARE & TESTING LOCATIONS

If the JFRC doctor is not readily available and a student is experiencing severe COVID symptoms – mainly fever, persistent dry cough and, especially, difficulty breathing, then he/she should go to the Emergency Room at the nearest hospital. Medical professionals and hospital staff will test the student if they think the case warrants it. The JFRC Assistant Resident Director (ARD) who lives in the Residence Hall, in consultation with Elisa Ascione, the Assistant Director for Student Life, are available to assist in this process. 

Other, non-emergency testing options include:

  • Nasopharyngeal swabs (il tampone per COVID) - identify the presence of the COVID virus in your respiratory system. The student must quarantine for 10 to 14 days if the result is positive. A student cannot simply go into a lab for a swab because he/she wants to. In order to enter a medical clinic to be tested, one must first be given a written request from JFRC Doctor Andrea Guerriero. The JFRC Assistant Resident Director staff  can assist the student  in securing the necessary paperwork from the JFRC doctor. Most labs require an appointment on-line for this. The swab will cost approximately 25 Euro. The result will be ready in 1 -2 days. If positive then the Health Dept will be notified, after which officials will contact you about the mandatory quarantine.
  • Antibody blood test (test sierologico per anticorpi a COVID) - will identify prior exposure to COVID by revealing the presence of antibodies which should make one immune to the virus. Antibodies take about two weeks to form after exposure; therefore, this test cannot ensure that one has not been very recently infected. The nasal swab is more accurate in this case. If the student does not have any symptoms but wishes to know if he/she has developed antibodies to the virus then the student is advised to do the serologic (blood) test. The cost is about 25 Euro. Again, the student will first need a written request from the JFRC doctor in order to proceed in securing the antibody blood test.

PROTECTIVE SUPPLIES & JFRC CLEANING PROTOCOL

In addition to asking participants to wash their hands before meals, after using the bathroom or touching public surfaces, hand sanitizer will be available in common areas, such as the dining room, classrooms, lounge spaces, and computer labs.

Additionally, The Residence Hall staff will be cleaning the dining hall tables, chairs, doorknobs, handbars and the landing place where plates are set after each meal. Similarly, the public restrooms at the JFRC will be cleaned daily. Students are asked to clean their rooms and bathrooms at least once a week. Cleaning supplies and disinfectants are available and can be requested at the JFRC porter’s desk.

SOCIAL DISTANCING AT THE JFRC

Accommodations

Students will either live in a single room or will share a room with a fellow JFRC student. 

  • Each participant will have a twin-size bed.
  • Each room also has a private bathroom.
  • Laundry Facility are available in the residence hall
  • Gym
  • Wi-Fi

Dining Room and Mealtimes

Each student will be provided a meal card upon arrival at the JFRC Orientation. Meal cards allow for breakfast and lunch and dinner at the cafeteria (full board). Individuals should practice physical distancing during mealtimes and remain six feet from the nearest person while standing in line and sitting at tables in the dining room to eat. Meals will be served at the usual set times, unless otherwise communicated. Dining tables will be disinfected after each meal shift. 

Public Restrooms 

Individuals should use the restroom in their dorm room and avoid using the public restroom facilities when at all possible, and wash hands thoroughly after using the restroom. 

Public Areas & Gatherings

Everyone at the JFRC should follow these physical distancing guidelines:

  • Respect up-to-date social distancing guidelines.
  • Do not gather in groups.
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid gathering.
  • Wear your face mask/covering while in public spaces (that is everywhere except for your dorm room).

Even when physical distancing is possible, face masks/coverings must be worn by all individuals at the JFRC and in public settings (e.g., campus outdoor spaces, dining room, classrooms, common gathering areas, stairwells, meeting rooms, etc.). Appropriate use of face masks/coverings is important in minimizing risk to the wearer and those around them. A face mask/covering is not a substitute for physical distancing.

Gym Area

Individuals are not required to wear a face mask/covering while exercising but should take precautions to respect physical distancing guidelines and avoid exercising in groups. 

TRANSPORTATION & ACTIVITIES OUTSIDE OF THE ROME CENTER

Use of public transportation is allowed during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. All JFRC sponsored travel outside of Rome will utilize pre-arranged private transportation (taxis or private group busses) and vehicle density will be assessed depending on the type of vehicle. Additionally, participants will only share vehicles with other participants from their same program.

Service sites and all trips outside of the JFRC will be continually assessed to determine if they remain reasonably safe locations for program participants. Overnight stays anywhere where social distancing cannot be followed will not be included in program schedules for the time being.

Participants and guests traveling outside of the JFRC for personal reasons (socializing, nightlife, weekend trips, etc.) must first inform the JFRC Staff.  All travelers should follow strict hygiene precautions when traveling – wear a mask/face covering and bring personal hand sanitizer. As a reminder, the Community Standards that all students, faculty and staff signed indicate that it is an expectation that all follow common safety protocols off campus and in their personal lives, which would also apply to all activities outside of the JFRC.