Responding to COVID positive students
September 24, 2020
This message was sent to instructional faculty and TAs at the University of Nevada, Reno
Dear Instructional Faculty and TAs – The following e-mail serves as a reminder that our website provides guidance for suspected or positive COVID-19 cases for Students and Employees and Supervisors and Faculty. In addition, testing for students, faculty, and staff is free and available by appointment Monday through Friday at the Student Health Center.
Below you will find more detailed information on what to do if a student tells you they have a positive test result, when the University will contact you about a positive student, why the University did not contact you about a positive student, requesting documentation from a student about a test or close contact or documentation on release date from isolation or quarantine, and finally why does the University coronavirus cases page show confirmed positive cases on the same day as the last day on campus?
What to do if a student tells you they have a positive COVID test
Tell the student not to come to class or go elsewhere on campus. If necessary, dismiss them from class. Ask the student where the test was performed (i.e. Student Health Center, Walgreens, their doctor, other testing clinic). For a test completed off-campus, you may very likely be the first University person that the student has told. If the student indicates that they were tested at the Student Health Center, you do not need to report the case. However, if the student was tested off campus, please encourage them to report the case to the COVID-19 Report Form. If the student seems reluctant to do so, attempt to get answers to as many of the following questions as possible, and report the case to the COVID-19 Report Form on their behalf.
- What is the student’s phone number?
- What is the student’s preferred e-mail contact?
- Date test was performed?
- Date the test results were received?
- Date the individual began to experience symptoms?
- When was the last date the student was on campus?
- Where was the student on the campus?
- With whom did the student have close contact at the University during this time? Close contact is defined as <6 ft. for 15 minutes or more, even if a mask was worn.
When will the University contact me about a positive case?
If the University knows of the positive test, you will be contacted if:
- The student was last in your class during a potentially infectious period.
- The student, or any other individual, indicates that they had direct or prolonged contact with you or other students in your class or workplace environment.
Why did the University not contact me about a positive case?
- Because you may be the first to know. If the test was done off-campus or the case has not been reported to the Student Health Center or other appropriate University administrator, we will not know to contact you. This is why if a student indicates that they tested off campus, it is critically important to ensure that it is reported to the COVID-19 Report Form.
- The student has not been physically on campus or physically in your classroom.
- The student was not physically on campus or physically in your classroom during a potentially infectious period.
May I ask for documentation of student positive test results or close contact?
Yes, per UAM 3,020: Class Absence Policy, faculty may request formal, written documentation of illness or other compelling reason for class absence as they deem appropriate.
May I ask for documentation of a date to release back to class?
Yes, the Washoe County Health Department will give an official release date from isolation or quarantine for all positive cases or those who have been a close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
Why does the University coronavirus tracking page show confirmed positive cases on the same day as the last day on campus?
The cases may be students that live in the residence halls or individuals who got same day rapid-test results from an off-campus testing center.
Lastly, please take some time to read about the people behind the COVID-19 contract tracing phone calls from the Nevada Public Health Training Center, a program of the University’s School of Community Health Sciences.
Jill S. Heaton
Vice Provost, Faculty Affairs