COVID-19 guidance for faculty and supervisors

The following information is intended to assist decision-makers when approached by a student or employee regarding suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The purpose of this page is to:

  • Provide clarity for faculty and supervisors about how to handle situations where a student or employee is suspected or confirmed of having COVID-19;
  • Provide guidance on the information that will be needed by the Vice President or Provost to determine the appropriate action;
  • Outline the process for communication to the Vice President/Provost; and
  • Identify next steps.

When a faculty member or supervisor learns that a student or employee is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, it may at times be appropriate to alter operations. The decision whether to alter operations will be made by the Vice President or Provost or designee.

It is important that the faculty member or supervisor provide information to their respective VP or to the Provost’s office to assist in this determination. This information should include:

  • Whether other individuals have been in close contact with the COVID-19 positive individual*
  • Whether or not the COVID-19 positive individual and all others were wearing facial coverings
  • Determine when the positive individual was last in the classroom, office, or lab
  • Classroom schematic or office layout
  • Other

The faculty member or supervisor should provide the information above to their Vice President or the Provost with a copy to the Chair, Dean, Director or Associate Vice President as soon as possible by either direct voice communication or email. Decisions about closures of classrooms, labs, or offices will be made in conjunction with the Vice President or the Provost or designee and with medical guidance and recommendations from the WCHD, through Dr. Cheryl Hug-English.

In the meantime, it may be appropriate for the faculty member, instructor or supervisor to temporarily move the class online for the next class meeting, temporarily close the lab for 12-24 hours and/or temporarily close the office for 12-24 hours. The faculty member or supervisor should notify the others in the class, lab or office that they will be informed via email how to proceed and when to return in person. Instructions should be provided to the others upon the decision of the Vice President or Provost.

The faculty member or supervisor must keep the name of the positive COVID-19 student or employee confidential. The WCHD may perform contact tracing and may inform others of certain information at that time.

Scenario-based guidance:

  • Student/employee who is ill
    • Any student or employee who is feeling ill must go home immediately.
    • If a student/employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, muscle or body aches, loss of taste or smell, gastrointestinal symptoms, headache or sore throat, testing should be encouraged.
    • If COVID-19 test is negative, the student/employee may return to campus when their symptoms have resolved.
    • If COVID-19 test is positive, see additional guidance.
  • Student/employee reports that they may have been exposed as a close contact to someone with COVID-19

    Whenever possible, CDC currently continues to recommend a quarantine period of fourteen (14) days for those who have been a close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. However, the following options to shorten quarantine are acceptable alternatives.

    • Individuals who have come in close contact with someone infected with COVID-19 may be released from quarantine and resume normal activities after ten (10) days as long as they remain asymptomatic and continue to self-monitor for symptoms for fourteen (14) days after their most recent exposure. This includes, but is not limited to, at home quarantine, in a hotel or dormitory room or in a group quarantine facility.
    • When diagnostic testing resources are sufficient and available for asymptomatic individuals, quarantine can end after seven (7) days if a test is done on day five (5) of the quarantine period and the test result is received by day seven (7).

    Due to testing demands in our community, the CDC’s shorter seven (7) day quarantine is currently not within the Washoe County Health District or the University’s guidelines for employees and students.

  • Student/employee reports they have been in close contact with a contact of someone with COVID-19

    There is no need to have that student/coworker self-quarantine. There is no need for testing and no need to cancel or alter class schedule.

  • Student/employee reports they have tested positive for COVID-19
    • Encourage student/employee to fill out COVID-19 report form.
    • Determine last date student/coworker was in the classroom, lab, or office.
    • Report the positive case to Dr. Cheryl Hug-English at the Student Health Center.
    • Report the positive case without the revealing the name to your respective VP.

Should an employee come to work after having had contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19?

  • Direct and prolonged contact*

    Work remotely when the job permits, seek testing even if asymptomatic, quarantine for ten (10) days as long as they remain asymptomatic and continue to self-monitor for symptoms for fourteen (14) days after their most recent exposure and contact healthcare provider if symptoms develop. Vaccinated persons with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:

        • Are fully vaccinated (i.e.,>2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2 dose series, or >= 2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-does vaccine)
        • Have had COVID-19 within the last 3 months
        • Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure

    *Per CDC, direct contact is defined as any or all of the following:

    1. You were within six (6) feet of someone who has COVID‐19 for at least 15 minutes
    2. You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID‐19
    3. You had direct physical contact with the person (touched, hugged or kissed them)
    4. You shared eating or drinking utensils with them
    5. They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.

    For additional information, visit the CDC page on when to quarantine.

  • Contact less than 15 minutes and more than six feet away with a face covering

    Monitor for symptoms; no changes to work attendance.

  • No direct contact

    Monitor for symptoms; no changes to work attendance.


    • Spouse/domestic partner’s coworker tests positive and spouse/domestic partner had limited contact, but employee had no prolonged direct contact.
    • Employee had family members that tested positive 30 days ago.

    Note: These situations can be complex. You may instruct the employee to contact a healthcare provider for guidance on unique circumstances. For additional scenarios, visit the CDC page on when to quarantine.