Faculty Message: When a Student Tests Positive or is Exposed to COVID-19
August 19, 2021
The following information will help you determine how to respond and communicate with students who tell you they have tested positive or been exposed to COVID-19.
What if I suspect a student has COVID-19?
Faculty and staff cannot, by law, ask a student if they have tested positive for COVID-19 or if they have been vaccinated. Should a student test positive, our campus contact tracers will investigate to determine who should be notified of exposure. Faculty will not be informed if a student tests positive, due to the confidentiality of health-related information and federal laws governing that confidentiality. A faculty member will only be notified by contract tracers if they are directly exposed. Students may voluntarily disclose this information to the faculty.
What should I do if a student tells me they have tested positive for COVID-19?
Students will likely inform you of a positive test result, as they will be expected to notify faculty when they are entering self-isolation. Please make sure they are adhering to the campus positive protocol, which includes:
- Completing the Self-Reporting Form, so that contact tracers may follow up, gather information, and answer questions. If they are housing residents, they should let the contact tracers know.
- If they test positive without symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, they should enter self-isolation for 10 days from the date of testing. If symptomatic, regardless of vaccination status, they should enter self-isolation for 10 days from the onset of symptoms.
It is the students' responsibility to let you know they are entering self-isolation and to arrange for makeup assignments.
What should I do if a student tells me they think they have COVID-19?
Please encourage them to seek a rapid test at the JSU/RMC Health Center, free of charge. Appointments are not needed, as testing is offered Monday-Friday, 8-11 a.m. Students are expected to stay home when not feeling well, particularly if exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 including fever or chills, dry cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing. Students should follow course attendance policy in terms of notifying faculty of absences. Additionally, students are strongly encouraged to visit the Health Center when sick.
What should I do if a student tells me they’ve been exposed to COVID-19?
Please encourage them to email email@example.com their exposure information, so we can conduct an interview and determine quarantine time. Residents should disclose they live on campus in their message to firstname.lastname@example.org so that JSU Housing may be notified. It is the student’s responsibility to let you know they are entering quarantine and to arrange to make up any missed assignments. Students should email email@example.com when exposed, regardless of vaccination status.
How do I accommodate students who have tested positive or been exposed to COVID-19?
Faculty should continue to practice leniency in attendance requirements while isolation and quarantine protocols are still in place. Please understand that it is sometimes difficult to provide documented proof of exposure. Faculty should clearly communicate on their syllabi the expected process for students to obtain missed lecture notes, assignments, etc., when absent.
For more information, please review the frequently asked questions for faculty and staff on the COVID-19 website.
Dr. Christie Shelton, DNP
Provost & Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs