Informed as always by science and the guidance of federal, state, and the University’s public health and medical experts, we are updating the resources and guidance for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 on our campuses. This shift is to aid individuals who test positive in identifying and notifying contacts quickly, which will also complement efforts by public health officials around patient interviews and contact tracing. These decisions also reflect our increased understanding of how and where COVID-19 is transmitted and the important role that vaccines play in mitigating transmission opportunities.
The Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) COVIDAwareMN app is a useful tool available for receiving information from and providing information to close contacts about positive cases of COVID-19.
Taking your own health precautions
Here is our guidance, based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other experts, if you are notified by someone that they have COVID-19 and you have been in close contact with them:
- If you are fully vaccinated:
- Continue to complete your normal duties, or
- Stay home if you have symptoms. Get tested as soon as possible. Avoid others for at least 10 days since symptoms appeared or until you receive a negative test result.
- Without symptoms, get tested 3-5 days after close contact with someone with COVID-19 or as soon as possible if you don’t know when you had close contact.
- Wear a mask indoors for 14 days following close contact or until your test result is negative.
- If you are not fully vaccinated:
- Get tested as soon as possible and 3-5 days after the exposure. Consider regular testing after that.
- Stay home regardless of symptoms. Avoid others for up to 14 days, but you may use MDH guidelines to shorten your quarantine period.
- Protect others in your household by wearing a mask, staying away from others, and taking other prevention steps.
Remember that testing is available in multiple locations, including at home if you request a free test kit from the state.
If you test positive for COVID-19, we strongly recommend you inform your individual close contacts that they may have been exposed and should seek testing. Inform your manager or supervisor to arrange for time off and request assistance with identifying and notifying those with whom you have had close contact if needed. View guidance from the Office of Human Resources for more information about additional steps you can take if you test positive.
Beyond taking personal health precautions, the role of faculty and instructors when notified of a positive COVID-19 case is to support your student in notifying their close contacts if asked to do so. For the Twin Cities, Morris, and Rochester campuses, check the Provost’s COVID-19 Response page for instructions on how to assist COVID-19 positive students who notify you. Similar guidance for the Crookston campus and the Duluth campus is also available online.
If you are a manager or supervisor, your responsibility is to support your employees in notifying others if asked. The Office of Human Resources has detailed workplace guidance available online.
Mass notifications of entire classrooms or facilities should not be made unless there is a documented public health reason to do so as reviewed by public health partners in Boynton Health or the Health Emergency Response Office (e.g., there is reason to believe a large percentage of students in the classroom meet the CDC definition of close contact).
We continue to ground our approach in science, utilize the advice of public health experts, and take preventive steps like getting vaccinated, wearing masks, and staying home when ill. As a result, we can limit the risk to all members of our community. Please help set a positive example and support colleagues and students to do the same. Our collective empathy and care for others will help us focus on the positive in-person experiences made possible when we keep our community healthy.
Important to Know
- Those that may have been exposed to by someone with a confirmed COVID-19 positive test may be notified by health care or public health officials through contact tracing—an interview with a public health official to learn of others who may have been exposed. Names of people who test positive or who may have been exposed will not be released, per HIPAA and FERPA rules.
- The program director for your academic program is available to coordinate communication between your clinical setting and the contact tracing officials.
- Some health care organizations may have policies that students and clinical instructors must follow if they experience symptoms, test positive for COVID-19, or experience a COVID-19 exposure (per definition) requiring quarantine or isolation. The School of Nursing Office of Academic Programs keeps the up to date information about health care organizations’ policies.