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ASU releases guidance to faculty on what to do if a student has the coronavirus

Faculty will only be informed if a student tested positive if they came in close contact with them or if the student gives the University approval to tell them


ASU released guidelines for faculty for when a student tests positive for COVID-19. Illustration published Aug. 7, 2020.

ASU provided faculty a set of procedures for if a student attends their class and tests positive for the coronavirus, according to a document shared by Provost Mark Searle with each college's deans.

According to the document, the University will only notify faculty of one of their in-person students testing positive if they determine the faculty member came in close contact with the student through contact tracing, or if a student who attends solely through ASU Sync gives permission to the University to inform their instructors of the result.

Students and staff who had "close contacts" or "high-risk exposures" with a person who tested positive, defined as being within six feet of said person for 10 minutes or more, will be asked to quarantine, the document said.

"For students who have spent time in the classroom, we will support the process of case identification and contact tracing which will determine if the faculty member needs to be notified," the document said.

The University is instructing faculty to notify the Dean of Students office "as soon as possible" if they learn one of their students tested positive. Joanne Vogel, vice president of Student Services, said the University will likely be aware of the positive case before faculty inform them but would like faculty to report the information anyway. 

Faculty are asked to not share information about the health of a student with anyone else, regardless of whether the student shares with others, due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

If a student who tested positive attended a class in person, "health and facilities professionals will initiate the proper cleaning and notifications as quickly as possible." The University will then inform the instructor if their course modality needs to be adjusted. 

"Determinations about what should occur – quarantine and follow-up testing – will begin immediately upon awareness of a positive case," the document said.

The contact tracing team can inform those who were in close contact with an individual who tested positive "within the same day" the University received that individual's test results, Vogel said.

Vogel said the facilities professionals will mobilize quickly to clean a classroom before the next class begins if it was occupied by someone who tested positive. Due to students' desires to learn in person, the University does not want to disrupt an incoming class unless absolutely necessary, Vogel said.

READ MORE: COVID-19 and ASU: Here's what you need to know

"We will move a class if there is any indication we cannot get in to clean in the proper amount of time," Vogel said. "If we think there is something higher risk about this scenario, such as a student (who tested positive) touching everything, we're going to be smart about that."

If needed, the classroom could be moved to another location or moved solely to ASU Sync, Vogel added.

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Wyatt MyskowProject Manager

Wyatt Myskow is the project manager at The State Press, where he oversees enterprise stories for the publication. He also works at The Arizona Republic, where he covers the cities of Peoria and Surprise.

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