I’m a faculty member/instructor at UWM. What should I do if a student contacts me to report that they tested positive/were diagnosed with COVID-19 or were identified as a close contact?

October 22, 2020

If you kept your distance from this student, weren’t within six feet for longer than 15 minutes in a 24-hour period (that’s a cumulative total), and you both wore your masks, you are not a close contact according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and local health officials. Students are being instructed to self-report their positive test result and/or a positive diagnosis to the Dean of Students Office, so you should encourage any student who reports a positive test/diagnosis to you to report to the Dean of Students Office via this form.

While the primary goal is to have students self-report, instructors can email reports to the Dean of Students Office at covid-19-studentcase@uwm.edu if a student has indicated they tested positive or were diagnosed with COVID-19. The Dean of Students Office will follow up with the student to confirm the diagnosis. The student’s confirmation is required before the Dean of Students Office moves forward with its action plan.

The Dean of Students Office will notify, in a de-identified manner, the other students in your in-person class, so please do not share the student-provided information with the class. Beyond the potential confusion duplicate notification could cause, you may violate FERPA by sharing this information beyond those UWM staff who legitimately need to know this information (such as your department chair or the Dean of Students Office).

Anyone identified by the self-reporting student as being a close contact may be contacted by the Dean of Students Office.

You should instruct the student to:

  1. Stay home and isolate.
  2. Self-report their illness with the Dean of Students Office (link:http://uwm.edu/COVID19selfreport).
  3. Follow Norris Health Center’s or their health care provider’s directions. Report a worsening of symptoms to their care provider.
  4. Keep up with their course work and studies, as their health and symptoms allow.
  5. Isolate for a least 10 days and contact Norris HC or their health care provider at the end of those 10 days.
  6. If the conditions for Return to Class have been met (see below), the student is free to return to class, without retesting or documentation, on the 11th day after onset of COVID-19 symptoms.

Please make every effort to accommodate the student’s participation and learning as their health allows. There are no hard rules about how much class a student can miss, same as before COVID. The issue is whether they meet the expectations and course outcomes. If they cannot, just as you did for illnesses or other issues pre-COVID, please work with your student advisors or program directors and follow your department or college policies and procedures.