Congratulations on a successful first week of class! Pardon this Sunday email. I want to share information in response to questions posed about students who are self-isolating or quarantining. This information outlines our Student Affairs and Infectious Disease Response Team’s process for informing faculty members of a student who has reported a positive COVID-19 test.
We have a network of more than 100 of our colleagues providing tracing and reporting support across campus. They are doing an excellent job managing this complex and arduous process on everyone’s behalf. This email is detailed, and the information is found on the microsite. I share it here, in one place, to inform you.
TCU learns of positive student tests in a variety of ways. If a student tests positive at the TCU Health Center, the health center staff gets the result. If a student tests positive at University Urgent Care, with which the university has partnered, the TCU Health Center will be notified if the student has given permission for that information to be released. (Without permission, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act prohibits that information being shared with anyone other than the patient.) If a student does not give permission or tests at another location, they are responsible for calling the TCU COVID-19 hotline: 817-257-2684. Employees and students testing off-campus are encouraged to call the University’s hotline to report positive tests.
Notification of a Positive Student Case
The TCU COVID-19 hotline is for students (as well as faculty and staff) to self-report positive test results. The hotline will prompt the caller through a series of questions that will connect them to the TCU COVID Case Investigator. This will enable the university to respond, enact protective measures, and provide support and resources to the caller. I have outlined TCU’s process below.
If a student tests positive:
- When a student tests positive for COVID-19 (at the TCU health center or reports their results on the COVID-19 hotline), a representative from the TCU Health Center will notify the TCU Infectious Disease Response Team.
- If the student lives on campus, the team will contact the TCU Care Coordinator on call to determine whether the student or a roommate(s) needs to be moved for isolation or if they can isolate in their current residence. (Students or roommates will be moved to ensure the ill student has their own bedroom and bathroom to limit the spread of the disease.) The student will be provided with isolation instructions (attached) and receive medical follow-up from the TCU Health Center.
- If the student lives off campus, they will be provided with isolation instructions (attached) and will also receive medical follow-up from the TCU Health Center.
- The response team will notify the student’s faculty (who are teaching on-campus classes) that there has been an exposure in their classroom if the student attended class within 48 hours of symptom onset. Due to HIPAA regulations, the student in question cannot be named. The goal for this notification is within 12 hours after TCU has been notified of the positive test.
- Campus Life will notify the student’s faculty that the student (who will be named) will miss class (or will need to switch to online classes) due to illness (whether due to isolation or quarantine). Due to HIPAA, the student’s illness cannot be disclosed.
- Students in the class will not be notified of a positive case in one of their classes unless they were in close contact with the case within 48 hours of symptom onset or positive test. If we maintain the physical distancing layout of classrooms, classmates should not come in close contact during class.
- The case investigator lists locations of exposure in their report and an automatic notification is sent to TCU Facilities to initiate cleaning protocols.
If a student is instructed to quarantine:
- If a student is a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, they will be instructed to quarantine for 14 days and must attend their classes remotely (online) during that time period.
- Campus Life will contact the faculty to inform them about students who will need to attend their classes online and what date they may return to in-person classes. Students are also instructed and expected to notify their professors.
- Students in quarantine are informed that it is critical they remain in quarantine during the entire time period.
- Students in quarantine are instructed to actively monitor any symptoms and take their temperature twice daily. If they develop symptoms, they are instructed to contact the TCU Health Center or their health care provider immediately.
- Students in quarantine should not leave their rooms except for medical care or to pick up meals in one of two designated locations and are instructed to return to their rooms to eat.
- Students in quarantine are allowed to go outside for exercise and fresh air, as long as they wear a face covering and are able to keep at least six feet away from others.
- The student will be advised that CDC guidelines recommend that all close contacts should be tested within 3 to 5 days of exposure or notification of exposure. They can choose to test at the TCU Health Center or another location. They are given instructions to call the TCU COVID-19 hotline if their test comes back positive (and if the test was not conducted at the health center) and the process for positive student cases will commence.
How faculty can help:
- If you have been notified by a student in one of your classes that they have tested positive for COVID-19, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. This email is monitored by the Infectious Disease Response Team. You may ask for verification that the student is accounted for in our system. (Sometimes students will contact faculty quicker than the response team is able to send a notification of classroom exposure.) This will help ensure everyone is accounted for.
- You will receive a response notifying you whether the student is in the system. If they are not, the response team will initiate an investigation to determine if they should be in the system.
- If you are notified that a student is in quarantine, please email email@example.com so that we may cross reference them with our system, ensuring everyone is accounted for.
- A student who has been reported as being a close contact of a positive case will always be told to quarantine, and will never be advised to attend in-person classes. If a student has reported this to you, please email firstname.lastname@example.org so that we may follow up with the student to investigate.
- If you have any questions or concerns, please email email@example.com or call the COVID hotline at 817-257-2684 and leave a message at the prompt.
The Office of Emergency Management and the Office of Institutional Research have been working on a new dashboard to provide a broader picture of COVID-19 cases on the TCU campus as well as resources the university has at its disposal to address COVID-19 on campus. They expect to share that information on Monday.
Working together, we can help support a healthy campus through the dissemination of clear and actionable information. Below my signature are additional resources for our community.
Teresa Abi-Nader Dahlberg
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
- CDC guidance for isolation
- CDC guidance for quarantine
- TCU Connected Campus microsite testing, tracing & treating information