Answers to Common Questions on COVID-19 Reporting, Testing and Tracing
Have a question on how reporting, testing, and tracing are conducted at Montclair State University? Find the answers here.
What should a faculty member do if a student reports that he or she has tested positive for COVID, or has been exposed to COVID?
- Tell the student to stay home (or remain in their residence hall room) or if on campus, to return home or to their room, and do Hawk Check immediately. Doing Hawk Check will alert the University Health Center (UHC), who will follow up with the student to gather information.
- As a back-up, faculty members should also send a message to email@example.com. Administrators who monitor that account will alert the University Health Center.
- If the student is positive for COVID, contact tracers will identify his or her close contacts and reach out to them. If necessary, they will place the close contacts in quarantine as a precaution.
- Faculty members will be notified by the Dean of Students Office when a student in one of their classes has been placed in isolation (if sick) or quarantined (as a precautionary measure), so that they can make appropriate accommodations for that student.
- To protect the privacy of the student, faculty members should not share the information with colleagues, students or other people. Everyone who needs to know will be informed individually by a contact tracer.
What should a supervisor do if an employee reports they have tested positive for COVID?
- Tell the employee to do Hawk Check immediately, and to either stay home, or if on the campus, to return home. This will alert Occupational Health (Occ Health), who will follow up with the employee.
- Contact tracers will identify the employee’s close contacts and reach out to them. If necessary they will place the close contacts in quarantine as a precaution.
- To protect the privacy of the individual, do not share the information with colleagues, students or other people. Everyone who needs to know will be informed individually by a contact tracer.
- Supervisors will be informed by Human Resources if one of their employees is in quarantine or isolation.
- This applies to all employees, including students.
What is the information flow when a positive or exposure case is reported to the UHC or to Occ Health?
- A healthcare professional contacts the individual to gather information and provide advice. This initiates the contact-tracing process. The healthcare professional will also periodically check in with the individual over the next several days.
- Occupational Health (employees) or the University Health Center (students) contacts those individuals that have been identified as close contacts and instructs them on quarantine requirements.
- Occupational Health communicates with HR/Benefits based on the employee’s response to HawkCheck. HR/Benefits will then handle details about pay, benefits, sick leave, and return to work.
- HR/Benefits contacts the employee and his/her supervisor upon notification by Occupational Health and conducts a follow up five days after notification to check in and explain ‘return to work’ process
- HR/Benefits informs Occupational Health when an employee is cleared to return to work.
- The University Health Center coordinates with the Dean of Students Office, which informs faculty members when a student in one of their courses has been placed in isolation or quarantine.
Remember: Faculty members and supervisors should not share information about COVID exposures or diagnoses with their students, colleagues or other people. Doing so could violate the privacy of the individual. Everyone who needs to know will be individually informed by contact tracers.
How does the University learn when someone has tested positive for COVID?
- From tests that the University administers in our surveillance testing program or in the University Health Center.
- From the local health departments, who share information with the University Health Center on everyone who tests positive and has provided a campus address to the testing lab.
- From self-reports provided via Hawk Check or through other means.
- From case investigation and contact tracing.
What happens when the University learns that someone has tested positive for COVID?
The University Health Center or Occupational Health contacts the individual to gather information and to initiate isolation (for someone who is sick) or quarantine (for someone who may have been exposed but is not sick). The time parameters are:
- Isolation is for a minimum of 10 days, depending on factors such as symptoms and test date.
- Quarantine is for a minimum of 14 days, starting from the date of exposure.
- Release from quarantine and isolation will be determined by the University Health Center or Occupational Health.
Contact tracers will ask the infected person for a list of all iIndividuals who they may have been in close contact with, and will follow up with those people and will use additional interviewing and electronic data as required. If the facts indicate that the person was in close contact, defined as being within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more during a 24-hour period, then that person will be instructed to enter a 14-day quarantine as a precaution.
- Those individuals determined to not be at risk will not have to quarantine
Contact tracers do not share information with people who do not need to know it.
Clinicians in UHC or Occ Health will make recommendations for follow up testing when appropriate.
What kinds of information may be shared, and by whom?
- Faculty and supervisors will be informed when a student or direct report has been placed in quarantine or isolation, but they must not share that information with students, colleagues or other people.
- Official notification of quarantine and the dates for quarantine will be established only by the clinicians in the University Health Center or Occupational Health.
- Students or employees cannot determine those dates independently.
Faculty and staff are requested not to send notifications to classes or individual students, or work groups or individual employees, about the need to be tested, or to enter or leave quarantine or isolation. All such communication will be sent from the University Health Center or Occupational Health. This rule exists to assure that accurate information is provided to those who need it, in a timely way and to assure that false, incomplete or misleading information does not circulate and cause unnecessary anxiety or pose a risk to the privacy of individuals.
What cases get reported on the University’s dashboard and why?
The COVID Dashboard reports cases on campus, the number of people currently in isolation and the number recovered and cleared to return campus during the current semester, as well as the number of tests administered by the University, and the number and rate of positive results.
To be reportable, a case on campus must meet two criteria:
- The infection has been confirmed by a positive test result.
- The person was known to have been on campus during the period when he or she may have been able to spread the virus to others.
Does the University report on its dashboard every case of COVID among students, faculty or staff that it is aware of?
- No.It only reports cases in which the infected person is known to have been on campus during the time when he or she may have spread the virus to others.
- The purpose of sharing this information is to give a clear and accurate picture of the current presence of the virus on campus.
The University reports the number of people in isolation, but not in quarantine. Why?
- Clinicians place someone in quarantine as a precautionary measure when the person has potentially been exposed to the virus but does not have symptoms or is waiting for test results. Quarantine prevents this person from spreading the virus to others unknowingly if they are asymptomatic or do not yet have a confirmed diagnosis.
- The number in quarantine is not an indicator of the extent of the virus on campus. The number of people currently in isolation, however, is an indicator of the level of the virus on campus, and that is why the University publishes this number on its dashboard.