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Key points related to contact tracing in the classroom

  • If instructors want to support contact tracing in their class they can do so by assigning seats and keeping a seating chart, which will assist them in identifying potential close contacts.  The college recognizes that this is not feasible in certain classes because of their size or structure. In all instances, it is ultimately the instructor’s choice as to whether to do this.
  • Instructors who learn of a student who tested positive outside of the University can use this form to report that case to contact tracing (if the student was tested by the University contact tracing will already have been started).
  • This same form can be used to report potential close classroom contacts of a case if a seating chart has been maintained or if there is some means of determining close contacts. However, remember, instructors should not report all students in a class as potential close contacts, only those they know were seated within 6ft of the potential case for more than 15 minutes.
  • Instructors receiving email from contact tracing that a student will not be in class should not assume that the student is infected and/or unvaccinated (they could be vaccinated and in quarantine as a close contact and uninfected). However, if a seating chart has been maintained and, even though the instructor is uncertain if the absent student was infected, the instructor can report potential close contacts through the form.
  • Instructors may receive multiple email notices about a single student in quarantine or isolation this semester.   These follow-up notices likely will update the date on which the student will be back in class since individuals’ time in quarantine can be adjusted based on the results of COVID-19 tests.
  • The University is finalizing a template email that instructors can send to all the students in their class if a case is identified. This email will not identify the case or close contact but will be a signal to the class to take general precautions. Once this is available, we will share the template with all instructors.
  • Last, and most importantly, we strongly encourage our instructors be compassionate and flexible when dealing with students who need to miss class.  While we are all glad not to be live zooming and teaching all of our classes simultaneously as was the case last year, we still want to do our best to support students during these absences. The college has developed a list of hints for instructors and we also encourage instructors to seek help from their PICs or academic unit heads in managing any challenging situations.