COVID Cases in Classes

Cases in Classes

COVID Cases in Classes

UCCS Faculty and Staff,

I want to give a quick update on COVID information and how to handle if someone reports to you that they may have COVID. We are starting to see cases on campus. If you have a reported suspected case in your course or office, you will receive a notification. You do not need to do anything to notify your class. Taking attendance will help with contact tracing. In the text below my name there is a description of the process for reporting and notification about suspected COVID cases. Faculty and staff should work with the Wellness Center if they have concerns about COVID spread in their classrooms or offices. We should all exercise compassion and grace in dealing with students who report that they will miss class or work because they feel ill.

To date, we have had reported cases in 14 classes (may be same student in multiple classes). Since move-in started on Sunday, Aug 15th, we’ve had 17 positive cases and have conducted 42 PCR tests and 376 Rapid tests. Student attestations are completed for 69% of students with 75% of those reporting they are vaccinated. Students who do not attest will have a hold placed on their record for Spring. The Wellness Center will be offering vaccinations throughout the semester. Given the county’s COVID rates we are doing very well, but only continued vigilance, compliance with mask directive and getting more people vaccinated will prevent it from getting worse. You can track cases on the Campus COVID dashboard.

Below is detailed information about what happens (and what should not happen) if there is a suspected case of COVID in the classroom. Although the language below is for classrooms, if you have similar situations in your office with coworkers and student workers, the same basic procedures should happen.

The good news is that the number of cases is relatively small for our campus and the system for reporting, conducting contact tracing, and isolating students is working. The Wellness Center and Registrar’s office can send automated correspondence to impacted individuals. Vaccinated students will get a different communication than others who are not vaccinated or have not completed the attestation. The communication includes instructions similar to what appears in the text below. We are trying to limit the number of people who are quarantined while keeping campus safe.

We will keep communicating with campus as situations occur. We ask for patience and understanding for students and each other. Students, staff, and faculty may be impacted when there are quarantines or suspected exposure not only my our UCCS students but also by children in schools and other family members as cases increase in county. Recall that we still have COVID leave for those of you who track and use leave. I appreciate your concern for our UCCS community as we progress through the semester.

Kelli Klebe, Interim Provost

What to do if you Receive a Report of a Positive Case and How the Process Works

  • Ask the individual to notify the Wellness Center immediately to start the confirmation process
  • Report the name of the individual to the Wellness Center so we can follow up in the event that we do not hear from them
  • Please be patient as contact tracing can take time and we are getting numerous emails and calls every day so it is not uncommon for us to be managing multiple situations at once. We do our best to manage exposures within 24 hours, but depending on the number of exposures, the response time of those we contact, and information we can gather it can take longer.
  • Follow the guidance of the contact tracer in regards to the next steps and provide as much information as possible to help with our tracing process.
    • It is unlikely that you will need to cancel your upcoming classes as we will notify all students who should not attend your class to keep it safe for others that are able to continue coming to campus.
  • Students in isolation and quarantine are notified of their release date so the student knows when they are able to return.
    • We call students the day before their release to ensure it is safe for them to return to campus.
    • Students are responsible for working with their faculty during their absence.
  • We will make every attempt to narrow down who are considered close contacts of a positive case.
    • See below for how we manage quarantines based on vaccination status
  • If we are unable to determine who was in close contact with a positive case, every person who attended a class or event will be notified about the exposure and will be given follow up instructions based on their vaccination status
    • This can result in numerous individuals being pulled from classes, having to move rooms in residence halls, missing work, etc. which is why it is CRITICAL that we narrow down the list to as few people as possible
  • You should NOT:
    • Ask students their vaccination status as the Wellness Center will assess that
    • Announce to the class that there was a positive case as the Wellness Center will contact those individuals who need to be notified as part of the contact tracing process
    • You should NEVER share the name of a positive case as that is considered protected health information
    • Require a negative test to return to class as someone can test positive for 90 days so it is not recommended to retest anyone following an initial positive test
    • Ask students to come to class if they are sick unless the Wellness Center has cleared to be on campus.

Helpful Hints to Assist with Contact Tracing and to Minimize Spread of COVID

  • When possible take attendance for every class/event
  • If possible have a seating chart that is readily available for contact tracers
  • If a seating chart is not feasible, please consider one of the following options:
    • Have the students fill out name cards for their desk and take a picture of the cards following the class and keep it on file should a positive exposure occur
    • Ask students to sit in the same seats each class and know the names of those sitting near them
  • When possible ask students to spread out in the classroom
  • Keep the classroom doors/windows open when possible
  • Avoid small group activities for extended periods of time (more than 15 minutes)
    • If this cannot be avoided move students to spaces where they can distance from each other easier
  • Ensure everyone keeps their mask on indoors

Management of Fully Vaccinated versus Partially or Unvaccinated Exposures:

  • Fully vaccinated individuals will be allowed to come to classes and campus as long as they remain asymptomatic
    • COVID testing is recommended 3-5 days following a direct exposure
    • Individuals should monitor for COVID symptoms for 14 days
  • Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals with a direct exposure will be asked to quarantine for 10 days and to monitor for symptoms for 14 days
    • This means they may not come to campus for classes, events, work, etc.

Any individual who develops COVID symptoms will be asked to receive a COVID test and will be placed in isolation for 10 days if they test positive.