(Updated March 14, 2022)

What should I do if I have a student who refuses to wear a mask in my class?
When mask-optional guidance is in effect on the Danforth Campus,  instructors may still request that students wear masks in their classroom. However, instructors may not require that a student leave the classroom or cancel class should a student refuse. Students have been and will be encouraged to treat requests to mask with care and compassion. Further discussion of the rationale behind changes in masking guidance is available here.

How will faculty know if a student has been asked to isolate or quarantine? Does that mean they have COVID?
Faculty may receive quarantine/isolation notification from an academic official in a student’s school, or a student may forward an email follow-up from the Habif Health and Wellness Center or the COVID call center indicating that the student was told during a conversation that they should quarantine. These notices are necessarily vague because of HIPAA restrictions. They may mean that the student has tested positive (and is in isolation), but they may also mean that the student is feeling somewhat unwell (for example, from having a cold or allergies) and is quarantining while awaiting test results to rule out COVID. If a notification from an academic official is received, it will include the expected date when the student will be released from quarantine/isolation and be able to return to in-person class activities.

Given the importance of students being able to continue their studies while complying with public health and university guidelines around quarantine and isolation due to COVID, instructors must, within reason, accommodate absences that can be documented as related to COVID symptoms, quarantine or diagnosis.  If an instructor has questions in this regard, they should contact their department chair or director.

What if I learn of a student who is feeling sick or has been diagnosed with COVID? Should I inform the other students in the class of a possible infection?
If a student shares a COVID-19 diagnosis or other health information (e.g., vaccination status or experience of COVID symptoms) with you, or if it is made known to you that a student has been asked by Habif Health and Wellness Center to isolate or quarantine, you may not disclose any of that information to other students in your class, as such disclosure would constitute a violation of the student’s privacy (even if you avoided referring to that student by name). 

If a student in your class has tested positive for COVID, a case investigation will be opened and the contact tracing team will begin doing the work of interviewing the student and getting in touch with that person’s close contacts so they can get tested and quarantine if needed. Faculty may be asked to share their roster with the contact tracing team to help in their investigation. 

Will I need to quarantine if a student in my class tests positive for COVID?
Only those who are identified to be close contacts through the contact tracing process will need any intervention. Habif Health and Wellness Center will instruct those close contacts to get tested and quarantine if needed. As per CDC guidelines, vaccinated contacts do not need to quarantine if they do not have symptoms, but should wear a mask indoors (this would include avoiding eating with other people) and get tested 3-5 days after exposure. Only in rare instances would an entire class be considered close contacts. 

If a class has a student who has tested positive for COVID, should the class be canceled, or moved online?
Classes should not be canceled or moved online unless the university’s medical authorities ask the faculty member to do so.  In such cases, the instructor should notify their chair or director that they have been asked to change their instructional mode for a particular period of time.  

What happens if a student isn’t truthful about their symptoms or COVID status?
Students who aren’t truthful about their symptoms or COVID status (e.g., a student who knowingly attends class with a positive or suspected COVID diagnosis or when told to quarantine by a medical provider, or a student who reports false symptoms to a university official to avoid attending class) should be referred immediately to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. If it is determined that a student is in violation of the Code, sanctions will be imposed. To report a student who is not in compliance with the Student Conduct Code, please contact the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards by email or report violations through the COVID Safety Concerns web page.