Responsibilities Outlined For Students Testing Positive, Exposed to COVID-19
By Mark Kramer
Over the past several months, new and returning University of Houston-Downtown students have been taking necessary steps to stay healthy and safe. Wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing and other measures have become a common practice in public places to slow the spread of COVID-19.
However, UHD officials want to inform students and members of the campus community of their responsibilities related to reporting possible exposure to COVID-19.
“We feel that we must clearly communicate the need of self-reporting steps and protocols to those who have been diagnosed or had come into close contact with someone who has tested positive,” said Cynthia Vargas, UHD’s Director of Emergency Management. “These measures help ensure the health and safety of those on campus.”
Vargas outlined these responsibilities of students in a recent question and answer session with Gator Update.
Gator Update: What is the reporting process if a student tests positive?
Vargas: If a student has been diagnosed through a positive test exam or medical diagnosis, they must contact their professors to inform them that they cannot come to campus and are required to report it via through UHD’s COVID-19 Diagnosis Form and also contact Student Health Services for medical assistance. Also, if someone is showing symptoms or has been exposed to someone who has COVID, they must report it by filling out an Exposure Form.
Gator Update: What if I have had contact with someone with COVID?
Vargas: If students have had contact with someone who has COVID-19 during the last 14 days, they should submit an Exposure Form and quarantine for 14 days from the last day of exposure. They cannot come to campus during the quarantine period and should submit a request to Return to Campus Form when their quarantine has ended.
Gator Update: What does it mean for students to self-quarantine?
Vargas: Stay home (or other location approved by your local health department). This means that students should not go to class, work, public areas, or attend large gatherings. Comprehensive steps for self-quarantine and preventing the spread of COVID-19 can be found on the CDC website. If a student has to miss class and unable to complete their work from home, or is too ill to work from home, they should request academic accommodations from the Office of Disability Services.
Gator Update: Are there resources that students can reach out to?
Vargas: UHD has a Contact Tracing team that has been trained to assist students affected by the virus. When a COVID-19 diagnosis is reported or if you have been exposed to someone with COVID while on campus, a contact tracer will call you to provide you with information.
It is important to note that when a contact tracer contacts you, please answer them. They are trying to provide you with important information. At times, they are calling to let you know that you have been exposed to a COVID positive person while on campus. If you’ve tested positive, they are trying to assist you in determining how long you need to remain in isolation and when you can safely discontinue isolation.
Gator Update: If a student that has symptoms or tests positive is advised by their physician to care for themselves at home, what steps are they to follow before coming back to campus?
Vargas: Students with COVID-19 or related symptoms must remain at home until all the following conditions are met:
- At least 10 days have passed since symptom onset
- At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications
- Other symptoms have improved
Gator Update: If students have met the required conditions to return to work, what are the next steps after completing the Request to Return to Campus Form?
Vargas: After answering responses to the questionnaire about any health symptoms you are experiencing, you may be directed to a health care provider before being approved to return to campus.
If you have other questions related to UHD’s COVID-19 efforts, email Coronavirus@uhd.edu.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD)—the second largest university in Houston—has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974.
As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive four-year university led by Interim President Antonio D. Tillis. Annually, UHD educates more than 14,000 students; boasts more than 51,000 alumni and offers 44 bachelor’s and eight master’s degree programs within five colleges (Marilyn Davies College of Business; Humanities & Social Sciences; Public Service, Sciences & Technology; and University College).
UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. The University is noted nationally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution and Military Friendly School. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.