Coronavirus FAQ for Faculty: Positive cases in the classroom

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What do I do if a student emails me and says they have COVID-19 symptoms?

  • Instruct the student to contact the Public Health Center (PHC): 308-865-8279 or
  • Advise the student to not return to class until given instructions by the PHC
  • Encourage the student to communicate with you on their absences

What do I do if a student informs me that they have tested positive for COVID-19?

  • Instruct the student to contact the Public Health Center immediately at 308-865-8279 or
  • Inform the student that they will not be able to return to class without a clearance form from the Public Health Center. The clearance form must be received by faculty/staff prior to returning
  • Faculty/Staff should contact the Public Health Center for guidance on possible quarantining and whether it will be necessary. A seating chart will be vital to identify people who may have been in close contact with the positive case.
  • Ensure the privacy of the student who tested positive. Classmates are not privy to this person’s medical information.

What can I expect from a student returning from isolation after testing positive for COVID-19?

  • A medical clearance form from the Public Health Center via email. This form will tell you the date the student is permitted to return.

What if a student informs me that they must be in quarantine for 14 days due to exposure?

  • Instruct the student to contact the Public Health Center, which will track quarantine days and give a return date.
  • The student must have a medical clearance from the Public Health Center to return to class.
  • Give the student options for alternative attendance such as attending class synchronously or doing work through Canvas.

Should I send an announcement that a student in class tested positive?

  • An informational announcement should inform the class that there has been a possible exposure, and that the Public Health Center will contact anyone identified as a close contact with guidance on symptom monitoring.
  • UNK Communications, in collaboration with the Public Health Center, will handle campus-wide and community notifications when necessary.

What if a student wants to know the name of the student who tested positive?

  • Disclosing a student’s name is a HIPAA violation, therefore you are not permitted to announce the student’s name. If a student is concerned that they were exposed, direct them to the Public Health Center.

What should I do if I develop symptoms?

  • Contact the Public Health Center immediately for guidance on next steps: 308-865-8279 or

Can I get tested at the Public Health Center on Campus and is there a charge?

  • The Public Health Center provides COVID-19 testing.
  • There is no charge except under certain circumstances. Staff can review with you your options for testing.

What if a student tells me they tested positive for Coronavirus and need accommodations?  

  • Refer the student to Disability Services to register for temporary accommodations: 308-865-8214,
  • Disability Services will send faculty a letter to notify instructors of approved accommodations.

What do I do if I test positive for COVID-19? How should I tell my class?

  • There is no expectation that you disclose personal health information to your class. If you test positive, contact the Public Health Center. They will contact your students without giving your name.
  • Students will only need to know how to proceed in your absence.
  • You must be cleared by the Public Health Center before returning to campus.

What if a student refuses to wear a mask?

  • Remind the student of the COVID-19 campus policy about wearing a mask. If a student continues to refuse, you can ask them to leave the building. If this matter persists, refer the student to the CARE Team.