Guidance for faculty: What to do when you learn of someone else’s confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19

As the fall semester has gotten underway, some faculty members have reported hearing from students, colleagues and other members of our campus community who say they have tested positive for COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19.

This message offers a brief overview of steps employees should take when they learn of a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 within our on-campus community.

What to tell students and colleagues about reporting their own confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19

Members of our campus community are expected to proactively report their own symptoms, exposure or positive tests for COVID-19.

Students, faculty and staff who are symptomatic and/or positive for COVID-19 should communicate their suspected or confirmed cases as follows:

  • Students who live on campus or in New Paltz, or who have been on campus recently, should contact the Student Health Service at 845-257-3400
  • Students who are living and taking classes remotely and have not been on campus recently should be working directly with their care providers and county health officials for reporting and contact tracing purposes
  • Employees should notify their immediate supervisor, and either they or their supervisor should contact the Office of Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion at 845-257-3171

Please note that Teaching Assistants, Graduate Assistants and other student employees should notify both the Student Health Service (if they are currently enrolled in classes as students) and their immediate supervisor for their on-campus position.

As a reminder, all students and employees should be completing the Daily Health Screening questionnaire at The Screening app will provide guidance and next steps to those who report symptoms and will also automatically notify campus health officials and contact tracers as warranted.


What faculty can do if a student in their course notifies them of their suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19

Faculty may hear from students about symptoms, exposure, quarantine orders or confirmed cases of COVID-19 for purposes of excusing course absences.

In these cases, faculty can ask the student if they have been placed under mandatory quarantine by their care provider (such an order may be placed for individuals who have tested positive, who are symptomatic or who have been exposed to another person with COVID-19).

Students who have been placed under mandatory quarantine by a medical professional should be able to produce an official, public document called a Quarantine Order, for purposes of officially excusing in-person class absences.

Some students who have not been placed under mandatory quarantine may choose to self-quarantine based on their symptoms or concerns about recent exposure. Although these students will likely not have official documentation, out of an abundance of caution the College recommends that faculty consider such precautions as an excused absence for in-person classes.


When students in quarantine or isolation can return to in-person classes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an infected person must isolate for at least 10 days after the onset of symptoms. They may be released from isolation if their symptoms have improved AND they have had no fever (without the use of medicines) for at least 24 hours. A person who has been exposed to COVID-19 must quarantine for 14 days from the time of exposure.

New Paltz students who are in quarantine or isolation will be monitored by the Student Health Service (or by their care provider, if they do not live locally and do not come to campus), and will be classified as recovered and eligible to return to class if they meet the above-outlined CDC criteria.