What if you tested positive tomorrow? Protect friends and loved ones by being honest with contact tracers

Think about all the people you encounter over the course of a few days: Family members, friends, coworkers, significant others. What would it take to protect them if you tested positive for COVID-19?

One of the easiest answers to that question: Be honest with contact tracers!

We know that for many students, a positive diagnosis may come with feelings of guilt, anxiety or even denial. You might think you’re protecting your friends by keeping their names out of your conversation with contact tracers – but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Contact tracing is one of the most powerful tools we have to prevent the spread of the virus. It’s a fully confidential process conducted on our campus by New Paltz staff who have gone through rigorous training and work at all hours of the day to support our community fight against the virus.

Good contact tracing isn’t about punishing people for their behavior – it’s about helping them understand they may be at risk of giving the virus to the people close to them, and giving them guidance for precautions they can take to avoid that outcome.

The technique depends on all members of a community to buy in. That means being thorough and honest with contact tracers about whether you’re experiencing symptoms, and about who you were with prior to your positive test. It also means taking their advice seriously if they tell you your “bubble” has too many people in it, or if they direct you to quarantine for a few days to be safe.

There’s just a few weeks left until the end of the semester, and with vaccination ongoing, it feels like there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel. We are incredibly grateful to all students and everyone else in our community who has done their part to prevent spread of the virus during the last year-plus. Please keep getting tested, keep your bubble small, and keep being upfront with contact tracers to help us finish strong during these last few weeks. Thank you!