We know that this is a difficult and stressful time and the decisions we face are equally difficult as we work to fight the spread of the virus.
CDC Guidelines for Exposure (8/17/21)
The success of the university’s response to a positive or presumed positive case for a faculty and staff member relies heavily on the individual promptly self-reporting their circumstance and any medical exam/test results to the university. All members of the ESU campus community and guests are required to wear masks in all public spaces (inside and outdoors), including hallways, classrooms, public spaces, common areas, and during office visits. The following CDC guidelines related to COVID-19 should be followed by all ESU employees.
Quarantine and Isolation
Quarantine if you have been in close contact (within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who has COVID-19, unless you have been fully vaccinated.
People who are fully vaccinated do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. However, fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative.
What to do when exposed and not vaccinated:
- Stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.
- Watch for fever (100.4◦F), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
- If possible, stay away from people you live with, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.
- Watch for symptoms until 14 days after exposure.
- If you have symptoms, immediately self-isolate and contact your local healthcare provider.
You may be able to shorten your quarantine
Your local public health authorities make the final decisions about how long quarantine should last, based on local conditions and needs. Follow the recommendations of your local health provider if you need to quarantine. Options they will consider include stopping quarantine
- After day 10 without testing
- After day 7 after receiving a negative test result (test must occur on day 5 or later)
What to do
- Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.
- Stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible.
- Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
- Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets.
- Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
- Wear a mask when around other people if able.
Notification to Campus
If an employee has been directed to quarantine due to possible exposure or has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, their supervisor will ask what areas of campus the employee may have used or been to and/or any other employees or students they have been in close contact with during the two to three days before leaving campus. While every effort will be made to keep the identity of an employee confidential, other employees, and perhaps students, who have been in close contact with the infected individual will be notified of the situation and recommendations will be provided on a case by case basis regarding the release of specific information to any other employees or students who may have been in close contact with the employee.
When You Can be Around Others After You Had or Likely Had COVID-19
Most people do not require testing to decide when they can be around others; however, if your healthcare provider recommends testing, they will let you know when you can resume being around others based on your test results.
For Anyone Who Has Been Around a Person with COVID-19
Anyone who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19 should stay home for 14 days after their last exposure to that person.
However, anyone who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and who meets the following criteria does not need to stay home.
- Someone who has been fully vaccinated and shows no symptoms of COVID-19. However, fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even they don’t have symptoms and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative.
- Someone who has COVID-19 illness within the previous 3 months and
- Has recovered and
- Remains without COVID-19 symptoms (for example, cough, shortness of breath)
- I think or know I had COVID-19, and I had symptoms
- You can be around others after:
- 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
- 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
- Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving*
*Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation
Note that these recommendations do not apply to people with severe COVID-19 or with weakened immune systems (immunocompromised).
- I tested positive for COVID-19 but have no symptoms.
If you continue to have no symptoms, you can be with others after 10 days have passed since you had a positive viral test for COVID-19.
If you develop symptoms after testing positive, follow the guidance above for “I think or know I had COVID-19, and I had symptoms.”
- I was severely ill with COVID-19 or have a weakened immune system (immunocompromised) caused by a health condition or medication.
People who are severely ill with COVID-19 might need to stay home longer than 10 days and up to 20 days after symptoms first appeared. People with weakened immune systems may require testing to determine when they can be around others. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information. Your healthcare provider will let you know if you can resume being around other people based on the results of your testing.
People who are immunocompromised should be counseled about the potential for reduced immune responses to COVID-19 vaccines and the need to continue to follow current prevention measures (including wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others they don’t live with, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces) to protect themselves against COVID-19 until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider. Close contacts of immunocompromised people should also be encouraged to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to help protect these people.
Concerns and Communication
Remind employees to follow CDC recommended protocols including social distancing, wearing a face mask, washing hands, wiping down commonly used equipment (e.g., copiers, scanners, etc.) and/or the use of hand sanitizer.
The timelines for quarantine and when you report back to work cannot be shortened with a note from a medical provider.
Failure of an employee to report for duty based on fear of exposure will be managed in accordance with existing policies, with all due consideration given on a case-by case basis; but these instances may not be excused if you are short-staffed or the work is essential.
Encourage employees to bring concerns to you. If you perceive or receive information that employees are communicating with each other inappropriately, intervene as soon as possible.
Respect employees’ and students’ right to medical privacy and be careful that information is shared without personal identification. While public health concerns may legally outweigh some privacy rights, information must only be shared on a strict need-to-know basis. Employees may have a need to be informed if there is a potential exposure but be mindful not to personally identify any one individual or provide information that would lead to a person’s identity.
ESU no longer has Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL).
For Employees Who are Traveling
As soon as possible, employees should notify their supervisor of any plans to travel in or outside the United States. The PADOH and CDC websites listed below provide proper protocols to follow when returning home. Based on PADOH guidelines, if a period of self-quarantine is recommended, a supervisor may require the employee to work remotely or use their own leave to cover this period of recommended quarantine; each case will be evaluated individually, based on job responsibilities. Plans to work remotely should be approved before the employee’s travel.
The COVID-19 guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the Pennsylvania Department of Health remain fluid. Changes to these protocols are likely as more information about COVID-19 is obtained.
If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Human Resources Office at askHR@esu.edu.