Category: Messages to the Community

Title: What Faculty Can Expect if There Is a Positive Case in Your Classroom

Date Published: August 30, 2021

Dear Faculty,

I’m writing to provide guidance about Georgetown’s COVID-19 contact tracing process and what to expect if there is a positive case in your classroom. I appreciate your support in taking the steps below to help protect the health and safety of our campus community.

Attendance and Seating Chart

  • Please take attendance in each class and consider establishing assigned seats with a seating chart.

Contact Tracing

  • As soon as our Care Navigators learn that someone in our campus community has tested positive for COVID-19, we contact the individual to provide care, support and specific guidance based on CDC recommendations.
  • The Care Navigator team works as quickly as possible to determine who was in close contact with the positive individual and then notifies and provides guidance to those individuals, typically within hours of learning about the positive case.
  • If a positive individual was present in your classroom, you will be notified out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of transparency, even if you were not in close contact with the individual.
  • We receive test results 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and conduct contact tracing as soon as we receive a positive result, so you may be notified at night or on the weekend. We recognize this will be concerning and disruptive news. Please know we are taking all appropriate steps to protect the health and safety of our community.

Notifying Students

  • To assist with our contact tracing efforts, we may ask you to notify students and any other staff or faculty who were present in your class on the day of the exposure, using a template that we will send you.
  • If you are not comfortable notifying your class, please let us know right away and email us the list of students and any guests who were in the classroom at that time so that we may reach out to them.
  • As a reminder, for privacy and other reasons, please do not email your class the name of any specific student who may be sick.

If You Have Symptoms 

If You Have Been Exposed But Don’t Have Symptoms

  • According to the CDCfully vaccinated individuals who have been exposed, or potentially exposed, do not need to quarantine unless they develop symptoms, so fully vaccinated faculty members who don’t have symptoms do not need to cancel class or disclose their potential exposure with students in other classes. They can continue to teach in-person and conduct business as usual with the guidance below.
  • Fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure (even if they don’t have symptoms).
  • If you were exposed, even if you were not a close contact, you must wear a mask while teaching for 14 days following exposure or until your test result is negative.
  • Please email Mark Cohen at cohenm@georgetown.edu if you would like to pick up a clear mask from CETS.

Masks

  • Regardless of vaccination status, all students, staff and faculty are required to wear masks over the nose and mouth indoors, including while in class, unless they have a University-approved disability accommodation. 
  • University guidelines allow for fully vaccinated faculty members to remove their masks when lecturing or speaking in class or at University events (provided they are at least 6 feet away from others). However, given current conditions, we strongly encourage faculty and other speakers to wear masks at all times, including while teaching.
  • No eating or drinking in class will be permitted, unless the individual has a medical accommodation.
  • We very strongly recommend individuals wear a surgical-style mask, or other medical-style mask, or consider double-masking (cloth mask on top of a surgical-style mask). We strongly recommend against wearing a cloth mask alone. Community members should not wear a mask with a vent or valve because exhaled droplets that might contain the virus can escape.

You can find helpful information in this message regarding managing students who cannot attend classes due to quarantine or isolation.

The individuals who have tested positive in our community in recent days have been asymptomatic or experienced mild symptoms. We expect additional similar cases throughout the semester.

Georgetown has a multi-layered approach to significantly reduce the risk of infection and serious illness. We have taken many important steps, including the three top mitigation strategies: 1) requiring vaccination, 2) requiring masks indoors and 3) improving ventilation systems across our campuses so that they meet standards required for reduced transmission.

You also can find answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19, read other COVID-19-relates messages and track on-campus cases via our COVID-19 Dashboard, which is updated each Monday. If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact our Care Navigator team at covidcarenavigator@georgetown.edu.

Thank you for your assistance.

Sincerely,

Ranit Mishori, M.D., MHS, FAAFP
Professor of Family Medicine, Vice President and Chief Public Health Officer