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Notifying Close Contacts After a Positive COVID Test

Note that CHS and HR will no longer be notifying close or proximate contacts or exposure, and this will rely on the individual that tests positive. 

If you test positive for COVID, it’s important for you to tell your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 so they can quarantine, get tested, and wear a well-fitting mask while also taking additional measures to prevent unknowingly spreading COVID to their close contacts. If they are infected, they could spread COVID-19 starting 2 days before they have any symptoms or test positive. By letting your close contacts know they may have been exposed to COVID-19, you are helping to protect them and everyone around them. CDC guidance on how to talk to close contacts

Who is a Close Contact?

Close contacts are people you have been around (less than 6 feet away for a combined total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) during the two-day period before you first had symptoms OR if you do not have symptoms, two days before you were tested for COVID-19, through to the time you started isolation. They are at high risk of infection and therefore need to be notified as soon as possible.

If you test positive:

  • Identify individuals that you have come into close contact with within 48 hours of testing positive or developing symptoms (whichever occurred first) through today.
  • Call, email or text your close contacts to notify them of their exposure to COVID and the recommendation to seek COVID testing at least 3-5 days after the exposure, sooner should they develop any symptoms. This allows individuals to take extra precautions and more carefully monitor their own health status.
  • Share the exposure survey with SSU students and employees to help them determine if they should quarantine or not.
    1. SSU Student Exposure/Quarantine assessment survey
    2.  SSU Employee Exposure survey
  • Share your positive test result in your MassNotify settings on your smart phone, which will anonymously notify your close contacts.
  • SSU close contacts should access on campus testing. Non-SSU close contacts should access off campus testing 
  • All close contacts should follow Mass guidelines.
  • Notify your professors, supervisors, and/or coaches of your need to be absent from in-person activities for 5-10 days due to a health-related concern. We would encourage you to participate remotely, if you feel well enough to do so.

Notifying close contacts, professors, or supervisors

Professors and supervisors will not be notified by health services of your absence or need to isolate. Upon notifying CHS or HR of your positive test, you will receive an email with isolation guidance you may share with your professors or supervisor as documentation of your leave. If you are experiencing difficulties with your classes or your supervisor, please contact our COVID support team, 978.542.3240.
 

Sample Language for Notifying Faculty

Dear Professors,

I am writing to you since I am a student in your course (Name, Section, Date and Time of Course). I need to refrain from coming to campus and/ or participating in-person activities due to a positive COVID test or COVID symptoms as indicated by SSU and MA Department of Public Health isolation and quarantine guidance.

I will be absent from on-campus classes and/or responsibilities for 5-10 days. Before I return to campus, I will ensure I have a negative rapid test and/or have no symptoms.  

Please let me know if I am able to participate in class remotely during this time or if you have recommendations for how best I can make up the work. I would like to continue to make academic progress in your class.

Thank you so much for your understanding and flexibility. If you have any further questions, employees can discuss with HR and students with health services at 978.542.3240.

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Sample Language for Notifying Supervisor 

Dear (insert name of supervisor),

I am writing to you to inform you that I need to refrain from fulfilling my on- campus work duties/ or participating in-person activities due to a positive COVID test or COVID symptoms as indicated by SSU and MA Department of Public Health isolation and quarantine guidance.

I will be absent from on-campus responsibilities for approximately 5-10 days. Before I return to campus, I will ensure I have a negative rapid test and/or have no symptoms.  

For further information, please visit the Polaris COVID-19 Health, Safety, and Campus Response channels.

Thank you so much for your understanding and flexibility. If you have any further questions, employees can discuss with HR and students with health services at 978-542-3240.

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Sample Language for Notifying Salem State Students or Colleagues of Close Contact

Hi (insert name),

I recently tested positive for COVID-19 on (DATE). We spent time together on (DATE), and I want you and those that you are around to be safe. It is HIGHLY recommended that you schedule COVID testing 3-5 days after this exposure. You can get tested on campus. Find information about testing www.salemstate.edu/covid19testing.  Take the CHS Exposure Survey for students or the HR Exposure Survey for employees for guidance on next steps. If you develop symptoms please self-isolate and  take the SSU student symptom Survey or the SSU employee symptom survey.

Sample Language for Notifying Contacts Outside of Salem State

Hi (insert name)

I recently tested positive for COVID-19 on (DATE). We spent time together on (DATE), and I want you and those that you are around to be safe. Here are the CDC recommendations. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, please get tested, and follow CDC guidelines for isolation.

I understand that we are trying to be cryptic here but it doesn't really work when the following language talks about a 5 to 10 day absence and having a negative test. I am wondering if we should just use the words "due to a positive COVID test or COVID symptoms."