FAQs from August 27 Fall 2020 Briefing

Questions and Answers from the Aug. 27 Weekly Fall 2020 Briefing with Chancellor

Q. If I received a message that my test results were inconclusive the week of Aug. 24, what should I do?
A. There was a backlog at the lab, and you very likely received an automated “inconclusive” message. This functionality has been disabled. If you did not receive any results, please report to testing the next time you visit campus.

Q. When can we expect to learn updated cases numbers?
A. We post the most updated numbers at uis.edu/covid-19/testing.

Q. What should I do if I hear that a person tested positive?

  • Should you know the identity of a student/employee who is positive, DO NOT TELL OTHERS, do not discuss via email, etc. Even if people know, don’t say their name. Just refer to a “potential exposure.” Even if the individual tells others, you still can’t repeat it or confirm it for others.
  • If this person is in your area, please contact Human Resources to let them know you’re aware of a positive exposure in your area (no name necessary), and they will consult with Facilities to decide if/when the area should receive additional cleaning.

Q. Can/should I tell my close coworkers if I test positive for their safety?
A. You may tell whoever you want about your result, but it is not required. Do not provide instructions for others to quarantine or isolate. That information will be provided by Public Health or the UIS Testing Team. You should tell your supervisor you have an excused absence and do not report work. Also, you must contact HR immediately to learn about leave options and the process for returning to work.

Q. Do we still have two testing sites?
A. No, we are closing testing at FRH to consolidate resources at the lower level PAC site. We are adding more check-in lanes and resources to keep things moving and keep people distanced.

Q. Do I still need a testing time slot or appointment?
A. No, time slots are no longer necessary, although you’re welcome to continue to report to testing at that time. Simply drop in to the PAC site to provide a sample at a time convenient for you, so long as it’s once a week.

Q. I heard 30 minutes and then 60 minutes – how long should I really abstain from eating or drinking before testing?
A. We’ve extended the wait period before testing for eating/drinking, tooth brushing, tobacco use, etc., from 30 minutes to 60 minutes. Also, be mindful of lip balm, lipstick, and breath fresheners, too.

Q. In case of an increase of cases on campus, what mitigation strategies or thresholds are in place?
A. Visit the COVID-19 Testing page for warning metrics and mitigation strategies in the event of increased cases.

Q. If a student tests positive, will faculty who teach their classes be notified?
A. If the class was physical distancing and everyone was wearing a mask, people wouldn’t be considered a close contact per Public Health guidelines. We are balancing privacy (HIPAA) with an operational “need to know” approach. Students should notify faculty if they need to miss class, but it’s up to the student whether or not to share their health status.

Q. What support is available for students who are in isolation?
A. Students will have essentials, such as weekly fresh linens and trash pickup, cleaning supplies, and daily food deliveries. They are assigned a counselor who will check in with them regularly, in addition to regular contact with Residential Life, Health Services and Public Health.

Q. What can residential students do if their roommates are not being good citizens?
A. If there are concerns, we encourage roommates to have a conversation first to see if they can come to an understanding. If that doesn’t work, they can contact their Residential Advisor or Residence Director.

Q. Can an employee still work if they test positive?
A. If an employee tests positive, they are NOT to work on-site, even if they feel fine. However, an employee can consider working from home if their job duties can be performed remotely and if they are feeling well enough to do so.

Q. If I’m in quarantine or isolation, should I report for on-campus testing?
A. You should not break quarantine or isolation for testing, or go to on-campus testing site if you have symptoms. Call your primary care provider (employees) or Health Services (students).

Q. What will happen when an employee tests positive?
A. The UIS Testing Team will reach out to an employee soon after getting results and tell them not to come to work. The employee will be directed to notify their supervisor that they are not to be at work, have an excused absence from work and that any questions can be directed to HR. (They don’t have to share they are positive, or any other medical information.) Employees will also be directed to immediately contact HR to talk about leave options and discuss clearance criteria to return to work.

HR will reach out to the unit leader/supervisor to ensure the employee is not at work. Facilities will be notified of any cleaning/disinfecting needs. If a supervisor becomes aware of a positive case via an outside testing site, alert HR so the same protocols described above can be followed.

Even employees who are fully remote or on campus intermittently should notify HR of a positive test. This is because the same clearance from a healthcare provider or Public Health will be required before the employee can be on campus for any reason.

Q. As a supervisor, what should I do if an employee is non-compliant with a quarantine/isolation request and reports to work anyway?
A. Send the employee home immediately and alert HR. Employees can be subject to disciplinary action for failure to follow directives. Please don’t “protect” the employee by not reporting them to HR – public safety is paramount to keep everyone safe.

Q. Is it safe to study inside on campus?
A. Yes, just abide by physical distancing and wear your mask. If you see others not doing so, avoid those groups and situations.

Q. What steps have been taken to promote safe airflow inside of buildings?
A. We cleaned and changed all filters for our ventilation systems. We also increased the air flow/exchange to bring in fresh air more often. Learn in more detail about specific percentages and approaches here: https://www.uis.edu/facilitiesandservices/wp-content/uploads/sites/90/2020/07/COVID-19-Facilties-and-Services-HVAC.pdf