COVID-19 Testing, Reporting, and Response Steps
The four most important steps students, faculty and staff must take responding to possible COVID-19 cases are:
- Notify your instructors and/or supervisor
- Seek medical evaluation and get tested
- If positive, report in Bobcat Trace
- Daily self-assessment for fever and symptoms of COVID-19 is important. If you are sick—do not go to school or work. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, contact your healthcare provider or the Student Health Center (SHC) at 512-245-2161 for evaluation and testing for COVID-19.
- The SHC evaluation begins with a telehealth visit with a medical provider. If the medical provider determines you need to be tested, they will advise you to come into the SHC. Tests are administered on-site and results are generally available within 48-72 hours. You should self-isolate while awaiting test results.
- Self-isolate for 10 days from the start of symptoms. Follow these CDC instructions on what it means to self-isolate. For those who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive, they must self-isolate for 14 days from the last time they saw this person.
- Students: If you need to miss class due to illness or to being in close contact with someone who tested positive, notify your instructors. If you are too ill to notify your instructors individually, you may contact the Student Emergency Services Office within the Dean of Students Office at 512-245-2124, and they can notify all your instructors on your behalf. To use this service through the DOS Office, please be prepared to share documentation from your healthcare provider. If you are a student who is also employed by Texas State, notify your supervisor as well.
- If you test positive for COVID-19 at the SHC, you will receive instructions from the SHC about isolation. People who test positive must self-isolate for 10 days from the start of symptoms. Do not return to class or your university workplace until completing your isolation period, and until you are fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication, and your symptoms, including respiratory symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath, have improved.
- If you test positive for COVID-19 at a facility other than the SHC, notify the SHC so that contact tracing can be initiated and an assessment made about the need for any other safety measures.
- If you were in close contact with someone who tested positive, even if you have no symptoms, report it to the SHC, and get tested for COVID-19. Testing is available at the SHC. Anyone who was in close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes) with an infected person during their infectious period (two days before symptoms started or the date of the positive test if no symptoms) should quarantine for 14 days since their last contact with the infected person, to account for the incubation period.
- If you had brief contact with someone who tested positive, you do not have to quarantine or self-isolate, but you must closely self-monitor for fever or symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days since your last contact with the infected person. For a list of COVID-19 symptoms, refer to the Daily Self-Assessment. Brief contact is contact you had with someone that does not meet the thresholds of at least 15 minutes and within 6 feet.
- CONFIDENTIALITY: Supervisors and faculty must safeguard the privacy of the infected person. Releasing the names of affected employees or students violates their privacy and confidentiality. When a positive case is reported to the SHC or local public health department, the appropriate contact tracers will notify those who came in close contact with the patient, and may request assistance from TXST employees, faculty or supervisors to obtain contact information for the exposed persons. Case information is shared only with those persons that need to know and who may have some action to take. Information about positive cases or close contacts is confidential information and should be safeguarded.
- The Student Health Center (SHC) is available to provide guidance to faculty and supervisors with questions. The SHC may contact you or request your assistance as part of the contact tracing process.
- Employees should notify both their supervisor and the Student Health Center if they have tested positive, or were in close contact with a positive case.
- Supervisors and faculty: If an employee or student tells you they tested positive or were in close contact with someone who tested positive, encourage them to contact the Student Health Center (SHC) if they have not already done so. The Student Health Center will work with you to notify other staff that they may have been exposed to someone positive for COVID-19 and provide guidance about either quarantine or self-monitoring.
- Supervisors and faculty: If you are notified that one of your employees has tested positive for COVID-19, the workspace the infected person utilized should be left unoccupied and untouched for 24 hours after they leave and then cleaned and disinfected with a focus on high-touch areas. Any other areas that the individual frequented while in the infectious period should be cleaned and disinfected as well. Notify the supervisor of the custodial staff that normally cleans your office space that these steps will be required. Classrooms will be cleaned and disinfected nightly.
Supervisors: During the pandemic, a supervisor may ask an employee if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. However, the inquiry should be limited to specific symptoms of the virus. Supervisors must remain mindful of the confidential nature of such employee information and should take reasonable steps to maintain the confidentiality of such inquiries. If the employee is exhibiting symptoms outlined in the Daily Self-Assessment, then they should go home and contact their healthcare provider or the Student Health Center for medical evaluation and COVID-19 testing.
Supervisors: The EEOC has determined that COVID-19 qualifies as a direct threat, and accordingly, that “a significant risk of substantial harm would be posed by having someone with COVID-19, or symptoms of it, present in the workplace at the current time.” It is therefore permissible, at the current time, for a supervisor to refuse to have someone come to work if he/she has COVID-19 or symptoms of it.
- Employees diagnosed with COVID-19 should follow CDC-recommended steps, should use FFCRA leave (and use sick leave after FFCRA leave ends) and should not return to work until the criteria set by the healthcare provider to discontinue home isolation are met.
- Employees who are well but who have a family member at home sick with a confirmed case of COVID-19 should isolate from the member and notify their supervisor, follow CDC recommended precautions, get tested, stay at home for 14 days since last contact with the infected family member even if the test is negative, and utilize FFCRA leave (and sick leave after FFCRA leave ends).
- Employees who are caregivers for a family member with a confirmed case of COVID-19, and have frequent close contact while caring for them, should follow the CDC recommendations for Caregivers and quarantine for 14 days after last contact with the infected family member during their isolation period.
- Employees who are not ill but self-quarantined should work remotely during that period to the extent possible.
Contact tracing is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19. All students, faculty, and staff who test positive for COVID-19 or are identified as a close contact should report in Bobcat Trace. This is a secure web application that will facilitate our contact tracing efforts and help us monitor the incidence of COVID-19 on our campuses. Identifying the close contacts of a positive case as soon as possible can prevent them from infecting others.
When a member of the campus community reports in Bobcat Trace, the web application automatically generates an e-mail to the person reporting with comprehensive information about how to safely isolate or quarantine. The person reporting is instructed to isolate or quarantine and contact their supervisor or professors to notify them of their need to be away from work or school.
The Student Health Center (SHC) has a team of contact tracing professionals, trained using the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health COVID-19 contact tracing course, who will contact individuals who have tested positive or been exposed to a positive case. Depending on the number of persons reporting, it may be several hours before contact tracers can speak to the person reporting. Positive cases are prioritized over close contacts. The goal is to make contact within 24 hours of the report. The contact tracers will obtain information to determine:
- Where and how the person may have been exposed to the infection
- Infection, isolation or quarantine periods
- Close contacts
- Whether a student attended classes during their infectious period
- Whether a supervisor or professor should be contacted for assistance in identifying close contacts
- Whether the Department of Housing and Residential Life should be contacted for assistance in coordinating arrangements for isolation or quarantine
- Whether there may be spaces that need to be closed, cleaned and disinfected
Contact tracers will then contact the appropriate persons to ensure that necessary actions are taken. Case information is shared only with those persons that need to know and who may have some action to take. Information about positive cases or close contacts is confidential information and should be safeguarded.
General announcements about positive cases in a department or class should not be made unless there is specific instruction to do so. Sharing information about a positive case when there is no specific action that others need to take is likely to create unnecessary concern and may lead to the case’s or close contact’s identity being determined resulting in a violation of their privacy. When deemed appropriate and necessary, the university will make announcements to the campus community about a COVID-19 situation and any precautions that should be taken.
Texas State University has a comprehensive testing program in place to monitor and limit the presence of COVID-19 on our campuses. Our goal is to make testing accessible for our students, faculty and staff, while gathering scientific data to inform university operations related to COVID-19.
Robust testing, combined with adherence to key precautions such as wearing face coverings, daily symptom screenings, hand hygiene and physical distancing, can help protect Texas State against the spread of COVID-19.
Our approach to COVID-19 testing consists of three components: testing for individuals who are symptomatic, testing for exposed individuals, and asymptomatic testing of university community members.
Each week during the fall semester, the Texas State Student Health Center (SHC) is selecting a random sample of faculty, staff and students for free, confidential COVID-19 testing. It is important that those selected complete testing. Results of testing will inform university decisions and guide planning.
Minors and students who have already tested positive for COVID-19 are not eligible to participate in the sample.
In addition to testing at the SHC, Texas State University has partnered with the Texas Division of Emergency Management and Curative Inc. to bring free COVID-19 testing to our university community. The PCR test is collected with an oral swab and results are provided in less than 48 hours. All Texas State faculty, staff, and students are eligible for the testing but it is not recommended for those who have had a positive COVID-19 test within the last 90 days.
The Curative Testing Kiosk is located on the plaza between Flowers Hall and Evans Liberal Arts building on the San Marcos Campus. Testing will be available from 8am – 5pm, Monday through Friday. Please pre-register for the free test at this link (in either a Chrome, Firefox, or Safari browser) and select “All TXST Students, Faculty and Staff Testing Kiosk at Flowers Hall.” You may choose from a list of dates and times to visit the kiosk for testing. Bring a Texas State University ID to check-in for your test. Onsite registration will also be available. The testing is fast, easy, and painless. For more information about this free testing, check COVID-19 Testing Kiosk or call the Student Health Center at 512-245-2161.
The SHC is trying to bring free COVID-19 testing to the Round Rock Campus. County government and the Texas Division of Emergency Management determine where kiosks will be placed. Curative has opened a free testing site at the Georgetown Public Library parking lot which is about 15 minutes from the Round Rock campus. If the SHC is able to get a kiosk for the Round Rock campus, Texas State will make an announcement about it. In the meantime, faculty, staff and students can access free testing at the Georgetown Public Library site. (Last updated October 23)
The university conducts weekly PCR testing to monitor students, faculty and staff who work in the Child Development Center on the San Marcos Campus. Athletic teams are tested at the start of their camps and weekly during competition.
Testing for Individuals Who are Symptomatic
PCR testing for COVID-19 is available for students, faculty and staff who have symptoms of possible COVID-19. By using a reference lab, CPL, to support SHC in-house testing, testing capacity can be increased up to 500 tests per day if necessary.
The university is purchasing five rapid PCR testing machines that will allow for approximately 150 tests per day with a 15-minute turnaround time for results. This enables faster contact tracing and decreases unnecessary self-isolation. As new testing options become available, they will be assessed for use at Texas State.
Testing for Exposed Individuals
Texas State conducts contact tracing for university community members who test positive for COVID-19. Contact tracing helps slow the spread of COVID-19 by identifying individuals who have been in close contact with those who test positive and recommending they quarantine and also get tested.
All students, faculty, and staff who test positive for COVID-19 or who are identified as a close contact must report in Bobcat Trace. This is a secure web application for reporting positive COVID-19 cases and will facilitate our contact tracing efforts and help us monitor the incidence of COVID-19 on our campuses.
The SHC has a team of contact tracing professionals, trained using the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health COVID-19 contact tracing course, who will contact individuals who have tested positive or been exposed to a positive case.
Visit the Roadmap homepage for a dashboard that shows the number of positive test results reported among students, faculty and staff, as well as case data for Hays and Williamson counties. (Scroll to the bottom of the Roadmap homepage for the dashboard)
Texas State is committed to balancing responsive and transparent communication with privacy and confidentiality laws including FERPA, HIPAA, and other state laws. We must safeguard all sensitive personal information, especially health information by following the “minimum necessary” and “need to know” requirements of these laws.
With a positive case of coronavirus, we focus on identifying and notifying close contacts. In some cases, we may expand that group to notify others who may have had brief but significant contact with the person who tested positive. We understand people are anxious to know all the information, but if they are not at risk and didn’t come in contact with a confirmed case, the university cannot release case information.
The university will not disclose the identity of positive cases to the general public. A positive case may be discussed with supervisors in order to coordinate additional actions that may be needed to prevent the spread of infection, but such information will be safeguarded to protect the privacy of the individual. The university is working in close coordination with the Hays County Local Health Department. The county and/or university will notify those who are in direct contact with any person who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Can’t find the answer to your question?
COVID-19 Supervisor and Faculty Questions is a resource for faculty and staff supervisors who have questions about a COVID-19 situation in their classroom, area, or department. The university’s contact tracing team will respond to submitted questions.