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Common Questions about Positive COVID-19 Tests

These questions supplement What You Need to Know: Testing, where you can find more information.

Questions will be added and updated throughout the summer. If you can't find the answer to your question, please email or ask it at a Return to Campus Conversation.

As an instructor, how will I know if students are missing class due to testing positive?

You will be notified if a student is unable to attend your class due to a COVID-19 related matter.

I was in close contact with someone who recently tested positive for COVID-19. We weren't wearing masks and were within 3 feet of each other for over 15 minutes. What should I do?

You must self-quarantine if you feel ill or have had direct contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Until a formal case investigation and contact tracing can be completed, all those who are known or suspected to have been in close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 should undergo a 14-day self-quarantine/self-monitoring period.

In these situations, close contact includes:

  • Having been within 6 feet of someone diagnosed with COVID-19 for a period of at least 15 minutes in any environment, regardless of the use of face coverings or masks; or,
  • Having been in a closed indoor space with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 for a period of at least 15 minutes, regardless of the use of face coverings or masks.

All WVU community members are required to report if they test positive for COVID-19 or are self-quarantining due to suspected or known exposure to COVID-19. Students should notify the WVU CARE Team, and employees should notify WVU Medical Management.

If one student in a class tests positive, will all students in the class have to quarantine?

Only those who have been within close contact of a person who tests positive will be asked to quarantine. A close contact is someone who is within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes of the person who tests positive.

Related questions:

What are the expectations for classroom attendance for students who are isolated due to a positive diagnosis of COVID-19? What guidelines should faculty use for accommodations and leniency?

WVU has amended its attendance policy for University sanctioned absences to reflect the impact of COVID-19 and has instituted a new emergency leave policy that provides guidance if a student should be unable to participate in class for more than a week.

Faculty also should review the COVID-19 Instructor Expectations and Best Practices as they plan their courses and prepare syllabi.

What happens if a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19?

Students, faculty and staff with a positive test result will be notified by the local health department.

Morgantown students, faculty and staff with a positive test result will also be notified by the Student Health Services clinic. Representatives from the local health department will conduct a case investigation for all positive cases and initiate contact tracing.

The University will assist with contact tracing and also work with local health departments to determine if there is a need to decontaminate a specific facility or implement any additional mitigation measures.

Testing information regarding patients is regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines and will be kept confidential.

What if I test positive and self-isolation isn’t possible (sharing a residence hall room or small apartment where isolation isn’t possible)?

WVU has established newly renovated space in Arnold Apartments for residence hall students to self-isolate. In the event that moving to another location is not possible, arrangements may be made for your roommate(s) to move temporarily or support will be provided for you to self-isolate in your own space as safely as possible.

What should employees expect after testing positive for COVID-19?

Employees will be contacted by their local health department and will be instructed to isolate. They will be encouraged to contact their primary care provider for additional care information.

What should students expect after testing positive for COVID-19?

WVU Student Health and Student Life will work with the student to ensure they follow proper isolation protocols. Students living in residence halls who test positive will be moved to Arnold Apartments (which have been newly renovated) for isolation and are encouraged to contact their instructor for accommodations.

Any student, no matter where they live, who tests positive is encouraged to notify the WVU CARE Team to make sure their needs are met.

Will employees be required to use their accrued sick leave if they test positive for COVID-19 or are told to self-quarantine/self-monitor due to possible exposure?

Unless the employee is ill to the extent that they are unable to perform any remote work duties, most employees should be provided with an alternative remote work assignment while waiting for symptoms to subside or to get a negative test result. If you are ill due to COVID-19 and unable to perform work, you should work with your supervisor to apply for special emergency leave.