MARCH 22: COVID-19 Reporting Guidelines for Students, Employees
To the University community,
As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve, greater numbers of Tennesseans are seeking medical advice and testing. It is inevitable that as this happens, faculty, staff and students will begin to hear reports or rumors related to possible active cases of the virus among our community.
We are prepared to respond to reports and rumors in a way that balances the great need for the privacy of any person's health care status against the need for us to track possible contacts with a confirmed case of COVID-19. Therefore, we are asking the following of all members of our community:
STUDENTS IN OUR RESIDENCE HALLS
- If you are living on campus and you have symptoms, including a cough, fever, sore throat or shortness of breath, please call MTSU Student Health (615-898-2988) both to report your illness and seek assistance and possible testing.
- Our medical staff will coordinate your diagnosis and make recommendations for treatment and for self-isolation or self-quarantine, if required.
- MTSU Housing will work with you to relocate you to a private space for the duration of the isolation or quarantine period.
FACULTY AND STAFF
If you do not feel well:
- If you are working on campus, and think you might be sick with COVID-19 or are otherwise not feeling well, you will need to stay home to help prevent further contagion on the campus. We would expect this to be the case with any contagious disease.
- You will need to report your illness and subsequent absence to your supervisor, per normal channels.
- You should plan to self-quarantine for 14 days or longer as directed by your health care provider.
If you are experiencing symptoms:
- If you are experiencing cough, sore throat, fever and shortness of breath, or if you have received a confirming diagnosis from your medical provider, you are asked to please stay home and notify your supervisor as soon as possible. Supervisors/department heads should contact their division VP.
- In order to limit your exposure to others to the greatest extent possible, you should plan to self-isolate for 14 days or longer as directed by your health care provider.
If you become sick at work:
- If you become sick at work or start developing the symptoms of COVID, immediately practice social distancing (such as going to the nearest empty room or otherwise removing yourself from the proximity of colleagues), notify your supervisor and plan on going home promptly.
- You should seek medical advice from your health care provider, and may need to self-isolate for 14 days or longer.
When an employee reports possible COVID-19:
- When an employee reports possible COVID-19 illness to their supervisor, as a matter of public health the supervisor will work with the division VP and our senior MTSU medical staff to determine whether or not any close contacts need to be notified.
- If an employee is uncomfortable reporting their confirmed illness to their supervisor, he or she may instead speak directly to Dr. Eric Clark, the medical director of our student Health Center, by calling 615-898-2988. Dr. Clark is helping to coordinate the campus response and containment efforts.
- If it is determined that there may be a risk of exposure to specific close contacts in our workplace, those close contacts may be instructed to self-quarantine.
If you are required to self-quarantine or self-isolate:
- Employees who are required to self-quarantine (no symptoms) or to self-isolate (symptoms or confirmed diagnosis) will be able to use both annual and sick leave to remain in full-pay status.
- If a staff member has insufficient leave to cover their required time out of the workplace, arrangements will be made to allow the leave to be taken and paid back at a later time.
- While the self-quarantine or self-Isolation period is expected to be at least 14 days, you will be required to stay home for a least seven days after your symptoms started and for three days after your fever has stopped without the use of fever-reducing drug (Tylenol, ibuprofen, etc).
Generally, a person is at risk for exposure and should plan to self-quarantine if the person has spent a prolonged period of 10 minutes or longer within six feet of a person who has been diagnosed with COVID 19. Close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting or sharing a health care waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case. In addition, a person may be at risk of exposure and should plan to self-quarantine if he or she has had direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on).
We will work to balance our goals of sharing relevant information with the University community and protecting the legal privacy rights of individuals. As such, when cases emerge, we will work directly with those most likely to be impacted.
Let us all remember to stay safe, take care of each other and check our website, www.mtsu.edu/coronavirus, for updates.
Sidney A. McPhee