Supervisor and HR Lead Guide

COVID-19 Exposures

Updated January 25, 2022

These scenarios regarding employee exposure and testing were developed in partnership with the Health Emergency Response Office (HERO) and Boynton Health. These scenarios are intended to provide guidance for HR Leads, campus and unit HR staff, as well as supervisors.  Sample communications for exposures is provided under Scenario 3.

FULLY VACCINATED is defined as having two doses of Moderna or Pfizer, or one dose of Janssen, and it has been two weeks since the vaccination was received.

PLEASE NOTE: All testing protocols included in this guide are aligned with the University of Minnesota's COVID-19 Attestation testing requirements. 

Scenario 1: An employee was exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 

Those who are fully vaccinated and up-to-date with boosters:

  • Fully vaccinated employees who have received a booster dose (if due), with no COVID-19 symptoms, do not need to quarantine following an exposure to someone with COVID-19.

  • Fully vaccinated and boosted employees exposed to someone with COVID-19 should get tested 5 days after exposure or as soon as possible if they don’t know when they had close contact.  

  • A fully vaccinated employee who has been boosted can resume working while waiting to get tested unless they are experiencing symptoms.

Those who are fully vaccinated and are eligible for a booster dose but have not yet received one:

  • If an employee has been fully vaccinated but has not recieved a booster dose and is exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, they should:

    • Get tested 5 days after the exposure. During this time, the employee must quarantine for 5 days from the date of known exposure but can return to work after 5 days if they are symptom-free.

  • If the COVID-19 test is positive, see Scenario 3.

Those who are not vaccinated:

  • If an employee has not been fully vaccinated and is exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, they should:

    • Get tested 5 days after the exposure. During this time, the employee must quarantine for 5 days from the date of known exposure but can return to work after 5 days if they are symptom-free.

  • If the COVID-19 test is positive, see Scenario 3.

Those with a recent COVID-19 infection:

  • 90-day testing exemption following COVID-19 diagnosis: Employees are not required to test for 90 days following the date of a positive COVID-19 test, or diagnosis by a licensed healthcare provider.

  • Proof of a positive COVID-19 test, or documentation from a healthcare provider, may be needed to qualify for this exemption period. 

PLEASE NOTE: An employee showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home, notify their supervisor and get tested, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection. See Scenario 2.

Supervisor’s Role

  • Advise the employee that they need to follow the guidelines above. 

Unit HR Role

  • Advise supervisor and/or employee regarding potential leave entitlements, including Emergency Paid Leave.

 

Scenario 2: An employee has symptoms of COVID-19

An employee, regardless of vaccination status, stays home and notifies the supervisor that they have COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, headache, muscle pain, congestion, runny nose, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea).  

Test recommendations

  • The employee must get tested as soon as possible and isolate until test results are available, then act accordingly.  

PLEASE NOTE: If an employee develops COVID-19 symptoms while at work, they must:

  1. Leave work.

  2. Get tested as soon as possible, and 

  3. Isolate until test results are available; then act based on their results (see below).   

Guidance based on test results

  • If the COVID-19 test result is positive, see Scenario 3.

  • If the COVID-19 test is negative, the employee can resume working when they are feeling better.

Supervisor’s Role

  • Advise based on the steps above and follow University rules regarding potential leaves, including Emergency Paid Leave.  

Unit HR Role

  • Advise supervisor and/or employee regarding potential leave entitlements.

 

Scenario 3: An employee is COVID-19 positive

Employees who test positive for COVID-19 are responsible for following isolation guidelines, notifying close contacts of exposure, and advising supervisors that they have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Guidance for a positive COVID-19 test

  • An employee who has tested positive for COVID-19 must isolate for 5 days after the onset of symptoms AND/OR continue isolation until after their fever is gone for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, and with the improvement of other symptoms.

  • An employee who has tested positive for COVID-19 and is asymptomatic must isolate for 5 days after their COVID-19 test date. 

  • The U of M strongly recommends students, faculty and staff notify individuals with whom they have been in close contact. The Inform section of the Safe Campus website provides additional information on what steps to take to inform close contacts.

  • Individuals with a positive COVID-19 test may receive information from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) via text or email. Carefully read this information and complete the online survey from MDH. This survey will help MDH understand the current state of COVID-19 transmission in our state. PLEASE NOTE: Individuals with a positive COVID-19 test do not need to wait for a text or email from public health partners to notify individuals that they have had close contact with, which is defined by the CDC as: 

    • Being within 6 feet or less for a total of 15 minutes or more with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19. 

    • It is important to note that being near “contacts of contacts” is not considered exposure to COVID-19.   

Supervisor’s Role

  • Advise the employee that they should follow the MDH stay-at-home guidelines before returning to work.   

  • Consult with unit HR on leaves options, including Emergency Paid Leave.

  • Employees may ask for assistance in determining and notifying coworkers who meet the CDC definition of a close contact. Supervisors should assist to the extent possible. Additional information is available on the Be Informed section of Safe U. If the employee requests that the supervisor notifies close contact(s), use the template, below, to notify anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace. Ideally, do this in-person or by phone. If there is no response, email the employee. 

  • SAMPLE COMMUNICATION: “Someone in our workplace has tested positive for COVID-19. We are notifying you, as this individual may have been in close contact with you on [day]. If you are fully vaccinated and have received a booster dose, you will need to get tested 5 days after exposure. While you wait to get tested, you can resume working [in-person, hybrid, or remotely, depending on schedule] unless you are experiencing symptoms. If you are unvaccinated or are vaccinated but have not yet received a booster dose despite being eligible, you will need to go home and get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible through M Test, MDH, your healthcare provider, or a local pharmacy. If your test result is negative, you will need to get tested again 5 days after exposure. You should quarantine for 5 days from the date of this contact. If your test is positive, you will need to isolate for an additional 5 days. Please let me know if there is anything that I can do to support you.”

  • Twin Cities Campus: Supervisors with concerns about multiple or increased employee reports of positive COVID tests should call the Boynton Public Health at 612-626-6738 to review their concerns and determine if enhanced mitigation strategies are needed.  

  • Beyond potential close contacts that an employee has asked a supervisor to contact, mass notifications of groups of employees should not be made unless there is a documented public health reason to do so, as reviewed by public health partners in Boynton Health or the Health Emergency Response Office (HERO). (For example, if there is reason to believe a large percentage of employees in a work setting meet the CDC definition of close contact). 

  • If the employee thinks they may have contracted COVID-19 at work, complete the First Report of Injury form. 

  • If you have questions about cleaning and disinfecting, University Health and Safety offer resources or contact University Health and Safety directly at 612-626-6002.

Unit HR Role

  • Advise supervisor and/or employee regarding potential leave entitlements.

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