Supervisor and HR Lead Guide

COVID-19 Exposures

Updated October 14, 2021

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 Scenarios 3.

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 vaccinated:

  • Fully vaccinated employees, with no COVID-19 symptoms, do not need to quarantine following an exposure to someone with COVID-19.

  • Fully vaccinated employees exposed to someone with COVID-19 must get tested 5-7 days after exposure or as soon as possible if they don’t know when they had close contact.  

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

Those who are not fully vaccinated:

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

    • Get tested as soon as possible, and if negative, get tested again 5-7 days after the exposure. During this time, the employee must isolate for 10 days from the date of known exposure but can return to work after 10 days if they are symptom-free.

    • Isolate for 14 days if the close contact is a member of the employee's household, or if the employee is a healthcare worker.

    • A 10-day isolation is recommended for anyone exposed who does not fit the above situations. 

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

Those with a recent COVID-19 infection:

  • Fully vaccinated: Employees need to get tested 3-5 days after exposure and stay home if experiencing symptoms. A fully vaccinated employee can resume working while waiting to get tested unless they are experiencing symptoms. If the COVID-19 test is positive, see Scenario 3.

  • Not fully vaccinated: Employees who are not fully vaccinated need to get tested as soon as possible, and if negative, get tested 5-7 days after exposure.  During this time, the employee must isolate for 10 days from the date of known exposure but can return to work after 10 days if they are symptom-free.    

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

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, whether unvaccinated or fully vaccinated, 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

An employee is 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 10 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 10 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: 

  • A 'close contact' is defined as being within 6 feet or less for 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 XX/XX/XXXX. If you are fully vaccinated, you will need to get tested 5-7 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, 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 5-7 days after exposure. You will also need to quarantine for 10 days (healthcare workers will need to quarantine for 14 days). If your test is positive, 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 Nurse Line at 612-625-7900 (answered 24/7) 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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