Supervisor and HR Lead Guide for COVID-19 Exposures

September 16, 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.  

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

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

Those who are vaccinated:

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

  • Fully vaccinated people exposed to someone with COVID-19 must get tested 3–5 days after exposure. 

Those who are unvaccinated:

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

    • Get tested immediately, and if negative, get tested again 3–5 days after the exposure. 

    • 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. 

  • If the COVID-19 test is positive, the employee must isolate for 10 days but can return to work after 10 days if they are symptom-free for 24 hours at the end of the 10 days. 

  • If the COVID-19 test is negative, the employee must isolate for 10 days from the date of known exposure and can return to work after 10 days if they are symptom-free.

Those with recent COVID-19 infection, regardless of vaccination status:  

  • People who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and recovered do not need to get tested or isolate after an exposure as long as they do not develop new symptoms.

 

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.

 

Scenario 2: 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 immediately and isolate until test results are available, then act accordingly.  

PLEASE NOTE: If an employee develops COVID-19 symptoms while at work, they must leave work, get tested immediately, and isolate until test results are available, then act accordingly.   

Guidance based on test results:

  • If the COVID-19 test result is positive, the employee must remain in isolation for 10 days from the onset of symptoms, or if they are symptom-free, 10 days after their COVID-19 test date (see Scenario 3). 

  • If the COVID-19 test is negative, the employee may follow the usual steps for taking sick time as needed. 

Supervisor’s Role:

  • Advise based on the steps above and follow University rules regarding sick time unless an employee develops COVID-19 symptoms during the workday, in which case the employee will be paid for any time away from work without the need to use Emergency Paid Leave or personally accrued paid leave.   

Unit HR Role:

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

 

Scenario 3: An employee is COVID-19 positive

As instructed by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), an employee is responsible for notifying close contacts and supervisors that they have tested positive for COVID-19. In many cases, MDH is asking people who test positive to contact those that they may have been in close contact with.  

In some cases, MDH is conducting case investigation and contact tracing and notifying exposed employees directly.  

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 fever is gone for at least 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medications, and with 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.    

Supervisor’s Role:

Unit HR Role:

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

Revised 8-19-2021