COVID-19 Student-Instructor Potential Exposure Response

If a student tests positive for COVID-19 at an on-campus testing site, reports an off-campus positive test result on the Daily Screener, and/or uploads a positive test result on the COVID Info tab on the portal, the student will be supported by COVID-19 Help. Faculty and staff in close contact with the student, including their instructors, will be contacted by the EHS COVID-19 Coordinator with guidance.

When a Student Notifies an Instructor of a Positive COVID-19 Test Result before the Instructor is Contacted by the EHS COVID-19 Coordinator

The instructor should:

  • Encourage the student to do the following, if they have not already done so: 1) report their positive test result in the Daily Screener (students will have to do this the next day if they already completed the Daily Screener the morning of a positive test result); 2) upload the positive test result on the COVID-19 Info tab on the Poly Portal; 3) await instruction from COVID-19 Help; and 4) refer to the Student Quarantine and Isolation Guide for more information.
  • Suggest that the student notify others with whom the student has been in close contact. Close contact is defined at the bottom of this page.
  • Instruct the student as you would for other absences due to illness and encourage the student to work with the Disability Resource Center if a COVID-19 situation may affect a student's existing disability or if a student presents with Long COVID and will be unable to engage with the course for an extended length of time.
  • Consider sending a general message to the class to announce the potential exposure without providing the specific name of the student. Please see below for an email template for communicating about a potential exposure.
  • Complete the COVID-19 Reporting Form if you had close contact with the infected person and have been on campus in the past fourteen (14) days. Close contact exposure to COVID-19 is being within 6 feet as someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 (e.g., in the same room) for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

Email Template for Messaging About a Potential Exposure

Dear Students:

I am writing today to notify you of a COVID-19 positive case present in our classroom on [date]. Please monitor your health carefully for the next 14 days. You can find guidance on what to do if COVID-19-like symptoms arise on the Student Quarantine and Isolation Guide webpage. If you do develop COVID-like symptoms, please isolate immediately, get tested right away, and contact me so I am aware of the reason for your absence. You might also consider completing a COVID-19 test on or after 5 days after a potential exposure, regardless of symptoms. Information on testing is available on the COVID-19 Testing webpage.

When a Student Notifies an Instructor of COVID-19-like Symptoms

  • Ask the student if they logged their symptoms in the Daily Symptom Screener; if not, please advise them to do so immediately.
  • Encourage the student to do the following:
    1. Monitor their health.
    2. Stay home.
    3. Schedule a symptomatic COVID-19 test with CHW.
    4. Review information on the Student Quarantine and Isolation Guide webpage.

When a Student Displays COVID-19-Like Symptoms in the Classroom

  • Check the student's campus pass.
    1. If the student's pass is green, trust that the student is monitoring symptoms and may instead be suffering from allergies or a non-COVID-19 illness.
    2. If the student's pass is not green, ask the student to leave the classroom and contact covid-help@calpoly.eduor 805-242-3204.
  • Remind the student to continue monitoring symptoms and follow the information on the Student Quarantine and Isolation Guide webpage.


Employees are required to report their positive case of Covid-19 or their close contact with an individual who has tested positive, either on campus or off, via the Covid reporting portal.

Every individual that reports is contacted. Information received is documented through the Exposure Investigation process. Individuals are given instructions specific to their situation, questions are answered, and appropriate notifications are sent within 24hrs in accordance with OSHA regulations. Names of individuals testing positive are kept confidential.

CLOSE CONTACT is defined as someone sharing the same indoor airspace (e.g., home, clinic waiting room, airplane, etc.) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes) during an infected person’s infectious period.