FAQs AND GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT COVID-19 AND OTHER HEALTH-RELATED MATTERS
Are faculty required to excuse absences for students who test positive for COVID-19?
Per current CDC guidance, individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate for at least five days. Students should be excused from absences incurred because they are isolating after a positive COVID-19 test.
How do I know my student actually has COVID-19 and is not just skipping class?
Students should report positive COVID-19 tests to the TEST REPORTING SYSTEM. Students can upload documentation from home tests as well as from tests completed at a health clinic. Doing so will generate a letter that students can provide to faculty. The letter is generated within a matter of minutes and students are directed to send it to you via email. This letter is the recognized form of documentation that students should use to inform you of a positive COVID-19 test result. Additional documentation is not required and you should not ask students for anything else. There is no need to request verification of this letter by the Office of the Dean of Students. If a student reports to you that they have tested positive for COVID, be sure to remind them about this process.
What if my student reports a confirmed exposure?
Per CDC guidance, individuals exposed to COVID-19 can continue with regular activities while masking as long as they remain asymptomatic and test negative (for ten days after exposure). If your student reports a confirmed exposure and request to stay home, advise the student that if they are asymptomatic, they should attend class while masked. If your student reports symptoms, advise your student to isolate. Please make every effort to excuse absences and permit make up work while your student is isolating and Pl. If you have concerns about your student's absences from class and lack of positive test documentation, please contact your dean's office.
What if multiple students in my class report testing positive for COVID-19? Is there a threshold at which I can move my course temporarily online?
Because of the substantial differences in class sizes and types, there is no uniform threshold. For example, a threshold would not be the same for lecture-based class with 150 seated and socially-distanced students as it would for a vocal performance class with 25 students standing shoulder-to-shoulder.
If multiple students in one or more of your courses test positive for COVID-19 and you feel that continuing to hold class in person presents a health risk to you or your students, please notify your department chair, school director or area coordinator. With your department chair, school director or area coordinator, discuss how a temporary (in most cases, not to exceed two consecutive weeks) modality change may affect your course. Determine how you will message students, what planning or logistical support may be needed for a temporary change, and how you will message a return to in-person activities. Decisions about class modalities should be made with your chair, director or area coordinator in consult with your dean's office. Chairs, directors, and area coordinators are asked to keep a record of all courses approved for temporary modality changes.
Is there general messaging about COVID-19 that TTU is going to send to all students?
Students are receiving an email notification about seasonal illnesses and excused absences. Additionally, we have updated the COVID-19 site so that students who do test positive can use the reporting mechanism to generate a letter they should give to their faculty members. Faculty members should not request additional documentation from students to excuse students from class for COVID19. Students who miss class due to a documented positive COVID-19 test result should also be provided with the opportunity to make up work missed during related absences. There is no need to request verification of this letter by the Office of the Dean of Students.
If I am notified that a student in my class has COVID because the student provides me with the letter generated by TTU's reporting portal, am I required to notify the other students in my class?
No, you are not required to notify anyone. However, you may choose to inform students in the affected class that a member of the class has tested positive for COVID and that everyone is encouraged to monitor for COVID symptoms and welcome to wear a mask.
Can I require my student to show me proof of a negative COVID-19 test before my student can return to class after a positive test result?
No. If you are concerned about your health, please consider wearing a mask to limit potential exposure.
Can I tell my student that an at-home COVID-19 test is not sufficient to use when reporting a positive test result to the TTU reporting portal?
No. Student Health Services recommends at-home COVID-19 tests as a viable alternative to testing conducted in a health clinic. Students should use COVID home test kits that are not expired or older than one year.
What if I have a health condition that impacts my ability to teach my courses or engage in departmental business face to face? For example: I have an autoimmune disorder that renders me more susceptible to serious illness if I contract COVID-19.
Faculty members who have a physical or mental health impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as accessing the workplace due to a health-related vulnerability of contracting COVID-19, may make a request for accommodation through TTU's ADA process. Faculty members who have questions regarding ADA accommodations should contact Human Resources Talent Management.
To make an ADA accommodation request, do I need to provide TTU with documentation from a medical provider?
Each request is reviewed on an individual basis and Human Resources may require documentation from a treating healthcare provider or medical certification to verify the disability. A faculty or staff member seeking a disability-related accommodation must, upon request, submit appropriate medical certification to Human Resources from a treating healthcare provider to substantiate the faculty or staff member's disability and/or the need for accommodation. Human Resources will provide this form to employees if needed. Medical documentation may not be required to substantiate the faculty or staff member's disability and/or the need for accommodation if the faculty or staff member's disability is clear and obvious. (TTUS Regulation 07.11 Access for Individuals with Disabilities).
If I am going to make an ADA accommodation request, do I talk to my department chair, school director or area coordinator first? Or do I go through the ADA process first?
Faculty or staff members who need a disability-related accommodation should make the request known to their immediate supervisor. That notification can happen before or after the faculty or staff member submits the request through the ADA process, but faculty or staff members are encouraged to discuss accommodations with their immediate supervisor as soon as possible to better facilitate a discussion with Human Resources.
Upon receiving a request for accommodation from a faculty or staff member, Human Resources will:
- Review and discuss the request with the employee;
- Discuss the request with the supervisor;
- Verify the disability which may require documentation from a treating healthcare provider or medical certification;
- Review the essential functions of the job;
- Facilitate discussion between the employee and the supervisor regarding possible accommodations; and
- Consult with the Office of the Provost, as warranted, regarding faculty accommodations.
Once I go through the ADA process, will my private medical information be shared with
my department chair, school director, or area coordinator?
Human Resources will not disclose private medical information to supervisors, department chairs, school directors or area coordinators. When Human Resources receives a request, that unit follows the process identified above.
When communicating with supervisors, Human Resources advises that it has received a request for accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Specific medical information is not included but notices indicate the employee has identified a physical or mental health impairment that impacts their ability to perform their job functions.
The TTU ADA Coordinator for faculty, staff, and student employees reviews the request, the supervisor's input, and medical information if requested. The faculty member will receive a memo from the ADA Coordinator indicating whether the request has been approved, denied, or if alternate accommodations have been identified.
The employee's immediate supervisor receives a copy of the memorandum as well. This memo does not contain private medical information. Documents associated with the ADA and private medical information are stored separately from the employee's personnel file.
Please observe the CDC's guidance on COVID-19 for treatment, exposure, etc.