FAQs: University Response to a Confirmed COVID-19 Case

Updated Aug. 18, 2020

How does the University provide support when a member of the UMass community has a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19?

The university works closely with local and state public health departments to identify UMass Amherst community members who test positive for COVID-19.  Officials proceed to:

  1. Obtain details about the person’s symptoms, locations on campus and close contacts.
  2. Conduct a risk assessment to determine an action plan. This may include providing a recommendation about self-isolation and providing related assistance, as well as notifying individuals or groups who were in close contact.  
  3. Evaluate specific locations where the person spent time on campus to initiate cleaning and disinfection in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How does UMass follow up with people who were in close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19?

We initiate efforts to reduce the risk of transmission, which includes identifying UMass Amherst community members who were in close contact with the person who tested positive and mapping their movement on campus. Close contact is defined as being within approximately six feet of a person with confirmed COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time, or having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on) without wearing personal protective equipment. Individuals in close contact within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms will be contacted by health officials and given instructions. Close contacts may include roommates, coworkers, instructional faculty, classmates and building occupants.

If you are not notified as being in close contact, you do not need to take any action beyond those recommended for all members of our community to protect themselves against COVID-19. These measures include practicing good hygiene and social distancing, monitoring your health, and staying home if you’re sick.

If you are a UMass Amherst community member and believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, or if you are experiencing fever, cough or shortness of breath, please stay in your residence and call the UHS Triage Nurse at 413-577-5229 for guidance.