10:08 AM

Responsibilities Outlined For Employees Testing Positive, Exposed to COVID-19


By Mark Kramer

Over the past seven months, University of Houston-Downtown faculty and staff have been encouraged to take necessary steps to stay safe. Wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing and other measures have become a common practice in public places to slow the spread of COVID-19.

However, UHD officials want to inform members of the campus community of their responsibilities related to reporting possible exposure to COVID-19.

“We feel that we must clearly communicate the need of self-reporting steps and protocols to those who have been diagnosed or had come into close contact with someone who has tested positive,” said Cynthia Vargas, UHD’s Director of Emergency Management. “These measures help ensure the health and safety of those on campus.”

Vargas outlined these responsibilities of faculty and staff in a recent question and answer session with UHD News.

UHD News: What is the reporting process if a faculty/staff member tests positive?

Vargas: If an employee has been diagnosed through a positive test exam or medical diagnosis, he or she is required to report it via through UHD’s  COVID-19 Diagnosis Form. Also, if someone is showing symptoms or has been exposed to someone who has COVID, they must report it by filling out an Exposure Form. In both cases, the employee must contact their supervisor to inform them that they cannot come to campus.

UHD News: What if I have had contact with someone with COVID?

Vargas: If you have had contact with someone who has COVID-19 during the last 14 days, then submit an Exposure Form and quarantine for 14 days from the last day of exposure. Do not come to campus during your quarantine. Submit a request to Return to Campus Form when your quarantine has ended and employees should also email benefits@uhd.edu.

UHD News: What does it mean to self-quarantine?

Vargas: Stay home (or other location approved by your local health department). This means that you should not go to work, public areas, or attend large gatherings. Comprehensive steps for self-quarantine and preventing the spread of COVID-19 can be found on the CDC website. 

UHD News: Are there resources that employees can reach out to? 

Vargas: UHD has a Contact Tracing team that has been trained to assist those affected by the virus. When you report a COVID-19 diagnosis or if you have been exposed to someone with COVID while on campus, a contact tracer will call you to provide you with information. 

It is important to note that when a contact tracer contacts you, please answer them. They are trying to provide you with important information. At times, they are calling to let you know that you have been exposed to a COVID positive person while on campus. If you’ve tested positive, they are trying to assist you in determining how long you need to remain in isolation and when you can safely discontinue isolation. 

UHD News: If an employee that has symptoms or tests positive is advised by their physician to care for themselves at home, what steps are they to follow before coming back to work?

Vargas: Persons with COVID-19 or related symptoms must remain at home until all the following conditions are met: 

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptom onset 
  • At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications
  • Other symptoms have improved

UHD News: If employees have met the required conditions to return to work, what are the next steps after completing the Request to Return to Campus Form?

Vargas: After answering responses to the questionnaire about any health symptoms you are experiencing, you may be directed to a health care provider before being approved to return to campus.

If you have other questions related to UHD’s COVID-19 efforts, email Coronavirus@uhd.edu

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.