Testing and Contact Tracing

The global pandemic continues to challenge every aspect of our lives. Texas A&M University-San Antonio is committed to mitigating the issues that may arise during the Fall 2020 semester and fostering a safe learning and working environment for everyone in our community. To maintain the safest campus possible, the University has developed a robust COVID-19 testing and contact tracing plan so our students can focus on their educational goals.

COVID-19 Protocol and Certification for Campus Visitors

A&M-San Antonio seeks to preserve the safety and well-being of all students, employees and visitors at its properties and facilities. In an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and to protect each workplace, the University has developed the following protocol for all properties and facilities it owns or otherwise controls consistent with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and guidance provided by the Governor of Texas.

Before coming to campus you must review the "Safe Practices for Visiting Texas A&M-SA Campus During the COVID-19 Pandemic" and acknowledge the protocol and certification.

COVID-19 EXPOSURE/CASE REPORTING PROCESS

Knowledge about the transmission, incubation and symptoms of COVID-19 continues to evolve. What remains consistent is the need to inform the University of suspected and confirmed exposure to the virus and mitigate related risk to others. The following provides an overview of the individual responsibility to report, as well as the key contacts and resources available for students and employees.

By adhering to the following reporting processes and protocols, students, faculty and staff will help maintain the confidentiality of medical information as required by applicable law and enhance the health and safety of our campus community.

Students, faculty and staff are required to:

  • Monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, which may include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, new loss of taste and/or smell, vomiting and/or diarrhea, and sore throat;
  • Use a self-screening tool for assessment; and
  • Consider immediate testing, if symptomatic.

Please note that COVID-19 is likely present in pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals.

Based on the CDC’s strategy, members of the campus community with new signs or symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 infection cannot return to class or work until they meet the following criteria: (1) 10 days from onset of illness and free from the onset of symptoms; (2) at least 24 hours with no fever without fever reducing medications; and (3) improvement of symptoms.

Self-screening tools are currently available on the CDC’s website and through the City of San Antonio at https://covid19.sanantonio.gov/Home. In the meantime, a symptom-monitoring log from the Texas Department of State Health Services can be used.

The division of Student Success & Engagement – working with the Risk Management Coordinator – will remotely monitor students in residence hall-based isolation or quarantine on a daily basis, to include temperature checks and symptom screening. Student Success & Engagement will arrange for transfer of students to an appropriate treatment site for a clinical evaluation if symptoms advance or at an individual’s request.

If faculty suspect a student may have been exposed, or if a student reports they suspect or have been exposed or are feeling unwell, faculty should contact Rita Arredondo and submit the COVID-19 Report Form (self-reporting form).  Faculty should also ask the student to submit the COVID-19 Report Form.

Rita Arredondo
Risk Management
Arredondo@tamusa.edu
(210) 784-2028

Employees & Students

Employees (including student employees) must stay home and immediately notify their supervisor and complete the COVID-19 Report Form through the designated web portal if they:

  • Have been diagnosed with or received a positive test result for COVID-19;
  • Are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (as listed on the CDC website); or
  • Believe they have been in close contact (defined as being within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes regardless of wearing a face covering) with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19, or someone in their household has been diagnosed with or received a positive test result for COVID-19.

Students must stay home and immediately notify the Dean of Students, Jo Anna Benavides-Franke, dos@tamusa.edu, and complete the COVID-19 Report Form through the designated web portal if they:

  • Have been diagnosed with or received a positive test result for COVID-19;
  • Are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (as listed on the CDC website); or
  • Believe they have been in close contact (defined as being within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes regardless of wearing a face covering) with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19, or someone in their household (including a roommate or housemate) has been diagnosed with or received a positive test result for COVID-19.

Supervisors

Supervisors must take the following actions when notified by an employee or student of any of the above listed COVID-19 criteria (this includes a student notifying a faculty member):

  • Instruct the person to go home immediately or stay home, practice self-isolation, and complete the COVID-19 Report Form through the designated web portal;
  • Immediately report any information provided by the individual through the COVID-19 Report Form (in case the employee or student does not complete the COVID-19 Report Form in a timely manner);
  • Inform the person that the information provided through the COVID-19 Report Form will be used by the Institution to provide them with information and resources and to initiate contact tracing, if necessary, and encourage the person to cooperate with these efforts; and
  • Other than completion of the COVID-19 Report Form, supervisors should not relay any medical information about their employees to any other persons.

RESPONSE TO SUSPECTED/CONFIRMED POSITIVE CASES OF COVID-19

Students
If the University receives notice of a student being tested for COVID -19, the Dean of Students will only notify the students’ instructors and any other students who may have potentially been exposed, in instances of a confirmed positive test.

For positive results, the University’s Risk Manager or a contract tracing staff member will inform any exposed individual(s) who had close contact with the positive individual of the requirement to self-quarantine and refrain from returning to campus for 14 days from date of exposure.

For negative results, no notification will be made except to the individual who received the COVID-19 test.

Students > Report to the COVID-19 Report form.

Employees

Positive case: The Risk Manager will update Human Resources, who will formally notify the employee's supervisor.

  • Contact tracing staff will notify employees to determine if they have had close contact with the positive individual. Any employees who did have close contact will immediately be asked to leave campus and will later receive a letter of requirement to self- quarantine and not return to campus for 14 days from date of exposure to the employee.  They will also be given a letter from Human Resources on the actions they must follow before returning to work.

Negative Test Results:  No notification will be made except to the individual who received the on-campus COVID-19 test.

Employees > Report to the COVID-19 Report Form.

Other areas to contact:

ON-CAMPUS TESTING

A&M-San Antonio will provide an on-campus test site Monday - Friday, 9 a.m - 2 p.m., located in Portable 101b, to administer RT-PCR test kits. Testing will be available to students and employees who are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or who have had direct contact with COVID-positive individual.

Individuals will be required to self-quarantine until the test results are confirmed.

The lab used for this test site will submit confirmation of positive cases to the local health authority, San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, also known as Metro Health, which coordinates information with the A&M-San Antonio’s Public Health Liaison, Victor Pantusa.

There are also a number of test sites across San Antonio and in close proximity to the University.

Students or employees who are not on campus and are feeling ill or have reasons to be tested, should not come to campus. Instead, they should consult their health care provider or utilize one of the testing sites provided on the city website.

CONTACT TRACING

Contact tracing is a vital process for community health. A&M-San Antonio will ensure that those who with symptoms of COVID-19 – or who have come in contact with an individual who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 – are identified and tracked in a timely and efficient manner. Typically, within 24 hours after any positive test is confirmed, a contact tracer or other safety member of campus will contact the student, faculty or staff member.

The University will work with the guidelines of A&M System and Metro Health – the City of San Antonio and Bexar County public health resource – for contact tracing, identification and quarantine processes for students, staff, and faculty who have potentially been exposed to COVID-19.

The Texas Department of State Health Services also offers an online contact tracing system, Texas Health Trace, which allows individuals to securely report symptoms and/or positive results. Policies will be put in place to isolate anyone exhibiting new or worsening signs or symptoms of COVID-19. Risk Management will report all new diagnoses made on campus to Metro Health and A&M System.

The University is required by the A&M System and public health authorities to maintain a record of those who have a positive test result. This information will be shared with the University’s monitoring body to be used as part of the decision matrix for campus closure.

updated: October 27, 2020