What to do about positive COVID cases

Dear Twin Cities faculty and instructors,

As we near the start of fall semester next week, I want you to know that you have my deepest appreciation. To say these are challenging times is an understatement. Last year, many of you transitioned your teaching to an online environment. Now, while we are starting this school year with high vaccination rates among our students, faculty, and staff, the delta variant of COVID-19 is raising new and significant concerns for many.

My office’s website has extensive resources for you, especially in the COVID-19 Response tab and within our communications archive—everything from classroom management to what to do when a student reports a positive COVID-19 test. Please review this information to prepare for whatever the semester brings. I know there is a lot of information to digest, but here are some of the most important things to know:

  • The University cannot disclose the health status of any student, staff, or faculty member, including a positive COVID-19 test result. This respect for privacy and the law has always been the case.
  • When a student (or faculty or staff member) tests positive, state or local public health partners currently provide information on appropriate isolation and facilitate the notification of those who may have been exposed through close contact. Our Safe Campus resources, as well as instructions about how to handle a positive case in the classroom, will explain next steps. 
  • If a student is unable to attend class due to any illness, please work to accommodate them using this existing guidance for makeup work for legitimate absences. If you are unable to teach because you are ill, contact your supervisor or department chair so a substitute can be arranged.

I know that as much as we all want to return to normal, we must remain vigilant. Thankfully, we are part of a community committed to being vaccinated (the numbers bear that out) and a University that will work with you to address and mitigate the legitimate concerns some have while ensuring that we continue to advance the University’s mission.

Thank you for all you are doing to ensure a respectful and safe environment for students and colleagues. Your significant efforts will help provide positive experiences for all of our students.


Rachel T.A. Croson
Executive Vice President and Provost

email sent September 3, 2021 to all Twin Cities faculty and all instructors scheduled to teach on the Twin Cities campus in fall 2021