As we prepare for our return to campus in August, we have developed a detailed plan for managing confirmed cases of COVID-19 among faculty, staff and students, and for notification of key campus officials and the general university community.
The full plans are online for both staff and students. We want to share with you some key elements of the plans, and the reasoning behind their creation.
First, the health and safety of members of our community is paramount. The goal is to minimize the risk of spreading the virus on campus.
In addition, we are committed to protecting the personal privacy of our people. Names and other identifying information about individuals who test positive for the virus will be closely held, and not disclosed to the general public. This is both a legal requirement, and a policy that is in the best interest of all concerned.
The plan includes steps for employees who receive a positive result of a COVID-19 test:
• Stay home, contact your supervisor, and follow the recommendations provided by the healthcare provider who made the diagnosis.
• After a supervisor is notified of an employee in their unit who tested positive for COVID-19, the supervisor will contact Jill Reyes, Director, UMKC Human Resources, who will kick off next steps.
The student protocol for reporting a positive COVID test:
• Stay home, contact the UMKC HelpLine at 816.235.2222, and follow the recommendations provided by the healthcare provider who made the diagnosis. HelpLine staff will kick off next steps.
Once the university is notified of the positive case:
• Campus health staff will coordinate with public health authorities to track cases and notify close contacts.
• Campus Facilities Management will deploy staff to clean and disinfect spaces following protocols consistent with CDC and public health guidance.
The plan also includes instructions for employees and students who have not yet been tested or received results but experience COVID-like symptoms OR have been in close contact with an individual that has tested positive for COVID-19. They should stay home, or return home and contact their healthcare provider. Employees should then notify their supervisor and students should call the HelpLine.
UMKC also has created a COVID reporting hotline. If an employee or student with a medically confirmed positive test result cannot reach their designated contact, or if it is AFTER normal business hours, call 816.235.COVI.
UMKC Student Health and Wellness staff will work in partnership with the Kansas City Department of Health, and other local health authorities as needed, to notify individuals who may have been exposed to the virus. In addition to their multiple daily cleaning and sanitizing practices, Campus Facilities Management will deploy teams to clean and disinfect spaces where the individual has been, following protocols consistent with CDC and public health guidance.
All employees should familiarize themselves with the procedures outlined in the plan for notifying their immediate supervisor of suspected or confirmed COVID infections and steps they must take to protect their friends and colleagues.
The path out of this pandemic calls for commitment and diligence in following public health recommendations designed for us to protect ourselves and each other. Let us commit as a community to following that path.
C. Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D. Jenny Lundgren, Ph.D.