Faculty and Staff FAQs

How will I know if a student in my class has COVID-19?

If Mason becomes aware that a student in your class has tested positive for COVID, an email will be sent to you and the students in your class. The instructor will not be notified who tested positive.

To protect the student’s privacy, no identifiers will be provided. The message will state that a person in X class (the official name of the course will be used) has tested positive and that the Health Department will notify any close contacts.

Read the email carefully and follow its instructions.

Students are responsible for notifying their instructor(s) that they are ill and will miss class, following the same process they would for any other circumstance or illness.

What should I do if a student in my face-to-face class tests positive for COVID-19?

DO NOT cancel class. Proceed with class as normal.

Throughout this pandemic, Mason has not confirmed evidence of COVID-19 transmission in classrooms and/or office spaces. However, it is critically important that Mason’s public health and safety precautions are observed (e.g. mask, Mason COVID Health Check, cleaning routines, and good personal hygiene). COVID-19 exposures at Mason have been traced to non-academic social gatherings.

Mason is in regular communication with officials of the local health departments to conduct contact tracing that determines if others who might have been exposed to a positive case on campus must take additional precautions.

Local health departments conduct contact tracing to determine if there are any close contacts within a class and will instruct those individuals with respect to recommended precautions:

Individuals identified as unvaccinated close contacts will be required to quarantine for 14 days from exposure

Vaccinated close contacts can still come to campus and follow their normal routine, but must receive a COVID test three to five days after exposure

Continue to complete the Mason COVID Health Check daily; it will provide instructions if you're identified as a close contact to a person infected with COVID.

Mason carefully reviews all confirmed positive COVID tests with local health department officials to determine if additional precautions are necessary and what specific actions are required.

Classes should only be cancelled at the direction of Mason’s administration and in coordination with the local health department.

Can I ask to see medical information from a student?

Faculty are not allowed to request to see any COVID test results. The only medical information faculty members can request to see are COVID screening results, which are sent via email after completing the Mason COVID Health Check.

If a student cannot provide a green response to the check, ask them to leave the classroom.

What should I do if a student tells me they tested positive for COVID?

Faculty should remind the student to seek care with their primary care provider or Student Health Services (SHS).

Remind the student to complete the Mason COVID Health Check daily, to follow the instructions from SHS or their provider and to answer any phone calls they receive, as they be from their health care provider or the local health department.

How do I work with a COVID-positive student to ensure they stay current in my class?

We support all students when they're required to be in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19.

However, we do not expect faculty to teach dual-modality courses (offering face-to-face and online delivery at the same time).

Faculty are encouraged to be creative to support students, but should treat those who have tested positive for COVID like any other student illness in the class

 If lectures are recorded, faculty can provide them to sick student(s). If not, faculty should work with individual students to help them catch up on assignments and tests.

What should I do if a student is not wearing a mask in my class?

If you notice a student not wearing a mask over both nose and mouth or discover they failed to complete their Mason COVID Health Check, please ask them to wear one correctly.

If you must remind the student again on a subsequent day or occasion, note your communication and follow up with the student in an email that documents your repeated request.

Students who do not comply with the requirements for masking on our campus may be referred to the student disciplinary system.

What should I do if a student refuses to wear a mask after I ask them to do so?

A student who reacts negatively to your request should be reminded that masking and health checks are university requirements designed to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our entire campus community.

Individuals are not permitted to remain in the classroom (or building) if they refuse to follow these expectations.

If a student repeatedly refuses to wear a mask, ask that student to leave the classroom, then wait until they go before continuing with class.

Where can students get masks?

Masking requirements remain in place, and we are encouraging everyone to wear either KN95 or N95 masks. Cloth masks are less effective at stopping the circulation of microdroplets that carry the omicron variant of COVID.

Mason will offer a free N-95 mask to any student, faculty, or staff at Mason's COVID test sites and information kiosks on the Fairfax, Arlington, and SciTech Campuses.

Masks are also available for purchase in the university bookstore and in vending machines on our campuses.