“Ugh! My recent COVID-19 test came out positive; what is my responsibility to my employer?” Some of us may be experiencing this terror, and many of us are assured to experience it in the near future.
What is a teacher’s responsibility when receiving positive results from a COVID-19 test?
According to the Utah State Health Department, whether you go to your primary care doctor, a health facility, or testing site, if you test positive you will be contacted by your health provider and asked questions about where you have been in the past few weeks, so that contact tracing may be done efficiently. Now this is important, you don’t have to contact your principal and report your positive test results. The Granite School District is in contact with the State Health Department on an almost daily basis. If anyone tests positive and reports that they were at a Granite school event or in a building during an infection period, the contact tracing personnel will report that immediately to the District and give them specifics as to what building or in what capacity you (as an employee, not individual) were with other people. The name of the person who has been tested positive is NOT given and is kept confidential.
You may feel responsible for your colleagues and/or students whom you have been in contact with, and if you wish to report to the District your positive results, do so by calling the HR Benefits Department only. (Contact numbers below.) The staff and administrators in the Granite Benefits Department will ensure your confidentiality. They will contact the administrators assigned to your school to give them an update regarding a positive test, the dates and timelines, but will also keep your name confidential.
In order to educate administrators and supervisors of how to manage the pandemic, the District distributed a document which states specifically the protocols for positive or potential infection. Following is an excerpt from the administrative memorandum:
If an employee is at work and reports that they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, supervisors shall send the employee home. COVID-19 symptoms include; coughing, fever, shortness of breath, muscle soreness, loss of taste or smell, and sore throat. Supervisors should immediately contact their direct supervisor, Cescilee Rall, RN, NCSN, and Benefits/HR. The employee should be directed to contact their personal doctor and the SLCHD.
If an employee calls in and reports they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, supervisors should permit the employee to stay home. COVID-19 symptoms include; coughing, fever, shortness of breath, muscle soreness, loss of taste or smell, and sore throat. Supervisors should immediately contact their direct supervisor, Cescilee Rall, RN, NCSN, and Benefits/HR. The employee should be directed to contact their personal doctor and the SLCHD.
If an employee reports a positive COVID-19 test result, supervisors will direct the employee to call Benefits/HR as soon as possible. Supervisors should immediately contact their direct supervisor, Cescilee Rall, RN, NCSN, and Benefits/HR.
Further in the memorandum it states:
Communication with Employees (including those protected by the ADA) during COVID-19
Communicating with employees during the COVID-19 pandemic can be stressful and challenging. This document is intended to provide guidance regarding communications with employees, including those who may be protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA. Personal identities shall be kept confidential, with the exception of reporting requirements. Employees may apply for ADA accommodations at any time by contacting Berkley King, Benefits Manager. If ADA accommodations are granted to an employee, supervisors are notified of those accommodations via a letter from Benefits.
It's important that YOUR personal information remains confidential. The expectation of the District and state health department is strict confidentiality in accordance with HIPPA privacy law.
Let’s be realistic, principals are human and may react unprofessionally by sharing a person’s name to other staff or teachers in the school building. However, their role as an administrator should be to protect your privacy. If this should happen, please contact GEA and we will educate the principal and ask the District to re-enforce its protocols.
Bottom-line, you can do yourself a favor by also following safety protocols that protect you from human error and embarrassment if your confidentiality is breached. Follow the protocols for reporting as stated above. Here are some contact numbers for your information:
Salt Lake County Health Department – COVID-19 Info Line - 1-800-456-7707
Cescilee Rall, RN, NCSN, Granite School District– 385-646-2139
Granite School District Benefits – 385-646-4222 or 385-646-4528
Granite School District Human Resources- 385-646-4517 or 385-646-4511