Protocol for Positive Case(s) on Campus & Contact Tracing

Protocol for Exposures, Symptomatic Individuals & Positive Case(s)

If you test positive, you MUST complete the Health Screening form.

Complete the Health Screening


Overview of TC’s Protocol and Procedure

The Teachers College Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) Team has been trained by John Hopkins University and maintains compliance with New York City, New York State, and CDC requirements and guidelines.

Steps You Need to Take: Exposures, Symptomatic Individuals and Positive Case(s)


If you have been exposed to COVID-19, you must follow these guidelines in order to continue accessing campus:

  • Be symptom-free.
  • Get a rapid/PCR test 5 days after exposure.
  • Wear a high-quality mask around others for at least 10 days after exposure.
  • If you develop symptoms, isolate immediately and get a rapid/PCR test 3-5 days after symptom onset.

Symptomatic Individuals

If you experience symptoms of COVID-19 at any point during the year, DO NOT COME TO CAMPUS.

  • Stay home and get tested 3-5 days after symptom onset.
  • If you test negative and your symptoms resolve, you may return to campus.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, please see “Positive Cases”

Positive Cases

If you test positive for COVID-19, please complete the health screening form and follow the guidance which is listed below under “Returning to Campus After Testing Positive for COVID-19”, and set forth in the “Do Not Proceed to Campus” email that you will receive.

Testing Options

For you convenience, here are some testing options:

  • The federal government is providing every household with four free at-home tests. Order here.
  • These NYC Health+Hospital testing sites offer pick-up for free at-home tests (one test kit per person is recommended).
  • TC insurance providers—including Aetna, Emblem and CU Health—will reimburse individuals for a certain number of at-home tests purchased at pharmacies if the purpose of the test is to confirm diagnosis of COVID-19. If you use one of these insurance providers, contact them for more information about how to apply for reimbursement. 


Please note: All individuals are expected to comply with any COVID-19 policies and procedures that apply to them. Individuals who do not comply may be subject to disciplinary action, including being restricted from campus.

A Note on Positive Test Results

According to the CDC, after a COVID-19 infection, you may continue to test positive for some time. You may continue to test positive on antigen tests for a few weeks after your initial positive test result. You may also continue to test positive on NAATs for up to 90 days. Reinfections can occur within 90 days, which can make it hard to know if a positive test indicates a new infection. Consider consulting a healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about your individual circumstances.

Based on this guidance, employees that test positive for COVID within 90 days of first testing positive, for their second or subsequent infections occurring within 90 days of one another, are required to follow up with their healthcare provider, within 48 hrs of reporting a positive test result, to confirm the result or determine if the employee is ill due to some other reason. Keeping in mind becoming COVID positive within the 90 days post infections is not common due to antibodies from the prior infection.

Return to Campus After Testing Positive for COVID-19

Any employee or student who tests positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate for 5 full days. Day 0 is calculated based on when symptoms begin or the first positive test date, whichever happens first. As long as they are fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of medication, they can end isolation on day 6 with mask use until the end of day 10.

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