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COVID-19 Info

 

Updated Campus Protocols

Overview

With expanded vaccine availability and limited impact from spring break travel, COVID-19 conditions are trending in a promising direction on campus, in Nacogdoches, within the local trauma service area (TSA H), and within the State of Texas.

As of April 5, there are three active cases connected to campus – three students and zero employees – while available capacity at North and South halls for quarantine/isolation is at 99% respectively.

The COVID-19 Operations Team, Faculty Senate and Chairs Forum leadership, members of the President’s Cabinet, along with representation from the Student Government Association, have met and updated recommendations for campus COVID-19 protocols. I have reviewed and accepted their recommendations and put forward the following campus protocols for Summer and Fall 2021 terms.

This plan offers a path to move from Campus Operation Status 2 (which has been the status since Fall 2020) to a Status 1.5 in Summer 2021 before reaching Status 1 (normal operations) in Fall 2021.

Status 1.5 is recommended to take effect May 17, 2021, and remain in place until the beginning of the fall semester.

Summer 2021 - Status 1.5

Face Coverings

Individuals must continue to wear face coverings over the nose and mouth in indoor classrooms and labs, until further notice. Individuals are also strongly encouraged to do so wherever it is not feasible to maintain physical distance from another person not in the same household. The face covering exemptions process will remain the same.

Physical Distance

Campus physical distance requirements have been adjusted from 6 feet to 3 feet in classrooms and shared spaces.

Occupancy Levels and Physical Distance

Occupancy on campus will open to 100%, with the exception of classrooms, laboratories and shared spaces requiring a physical distance of 3 feet.

Travel and Transportation

Face coverings will remain mandatory on all public transportation. It is strongly encouraged in SFA/state-owned or -rented vehicles.

Sanitation/Cleaning

All areas on campus will continue to be cleaned and sanitized, with focused attention on high-traffic areas. This will allow custodians to begin to return to their regular cleaning schedule.

Dining

Continue current COVID-19 protocols.

Athletic Events

Continue to follow the NCAA protocols for athletic events.

Health Clinic Testing, Contact Tracing and Isolation Rooms

Remain in operation through the summer term.

Vaccine

SFA employees and students have assisted in the administration of more than 20,000 COVID-19 vaccinations in Nacogdoches County in 2021. As of Monday, March 29, Texas vaccine eligibility has been extended to all individuals 18 years of age and older, as well as educators. COVID-19 vaccines are not mandatory for students or employees at this time.

If You Are Sick, Stay Home

It is important for individuals to remain vigilant of their health and symptoms. Individuals should screen themselves for COVID-19 symptoms daily. If they feel sick, they must stay home. If they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has, they must follow quarantine and isolation guidelines and get tested. If an individual tests positive, they should report it in MySFA.

Flexibility

As with any pandemic plan, this plan must remain flexible. While we recommend reopening the campus to normal operation in Fall 2021 with a summer transition, some level of limitations may be necessary if pandemic conditions worsen. Such plans are developed and ready in reserve. We are hopeful that increased availability of COVID vaccines and increased herd immunity over the summer will allow campus operations to return to normal.

Fall 2021 - Status 1

The current plan for Fall 2021 is to enter Status 1, which will allow a return to full classroom capacity and normal operations. As of now, face covering requirements will remain in place, with reevaluation of the face covering requirements possible as pandemic conditions, vaccination levels and other trends improve.

Note: This outlines COVID-19 safety protocols as we move into the summer and fall terms. As noted in the 12/17/2020 Memorandum of Understanding: Faculty, in conjunction with their unit heads, will have full authority to determine modality and term length for courses.

Most Frequently Asked Questions

What is the current status of the mask mandate?

Dr. Gordon send this email to faculty, staff and students on April 6.

Overview

With expanded vaccine availability and limited impact from spring break travel, COVID-19 conditions are trending in a promising direction on campus, in Nacogdoches, within the local trauma service area (TSA H), and within the State of Texas.

As of April 5, there are three active cases connected to campus – three students and zero employees – while available capacity at North and South halls for quarantine/isolation is at 99% respectively.

The COVID-19 Operations Team, Faculty Senate and Chairs Forum leadership, members of the President’s Cabinet, along with representation from the Student Government Association, have met and updated recommendations for campus COVID-19 protocols. I have reviewed and accepted their recommendations and put forward the following campus protocols for Summer and Fall 2021 terms.

This plan offers a path to move from Campus Operation Status 2 (which has been the status since Fall 2020) to a Status 1.5 in Summer 2021 before reaching Status 1 (normal operations) in Fall 2021.

Status 1.5 is recommended to take effect May 17, 2021, and remain in place until the beginning of the fall semester.

Summer 2021 - Status 1.5

Face Coverings

Individuals must continue to wear face coverings over the nose and mouth in indoor classrooms and labs, until further notice. Individuals are also strongly encouraged to do so wherever it is not feasible to maintain physical distance from another person not in the same household. The face covering exemptions process will remain the same.

Physical Distance

Campus physical distance requirements have been adjusted from 6 feet to 3 feet in classrooms and shared spaces.

Occupancy Levels and Physical Distance

Occupancy on campus will open to 100%, with the exception of classrooms, laboratories and shared spaces requiring a physical distance of 3 feet.

Travel and Transportation

Face coverings will remain mandatory on all public transportation. It is strongly encouraged in SFA/state-owned or -rented vehicles.

Dr. Gordon sent this email to faculty, staff and students on March 5.

Happy Friday, Lumberjacks.

Before spring break officially begins, I wanted to provide you with information regarding our COVID-19 policies and, specifically, the face-covering requirement. After receiving input from the Student Government Association and our Faculty Senate, our SFA COVID-19 Operations Team has recommended that the face-covering requirement remain in effect on campus until the end of the spring semester.

I concur with this recommendation, and as a result SFA’s face-covering requirement will remain in place until further notice.

Although Gov. Abbott rescinded the statewide mandate, his order encouraged institutions of higher education to establish standards provided by the Texas Education Agency. The Texas Education Agency responded by updating their protocols to include this statement:

Every student, teacher or staff member shall wear a mask over the nose and mouth when inside a school building, school facility, facility used for school activities, or when in an outdoor space on school property...wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household..

Additionally, federal public health officials have strongly urged Americans to continue wearing face masks to control the spread of COVID-19 and limit the emergence of potentially more dangerous variants.

The well-being of our faculty, staff and students remains our highest priority, and we are committed to maintaining a campus environment that is as safe as possible and minimizes the spread of COVID-19. I hope you will commit to complying with the safety measures that protect our ability to safely hold face-to-face classes and other events.

I appreciate the work of our COVID-19 Operations Team and support the team’s decision regarding face coverings. We will review the policy again at the end of the semester and keep you informed when any changes are made.

Have a fabulous and safe spring break.

Axe ’em!

President Gordon

Dr. Gordon sent this email to faculty, staff and students on March 3.

Dear Colleagues and Students,

I hope the first half of the semester has gone well for you and you were able to successfully navigate the extreme weather challenges we experienced. It is my hope for all of us that the remainder of the spring semester will be smooth sailing!

With many traveling or taking some much-deserved time off during Spring Break next week, I want to encourage you to keep yourself and those around you safe. It’s now been one year since we began battling COVID-19, and I understand that this is still top of mind for many of us. It is a substantial health risk, and when we return from Spring Break, the university will continue to work to minimize the risks and limit the spread of the virus.

Although Gov. Greg Abbott has issued an executive order that will lift the statewide mask mandate effective March 10, the SFA COVID Team will be meeting this week and seeking guidance from health agencies and vested entities regarding any changes to the campus safety and health protocols. Until that time, all of our SFA safety protocols will remain in effect.

SFA will continue to make the health and safety of all Lumberjacks a top priority, and I encourage you to visit the university’s COVID-19 page for updates regarding health, student and campus services.

If you are traveling during the upcoming week, make sure someone you trust knows where you are going, when you plan to return, and has contact information for someone at home if you are in need of help. When you arrive at your destination, learn your surroundings and ensure you know how you will return before going out by yourself or in a group.

Whether you are staying home or traveling, I encourage you to take care of one another this coming week. Enjoy yourself, use good judgment, respect those around you, wash your hands, and return to campus rested and ready for the final portion of the academic year. And, as always…

Axe 'em, Jacks!

President Gordon

How many cases of COVID-19 are on campus?

Daily figures are provided on our reported positive cases page.

What happens when a test report is submitted?

When a test report is submitted, four protocols will be initiated:

Contact Tracing*: The case will be assigned to a contact tracer(s) who will work with the test-pending individual to identify those who may have been in close contact with him or her on campus. The contact tracer(s) will reach out to those identified to inform them of the potential exposure and provide guidance on next steps. Be sure to answer calls to the number you post on the report form so the tracer can connect with you. If you miss a call, please call back as soon as possible.

Student Affairs/Residence Life Support: If the student reporting resides on campus, he or she will be advised to complete the quarantine or isolation period at home when possible. If off-campus quarantine or isolation is not feasible or poses a higher risk, Residence Life will coordinate on-campus quarantine and/or isolation options with the student. Students needing additional support or assistance may reach out to the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs by calling 936.468.7249 or emailing DOSA@sfasu.edu.

Cleaning/Disinfecting of Physical Spaces: Physical spaces on campus that have been impacted will be cleaned and disinfected. The Office of Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management will coordinate with the Physical Plant and/or Residence Life to facilitate the appropriate cleaning and disinfection processes in place for such instances.

Notification**: Should a test result be positive, the Office of Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management will coordinate notification of the positive case via the 'Reported Cases' website. This is an informational notification only. Notification of a person's potential 'close contact' with the individual would come from the contact tracing team, not via this notification.

What if I am notified that I have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19?

Any person who is notified that he or she has been in close contact (within 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with an infected individual is required to quarantine and self-monitor for symptoms. A quarantine would last for 10 days without a negative test and 7 days if you test negative. During the quarantine period, the person should self-monitor for symptoms. You may be advised to be tested as well. Contact SFA Health Services at 936.468.4008 or healthservices@sfasu.edu for more information.

If you are a student employee and an SFA contact tracer advises you to quarantine, your supervisor will be notified. Student employees should discuss telecommuting or potential leave options that may apply for the period of quarantine with their supervisor.

Fully vaccinated individuals can refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic.

What should I do if I have symptoms?

If you have symptoms, it is important to stay away from others (quarantine) and be screened for COVID-19. You should contact your personal healthcare provider or the SFA Health Services (936.468.4008) to determine if testing would be appropriate.

If I travel out of the country for any reason, will I need to quarantine when I return?

Yes. Quarantining for 7 days is important for students and employees when returning from travel outside of the country.

The CDC recommends you get tested 3-5 days after travel AND quarantine at home for 7 days. Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days. If you don't get tested, it's safest to stay home for 10 days.

Students who live on campus should inform their hall director of their need to quarantine so meals can be arranged.

Remember, quarantining is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others and helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others and monitor their health.

It is also important to remember that global recommendations regarding COVID-19 are fluid. Although travel may seem relatively free-flowing to an area at one particular moment in time, sudden changes may prevent your anticipated departure or return.

What triggers a requirement to quarantine?

A quarantine would be required for any person who has been in close contact (within 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with an infected person. A quarantine would last for 10 days without a negative test and 7 days if you test negative. During the quarantine period, the person should self-monitor for symptoms. You may be advised to be tested as well.

Fully vaccinated individuals can refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic.

If a person in a class tests positive for COVID-19, will the entire class have to quarantine?

In most cases, if physical distancing has been observed, and face masks have been worn in the classroom, no quarantine would be required.

What is the protocol for returning to the classroom or on-campus activities after a positive test for students, including those living on campus and student employees?

A student who has tested positive for COVID-19 may return to the classroom or on-campus activities when all three of the following criteria are met:

  • At least 24 hours have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications), and
  • the individual has improvement in symptoms, and
  • at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

A person with symptoms that could be caused by COVID-19 who has not been evaluated by a medical professional or tested for COVID-19 should be assumed to have COVID-19 and may not return to the classroom or on-campus activities until he or she has completed the same criteria listed above. If the student has symptoms that could be COVID-19 and wants to return to the classroom or on-campus activities before completing the above self-isolation period, the individual must obtain written clearance based on an alternative diagnosis from a medical professional.

A student with known close contact with a person who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19 should not return to the classroom or any on-campus activity until the end of a self-quarantine period from the last date of exposure. A quarantine would last for 10 days without a negative test and 7 days if you test negative. During the quarantine period, the person should self-monitor for symptoms. If no symptoms are observed during this quarantine period, no notification from a medical professional is required to return to the classroom or on-campus activities.

When can an employee return to work after testing positive for COVID-19?

An employee who has tested positive for COVID-19 may return to the workplace when all three of the following criteria are met:

  • At least 24 hours have passed with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications
  • and there has been an improvement in all other symptoms
  • and at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

If an employee was unable to work during their period of isolation, they should be prepared to provide medical certification to their supervisor that they are able to return to the workplace.

What is the protocol for returning to the class, campus activities or work after a negative test for COVID-19?

The appropriate protocol depends on why you were tested:

  • Close Contact: If you were tested because you had been in close contact with a person who was infected, your last day of quarantine is 10 days from the date you had the last close contact unless you test negative in which case it would be 7 days. Be advised, an infection can emerge for up to 14 days after being exposed, so it's advisable to use extreme care until that time period has passed.
  • Symptoms: If you were tested for COVID-19 only because you had symptoms, your last day of quarantine is 24 hours after all of your symptoms resolve without the use of medicine. The illness that is causing your symptoms may still be contagious.
  • No Close Contact and No Symptoms: If you were tested for COVID-19 only because you were curious about your status, you do not have to quarantine.

What if I have had symptoms, but I was never tested?

A person with symptoms that could be caused by COVID-19 who does not get evaluated by a medical professional or tested for COVID-19 should be assumed to have COVID-19 and may not return to the workplace, class, or any on-campus activities until he or she has completed the same criteria listed for a person who has tested positive.

How will I know how many positive tests have been reported on-campus?

The Reported Positive Cases website is updated regularly and indicates the total number of reported tests and the number of tests that returned with positive results for those SFA faculty, staff or students who may have been present on campus during the time of their infection. Since the information is self-reported, confirmation of the results of each test cannot be definitively verified.

For official information about confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nacogdoches County, visit the Nacogdoches County Dashboard for a complete local case report. For updates across all counties in Texas, consult the Texas Department of State Health Services dashboard.

Who do I contact if I have a question or concern about COVID-19 protocols?

You may contact Dr. Jeremy Higgins, director of environmental health, safety and risk management, at 936.468.4532 or higginsjk@sfasu.edu.

Medical Related Questions: You may contact SFA Health Services, at 936.468.4008 or healthservices@sfasu.edu.

Contact Tracers may be reached at 936.468.7648 or contactracers@sfasu.edu.

What mental health services are available to me?

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has brought challenges to students beyond those traditionally associated with adjusting to college. These may include feelings of isolation, anxiety, depression and grief. The following mental health services are available:
  • Free and confidential counseling sessions are available to SFA students from the professional counselors in Counseling Services. Individual, couples and group counseling sessions are all available via telehealth appointment. Call (936) 468-2401 to schedule an initial consultation.
  • For a brief 10-to-15-minute consultation with a counselor, students can call during "Call-a-Counselor" hours from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Although counseling sessions are reserved for students, counselors can also provide consultations and referral services to faculty, staff and students. To access a list of community health providers or to learn more, call Counseling Services at (936) 468-2401 or visit sfasu.edu/counselingservices.
  • Graduate students in the School of Human Sciences' Counselor Education Program provide on-campus counseling services in a separate counseling clinic to both SFA students and the general public. For more information, visit the SFA Counseling Clinic website or call 936.468.1041.

Face Coverings

Face covering requirement

Effective date: May 17, 2021

  • Individuals must continue to wear face coverings over the nose and mouth in indoor classrooms and labs, until further notice. Individuals are also strongly encouraged to do so wherever it is not feasible to maintain physical distance from another person not in the same household. The face covering exemptions process will remain the same.

Effective date: July 7, 2020

  • The health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors, especially of vulnerable individuals, is of paramount importance. In light of CDC guidance, and to protect our SFA community against COVID-19, face coverings (cloth face covering, surgical mask, etc.) must be worn by all individuals (faculty, staff, students, and visitors) on campus in the following areas:

    • indoor public areas on campus, except where marked otherwise, even if you are alone (includes all non-private office or residential spaces such as lobbies, restrooms, classrooms, teaching laboratories, common spaces in residence halls, conference rooms, and break rooms); and

    • outdoor spaces where 6 feet of physical distancing is difficult to reliably maintain.

  • This policy will be amended as needed in response to conditions on campus.

    Each individual is responsible for providing their own face covering. It is recommended that all individuals on campus have at least three face coverings available to use throughout a week in order to begin each day with a new or cleaned face covering. Those face coverings should follow the current CDC recommendations.

    Additionally, FDA approved surgical masks may also be used as a face covering.

Rationale for use of face coverings

  1. The primary purpose of wearing a face covering is to reduce the amount of virus spreading from the wearer (who may not know they are spreading the virus) into the environment and to others. The secondary purpose of the face covering is to reduce the likelihood that large droplets containing virus that are generated by others may enter the nose and mouth of the wearer.

  2. The use of a face covering does not replace the continued need to maintain physical distances from others, at least 6 feet, but instead augments physical distancing and frequent handwashing to help us further reduce the likelihood of virus transmission.

Exemptions

Exceptions/waivers for both areas and individuals will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Student requests for an exemption based on a disability should work with Disability Services for guidance.

Employee requests for an exemptions based on a disability should contact Human Resources for guidance.

If a student has been approved for this exception to the policy, they will be given an accommodation or exemption letter to provide to faculty members.

For areas or occupations where wearing a face covering is not feasible and is not based on a disability concern, a request for an exception to this policy may be made to the Face Coverings Committee by sending an email message to facecovering@sfasu.edu that includes: the request, the reason that face coverings are not feasible, and the additional safety measures taken to further mitigate the risk in the absence of face coverings.

Areas where face covering requirements are waived must be clearly marked with signs indicating that an exception to wearing face coverings has been granted. In some cases, face shields may be approved for use instead of face coverings.

surgical masks

Face Covering FAQs

Do I wear a face covering while eating or drinking?

No, you do not need to wear a face covering while eating or drinking. As soon as your meal is complete, replace your face covering.

Am I required to wear a face covering while in my on-campus residence hall room?

Face coverings are not required when students are in their personal on-campus residence hall rooms/suites (including suite-style bathrooms).

Individuals are strongly encouraged to do so wherever it is not feasible to maintain physical distance from another person not in the same household.

Do I need to wear a face covering in the hallways and other areas of my residence hall?

Face coverings are not required when students and visitors are in residence hall hallways or while visiting other students' rooms. Individuals are strongly encouraged to do so wherever it is not feasible to maintain physical distance from another person not in the same household.

Are face coverings required while riding a shuttle bus?

Face coverings are required while riding a shuttle bus and all public transportation.

Are face coverings required while operating a university vehicle?

Face coverings are not required while operating a university vehicle.

Individuals are strongly encouraged to do so wherever it is not feasible to maintain physical distance from another person not in the same household.

Are face coverings required in work areas that are separated by cubicle walls or partitions?

If these work areas are a part of indoor classrooms and labs, then face coverings continue to be required.

Otherwise, individuals are strongly encouraged to do so wherever it is not feasible to maintain physical distance from another person not in the same household.

If I have already had COVID-19, do I have to wear a face covering?

Yes. Scientific understanding of COVID-19 is still evolving, and currently it is not known if those who have had the disease can become contagious again.

What if I encounter a situation that is not clear on if I should wear a face covering?

You should use your own judgment and remember the message of The SFA Way - "Lumberjacks think of the needs of others and seek to improve the quality of life of those around them."

In this spirit, you should select the option that best protects and comforts those around you. A good standard to follow is to always wear a face covering in all public settings, especially where physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

Who reviews exemption requests for employees?

Employee requests for accommodations related to a pre-existing medical condition or other disability (e.g., asthma, respiratory disease, inability to remove a face covering without assistance) will follow the process outlined in university policy 11.22 - Reasonable Workplace Accommodation for Disabilities.

Exceptions to the face covering policy based on areas on campus and job requirements, and not related to a disability concern, will be evaluated on a case by case basis by the Face Coverings Committee (chaired by Dr. Jeremy Higgins). Requests for exemptions should be emailed to this committee (facecovering@sfasu.edu) and should include the reason that face coverings are not feasible and the additional safety measures taken to further mitigate the risk in the absence of face coverings.

For a request asking for an exemption in a given space, also detail the space(s) where the exemption is requested.

For a job requirement exemption, please include information about how the waiver will be applied. For example, while it is possible to lecture wearing a face covering, faculty members may request to substitute a face shield while lecturing. In this case, a face covering waiver would only be granted during lectures.

How should I raise a concern about someone not adhering to the face covering requirement?

Please contact the faculty or staff member who is supervising the person or the space where the infraction occurred (for example, the building manager or department head). The department head or building manager will be in a position to ascertain whether the person has an exemption and, if not, politely direct the person to wear a face covering or vacate the public space.

Can students or employees be directed to vacate university property if they refuse to wear a face covering?

Yes, unless they have received an exemption (described above) or the area or position has been granted a waiver from the face coverings policy.

If individuals are not wearing a face covering in a public space, the first response should be a collegial reminder and an offer of a clean face covering, if one is available. If the individual refuses to wear a face covering, a supervisor (for students this could be a faculty or staff member overseeing the area) may direct the individual to leave the public space. For example, a faculty member could direct a student to attend a class remotely rather than in person.

If the individual refuses to wear a face covering or leave the space, this should be reported to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities for students, Human Resources for staff or provost's office for faculty and dealt with using existing disciplinary processes.

Do I need to wear a face covering if it impairs my ability to do my job?

To keep our community safe, a face covering must be worn in all public areas. If doing so impairs an employee's ability to do their job based on a disability, the employee should follow the process outlined in university policy on Reasonable Workplace Accommodations for Disabilities (11.22) to request an exemption.

With regard to areas on campus and job requirements unrelated to a disability, please send a e-mail request for this exception to the Face Coverings Committee (Dr. Jeremy Higgins, chair; at facecovering@sfasu.edu). Requests for exemptions should include the reason that face coverings are not feasible and the additional safety measures taken to further mitigate the risk in the absence of face coverings. In some cases, a face shield may be an acceptable face covering substitute.

If I have a student in my class who is deaf or hard of hearing, should I wear a face covering?

For students who are deaf or hard of hearing, opaque face coverings can be a hindrance to communication. Faculty are encouraged to work with Disability Services to determine appropriate accommodations (e.g., wearing a face shield or a transparent face covering to accommodate students relying on lip reading). For classes using sign language interpreters, interpreters will either wear a face shield or provide remote interpreting.

Can I wear a face shield instead of a face covering?

Only those approved through a personal exemption request can wear a face shield instead of a face covering.

There is an exception for faculty members outlined in the FAQ item below.

I am a faculty member. Can I wear a face shield rather than a face mask while I am teaching an in-person class?

If you can maintain at least 6 feet physical distance from the nearest member of your class then you may wear a face shield instead of a face covering while you are lecturing. You should still wear a face covering in public spaces, when entering and exiting the classroom and at all times that you are unable to maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet since face coverings provide more protection than a face shield. It is the responsibility of the individual to provide their own face shield.

Will students face consequences for not wearing face coverings on campus?

If a student refuses to wear a face covering when requested, they may face consequences. The student should be reported to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities for "failure to comply" using the standard General Incident Reporting Form.

What should faculty do if a student refuses to wear face coverings in class?

If a student refuses to wear a face covering when requested, they should be asked to leave. If the student does not have a mask, they can receive a disposable mask at the information desk in the Baker Pattillo Student Center or from the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs. If this happens more than once, or if the student’s conduct warrants it, the student should be reported to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities for "failure to comply" using the standard General Incident Reporting Form.

What if the student refuses to leave?

If a student refuses to leave the classroom when directed by faculty, the faculty member should contact UPD from any campus phone by calling 911. When calling from a cellphone, call 936.468.2608. Please indicate whether the student is making threats or behaving in a violent manner. Faculty who determine that students should be restricted from the course should work with their chair/director to ensure that all policies are followed. Faculty may also report these incidents to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities using the standard General Incident Reporting Form.

How severe will these consequences be for students found responsible?

Consequences will match the level of severity of the offense. A one-time occurrence where the student expresses remorse is likely at a lower level of severity than a willfully defiant, repeat offender. Students who refuse to leave classes or who become threatening or violent will face more severe consequences – even for a first offense. A student who knowingly and recklessly puts others health and/or safety at risk through their conduct will face the most severe consequences.

COVID-19 Test Reporting

You are required to report when you have taken a test for COVID-19 by using the Report a COVID-19 Test online form. Do not wait until you receive your test results to report.

Since it is currently taking a number of days to receive the results of a test, this earlier notification allows our response efforts to begin more quickly.

Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management

The Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management department serves as the lead department in the university’s COVID-19 Operations Group and oversees the central collection of all test reports from both students and employees. This department works with others across campus to initiate the protocols designed to reduce the spread of the virus while also protecting the confidentiality of the affected individuals’ information to the extent possible. 

If you have any questions about the COVID-19 Reporting Process, please contact Dr. Jeremy Higgins, director of environmental health, safety & risk management, at (936) 468-4532 or higginsjk@sfasu.edu

General Guidelines for Employees and Students

Employee

If:

  • You are tested for COVID-19, or
  • You have been diagnosed with or received a positive test result for COVID-19;

you must:

  • stay home,
  • notify your supervisor of your absence, and
  • immediately complete the COVID-19 Test Report Form (selecting "Self" as the reporter).

If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms (as listed on the CDC website) or you have been in close contact (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes) with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19, or someone in your household has been diagnosed with or received a positive test result for COVID-19, you must stay home and notify your supervisor of your absence.

Student

If:

  • You are tested for COVID-19, or
  • You have been diagnosed with or received a positive test result for COVID-19;

you must:

  • stay home,
  • notify your faculty members of your absence, and
  • immediately complete the COVID-19 Test Report Form (selecting "Self" as the reporter.)

You must stay home if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms (as listed on the CDC website); or you have been in close contact (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes) with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19, or someone in your household (including a roommate or housemate) has been diagnosed with or received a positive test result for COVID-19, you must stay home and notify your faculty members of your absence. Students who suspect that they may have COVID-19 also are encouraged to contact SFA Health Services or their preferred health care provider for health advice.

Student Employee

If you are a student employee who works on campus, you must follow the steps above and also notify your work supervisor.

Both Students and Employees

When you report you have been tested for COVID-19, or if an infected person reports a close contact with you, you will be contacted by a "contact tracer." This person will provide guidance and answer questions about COVID-19.  

Reported Cases

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to report when I have been tested for COVID-19?

Yes. If you were tested for COVID-19 due to having symptoms, you are required to notify the university as soon as possible using the Report a COVID-19 Test online form. These reports can be initiated by the student or by others on the student's behalf, if needed.

You should self-quarantine after your test until you receive the test results. The results of your test will determine next steps.

What happens when a test report is submitted?

When a test report is submitted, four protocols will be initiated:

Contact Tracing*: The case will be assigned to a contact tracer(s) who will work with the test-pending individual to identify those who may have been in close contact with him or her on campus. The contact tracer(s) will reach out to those identified to inform them of the potential exposure and provide guidance on next steps. Be sure to answer calls to the number you post on the report form so the tracer can connect with you.  If you miss a call, please call back as soon as possible.

Student Affairs/Residence Life Support: If the student reporting resides on campus, he or she will be advised to complete the quarantine or isolation period at home when possible. If off-campus quarantine or isolation is not feasible or poses a higher risk, Residence Life will coordinate on-campus quarantine and/or isolation options with the student.

Students needing additional support or assistance may reach out to the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs by calling 936.468.7249 or emailing DOSA@sfasu.edu.

Cleaning/Disinfecting of Physical Spaces: Physical spaces on campus that have been impacted will be cleaned and disinfected. The Office of Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management will coordinate with the Physical Plant and/or Residence Life to facilitate the appropriate cleaning and disinfection processes in place for such instances.

Notification**: Should a test result be positive, the SFA director of emergency management will coordinate notification of the positive case via the 'Reported Cases' website. This is an informational notification only. Notification of a person's potential 'close contact' with the individual would come from the contact tracing team, not via this notification.

*A Note about Contact Tracing

The Texas Department of State Health Services is notified when a positive test is received from a lab and would typically delegate the work of contact tracing to the local public health department in the impacted city/area. Nacogdoches does not have a public health department, so the city depends upon the staff of TDSHS Region 4/5N, based in Tyler, for contact tracing. Covering many counties in northeast Texas, Region 4/5N is larger than 10 states in population and geographic size. Since rapid contact tracing is important for our operational continuity, the SFA's Health Services has been charged with tracing contacts among the university community when the staff is notified of a reported case. Contact tracers from the TDSHS also may follow up as they work through the positive test results they receive from Nacogdoches. In this case, employees may be contacted twice.

**A Note about Medical Privacy

We know that people often want to know the identity of those who have tested positive. SFA cannot release personal information about any university community members who are being monitored or who have tested positive for COVID-19. In accordance with federal and state law, confidentiality of the medical information and personal identity of those who have tested positive will be maintained to the extent possible.

Where does my submitted report go?

The Environmental Health, Safety & Risk Management department oversees the central collection of all test reports from both students and employees. This department works with others across campus to initiate the protocols listed above.

What do I do if my COVID-19 test result is positive?

Continue to isolate yourself away from others. You will have been given instructions on how to report your test results to the university when you are contacted about your test-pending report.

The protocol for returning to the classroom or on-campus activities after testing positive is outlined below.

Student employees should discuss with their supervisor telecommuting or potential leave options that may apply for the period of isolation.

What is the protocol for returning to the classroom or on-campus activities after a positive test for students, including those living on campus and student employees?

A student who has tested positive for COVID-19 may return to the classroom or on-campus activities when all three of the following criteria are met:

  1. At least 24 hours have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications), and
  2. The individual has improvement in symptoms, and
  3. At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

A person with symptoms that could be caused by COVID-19 who has not been evaluated by a medical professional or tested for COVID-19 should be assumed to have COVID-19 and may not return to the classroom or on-campus activities until he or she has completed the same criteria listed above. If the student has symptoms that could be COVID-19 and wants to return to the classroom or on-campus activities before completing the above self-isolation period, the individual must obtain written clearance based on an alternative diagnosis from a medical professional.

A student with known close contact with a person who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19 should not return to the classroom or any on-campus activity until the end of a self-quarantine period from the last date of exposure. A quarantine would last for 10 days without a negative test and 7 days if you test negative. During the quarantine period, the person should self-monitor for symptoms. If no symptoms are observed during this quarantine period, no notification from a medical professional is required to return to the classroom or on-campus activities.

What is the protocol for returning to the classroom or on-campus activities after a negative test?

This depends on why you were tested:

  • Close Contact: If you were tested because you had been in close contact with a person who was infected, your last day of quarantine is 10 days from the date you had the last close contact unless you test negative in which case it would be 7 days. Be advised, an infection can emerge for up to 14 days after being exposed, so it’s advisable to use extreme care until that time period has passed.
  • Symptoms: If you were tested for COVID-19 only because you had symptoms, your last day of quarantine is 24 hours after all of your symptoms resolve without the use of medicine. The illness that is causing your symptoms may be contagious.
  • No Close Contact and No Symptoms: If you were tested for COVID-19 only because you were curious about your status, you do not have to quarantine.

What if I am notified that I have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19?

Any person who is notified that he or she has been in close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) with an infected person should self-quarantine for 14 days and self-monitor for symptoms. You may be advised to be tested as well. Contact SFA Health Services at 936.468.4008 or healthservices@sfasu.edu for more information.

If you are a student employee and an SFA contact tracer advises you to quarantine, your supervisor will be notified. Student employees should discuss telecommuting or potential leave options that may apply for the period of quarantine with their supervisor.

What is the difference between "quarantine" and "isolation?"

Quarantine - the separation of a person or group of people possibly exposed to but not yet infected by a communicable disease from others who have not been exposed to prevent possible spread of the disease.

Isolation - the separation of a person or group of people known or reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease and potentially infectious from those who are not infected to prevent possible spread of the disease.

What is considered to be a "Close Contact?"

The CDC defines a "close contact" someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.

Will this guidance change?

Possibly. All SFA-issued guidance is based on guidance available from public health authorities and agencies. Our guidance may change as circumstances change or as the guidance we receive from others evolves.

Who do I contact if I have a question or concern about COVID-19 protocols?

You may contact Dr. Jeremy Higgins, director of environmental health, safety and risk management, at 936.468.4532 or higginsjk@sfasu.edu.

Medical Related Questions: You may contact SFA Health Services, at 936.468.4008 or healthservices@sfasu.edu.

Contact Tracers may be reached at 936.468.7648 or contactracers@sfasu.edu.

Vaccines

Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

About Vaccines

Does the immunity after getting COVID-19 or the COVID-19 vaccine last longer?

The protection someone gains from having an infection varies depending on the disease, and it varies from person to person. Because this virus is new, we don’t know how long natural immunity might last. Current evidence suggests getting a second infection is uncommon in the first 90 days after an initial infection with the virus that causes COVID-19.

We won’t know how long immunity lasts after vaccination until we have more data on how well COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions.

Experts are working to learn more about both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity.

What percentage of the population needs to get vaccinated to have a herd immunity against COVID-19?

Experts do not yet know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve heard immunity to COVID-19. Herd immunity means that enough people in a community are protected from getting a disease because they’ve already had the disease or they’ve been vaccinated. The percentage of people who need to have protection in order to achieve herd immunity varies by disease. CDC and other experts are studying herd immunity and will provide more information as it is available.

Where can I be vaccinated?

Who is paying for the COVID-19 vaccines?

Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost. Although, vaccination providers can charge an administration fee for giving someone the shot. No one can be denied the vaccine if they are unable to pay the vaccine administration fee.

How is CDC making COVID-19 recommendations?

Once the FDA authorizes or approves a new COVID-19 vaccine, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) holds a public meeting to vote on whether to recommend the vaccine.

ACIP and CDC are also making recommendations for who should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine first when supplies are limited. Please contact the state health department for more information on the plans for COVID-19 vaccinations.

vaccine syringe

Getting Vaccinated

When will it be my turn to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

As of Monday, March 29, 2021, everyone ages 16 and older is now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Texas.

The state’s Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel recommended opening vaccination to everyone who falls under the current Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorizations. All vaccines are authorized for people age 18 and older. The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for people 16 and older.

What can I do now to help protect myself until I am able to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

To protect yourself, follow these recommendations:

  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others
  • Avoid crowds
  • Avoid poorly ventilated spaces
  • Wash your hands often

If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still needed to get vaccinated?

Yes, due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection. If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Experts do not yet know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called “natural immunity,” varies from person to person. It is rare for someone who has had COVID-19 to get infected again. It also is uncommon for people who do get COVID-19 again to get it within 90 days of when they recovered from their first infection. We won’t know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have more data on how well the vaccines work.

Am I required to get vaccinated for work?

The federal government does not require vaccination for individuals. For some healthcare workers or essential employees, a state or local government or employer may require or mandate that workers be vaccinated as a matter of state or other law. Check with your employer to see if they have any rules that apply to you.

Do I need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if I have gotten 2 doses of the vaccine?

Yes. Not enough information is currently available to say if or when CDC will stop recommending that people wear masks and avoid close contact with others to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Experts need to understand more about the protection COVID-19 vaccines provide in real-world conditions before making that decision. We also don’t yet know whether getting a COVID-19 vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to other people, even if you don’t get sick yourself.

How many shots of COVID-19 vaccine will be needed?

The currently authorized vaccines to prevent COVID-19 in the United States require 2 shots to get the most protection:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech does should be given 3 weeks (21 days) apart
  • Moderna does should be given 1 month (28 days) apart

Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as another vaccine?

Wait at least 14 days before getting any other vaccine, including a flu or shingles vaccine, if you get your COVID-19 vaccine first. If you get another vaccine first, wait at least 14 days before getting your COVID-19 vaccine.

If a COVID-19 vaccine is inadvertently given within 14 days of another vaccine, you do not need to restart the COVID-19 vaccine series; you should still complete the series on schedule. When more data is available on the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines administered simultaneously with other vaccines, CDC may update this recommendation.

Vaccine Distribution

When will COVID-19 vaccines be widely available in the United States?

Manufacturing very large quantities of vaccine takes time. The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccine when large quantities are available for distribution.

What COVID-19 vaccines are currently authorized in the U.S.?

The currently authorized vaccines to prevent COVID-19 in the United States require 2 shots to get the most protection:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech dose should be given 3 weeks (21 days) apart
  • Moderna dose should be given 1 month (28 days) apart

What is being done to distribute COVID-19 vaccines?

The federal government oversees a centralized system to order, distribute, and track COVID-19 vaccines. All vaccines are ordered through CDC. Vaccination providers receive vaccines from CDC’s centralized distributor or directly from a vaccine manufacturer.

Other COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in development, and clinical trials are being conducted at the same time as large-scale manufacturing.

A safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is a critical component of the U.S. strategy to reduce COVID-19-related illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths. The U.S. government’s goal is to have enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for all people in the United States who choose to be vaccinated.

Who has CDC worked with to plan for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines?

State, tribal, territorial, and local jurisdictions: CDC worked with state, tribal, territorial, and local jurisdictions on the development of COVID-19 vaccination plans for their respective areas.

Private partners and federal agencies: CDC has worked with private partners, such as chains and networks of independent pharmacies, and other federal agencies (e.g., the Indian Health Service) on plans for wider distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

How is the CDC making sure people can make informed decisions about getting vaccinated when COVID-19 vaccines are widely distributed and available?

CDC is working with partners across the country to make sure people have the information they need to make informed decisions and be confident in deciding to get vaccinated. CDC’s key priorities are:

  • Regularly sharing clear and accurate information with people to make sure they understand the risks and benefits of getting vaccinated and can make informed decisions
  • Helping healthcare personnel feel confident in their decision to get a COVID-19 vaccine
  • Helping healthcare providers answer their patients’ questions about the vaccine
  • Engaging communities and individuals equitably and inclusively to ensure that people have opportunities to ask questions and get clear, accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines

Vaccine Safety

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?

All the COVID-19 vaccines being used have gone through rigorous studies to ensure they are as safe as possible. Systems that allow the CDC to watch for safety issues are in place across the entire country.

Is it safe for me to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

People who are pregnant are part of a group recommended to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and may choose to be vaccinated. If you have questions about getting vaccinated, talking with a healthcare provider might help you make an informed decision. While breastfeeding is an important consideration, it is rarely a safety concern with vaccines.

No data is available yet on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating women or on the effects of mRNA vaccines on breastfed infants or on milk production/excretion. mRNA vaccines are not thought to be a risk to breastfeeding infants.

Is it safe for me to get a vaccine if I have an underlying medical condition?

People with underlying medical conditions can receive the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines provided they have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. Learn more about vaccination considerations for persons with underlying medical conditions. Vaccination is an important consideration for adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions because they are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19.

Is there a risk of severe allergic reaction if I receive the vaccine?

Serious problems from vaccination can happen, but they are rare. CDC has learned of reports that some people have experienced severe allergic reactions—also known as anaphylaxis—after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

How do I report it if I have a problem or bad reaction after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

If you get a COVID-19 vaccine and you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, seek immediate medical care by calling 911.

You can report side effects and reactions using either v-safe or the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS.)

  • V-Safe is a new smartphone-based, after-vaccination health checker for people who receive COVID-19 vaccines. V-safe uses text messaging and web surveys from CDC to check in with vaccine recipients following COVID-19 vaccination. V-safe also provides second vaccine dose reminders if needed, and telephone follow up to anyone who reports medically significant (important) adverse events.
  • Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System is the national system that collects reports from healthcare professionals, vaccine manufacturers, and the public of adverse events that happen after vaccination; reports of adverse events that are unexpected, appear to happen more often than expected, or have unusual patterns are followed up with specific studies. Reports to VAERS help CDC monitor the safety of vaccines. If experts detect an unexpected adverse event, they quickly study it further to assess whether it is a true safety concern. Experts then decide whether changes are needed in U.S. vaccine recommendations. This monitoring is critical to help ensure that the benefits continue to outweigh the risks for people who receive vaccines.

Other FAQs

Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?

No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines developed in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19.

All of the vaccines in development teach our immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19.

It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. This means that it is possible for a person to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or after vaccination and still get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.

After getting a COVID-19 vaccine, will I test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test?

No. Neither the recently authorized and recommended vaccines nor the other COVID-19 vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States can cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.

If your body develops an immune response—the goal of vaccination—there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.

Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?

No. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way.

Is it safe for me to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I would like to have a baby one day?

Yes. People who want to get pregnant in the future may receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Based on current knowledge, experts believe that COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to pose a risk to a person trying to become pregnant in the short or long term. Scientists study every vaccine carefully for side effects immediately and for years afterward.

Do I have to quarantine after being exposed to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 if I've been vaccinated?

Vaccinated persons with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine)
  • Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series
  • Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure

We have a dedicated resource with COVID-19 information for SFA employees.